Victoria woman advocates for equality in yoga studio after being asked to cover up

Jen Frizzley wants to start conversations about ‘desexualizing the body’

A Victoria woman hopes her experience at a local yoga studio will start a conversation about desexualizing nudity.

Jen Frizzley’s second class at Quantum Yoga Club was “significantly hotter” than her first. Laying in the room before class, she says she quickly realized she wasn’t going to enjoy the class in her thick workout top.

READ ALSO: Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

When Frizzley looked around she noticed a number of men in the room were already shirtless. So, after checking it was okay with the receptionist and instructor, she decided she too, would go topless. But after the class, the instructor asked her to wear a top next time.

According to Frizzley, the teacher said she noticed a few people were distracted, and that the class needed to focus on their practice.

“I don’t think [the instructor] is in the wrong, per se, she’s just propagating a culture in which it’s okay for men to be shirtless but it’s not okay for women to be shirtless,” Frizzley said.

On its website, Quantum Yoga added an etiquette section that asks yogis to wear “both bottoms and tops” and Yoga Lab Victoria – another local hot yoga studio – has the same policy – asking guests to wear bottoms and tops while in the studio. Skyclad, a Metchosin-based studio, offers clothing-optional Vinyasa – but for men only.

READ ALSO: Gardeners around the world strip down for World Naked Gardening Day

According to Quantum Yoga Lab owner Ken Mayes, the club’s rules are following a North American yoga standard “that women wear tops and are covered up.” He said making sure all clients are comfortable is a top priority, but added for men, the shirt rule is rarely enforced.

“We can’t be all things to all people,” Mayes said. “If someone wants to have a topless class or nude class there’s lots of options, we just don’t offer that.”

“That standard isn’t created by Quantum Yoga, it’s a standard for yoga around North America,” he added.

In B.C., women have the right to go topless on public property, thanks in part to a 2000 Supreme Court decision, which stood behind Maple Ridge woman Linda Meyer, charged with violating a local bylaw for going topless at a city pool.

“I do not find in the evidence support for the view that the parks could not operate in orderly fashion if a female were to bare her breasts in a circumstance that did not offend criminal laws of nudity,” wrote Justice Holmes in the decision, adding the city’s park bylaw appeared to be “more a reaction to a frustration that the criminal law was not supporting the moral standards in regard to females who chose to bare their breasts in public that some Maple Ridge citizens desired.”

READ ALSO: LGBTQ-themed swim at B.C. pool cancelled after online backlash

For Frizzley, the incident brings up questions about sexualization and free will. She’s started a Facebook group called Topfree (topless) Yoga Victoria and is speaking with studios in the city about hosting topless classes for women.

“I think it’s about desexualizing the body and allowing people to be free and make their own independent choices,” she said. “We shouldn’t be forcing people to wear things or take things off.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cobble Hill man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

23 to 25 per cent of Island tourism businesses expected to close for good due to COVID-19

New program aims to help as many as possible survive through the summer

Camosun College shares free design of medical-grade face masks

Manufacturers across Canada, United States and UK have inquired

Group looks to create offroad trail network throughout Greater Victoria

Nature Trail Society partners with private landowners to make ‘loops’

Long wait to reopen is over for Vancouver Island gyms

Fitness centre owners taking safety measures they expect to be in place for some time

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

Most Read