“I go to India at least once a year and, you know, it’s so funny,” charismatic local yoga teacher Darren Main told me over the phone, in his almost-preternaturally calm,
soothing voice. “And pretty much everyone I went to see said something along the lines of, ‘You live in San Francisco, that’s where
all the action is at. Teach me something.’ And I’m like, “I came all this way — you’re
“But we’ve become such a hub of yogic innovation and transformation, that I do honestly think the world now looks to us for the next level of practice.”
_ Main’s own journey could be seen as emblematic of that transformation. Born to an observant Catholic mother and farmer father, he journeyed from his Mystic, Connecticut home to queer San Francisco, and — after
a “dark night of the soul” in which he experienced an identity crisis, addiction, and recovery — into the grounded mysticism of his spiritual practice. (His many books, including Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic share and apply his experiences).
Deliciously , Darren ﬁrst became well-known here by establishing the Naked Yoga for Men collective, inspired by famed Hot Nude Yoga evangelist Aaron Star and remarkable for encouraging transmen inclusion and offering women-only classes. But recently he’s undergone yet another transformation: after adopting a young child, he’s suspended his unclothed instruction to focus on his writing, podcasting, and intensely popular classes in Grace Cathedral, reviewed in this issue.
I asked him if he’d ever consider a Naked Yoga in Church mashup, and he laughed mischievously.
“I don’ think our hosts are quite there yet. But there’s a different kind of nakedness one experiences in the Cathedral, coming face-to-face with a big established
religion. You confrontyour own spiritual feelings in a sacred space, and see how they can manifest in the world. I think that’s what I’d like to write about next— how much organized religion has in common with yogic practice. How what Jesus taught can be integrated into yoga’s principles of selﬂessness.” (Marke B.)