Month: February 2014

In Conversation with Jordan Bellan

During this particularly cold winter, where exposed skin can freeze in minutes, naked yoga might get a frosty reception.

But Jitendra Yoga studio is hoping Winnipeggers will be prepared to shed their inhibitions… and more, by offering classes for those brave enough to try it.

At the start of class, the instructor is the only one naked, while the rest of the students meditate fully clothed. A yoga bolster is required and it is mandatory to wrap a towel around it for hygienic reasons. A bell rings to indicate the start of class and the instructor locks the door for privacy. Through a series of meditative steps, the instructor invites the students to think about how it feels to experience a naked body instructing their mind. The students then begin massaging their arms, torso, back, neck, face and finally the scalp. With eyes closed, garments are removed in this phase. In the final step, students stand up while looking at the floor and slowly lift their gaze.

Yoga instructor Jordan Bellan, 26, began instructing when he was 19, and has taught in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and India. He studied in Israel, Egypt and England, and lived in several spiritual centres. He recently spoke with Free Press intern Estefania Wujkiw.

FP: How is naked yoga different from regular yoga?

BELLAN: It is a psycho-spiritual practice about deepening one’s own sense of self-love, ability to feel a sense of comfort in a naked situation and to explore different possibilities in relation to other naked bodies. Not shying away from the way we look, or the way we feel. It really has shattered people’s beliefs about who they are and about how they are defined by their image. And about how image defines the world.

FP: What is the process like?

BELLAN: We do take this practice seriously as a spiritual practice, it is not a joke. It should be clear to each student that the nudity aspect is something that we come together, too. It is a moment to create a solid connection between each and every one of us, where we truly dedicate the merit of the practice to self-exploration, to becoming non-judgemental, an open and accepting person, who accepts all beings in all forms for whatever appearance they represent.

We start off with the eyes gazing at the floor, and gently lift the eyes to each other’s bodies, at which point, we actually make an effort to look at every single body in the space, scanning the bodies, noticing how it makes you feel. Trying to see each other’s eyes and truly be seen. And then we start to move into the yoga postures.

FP: What do you hope people will learn from your class?

BELLAN: The core teaching of this practice is that there is nothing that you can do; there is nothing that you can say, and there is nothing that you can be that would ever diminish the love of the Divine. You are eternally worthy of belonging, you belong.

FP: What do you say to people with sanitary concerns?

BELLAN: The practice is extremely sanitary, students are required to bring their own mats, and we don’t lend mats for the Naga Yoga practice. All of the items that a student would use are a bolster, and we would give the students a towel to wrap around the bolster. The body will never touch anything other than their own mat and a towel that will later be sanitized and washed. It is no dirtier than the sweat dripping on the floor of a hot yoga studio through the clothing. Another aspect of my career is instructing hot yoga, and many students are wearing a single, small garment. It is just one tiny step further.

FP: How did you come up with the idea to introduce this practice to Winnipeg?

BELLAN: I was living in India and there was an Ashram, a spiritual centre where nudity and sex are highly encouraged in the space, and the Ashram belonged to a modern spiritual teacher named Osho. He really believed that traditional yoga philosophies wouldn’t necessarily uphold or wouldn’t necessarily connect. One of those primary things that Osho believed was that sex was a beautiful, spiritual activity, and that the body was a vehicle for joy and peace, and liberation.

FP: How has yoga changed your life?

 Yoga has cultured a connection between me and the Divine, me and energy that some people call God, some call heaven, some just call happiness. The practice of yoga means union, and to unify is to unify myself with the joy of being, even in the most difficult and challenging situations.

Jitendra Yoga, located in the Exchange District, is Canada’s first and only donation-based yoga studio that provides a full-scale variety of classes. There is no minimum donation in place. It runs a regular program of naked yoga once a week.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 15, 2014 D3


TMZ Sports Show Danica’s Topless Selfie Puts BF in Tough Spot – 2/17/2014

TMZ Sports Show Danica’s Topless Selfie Puts BF in Tough SpotTMZ.comDanica Patrick’s nipple makes an appearance for a Sports Illustrated website … which she might be fine for her — but her BF … NASCAR driver bf Ricky Stenhouse Jr. probably ain’t so cool with it.

The ‘Steven Spielberg Exception’ to TV’s Indecency Rules?

How does the FCC decide that “Schindler’s List” is acceptable to broadcast before 10 p.m., but “NYPD Blue” is not?

How does the FCC define indecent material on television? If you’re Fox, you’d likely answer that the FCC doesn’t really know – or has several different definitions depending on who’s asking.

That’s at least the impression the network gives in the case of Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., which was recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case primarily addresses the question of whether the FCC’s decisions as to what constitutes “indecency” on public broadcast television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. are unconstitutionally arbitrary under the First Amendment. Fox alleges that whereas the FCC has permitted primetime television broadcasts of Steven Spielberg’s ”Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List,” complete with full nudity and swearing, the FCC has sanctioned other television broadcasts, such as an episode of “NYPD Blue,” due to brief displays of nudity or swearing.

Also readFox ‘Pleased’ by Indecency Ruling: ‘Must Allow for Isolated Instances’ 

Our reading of the oral argument transcript, however, is that the Supreme Court seems more sympathetic to the position of the FCC. Focusing largely on the interests of children and the rights of parents, a number of Justices seemed to embrace the notion that within a sea of profane cable and Internet options, there should be “a safe haven” where parents know their kids won’t be “bombarded with curse words or nudity.”

The spectrum of public television broadcasting, which is owned and licensed by the government to TV networks such as Fox, provides that safe haven. As Chief Justice John Roberts (the only Justice with relatively young children) stated: “All we are asking for, what the government is asking for, is a few channels where you can say I’m not going to – they are not going to hear the S word, the F word. They are not going to see nudity.”

A number of practical arguments made against the FCC didn’t appear to gain much traction with the Court. For instance, the government pointed out that V-Chip technology has proved to be unreliable and deficient in ensuring that all “offensive” language gets blocked. And although there are cable networks devoted to children’s programming, private companies decide whether or not such programming will exist.

In addition, the argument that TV programming will be regulated by advertisers who don’t want to alienate viewers with offensive shows, seems to have it backward: It seems more likely that advertisers would embrace the opportunity to attract more viewers with titillating and “shocking” broadcasts.

So how does the FCC decide that “Schindler’s List” is acceptable to broadcast before 10 p.m., but “NYPD Blue” is not? The FCC’s decisions are basically “context-based” judgment calls.

Justice Elena Kagan seemed troubled that “it’s like nobody can use dirty words or nudity except for Steven Spielberg.” Justice Antonin Scalia, however, likened the federal government’s discretion in this area to the Supreme Court’s own requirement of “a certain modicum of dress for people that attend this Court and the people that attend other Federal courts…. [T]hese are public airwaves, the government is entitled to insist upon a certain modicum of decency.”

In other words, as was famously stated by the Supreme Court decades ago in addressing the question of what constitutes pornography, the Court seems OK with the notion of the federal government ‘knowing indecency when it sees it.’ It appears that major motion pictures by Steven Spielberg about World War II are not “indecent.”

In the end, Justice Samuel Alito may have best summarized the practical significance of this case – or lack thereof – when he commented that “broadcast TV is living on borrowed time. It is not going to be long before it goes the way of vinyl records and 8-track tapes.” Perhaps. If that observation is correct, then the First Amendment should not take a serious hit by a ruling in favor of the FCC’s ability to continue to regulate the public airways.

For now, though, networks still consider the public airways to be valuable property worthy of their investments and programming. That fact may be seen as further justifying the FCC’s entitlement to regulate what the government licenses out, albeit on an imperfect basis.

Whatever lifespan public television broadcasting may still have, the Supreme Court seems unlikely to deregulate it as Fox hopes in the name of the First Amendment. The Court should issue its ruling before its term ends in June of this year.

Cancer survivor’s courage insulted by false friends

WHAT do you do if your friend who has had breast cancer puts pictures of her post-operative body on Facebook to remind you to take care of your own health?

Do you a) thank her and book a breast check, or b) recoil and unfriend her?

You may be as dismayed as me to learn that more than 100 “friends” of a Brisbane mother of four not only cut her off for her generous gesture but reported her “inappropriate” photos.

Actually, dismayed isn’t strong enough. I was disgusted. Talk about fairweather Facebook friends, talk about judgmental and close-minded people, talk about living in the kind of denial that could cost your own life.

If you have had even one friend or loved one go through breast cancer, rather than damn Beth Whaanga for “inappropriately” displaying her model-beautiful face and her ravaged body (post double-mastectomy, hysterectomy, breast reconstruction and rapid weight loss) you would send her flowers.

Brave doesn’t cover it. The lady is heroic. What guts it must have taken to strip off to her undies for her friend’s camera and invite others who have been on a similarly life-altering journey to do so, as well.

Her message of self-care, and of understanding what people go through, has never been more relevant.

Just this month, World Health Organisation figures found cancer has now surpassed heart disease as the biggest killer in Australia, and breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.

It is the second-biggest cancer killer (after lung cancer), but given outcomes can be much improved for women where the illness is caught early, the breast-check message has never been more vital.

So what can we assume about the huge percentage of Ms Whaanga’s “friends” who dumped her because they just don’t want to hear it?

Maybe they are scared of cancer — hey, we all are. But better to be checked than take the risk, surely. Cancers related to lifestyle, for example, were said by the WHO to be largely “preventable” … being reminded to look after yourself is fantastic for your health.

Maybe they felt the pictures of the scars, the missing nipple areas, the dimpled skin from the drastic weight loss were confronting.

Yes, of course they are. That’s the whole point. “Look at this and do what you can to stop it happening to you” is the unvarnished message here.

Maybe they felt the inclusion of the full-body pictures was “too much information” and that Ms Whaanga, who is a registered nurse, could have got her message through with one of those cosy “like this if you want to see an end to cancer” posts we see so often on social media — so often that we just switch off.

Sure, you may feel fuzzy for one second when you endorse one of those, but do they stick with you? No.

Ms Whaanga, who was diagnosed last year on her 32nd birthday was “lucky enough to find these changes before they became aggressive or spread”.

“My life was not in danger, I didn’t have to fight. I was very fortunate,” she wrote in her post.

With that lovely, seemingly untouched young face, she would have thrown on a pretty dress, put it all behind her and got on with life. Instead, she decided to share her reality in the hope it would spread understanding of what cancer can really mean. You cannot tell me that people would really think a picture of a body in underpants is any more “pornographic” than nudie shots on Instagram of Aussie models on vacation that everybody loves.

Something deeper is going on here if people are so enraged that they to try to have the pictures banned.

Someone needs a reality check. The good news is, it may just save their life.

Beth Whaanga’s page is

Join the conversation at Wendy’s blog:

heraldsun/theperch/ or join her Facebook community at

Courtesy of March and M&C Saatchi Mena

This photo will make you rethink Lebanon’s topless skier story

The week before photos of Lebanese Olympian Jackie Chamoun caused a global uproar, a woman in Beirut was beaten to death with a pressure cooker.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — When topless photos taken several years ago of Lebanese Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun surfaced online in recent weeks, the news grabbed headlines in Lebanon and across the globe. Although it’s hailed as one of the most liberal countries in the region, the skier acknowledged in a Facebook post that it is still in many ways a “conservative” country. Last Wednesday, Lebanon’s Sports and Youth minister even ordered an investigation into the photos, which Chamoun said were part of a photo shoot for a ski calendar and were never meant to be made public. (The photographer was Olympian Hubertus von Hohenlohe, who recently made healdines with his mariachi-style race suit.)

While liberalists across Lebanon rallied in support of Chamoun, March, a Beirut-based NGO focused on national censorship laws, decided to use the publicity around Chamoun’s nudity to draw attention to an issue far more significant to most Lebanese women — domestic violence.

This photo is central to their latest campaign, which has pushed the slogan, “NUDITY IS A PERSONAL CHOICE … GETTING BEATEN UP IS NOT.”


In an explainer posted on their website, the group said, “March has of course supported [Jackie Chamoun], her personal freedom and her right to choose. But what about the other women who deserve the same attention and coverage: victims of domestic violence. … It’s time that we reassess our values, get our priorities straight, and be the voice of women who have been silenced. Some of whom, forever.”

Why domestic violence? March founding member and General Coordinator Lea Baroudi told GlobalPost the idea emerged from another story from Lebanon that gained decidedly less attention than Jackie’s semi-concealed breasts. The week before Chamoun’s photos came out, a woman in Beirut was beaten to death with a pressure cooker, allegedly wielded by her husband. Her brother told The Daily Star that neighbors had actually called the police during the attack. The police allegedly declined to intervene in a “family matter.”

Lebanese Olympic Skier Posed for a Nude Photoshoot Before Sochi (NSFW)

Baring her mountains. 


Wearing different styles of lacy underwear and holding strategically placed skiing equipment, Sochi Alpine skier Jackie Chamoun has all of Olympic mountain googling her after photos of herself posing nude for a sexy ski calendar photo shoot appeared online yesterday. The photos were taken by six-time Mexican Olympic skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe. 

The photos and videos were widely spread online through various forms of social media yesterday, leading Chamoun to explain on her Facebook: “The video and photos that you are now seeing are part of the making of the preparation. It wasn’t supposed to go public,” she wrote. Shortly after, the sexy skier was banned by the Lebanese Olympic Committee from speaking to the media, hoping to calm down the uproar and keep her from being banned from her competition.

Jackie Chamoun certainly isn’t the first person to pose for a sexy calendar spread, but she may be the first to explain herself while the Olympic games are happening around her. Hey, go big or go home. Here are some of the NSFW clips captured by the onlookers. 

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post alluded to these photos being taken while in Sochi. The photos were in fact taken prior to the Olympic games, in Lebanon’s Faraya mountains. Brushing up on our German translation has been officially added to our to-do list.