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This post is part of a series of Queerty conversations with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–or just sit on the couch ogling them instead.
Name: Brandon Anthony (age undisclosed)
City: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Naked Yoga + Cannabis Wellness Entrepreneur
Favorite Gym: Any nude beach.
Recommended Work-Out Foods: I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but I definitely feel better keeping my meat intake on the lower end. I’ve been pretty obsessed with Beyond Meat the past year.
Best Workout Outfit: As little as possible. I like being able to see what my body is doing. If I have to wear clothes, a crop top and very short shorts.
How do you balance staying in shape and having fun?
Everything in moderation.
What’s a basic, if useful, fitness tip you can offer?
Do what you love. A hundred people can tell you how great yoga is, but if you hate it, it won’t work for you. Maybe for you, it’s rock climbing. Maybe it’s scuba diving. Do the stuff that makes you feel like a kid again.
When did you discover the power of yoga?
I’d actually never heard of yoga until they made me do it as a first-year acting major at DePaul, and I hated it. I was often hungover and it was so early in the morning, but by the end of the year, I was in love. As I got more comfortable with the movements, the experience shifted from exercise to therapy for me. For those 90 minutes three mornings a week, I wasn’t thinking about school, or boys, or any other stressful thing. My breath and my form were the only things on my mind.
How does doing yoga prepare you psychologically and emotionally?
I’m a perfectionist, but yoga has taught me to love myself even when I’m not perfect. When I fall out of a pose, when my leg starts to shake in an especially long Warrior 2, when I can’t do the fancy arm balance another instructor does on Instagram – I celebrate myself anyway. I’m still working to translate that lesson to the rest of my life.
So many of us—particularly gay men—feel a lot of pressure to maintain a certain gym build, or to avoid carrying extra weight. Can yoga be a substitute for the gym?
That really depends on your goals, but you can totally get in great shape just by doing yoga. People who don’t do yoga often assume it’s a lot of stretching, and it can be. It can also be really athletic. If you’re looking to get into yoga, do some research on different styles, and try out some classes to find the one most in alignment with your goals.
You’re also a big proponent of cannabis use during yoga. What additional benefits does it offer?
I am. It definitely took some experimentation to find the right strain and dosage, but I’ve found cannabis to be a wonderful pairing for yoga practice. The pain relief alone is so helpful when you’re trying to get into some of these deep-shoulder, hip, groin, and hamstring opening poses. We get into these intense stretches, and sometimes all we can think about is getting out. So we’re holding our breath, and we’re kind of holding ourselves out of the stretch a bit to avoid that discomfort. Cannabis changes how I process that “pain.” I’m calm, and I’m able to relax into the pose enough for my body to really reap the benefits of it.
You teach a lot of couples and partner yoga classes. How does doing yoga together strengthen the bond of intimacy?
The partner sessions help couples learn to slow down, truly listen, build trust, be present, and breathe with one another. The goal is to take those skills built while practicing yoga together and translate them into every aspect of the relationship.
You also teach multi-day yoga retreats. What kind of overview can you give us? What’s the goal?
Healing and Self Love. The EROS retreats are about creating a safe space for men of all ages, backgrounds, and body types to release shame and celebrate themselves. We stay at a large private villa with an in house naked chef and massage therapist, and all the workshops are done in the nude. There’s yoga, fitness, massage, dance, tantra, and lots of time just making memories together.
What do you keep on your nightstand?
A CBD tincture and my journal.