Strippa Yoga

(slow electronic music) – There’s the two
arguments, right? That stripping is
demeaning to women, that it’s anti-feminist,
that it’s promoting the idea that women are
pieces of property. And then there’s the
other side of it. Sex work is empowering
and it makes you strong. The reality of stripping sits
right in the middle of that. It’s a normal job. To begin to notice your breath. You don’t need to change
your breath, just noticing the way the air
feels as it moves in and out of your body. There’s something about us, maybe it’s just a comfort
with our sexuality, or a way we move or
a way we interact with other human beings, or whether it be
the shorter shorts or this hyper flexibility
or the booties poking out just ’cause that’s the
way we accidentally stand. Take another big inhale,
last cleansing breath, biggest breath you
have taken yet today. Fill up your lungs, pause. When my friends from
work would come to see me at the yoga studio I teach
at, they really stood out. Why does twerking make
that pose more fun? It really does, right? I just realized that it
would be really nice to have a space where we could just
come together and practice yoga, and maybe if we accidentally
shook our butt a little bit it wouldn’t be shocking to the
whole back row of the class. Our job is very physically
and emotionally demanding in a unique way. – If you are actually a
pole dancer, it’s not easy, it’s not easy for sure. I do it every day, and my
back, everything hurts. So I just feel like
yoga is just needed. – Let’s take an inhale, bend your knees slightly
and look forward. – The club does a lot of
wear and tear on our bodies, so she designs her sequences
to counteract that. – Nice work, guys. Think about how much
a dancer must squat. Even if I gave 10 lap
dances in one night, they’re three minutes a piece, think about how much I’m
squatting during that time. We’re standing all the
time, and we’re doing so in six, eight, nine-inch heels. We need more restorative
healing poses. So I really wanted to
offer something like that and I also wanted to give the
people coming to Stripper Yoga some hints on how to
do some of the more flexible, extreme poses that
people like seeing on stage, how to do them
safely and correctly while being mindful their body. A lot of people have been asking
me how Stripper Yoga went, and the answer is that
it went incredible! I am so grateful to all of you
wonderful, gorgeous strippers who came and hung out. Thank you to everyone
who showed some support. – When I met her, I
literally could not get this smile off my face. She’s literally like a light
that walks in the room. She’s so positive and
she’s so nice to everybody, she’s not judgmental at all. (muffled pop music) – My name is Jessica Kind, I am the founder
of Stripper Yoga. I have been teaching yoga
for about four years now. I have been stripping
for nearly a decade. When you think about the most
commonly reported nightmares, what’s a totally
stereotypical one? Being naked in front
of your peers, right? And here we are, we’re
naked in front of our peers and we’re like, “Pay me.” And so we’re living
people’s worst nightmare and we’re literally making
people give us money for it. And if you don’t
think that’s epic, I don’t know what’s
going on in your head. (calm tranquil music) I come from a really
loving family. But we also grew up very poor. I’m sure they wanted to be able
to give me the kind of life where they were gonna pay
for me to go to college or pay for my rent or
buy me my first car, it just was never gonna
be an option for them. I first went to a strip
club, I was 16 years old. There were people on stage
just doing their own thing, lots of different styles,
music, enthusiasm, and in my 16-year-old mind
I saw these girls on stage, shaking it and making, at
that time I worked at Denny’s, a significant amount of money. And so that light
clicked on in my head, that that could be
something that I could do when I turned 18, it
was an option for me. And I just thought I
was gonna go in there and I was gonna to be the
hottest, coolest girl ever. I’m 18 and I just think
I’m gonna go in there and just rock everyone’s world, and that’s just not
the way it goes down when you’re a baby stripper. I went in there and
I tripped a bunch, and was awkward and
weird and wasted my time. And me being as friendly as I
am, I was just in there like, hey girls, you wanna
be my best friend? And they’re like,
“I’m trying to work.” It was all uphill from there. Lean forward, push your
right shoulder back and then maybe look over
your right shoulder. Be gentle, it’s very
early in practice. The stripping gave me an option. It gave me a house,
it gave me food, it paid my bills for
the last 10 years. It gave me boundaries, I still have really
strong boundaries. It’s given me the best
friendships I’ve ever had. – I have been
friends with Jessica since I started
dancing in September. When she started it, I was one of the first
people she invited. ‘Cause I was a baby stripper and didn’t really
know what I was doing. She was like, “Hey, come on,
the really good environment to let go of all the
energies of the strip club, ’cause sometimes it can
be really crazy in there. (upbeat electronic music) – You’re naive before
you start stripping, and I wish that I
would’ve got to be naive about the world
a little bit longer. We do have to acknowledge,
if we’re being honest, that a lot of sexual assault
happens within the strip club. That can cause a lot of trauma. I get rejected anywhere
from 10 to 50 times a night. You can only imagine
what that would do to a normal person’s psyche,
you know what I mean? But add that on
top of dealing with all of the judgments and
stigma surrounding stripping. I dealt with some mental
health stuff growing up. As a teenager I did do
the medication route, and I believe that that can
be helpful for a lot of people but I felt that it numbed
the best parts of me, my vivaciousness,
my outgoingness, and it just made me this
dead even level person, so I stopped taking those. But I was still dealing
with depression, anxiety. (tranquil violin music) So when I started going to yoga and actually taking my
practice a lot more seriously, I found that I wasn’t
dealing with those really sad episodes anymore. It was genuinely acting as a
medicine for my depression. What’s cool about Stripper Yoga is that we’re
giving people yoga, and what yoga does
is gets us to a point where we are able to
slow down our mind enough to understand where a lot of
our feelings are coming from. When I slow down my
mind enough to realize, I’m not ugly, people are
weird, and maybe I need to work on my sales
techniques a little bit more. My immediate goal is
to teach Stripper Yoga in multiple cities
around the country. From there I’d like to start
teaching yoga teacher trainings exclusively for people
in the industry. Take one more big breath in. There’s a lot of stuff
that I didn’t have when I was first in the industry that I would like to be
able to offer girls now. – There’s a lot of resources
for girls in this community, it’s kind of you
learn as you go. But with Stripper
Yoga you have someone who you can fall back
on and depend on. They’re there,
they’re your family. – Society views you different
when you’re a stripper. So I’ve had to, the last 10
years, my entire adult life, navigate a society
that overall hates me, and still hold my head high. I get passionate about it because I love these
girls so, so much. These girls are just some of
the most incredible beings, like soft beautiful souls. How people are able
to dehumanize somebody just based on them
being sexual beings when we’re all sexual beings, I just can’t really
comprehend that. There’s an energy
living within me. That same energy
lives within you. At the source of this
energy dwelling within us, you and I are one.