Ralph Craig – the naked yoga teacher who became the final straw in Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries volcanic 72-day marriage -- got a lot of exposure for his Sunday appearance on E!'s Kourtney & Kim Take New York season premiere. And some flack. After walking into the naked yoga class arranged by Kourtney Kardashian, featuring girls in thongs and a handsome naked dread-locked yogi, Kris railed at Kim about the "disgusting and disrespectful" event, referred to Craig as a "stripper" claimed he felt like "throwing up" and skedaddled back to Montana. Watch the video here.
But according to Craig, a 22-year-old Ashanga yogi and practicing Buddhist, Humphries initial reaction was one of surprise and laughter, something that was not shown on the aired episode. "I haven't seen the show yet but I read some of the reports of what he said. It was pretty surprising to read about it because it was all really funny when he first came in. I went to open the door and he looked taken aback but he was laughing, shook his head and made a joke about it. In fact, that was the funniest moment of the shoot.”
Craig has been striking poses since he was 11, introduced to yoga at the Charter Middle School in New Orleans. Craig continued to perfect his practice, eventually studying in India and around the world. He’s lived in New York for four years, and studies with renowned yogis Professor John Campbell, Marco Rojas and Richard Freeman. Craig also teaches (clothed) Mysore – personalized individual group sessions where 50-80 people participate during the 5 hour morning sessions -- at the Pure Yoga Studios in Manhattan.
Mysore – a traditional form of Ashtanga – attracts serious yoga enthusiasts and Craig is a very serious instructor. So how on earth did this young man end up naked on the Kardashian sisters’ reality TV show?
Craig tells The Hollywood Reporter exclusively that he initially responded to an email blast that went out to a number of New York yoga instructors months ago. He knew from the get-go that the gig was for the new Kardashian show and that he would be naked, which did not phase him. “Yoga is something you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re naked or not naked,” says Craig, so confident that he’s often seen in the Pure hallways wearing nothing but tiny shiny blue undies. “I have no issue with being naked. Everyone who knows me knows that I essentially practice in my underwear.”
When he arrived at the set, he went upstairs to meet the girls. “The short one, I think her name is Kourtney, meditates daily so she brought a really calm atmosphere,” he explained. “She has the most patience. I’m not saying Kim is stubborn but Kourtney has more patience. I think that’s evidenced by the fact that she went right to the front of the class. But they were all really nice and were really into it to varying degrees.”
About Kris's private exchanges with Kim K, Craig admits: “I don’t think his reaction had anything to do with me. Like I said, at first he seemed fine with it. I don’t know anything about their relationship but it's obvious something else was going on. Maybe it didn’t help that there was a naked yoga instructor there but that didn’t bring them to divorce court. And I had no idea that he (Kris) didn’t know about the yoga class. As far as I was concerned, he could have come in and taken part in the class."
Meanwhile, Craig's family, friends and students are quite proud of him. "My mother said, 'I saw your photo in a magazine at the grocery store!' Then my students posted on my facebook.One wrote 'Wow. I saw you on TV and I saw a lot of you.' It was funny. Most of the people are excited that I did it."
As to future TV appearances, Craig would not be averse to doing a yoga reality show. “That was how yoga became popular in the United States. There are many older adults who remember that yoga show in the 60s. And there are so many random shows about fitness. But fitness is much more than just being fit."
All those in favor of more Hot Naked Yoga on TV, raise your hands.