What is Naked in Motion™?
Naked in Motion is an organization that seeks to provide safe, inclusive spaces where people can exercise in the nude. NiM offers Naked! Yoga and Pilates classes in New York City to encourage body positivity and offer participants a unique experience of freedom. However, it’s about so much more than just getting naked in front of strangers. It’s an immersion in a counter-cultural social movement that challenges three important aspects of the status quo: a society that tells us our naked bodies are shameful; media imagery that says only certain kinds of bodies are beautiful; and a patriarchal culture that values whiteness, heteronormativity, and cisnormativity.
join the movement
Your body, just as it is right now, is awesome and deserves care and love. Not the body you used to have or the one you hope to achieve, but the one you’re in right this moment. And if you are trying to change parts of your body, that’s okay too, but we think that change will happen most effectively with an attitude of self-compassion, rather than the typical self-judgement we often adopt when trying to meet “fitness goals” in this modern age of exercise fanaticism.
It is our hope that people will find our classes to be liberating experiences where they can shed their clothes, their worries about what they should look like, and the criticisms they face daily and open up their mind to the possibility of self-acceptance. We encourage people to observe the body they brought with them to class, accept what they’re working with, and learn to love and appreciate it for all the ways in which it supports them.
The mission: Why are women and
transgendered folk allowed to wear bottoms?
The Naked in Motion nudity rule states:
Nudity is mandatory, but women and trans folk have the option to wear bottoms for any reason. Please note that having your menstrual cycle doesn’t necessitate wearing bottoms, as we don’t want menstruation to limit your attendance. For transgender participants: please make use of anything you require to affirm and support your gender, as we’ll defer to whatever “Naked!” means to you.
The short answer:
It’s a complex issue, but our very specific rule is part of what makes Naked in Motion more than just a nudist attraction; it’s a social movement aligned with the values of feminism, inclusivity, and equity designed to reach people outside the nudist bubble. After centuries of objectification, oppression, and sexual abuse, women and trans folk generally have more to fear when entering a co-ed Naked! space. There is nothing truly equal about the experience of a man and a woman naked in a room together, so this rule is about equity, not equality, and we aim to provide marginalized or disadvantaged groups the tools they need for success. To show those participants that we understand their perspective, we allow them the option to wear bottoms if it makes them feel safer, or if it makes menstrual management more comfortable for the purpose of our classes. They can decide for themselves when they’re ready to be fully clothes-free.
The long answer:
In the beginning, Naked in Motion had a significant gender imbalance in the all-gender (co-ed) Naked! class. Everyone was concerned with the lack of female participation, but we discovered that many nudist communities also experience this gender imbalance. We decided to do something about it, so we changed the rule in December of 2016. Our Naked! rule was not really so much of a change, however, as people were always allowed to wear bottoms for menstruation.
Women have faced centuries of oppression, sexual objectification, and abuse, so it's easy to understand why they might be generally more apprehensive about attending an all-gender nude event. Additionally, we understand that some transgender participants (people whose gender identity does not correspond with their birth sex) may not feel comfortable exposing their genitals or may wish to wear bottoms to help affirm their gender. Cisgender men (men whose gender identity corresponds with their sex assigned at birth) certainly have insecurities about their bodies, and we absolutely understand the vulnerability that comes with disrobing. But this isn't about body insecurity, because all people struggle with the way they feel about how their body looks or functions. It's about women's and trans people’s perceived ideas of their safety in a nude space, fears that are often disproportionately higher than those of cis men. It's not about equality, or making a space where everyone has to follow the same rule; it's about equity, which levels the playing field for a greater chance of success among disadvantaged groups. Men and women generally have different experiences and concerns when attending a co-ed naked yoga class, and we have gathered this knowledge from the feedback of women who have attended class and those who still don’t feel confident enough to participate.
Naked in Motion classes are designed to be nude (as described in the name), so if we allowed everyone to wear bottoms, it wouldn't necessarily be a Naked! space. A topless man wearing shorts is not really naked, and it's a sight one would easily see running down the street or at a gym. When women shed their tops, they're already participating in nudity, and forcing them to be fully naked is double the work in a potentially more uncomfortable environment. Additionally, we’re not just trying to reach the Naked! bubble. We want to attract female and transgendered students who never thought they'd ever participate in a social nude event, and we believe this rule helps to encourage those folks to attend. We also encourage transgender participants to make use of anything that they require to affirm their gender, as we want to celebrate whatever “Naked!” means to them.
The results of this rule have been that significantly more women and trans folk attend Naked in Motion classes, and the gender ratios are slowly leveling out. This hasn’t actually resulted in more people wearing bottoms, as that’s still a relatively uncommon occurrence. When someone does wear bottoms in class, it’s barely noticeable, and we’re just thrilled that they’re there. It's truly the dream for Naked in Motion to create spaces where all people can experience the freedom and empowerment of clothes-free movement without worrying about their safety. However, until all people feel comfortable completely disrobing, we’re happy to support the journeys of the women and trans folk who feel the need to wear bottoms, and we expect all the students to respect their needs.
We’re blazing a new trail in the world of fitness, yoga, and nudism, and we're challenging the very definition of nudity in favor of equity, looking towards a future where all people can comfortably experience the liberation and empowerment of Naked! movement. We understand the concerns you may have, but we really appreciate your cooperation and support.