Are there any real, sustainable benefits to practicing yoga naked? The answer is: Yes. Absolutely.
But before examining the physical and psychological benefits of taking even one naked yoga class, let’s go a step further. Beyond nudity giving an extra boost to the traditional benefits of yoga, can it be political? Can nude yoga be an act of protest?
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Forty years ago, the practice and teaching of yoga was just beginning to gain popularity in the United States. Though the practice had been introduced to Westerners in the preceding century, it was—to those who’d heard of it—at best, an exoticism. It wasn’t until the 1970s that yoga broke through into the mainstream. Yet while advertisers and marketers were selling yoga as the newest fitness fad to fans of Jane Fonda, the ubiquity of classes and mass-produced yoga gear was yet to come.
In 2017, of course, yoga is a billion-dollar industry and is sold and packaged in many forms. There are yoga pants and we wear them outside of yoga class. Some of the most popular yoga pants cost more than a one-way flight to Chicago from New York. And yet the former CEO of one notorious (but still wildly popular) retailer has claimed it’s just too expensive for his company to produce clothing in sizes larger than a 12.
Naked in Motion thinks naked yoga can be, in this context, an act of defiance, a radical act of self-love. This is especially true for women, who face relentless pressure to conform to one standard of beauty, to buy products that will improve upon our natural selves—in form and in fashion. Naked yoga asks nothing of you but your presence. Your size is irrelevant. For yoga-lovers new to public nudity, the classes offer a safe environment and opportunity to challenge yourself on a level deeper than how far you can bend into downward dog.
Furthermore, research has shown that there are psychological benefits to being naked around others. Some research shows that public social nudity can increase overall happiness and decrease self-consciousness.
Our students’ experiences confirm this. Many people report feeling more connected with themselves and a deeper sense of self-acceptance after taking a Naked in Motion class. Seeing other real bodies (as opposed to photoshopped ones from the magazines) renews their self-esteem and decreases negative, judgmental thoughts of others.
Don’t get us wrong: We love your style. Dressing in the morning might be the most creative thing people do all day. And, of course, much of our clothing is practical and functional. But most of our students have discovered that nudity actually improves their form in our movement classes, in that they are able to move more freely without worrying about anything riding up or falling off. People have reported to better feel the cooling effects of sweat, as it doesn’t get immediately absorbed into clothing. The instructors are better able to see where adjustments need to be made, be it closing your ribcage, squaring off your hips, or wrapping your shoulders down your back. So, in addition to greater happiness and self-love, being naked will probably make your yoga practice more physically fulfilling.
And on another level, we understand that some women and transgender folks will want to wear bottoms, which Naked in Motion allows with no questions asked. We want women to feel safe in an all-gender nude event, and we want transgender students to make use of anything they need to affirm and support their gender. (Read more about our Naked! policies)
Naked in Motion wants to offer yoga with no pretensions. We want our students to leave their baggage at the door. We want to re-democratize the yoga space. We invite you to come be a part of our rebellion.