Naked in Motion was founded on four important principles that make up our core mission. This is what makes us a unique space.
We welcome people of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, genders, sexual orientations, experience levels, abilities, & religious preferences. We offer sliding scale tickets for our all-gender classes and low prices for our Women's & Trans class.
We celebrate all shapes and sizes, challenge social stigma around nudity, and decry media that glorifies certain kinds of bodies. We maintain that all people deserve love and care, and that anybody can do yoga & Pilates.
We empower people of all genders and sexual orientations to attend and encourage transgender participants to wear gender-affirming pieces. We also offer monthly Women's & Trans classes!
The Naked in Motion nudity rule states:
Naked! = Nudity is mandatory, but trans or cis women, transgender men, and anyone assigned female at birth (AFAB) have the option to wear bottoms. Menstruation doesn’t necessitate wearing bottoms: feel free to use any menstrual management tools. For non-cis folks: we welcome items worn to affirm and support your gender (e.g. binders, chest pieces, packers).
The wording of this rule has evolved over the years, but this is what we think most clearly represents the reasoning explained below, and what will allow our teachers the ability to successfully uphold the rules.
The short answer:
It’s a complex issue, but our rule is part of what makes Naked in Motion more than just a naked yoga class--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 sexual violence, oppression, and objectification, those who (at any point in their life) have been recognized by society as women generally have more to fear when entering an all-gender nude space. With this in mind, our rule aims to lower barriers to participation for gender minorities. We allow the outlined participants the option to wear bottoms with the understanding that it may increase feelings of safety, aid in menstrual management, and/or support one’s gender expression.
The long answer:
Many nudist communities experience a gender imbalance that skews towards cisgender men (those whose gender identity corresponds with their sex assigned at birth). Our classes also experience this issue, and we aren’t surprised at all. With less statistical likelihood of experiencing sexual harassment and objectification (broadly speaking), we believe it’s simply easier for cisgender men to comfortably attend a naked space. In a society that often delegitimizes the experience and needs of transgender individuals (people whose gender identity does not correspond with their birth sex) and folks who don’t identify with the gender binary, it’s also understandable why these participants are less likely to attend a naked space. In addition, some nudist spaces have excluded transgender and non-binary people in an effort to meet a quota of [narrowly-defined] “men” and “women”, as well as menstruating people who require more than a tampon for menstrual management. This history of exclusion, combined with unfortunate societal realities, easily explains why gender minorities might be more apprehensive about attending an all-gender nude event.
Our bottom’s policy serves two distinct purposes.
First, we strive to be menstrual-positive, recognizing that people need different tools for managing their cycles. Insisting that everyone only be allowed to wear tampons is an archaic, patriarchal rule still found in other naked spaces. A cup or tampon may work for some folks, but others need an extra layer of protection. Some people can’t use insertable cups or tampons, making bottoms necessary to hold a pad in place. (A note: having your menstrual cycle doesn’t necessitate wearing bottoms. There’s no shame in being able to see a tampon string, or even for dripping slightly on your mat & towel.)
The second issue addressed by our bottoms rule is sexual objectification. Being perceived by the world as a woman at any time of your life comes with a certain hardships. The kind of difficulty that especially gets in the way of attending our classes is the tendency for women to be treated as sexual objects, compounded by alarming statistics of sexual violence against them. Transgender and non-binary folks experience this aggression in even more nuanced ways. We believe this fear of sexual objectification and transgression to be the greatest barrier to participation in nude events by folks who are trans and/or Assigned Female At Birth. It's all about being at the wrong end of the male gaze, regardless of how you identify or express your gender.
Our goal isn't to address all the reasons why people would be uncomfortable without clothes. Our rule isn't about body insecurity, as most people struggle with the way they feel about how their body looks or functions. It’s about people’s perceived ideas of their safety in a nude space, fears that are often disproportionately higher for trans and AFAB folks. In other words, it's not about personal, internal reasons why people might be nervous to get naked; it's about larger-scale cultural barriers.
“But it’s not equal! Fair is fair, naked is naked!”
Our goal is not equality, or making a space where everyone has to follow the same rule. That would assume everyone’s experience is generally the same, that something is accessible to all people. Our rule is about equity, which levels the playing field for a greater chance of success among disadvantaged groups. Because gender minorities generally have different concerns when attending an all-gender naked yoga class, true equality isn’t possible. We simply define Naked! differently.
Nudity is crucial to the Naked in Motion experience, and our classes are designed to facilitate safer experiences of social nudity. Being naked is about the external expression and appearance of the body, and when establishing our definition of nudity, we take into account what would be considered “naked” in clothed settings.
For example, consider this: if a topless cisgender man is running in Central Park, most people aren’t even going to notice. This is “socially-acceptable” nudity; he is “acceptably clothed.” In our class, this topless person isn’t really participating in the act of getting naked, or experiencing vulnerability outside the lines of socially-acceptable nudity. However, if a person with breasts goes completely topless in Central Park, people notice immediately, take pictures, shame them audibly, or even masturbate (don’t believe us? Ask the folks at Topless Pulp Fiction). This topless person is already participating in nudity: while toplessness is legal in New York, it’s not socially-acceptable. To us, a topless person with breasts is Naked!
“But nudist spaces have been around for many years, and we make everyone shed all their clothes. Why change the rules?”
Naked in Motion is not a designated nudist space. It’s a place for all people to use nudity as a tool for self-discovery and compassion. We don’t feel the need to mimic the rules of other nudist events. Those spaces exist aplenty. Having put so much thought into the varying experiences of our students, we believe our classes will welcome a broader variety of people.
Naked in Motion wishes to create spaces where all people can experience the freedom and empowerment of clothes-free movement without worrying about their safety. We’re happy to support the journeys of those AFAB and trans folks who feel the need to wear bottoms, and we expect all students in attendance to respect our Rules. We appreciate your cooperation and support as we tread new waters.