Nude yoga. Before you run for the hills at first mention of this liberating phenomenon, be sure to learn about the benefits of practicing in the buff. It's important to note before we dive in and bare it all that nude yoga is not limited to super models and celebrities, in fact this form of ancient practice is for everyone, is free of judgment and leads to body positivity, better self-esteem, enhanced mind-body concentration and a stronger sex drive.
People who practice naked yoga love the way it makes them feel more free and accepting of their bodies. While it may be easy to compare oneself to others, naked yoga helps you see that at your core, everyone really isn’t that different.
You may be able to hide parts you don’t like under your clothes, but when you’re working out naked, it’s hard not to look at that extra bit of wobble in your stomach or thighs. At first that may seem scary. But as with most things that scare us, the more you bring it into the light and look at it, the more it loses its power. Your cellulite in a room full of naked skin seems like a little bit smaller of a deal. Those things become less important when they’re out in the open and everyone is dealing with their own insecurities. It helps you to focus inwardly when you are required not to stare at the naked skin around you.
Of course everyone feels some awkwardness at first if they aren’t used to yoga sans clothes. But there is a no staring rule, so that helps to minimize awkwardness. Once you get into the flow of everything it can be remarkable how normal nude yoga can feel! It’s not about gawking at each other, but going inward. People who don’t respect that don’t belong at nude yoga. You will find there is an environment of mutual respect.
Isis Phoenix, a nude yoga teacher at Naked Yoga NYC, says that the first 15 minutes of class are often the most difficult. "A new reality is created in the first 15 minutes of class — a reality where people can be naked and practice yoga in the room, and it's ok," Phoenix said. "Nobody's going to point and laugh," she said. This transformation expands beyond the yoga studio, improving confidence and self-esteem.
Usually everyone starts clothed and takes their clothes off at the teacher’s instruction.
A good nude yoga class has guidelines to make sure everyone feels comfortable, safe and respected. Some of the rules you will encounter include:
- No compliments/comments about appearance
- No staring
- No touching
Not everyone feels comfortable in a large yoga class, but a smaller, or one-on-one class might be for you. If you are skeptical about moving straight into a full nude yoga class, consider practicing yoga in a private or semi-private setting. This is a lovely option for those who want to experience the freeing feeling without so many other people around. It’s also a good way to become more comfortable before trying a full size nude yoga class.