From the Archives! Featured article in the New York Post that was also featured on “In The Papers” on New York 1 with Pat Kiernan. #NudeNewYork #NakedYoga #AndyOfiesh #NudeDining #NakedComedy #NakedIntheCity
I’ve taken and distilled down the most frequent questions I receive as well as some additional information that is unique to this particular monthly naked yoga meet-up in Seattle. Every naked yoga class will come with their own unique FAQ and rules of etiquette.
NAKED YOGA FAQ
What time should I arrive? Please arrive 10-15 minutes before class to get signed in and find your spot. There is no late entry to this event. Doors are locked at the beginning of class to allow for a safe space free of disruption.
What should I wear to class? Clothes that are street legal.
When do we take our clothes off? All yoga students take their clothes off in a disrobing ritual together lead by the instructor. Please stay clothed until you are instructed to remove your clothing.
Yoga assists – will my yoga instructor be touching me in class? During class, the instructor may correct a posture with her words or with her hands with your consent. Because yoga can take the practitioner into an altered state, we like to get your expressed consent around desiring hands on assists up front. At the beginning of class you will be given a consent card that you will place at the front of your mat. This card has two sides – a “YES! I would like hands on assits” or “NO assists today please. ”Place your card by your mat where the instructor can see it. You will not be touched by the instructor without your consent in a yoga class.
Will I touch another yoga practitioner in class? Maybe. We may at some point explore a group balance pose that asks you to place your hand on another yogi’s hand or back for balance. You are welcome to make this a solo balance pose or use the wall for support if you would prefer not to have direct physical contact with another person during your yoga practice.
Is it okay to take a look around the room at the other naked yogis? Balance in all things. First you’re here for you and your yoga practice, but you’re also here to practice in a group environment. Aren’t naked bodies practicing yoga interesting and beautiful?! How exciting that we’re practicing in an erotic art gallery where we have become essentially moving art! Of course it’s natural to look at another person and appreciate their beauty and to let it inspire your yoga practice. We also ask that you don’t ogle or overtly stare or become distracted from your yoga practice with your outward gaze. Drishti is the Sanskrit word for gaze, internal consciousness or even point of view. Please focus your drishti on your own practice. If you find your eyes wandering to another person’s body or to a specific piece of erotic art on the walls of the studio, try closing your eyes and returning to your body, your breath and your practice.
What if I become aroused and something ‘comes up?’ This is not a class or yoga practice that focuses on raising sexual energy. At the same time this is not a yoga practice that ignores that we are sexual beings who possess sexual energy. Your erection, like the rest of you is welcome here. If an erection happens, breath, acknowledge it silently with gratitude and return to your practice.
What should I know about body hair and personal grooming before class? Any and all of your body hair including your personal grooming preferences in any style and form is welcome.
How much previous yoga experience do I need? It’s useful to have taken at least a yoga class in the past to have foundational knowledge so that this is not your first experience with yoga. Classes are open level and your are expected to take care of your body’s unique needs during your yoga practice.
Can I just sit and watch? No. This is a class for those who want to practice yoga.
How do I care for my menstrual cycle while practicing naked yoga? Any way you want to including wearing bottoms if that makes you feel more comfortable.
Do I need to provide my own mat? Yes, for hygiene reasons, we do not rent mats. You must bring your own mat. If you do not have a mat you can purchase one for $25 from the instructor with advanced notice. Email Isis: sensualshaman (at) gmail (dot) com
What about chastity belts? Leave those at home please.
I have genital and/or nipple piercings. Do I need to remove them for class? Nope, not unless you find they are interfering with your yoga practice but only you can make that call.
Will there be fragrances in class? Please avoid wearing heavy perfumes or synthetic fragrances to yoga. The instructor will sometimes use a therapeutic grade essential oil at the end of class during Savasana for those who desire to be anointed on their forehead and / or shoulders. This is optional.
Where is the yoga class held and what is the space like? A note about Gallery Erato ~ Gallery Erato and the Pan Eros Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 sex positive educational event space and art gallery. The space is beautiful with high ceilings and dark wood floors. There are rotating art installations and gallery exhibits present on a monthly basis that include a vast range of sex positive artistic expression including depictions of nudity, sexual and gender identity expressions, kink and fetish and BDSM. Some of the art pieces may be provocative and / or potentially triggering. This naked yoga class is not a sexualized practice, but rather one that explores the human body as a form of art.
Is this is an event to find a date and/or someone to hook up with? Nope, this is a yoga class and an exploration in svadyaya the yogic principle of self-study. No cruising please.
The instructor reserves the right to ask anyone to leave at anytime for any reason.
Have another question? Email Isis or post it in the comments here 🙂
I found this gem of an article stored in the card board boxes under the stairs in my home in Seattle. It was written by Abigail Ekue who attended one of my first naked yoga classes in New York City.
#NormalizeErections #NothingToWorryAboutAfterTenSunSalutes #AbigailEkue #GoddessInEveryWoman #CityScoops #NakedYoga
NAKEDNESS vs. NUDITY
“The word nakedness comes from the Anglo-Saxon Germanic roots, nudity from the Norman French. As a result, it is possible to tease apart meanings, with some suggesting that if you are nude you are unclothed and knowingly observed, while nakedness refers to the ‘innocent’ state of simply being uncovered. Nudity happens in art, nakedness happens in your bathroom. Nakedness represents the raw, nudity the ideal. The art critic John Berger writes: ‘To be naked is to be oneself. To be nude is to be seen by others and yet not recognized for oneself. A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become nude. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.’ ” ~ A Brief History of Nakedness by Philip Carr-Gomm
Isis of Naked Yoga Alliance interviews Willow, founder of Naked in Motion
Nudist Equity – Why Providing the Option to Wear Bottoms in Naked Yoga for Women and Transfolk is a Political Statement.
I had the delight of interviewing Willow of Naked in Motion, who is currently teaching naked yoga and Pilates classes for all genders in New York City.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I go by Willow. I’m from a small conservative town. I was a dancer and a performer so movement has always been of interest to me. I’ve been teaching Pilates for over two years and have recently added yoga to my teaching repertoire. The conservative environment I grew up in was filled with body negativity and sex negativity. My mission is to change the way people feel about themselves to make the world a more peaceful place. It’s about starting a dialogue between oneself and one’s body through movement. We block these lines of communication through clothes to shield our insecurities and also belief patterns that assert that we’re not enough. This is about opening that channel back up again to find self-compassion.
What inspired you to teach a naked class?
I began co-teaching with a male partner of mine. Now I do it by myself. I never thought I would ever do anything like this, but I’m a very sex-positive and body-positive person. I don’t too offer much of the spiritual side of yoga and I don’t require anyone to be on any specific level. You don’t have to be fit, be thin or even able-bodied. There are all kinds of people and they say how helpful this practice is for them. This is more than yoga. It’s about a personal journey you take with yourself. It challenges messages that the media gives you, challenges fears. This practice takes the journey inward and you have an opportunity to really learn a lot about yourself.
Did you grow up in a body-positive or nudist-friendly household?
I grew up in a household with people struggling with their weight, and there was a lot of body shaming around this issue. It was hard to watch family members be so hard on themselves. I happen to be a skinny, white woman, but it’s almost entirely due to genetics, and I recognize the privilege in this. Because of my upbringing, I have great empathy for those who are struggling with feelings of shame about their weight, and it fuels my passion to create safe spaces where they can learn to love themselves. If you berate your body all the time, it’s not going to cooperate. Our culture has a fat phobia. We are fed so many images of thin, in-shape photoshopped people who are pretty and we think in our minds that that’s the only thing that is attractive and acceptable. In my classes, there are all different body types and we all have rolls and wrinkles. I think a class like this makes one less judgmental of people in one’s everyday life – especially around body size. I have more compassion for people and myself after having taught this class, and I know many of my students feel the same way.
What is your current class schedule?
I teach a weekly class in New York City and will be adding more and I have a monthly women’s and transgender class.
What can someone expect when they show up to your naked yoga class?
I attract people who are comfortable with social nudity and also attract newbies who are scared or nervous. In order to create a safe space, I make it clear to people what is expected of them. You come in and you still wear your clothes. I go over the rules so people know what’s expected of them. I ask for consent before touching a student to make a correction in their posture. Identity within the class is kept confidential. I discuss erections so people know what to do, and also to make them less of a big deal. I inform people that this is not a space for cruising or to pick up a date. Sobriety is a rule. And everyone gets naked as a whole. We begin dressed and then we disrobe together. I do some meditation followed by yoga and some Pilates. The classes are candle lit and are in low lights. The windows are blocked off for privacy.
What is the current demographic that is showing up at naked yoga?
The demographic is heavier on the male side. It can be up to 40% women but tends to rest more in the 25-30% area. More men in general show up to naked events. There are reasons why women are typically more timid about coming to my events and afraid of social nudity. Sexual abuse, objectification and assault are unfortunately a daily reality for many women, so the lower female participation doesn’t surprise me at all. I was a little scared when I first tried it myself and I was the teacher.
Is nudity required in your class?
Full nudity used to be mandatory, however, women emailed about the possibility of wearing bottoms. After a while of teaching it occurred to me that I want more people to experience this practice, not just the people who are privileged enough to feel safe enough. When I offered the possibility that women and trans identifying folks could wear bottoms to class for any reason, the gender ratio became much more balanced. There are some issues that I think should be examined in the nudist community around this. Women have been kicked off of nudist beaches for wearing bottoms when they are on their periods. Cisgender men cannot know what it is like to menstruate. This mandatory nudity rule felt like part of the patriarchy trying to be in control of women’s bodies. Women and trans folk can wear bottoms for any reason. It is required that cisgender men are nude for class.
If nudist communities continue to exclude women on the basis of menstruation, we are never going to get close to a less patriarchal society. I also invite transgender people to use or wear anything that they need to affirm their gender. I’ve got criticism from men about these new rules. I want to explain myself to men and be the source of education about this issue. Everybody wants more women to be present in these classes. When there are more women, people feel safer. It is in everyone’s best interest to have more women present in class. When women take off their tops, they are already participating in nudity. When men take off their tops, they are not. You can see male joggers without tops and it feels normal. If a woman were to be jogging topless, it would not be seen as normal, she would be seen as nude. The bottoms policy gives the message to people after centuries of oppression that I am allowing you to experience this is in the way that makes you feel safe. There is nothing equal about the experience of a man and a woman naked in a space together. Nothing. That doesn’t exist. My bottoms rule is about equity, and it gives a marginalized and oppressed group tools that they need to have a successful experience. Equity in this space gives those marginalized groups more privilege and something to make them feel safer. It doesn’t mean that more people wear bottoms in class. This new rule says, I understand where you are coming from and I support you.
Tell me about a memorable experience of a class that’s touched your heart:
A woman who had recently lost a lot of weight wanted to reward herself by coming to class. At the end of class, she told me that she used to hate her breasts. She thought coming to class would be about celebrating her weight loss, but being forced to look at her breasts for the entire class, she confided in me that maybe there was nothing wrong with them after all and she could grow to love them.
Who do you hope to attract to your classes?
I want to attract the people who want to grow in their compassion or empathy. Everyone has some kind of limitation – physical, mental, emotional. This practice provides an internal dialogue with your body to figure out what’s going on. It’s an opportunity to figure out how to communicate with your body on your journey. I want to attract people who never thought they’d ever come to a social nude event, people who want to challenge themselves and explore the possibility for compassion and empathy.
What are your hopes and dreams for Naked In Motion?
I want this to be a national phenomenon. Pushing all kinds of buttons, converting people who never thought they would do this kind of thing. I want people to learn about themselves. Our motto is “Join the movement” – we’re moving our bodies and we’re also a political movement. Success for me is starting a movement where more people of all genders and all body types are more comfortable and willing to try it out. Success for me is more people ready to take an internal journey, ready to listen to themselves and take care of themselves.
What advice would you give to someone who is curious but also nervous or scared about trying naked yoga?
You are the perfect candidate. If you are nervous, or think you’re too insecure or not something enough for this class, then you are the perfect person to come and experience this class and this practice. This is a place for everybody to explore that fear and self-criticism with kindness. Maybe you’ll feel less alone. We all have limitations and self-criticisms.
Where can people who are interested find out more about your classes?
“DOING yoga naked may not be everyone’s idea of a great way to work out. But for a growing number of men and women across the UK it’s the hot new fitness trend.
And the craze may not be that much of a stretch of the imagination — both yoga and being naked have health benefits, so why not combine the two?
Yoga’s many health-boosting properties are well-documented — from reducing anxiety and stress to easing back pain and improving lung capacity…”
Read the full article HERE
Mention nude yoga to the average person and you’re likely to get a giggle or a squirm, or maybe a joke about downward dog.
Ask Amy Patterson and she might giggle too, or show an interesting pose she discovered on Instagram. But she also gets serious.
Naked yoga, she said, “has absolutely changed my life.”
“Prior to this practice I, like most women, really struggled with a lot of body-image issues and constantly not feeling like my body is good enough, not beautiful enough, not fit enough, not thin enough,” she said. “And I come to this practice and most of those thoughts have pretty much been eradicated from my daily life.”
The 20-year-old Worthington resident started practicing, and teaching, naked yoga this summer. At a recent women’s class that she guided at the Dharma House in Worthington, she encouraged the group to be “acting from a place of gratitude, taking this time to be thankful for your body for all the support that it provides you … thanking yourself for this ability to be real and true and authentic to yourself.”
Read the rest of the article Below
Naked Yoga Alliance Interview with Mike & Tracy
Mike and Tracy, husband and wife yoga practitioners from Northborough, Massachusetts, share their journey through their nude yoga practice and how naturism has brought them closer as a couple.
Q: How has naturism affected your body image and self-esteem?
Mike: Naturism has definitely helped me to accept my body and myself. Of course I would like to change things about my body, but it is my body and I can accept it for the way it is. Naturism has helped me talk more openly about personal subjects that I would not have been comfortable with before then. As child from New England in a traditional Irish Catholic family, we didn’t really express our emotions and were very reserved about our bodies.
Q: How does naked yoga and also naturism effect your relationship?
City where you teach naked yoga:
Matawan, New Jersey and Asbury Park, New Jersey
What inspired you to begin teaching naked yoga?
I have always loved being naked. I have been going to a nude beach for 30 years. I started taking nude yoga classes in New York City in about 2005. When I became a yoga teacher in 2010 it just made sense to start a nude class.
I find that when I am naked, especially when I’m practicing with other naked people, I focus much more on my own practice. I’m much less distracted by others. When I’m teaching naked yoga I find that I pay much more attention to the students’ bodies, their breathing, their alignment, than when they are clothed. I find the clothes are distracting. The opportunity to be naked and to move and breathe is a great motivator to get me to practice, and to attend classes.
What do you see as the unique benefits for teaching naked yoga?
I find that there is an instant bond among the members of the class that takes a long time to develop, if it ever does, in a clothed class.
Tell us an interesting story that occurred in your yoga classes.
About a year after I started a nude men’s class one of the men who had been coming for about a year came to class and told the class that he had attended one of my other, clothed, classes. He said with some delight that it was the first time he had ever done yoga with clothes on. Until then he had only attended my naked class.
What is your advice to a first time naked yoga practitioner who might be experiencing jitters about attending his/her first class?
If you hesitate, you might never do it. Go with the interest that brought you to consider naked yoga and just go. The people there will also be naked, and have had the same jitters you have. They will be completely understanding, and welcoming.