Tag Archives: Naked Yoga

Nudist Equity – Why Providing the Option to Wear Bottoms in Naked Yoga for Women and Transfolk is a Political Statement.

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.

nimwildI 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.

nimbluemainWhat 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?

http://www.nakedinmotion.com

“How naked yoga helps improve body image and reduces anxiety”

“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

https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1857705/how-naked-yoga-helps-improve-body-image-and-reduces-anxiety-as-we-reveal-best-poses-for-body-and-mind/

 

“Naked Yoga Fans Shed Body Image Shame as well as Clothes”

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

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/09/13/1-naked-yoga-participants-cite-feeling-empowered-shedding-body-image-shame.html

Mike & Tracy Naked Yoga Interview

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?

SONY DSCMike: 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.

Tracy: I grew up in a traditional family in the Midwest. My mom always ran around the house naked and I didn’t think anything about it; my father was also occasionally naked, walking from room to room. I became more embarrassed about my body when I got into my teen years and by the time I was in college I was wearing ridiculously baggy clothes to cover my body. When Mike introduced me to naturism 18 years ago it opened me to a metamorphosis that can be likened to a chrysalis maturing into a beautiful butterfly. I have now fully spread my wings to fly.
SONY DSCQ: Have you struggled with health or body image in the past? If so, how?
Mike: I have had type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes since I was a child. Growing up, through high school, college and beyond I wanted to be as “normal” as possible. I would often hide my diabetes and the care it requires.  I felt that diabetes was “my” issue and something I needed to keep to myself. I was to some degree fearful of others judgment of my condition. My care regimen requires that I test my blood sugars and give myself insulin injections multiple times a day. I was covert about my self-care so that it would not make others feel uncomfortable. My journey through naturism has brought me to a point where I am more open about my condition. I am open about my insulin infusion set and continuous glucose monitor transmitter, both of which are attached to my body 24/7, during my naturist activities. I can more openly talk about my disease and the care it requires.
SONY DSCTracy: I am petite in stature and at 5’ in height (if I am standing really tall), I do not have a lot of body mass. As my friends developed breasts in middle school, I developed bumps and was very self-conscious. To make matters worse, my father made comments about the size of my breasts on a semi-regular basis. The comments continued for nearly 30 years and subconsciously cast a shadow over my self-image. I did not realize how deeply they affected me until earlier this year when I was able to come to terms with my body and to recognize that I do not need to judge my body nor tolerate the judgment of anyone else. Had I not adopted a naturist lifestyle, I believe I would have carried the burden of self-judgment for the rest of my life.
Q: What inspired you as a couple to begin practicing naked yoga?
Mike & Tracy: We’ve been naturists for many years and we began practicing clothed yoga several years ago. We enjoyed the yoga practice and its benefits. Shortly after we started our practice, we found a naked yoga DVD and began practicing at home. We found that the freedom that naked yoga offered was a complement to our naturist lifestyle.
SONY DSC
Q: How does naked yoga and also naturism effect your relationship?
Mike & Tracy: Naked yoga and naturism are activities that we each enjoy. Sharing those activities with one another has helped us to connect more fully. They have deepened our relationship and given us the comfort of knowing we can truly be ourselves with one another.
Q: What benefits have you found from practicing naked yoga as a couple?
Mike & Tracy: As we drive home from naked yoga, we always ask one and other how our practice was. Sharing our feelings about what we reveled in or struggled with helps us to better understand how we are feeling at that moment and how we can support one another.
SONY DSCQ: What is your favorite yoga pose?
Tracy: Although Michael thinks that savasana is my favorite pose, I love the various twists. I carry stress in my back and neck and appreciate the release those poses offer.
Mike: Bridge pose helps me open my heart and it helps me relieve the tension and stress that I carry on my shoulders.

Naked Yoga Alliance Interviews nude yoga instructor Steven Russell


Steven RusselName: 

Steven Russell

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.

agoalen_yoga_steven-8800How has teaching and practicing naked yoga transformed you and your personal yoga practice? 

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.

 agoalen_yoga_steven-How can people find out more about your class?

http://www.meetup.com/Central-New-Jersey-Yoga-for-Men/

www.becomingsoundyoga.com

http://www.kurstudios.com/

Naked Yoga Alliance Interviews naked yoga teacher Anya from New Jersey.

AnyaName:

Anya Castellano 

City where you teach naked yoga:

Asbury Park, New Jersey

What inspired you to begin teaching naked yoga?

I began practicing Naked Yoga years after I was practicing and teaching clothed yoga. My naked yoga practice began in my home and then I ventured into NYC and took a class. It was completely a different feeling then I ever experienced in a practice with my cloths on. The opportunity arouse for me to share this practice and so it began.

How has teaching and practicing naked yoga transformed you and your personal yoga practice?

Teaching Naked Yoga feels more like sharing. Sharing and exposing others to this practice has opened me up to new places within myself that I never experienced before. My chakras feel more open and balanced and there is more energy moving through me. Practicing Naked yoga like any yoga is a process. In this process, I have become aware of thoughts, beliefs and emotions that are causing blocks.  As I become aware of them I work on releasing them through the practice. In the naked yoga practice, you are in your own energy field without the energy of human made cloth, and that cloth takes on an energy.  In the practice you have the opportunity to experience your own energy, your skin is able to breathe, you feel more expansive and it becomes a more  liberating practice.

 AnyaWhat do you see as the unique benefits for teaching naked yoga? 

Unique benefits for teaching naked yoga include stepping outside of your comfort zone, out of the box and sharing a practice that you believe in.  Teaching naked yoga gives students an opportunity to experience it, without the teachers they would not have this opportunity.

Tell us an interesting story that occurred in your yoga classes.

A common but interesting story is a student coming in to a class both male or female expressing their nervousness. As a teacher, I listen and hold a space for where they are. My intention is to make them feel comfortable and safe. Within the class, the nervousness melts away and they feel comfortable and at ease. Recently, I had a male share with me before class about body image issues, cultural programming that made coming to naked yoga uncomfortable…after class he shared openly with the class about what he released and how much lighter he was feeling. He then went to write an extensive review and share his experiences that can be found on Yelp for Kur studios.

Here is an excerpt:

I had my first taste of absolute freedom and carefree. The first naked yoga class was funny for me and I learned a lot about myself. This was a challenge to get out of my comfort zone.  This was a fight within myself, internal discussion of clothed yoga and undressed yoga. There was too much noise in my head.  This was a fantasy fight to win approval and acceptance of my body image and confrontation of beliefs. I was able to learn that removing clothing is a symbolic way to represent removing social restrictions and wrong beliefs.”

AnyaWhat is your advice to a first time naked yoga practitioner who might be experiencing jitters about attending his/her first class?

If you are a new student and contemplating going to a naked yoga class it is completely natural to experience jitters… I did. My advice is to go with an open mind and focus on one breath at a time. Be in your own space and witness your thoughts with a non judgmental attitude, observe how your body is feeling. With this you may have an experience of opening up and experiencing something within that you have never experienced before.

 How can people find out more about your class? You can either visit

www.kurstudios.com Or www.anyacastellano.com