Somehow it seems like naked yoga or naked pilates are becoming a bit of a habit when we visit major cities in the world. Our most impressive naked workout and probably also the one we will remember for the rest of our lives is still our Naked in Motion class on the eleventh floor of a building in downtown Manhattan. A nude yoga class while you’re watching the sun setting over the New York skyline… It’s something you don’t forget that easily.
Recently we found ourselves dropping our pants again for a naked yoga class in another one of the word’s most impressive cities: Buenos Aires. Color Natural is a local organisation which organises naked yoga, dance and body expression classes in artistic and body positive environments spread around the city.
What we were interested in most was who the other participants would be and whether there would be a difference in practice in this part of the world.
Is naked yoga the new naturist trend?
The first time we participated in a naked pilates class was a year and a half ago at the Vassaliki resort in Greece. Although we were already naturists for about eight years or so, we had never heard about these kinds of naked workouts until that moment. Of course this session was for the hotel guests only who were all naturists or at least prefer to spend most of their vacation naked. For them, and ourselves, this naked pilates session was yet another fun activity that could be done in the nude.
Several months later when we asked our fellow American participants after the New York class about their naturist lifestyle we were surprised how only about half of them considered themselves naturists or nudists and didn’t participate in any other naked activities. Let alone that they visited nude beaches or nudist resorts.
Also our yoga instructor who had been giving these classes for quite some time did not consider herself a naturist. Yet there she was naked in front of a class of naked participants showing the next move. This made us wonder: It’s social nudity, it’s non-sexual and although several of the participants were naturists, the others did not seem to make the link. Is this a side movement of naturism?
Why naked yoga?
Of course we shouldn’t deny that the wellness industry has been booming the last years. When we were kids, yoga was considered to be for hippies and old people (take a minute to consider this sentence) and now almost everyone seems to be doing it. It seems like we’ve become a “wellness generation” and hundreds of different types of yoga are popping up. Other than several Indian variations there are the weirdest kinds like Beer Yoga (especially popular among men), Aerial Yoga (better not drink too much beer before doing that), Goat Yoga (makes you think you already had enough beer) or Broga (yoga for bros, could be the same as beer yoga).
It didn’t take long before someone had the idea to start doing yoga without clothes.
Does this mean that naked yoga is just a hype? We don’t believe so, it certainly does have some advantages.
We have to admit that we weren’t so sure about naked yoga in the beginning. While the naturist etiquette dictates that it’s polite to leave other naturists some space and that we should be careful not to put ourselves in too exposing positions, during a yoga session the participants are pretty much right in front, behind or next to each other. And we probably don’t have to tell you that some of the yoga poses do require some exposure. During the naked pilates class at Vassaliki we were set at ease when they told us that the most exposing poses would be taken out of the session. In New York on the other hand we were quite surprised when suddenly it was yoga “all the way”. In Buenos Aires, where the naked yoga class was also organised by a yoga group instead of a naturist resort this wasn’t any different.
We believe that here lays the difference between naturism as we have always known it and the naked yoga movement. If you are a naturist because you enjoy the social nudity, because you like the tan or the great atmosphere at a naturist club, you probably don’t feel the need for such intense nudity. If you feel like naturism is improving your body confidence, naked yoga might well be the perfect step to complete body freedom. Naked yoga is a huge leap out of your comfort zone because there’s literally no hiding at all. And we’ve learned from naturism that these steps away from comfort are exactly what’s helping us overcoming our doubts and fears. In this respect, it’s also understandable that some participants of naked yoga classes don’t feel the need to explore any of the other aspects of naturism. Their goal is to gain body confidence or they just enjoy the comfort of not being restricted by clothes while exercising.
Who does naked yoga?
Until recently, yoga has mostly been a female thing. The new yoga trends have been attracting more men (especially broga and beer yoga probably) but still we were pretty surprised when we saw the other participants at the classes in New York and Buenos Aires. The large majority in both cases were men.
While women in general are still more attracted to yoga and pilates than men, how come that they seem less attracted to naked yoga?
Interestingly, naked yoga classes that are uniquely female do seem to be much more popular than mixed ones. Is there still a battle of the sexes going on? Is it possible that men care less about exposing themselves to women than the other way around? Do we dare to ask if this might have a slightly sexual background and that some women are afraid that they will arouse their surrounding male companions? Or has this just grown with time and were most of the first naked yogi men who made it more difficult for the first women to join the group?
Honestly, we can only guess.
At Naked in Motion they try to tackle this problem in two different ways. One is that women are still allowed to wear bottoms in the mixed classes. The other way is by organising special women and trans only sessions so participants can become comfortable with the principles of naked yoga among their own gender before participating in mixed classes.
Is naked yoga something for you?
Improved body confidence is certainly one of the major reasons why people take naked yoga classes. If you’re still struggling with your body, we would advise you to give it a try. Comfort will probably also get a high place. Although we heard that some men found that things can get in the way from time to time, a large majority seems to feel like there’s no better suit for a workout than no suit at all. Not only are you not restricted by any fabric, you can also watch your muscles move which are otherwise covered.
For us, it’s mostly a fun exercise. It doesn’t matter how you look or how good you are at yoga, during the nude yoga classes we’ve noticed little to no competition. Everyone tries to be their very best but nobody wants to be better than the others. And that, is again a characteristic of naturism in general.
Naked yoga is certainly conquering the world and if you like to try a class we can recommend Naked in Motion in New York and Color Natural in Buenos aires. But you’ll certainly find classes closer to you like in Paris, London, Sydney or wherever you live.
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