The Bold & Naked Yoga studio in New York, offers yoga classes with students (men and women) who practice completely naked. The practice became famous in the city. Our reporter attended one of these classes and shares her experience
In New York City you can find everything. Even after living here for two years I’m still surprised by how true this is. The latest example? The current trend now is… Naked yoga. This is a step beyond hot yoga, a version in which the movements are done in a sauna with temperature of almost 130°F. But practicing an exercise naked in front of strangers is not for everyone. Marie Claire invited me to try it and here is how it went:
The Bold & Naked Yoga studio is on the fifth floor of a building in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. I confess I was very tense before class. If you search Google images or the term naked yoga, you may be frightened by what will appear. You start imaging how the stranger sitting next to you will be able to see parts of your body that even your boyfriend may not have seen yet.
Upon entering the studio, you are required to follow a set of guidelines. They start simple, by first removing shoes at the door. The instructors – Monika Werner and Joschi Schwarz – were already there waiting for us. Both were super friendly and accommodating to beginners. They greeted everyone and asked if we were nervous. This dialogue is great to chase away the “I’m naked with a lot of people that I don’t know” feeling that immediately arises in your mind before class.
HOW IS IT?
I won’t lie: as soon as I entered the room, I ran and put my yoga mat down in a far corner. It would be too much for my first experience take a seat in the front row, where everyone would have access to my naked derrière. Coincidentally, another Brazilian was in class! He was exactly in the other corner, away from me.
Everyone is instructed to take off their clothes in the yoga room. There I was: between strangers and having to get naked in one minute. I did everything without thinking much and ran for my mat. I was relieved to find the class is done in low light. This greatly helps a rookie like me lose the shame and creates an inviting environment for the practice.
And here we go: Cat’s Pose, Dog, Fish… Triangle Pose, Warrior, Tree … The class follows the Vinyasa style, the most popular type of yoga. Believe me, after it began, all the nervousness disappeared. I think this happened because there is no reason to keep looking at your colleague’s body. Yoga’s concentration leads you to seek your own balance and wellness, so naturally you focus more on yourself.
The teacher tricked me with twists and distorts, which turned the whole class to the opposite side. Suddenly I was in the front row.
You know what? Naked yoga was undoubtedly one of the most liberating experiences of my life. First, because the fact that wearing nothing leaves us much looser to do all positions. And, most importantly, during class you really connect with your own body and realize how clothes are just masks. The few times I looked at my colleagues (as the class in English it is a bit more complicated for me) I could see the diversity of bodies that were there. And this is the beauty of aesthetics, the diversity.
As Professor Monika said in a brief conversation with me before class, naked yoga is a way of feeling comfortable in your own skin and creating more confidence in your body. “It is to know, accept and love yourself,” she said. I know that the conversation is a bit of hippie talk, but do not disregard that. Nowadays it is increasingly difficult to pass unscathed by the standards of beauty, there’s something liberating about showing our body just the way it is. Naked Yoga was, for me, one achievement to feel free.