Yep, that’s right, I said naked yoga. No clothes and no inhibitions.
Now some of you may recoil in terror at the thought of it, while others already have their yoga mats at the ready. Whatever your reaction, just know: it’s completely normal!
Having struggled with my body image for most of my life, as I’m sure the majority of us have, I’ve come to find naked yoga an empowering and self affirming practice. It all began with practicing alone, without clothes, in my living room – no restricting sports bra, no tight leggings, no t-shirt falling up around my ears in downward facing dog. It was freeing, fun and just plain comfortable! I do have to admit at this point that, while I am a qualified yoga teacher, it never dawned on me that I would actually come to teach nude classes.
After some months, I decided I wanted to take it a step further and I began to search for naked classes in my home town, Dublin. I wanted to practice with others. To show (or at least pretend) that I wasn’t afraid of my body, that I am comfortable with who I am and proud of what my body can do, despite its lumps and bumps and curves. To my disappointment I found none. I let go of the dream for the time being and my practice continued as normal- teaching clothed classes to my students, attending clothed classes in studios but practicing naked at home.
It was only a few months later, when I mentioned my search for bare-skinned classes in passing to a few friends and got an incredibly (and I must admit, unexpectedly) positive response, that the pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. Yes, I had been teaching for a few years but was I ready to lead a totally naked class? I put on my brave face and decided yes, I was!
I took the leap, put out the feelers and quickly came up with a wonderful space in the Fringe Lab who had a supportive and helpful team ready to accommodate the project. I set up the event on Facebook and, thanks to promotion on my Yoga with Ishtar page and from both the venue and the Irish Naturist Association, there were seven people in my first class, nine in my second and every class since has been booked to capacity (11) with a waiting list for each one.
So why do people come and keep coming back?
It’s simple really. Aside from the countless amazing benefits yoga brings to your mind and body anyway, practicing naked is liberating, empowering and relaxing. Yes, everyone’s naturally a little nervous to start (myself included) but the pre-class jitters soon melt away as you hone in on your own practice, your own mat, your own body and move through gentle breathing exercises, postures and meditation.
We practice in a circle so nobody is stuck behind or in front of some one else, the classes are kept to a manageable size so everyone has their own personal space and every session is suitable for beginners so anyone can take part.
I’ve truly fallen in love with the naked practice and it seems my students have too. With each other we create a safe, comfortable and non-judgmental space where people of all shapes, sizes, genders, fitness levels and ages can come together to accept and love their bodies for the beautiful, incredible tools that they are.