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Why you should try Naked Yoga for Women

Naked yoga for women – what is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear that? Hold that thought and write it down. When you have read this text to the end, think again. What do you think now? Did something change? Share these two thoughts in the comments or send me an email to: hello@simplyme-ines.com. 

How I heard about naked yoga.

I first came across naked yoga in 2018. My friend Danielle told me about it. She herself practices and teaches naked yoga in Berlin. Before moving to the German capital in 2017, she lived in San Francisco where she started teaching naked yoga classes for women in 2015. Since our conversation, the thought of taking part in such a class has not let me go. Last week, on 27 June 2019, the new season started and I took this opportunity to unpack all my courage, overcome my shyness and give naked yoga a chance. You will soon find out what that was like for me in a new blog post.

Danielle and I met in 2017 when I found my way to her yoga class. I liked her immediately. Her calm and pleasant way of teaching and approaching people. I visited her class regularly and we got more and more into conversation and decided to meet outside the studio. At some point last year she told me about her naked yoga classes. My curiosity was aroused. The only thing that got me down was that you have to be naked, complete. Playing with open cards, without the possibility to hide anything. I have to admit, that scared me a bit.

What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?” -Michelangelo

The thing about body issues.

Like so many of us – male and female – I have days when I like my body and am grateful. Likewise, there are days when I find that difficult. Days when I feel uncomfortable, doubt and sometimes have no positive thoughts for myself. On such days I find it hard to imagine exposing myself to a group of strange women. The thought alone causes a nervous tingling in me. It takes a lot of courage and is certainly not something for everyone. Nevertheless, I wanted to try it. 

There are many opinions and prejudices about naked yoga. I would like to try to go into the class as unbiased as possible and see for myself whether this kind of yoga practice is something for me or not and what I can take with me out of it.

Meet Danielle.

Before I share my own experience of my very first naked yoga class with you, I would like you to meet Danielle. In the following interview we talk about different aspects of naked yoga and how Danielle came to teach naked yoga. Have fun reading! 

Danielle Barnett, yoga teacher & free spirit

Ines: Danielle, which three qualities do you like best on yourself?

Danielle: I love my sense for adventures and my curiosity for the new. I love how words flow out of my heart and I love the ability the adapt to new people and situations.

Ines: What is your intention behind your naked yoga classes and why did you start teaching naked yoga in the first place?

Danielle: Check out my blog post “why naked yoga“. Short answer: I want to hold space for women/people to accept their bodies, to witness other bodies & realize we are all not SO different, & every single person has curves! I realized Naked Yoga for Women needed to happen, when I saw Naked Yoga for Men listed at a yoga studio in San Francisco in 2012.

Ines: Where does naked yoga come from and do you think it is something for everybody?

Danielle: Check out the blog post again for ‘where naked yoga comes from’. Is it for everybody? Absolutely not. Some people are ready for it. Some are not. Some people are jumping at the chance to get naked anywhere they are allowed, some show up to naked yoga nervous & a bit hesitant. The Naked Yoga class I offer is for people who are ready to be vulnerable, ready to do something a bit differently, ready to push their own edges and learn something new about themselves. Naked Yoga is for the brave, yes. But one can still be brave even if they do not want to come to Naked Yoga.    I have had women from ages 18-68 in these Naked Yoga classes, all levels of fitness, all different backgrounds, THAT is not the difference. Naked Yoga is simply for those who choose to show up to this space with curiosity & an open heart.

Ines: You also teach regular yoga. Where do you see the difference between naked yoga and yoga with clothes?

Danielle: Everything & Nothing. In Naked Yoga there is simply more charge & excitement in the space, it turns into a deeper experience naturally, because we are doing something vulnerable and being witnessed in it. We still flow, we still do warrior 1, 2, and trikonasana, we meditate and find savasana. I think naked yoga stimulates and moves things in the spirit more quickly than a typical yoga course.  It’s simply a different set of sensations in body mind, heart, and body.

Ines: Did you always have a natural relationship with nudity?

Danielle: Not particularly. I grew up in sunny California where it was typical to spend many days in a bikini by the water. I remember being horrified when I accidentally saw my step dad naked, and being embarrassed when my Mom didn’t wear a bra.  It was when I moved to SF at 20 years old that my approach to nudity changed.  Naked protests, naked beaches, naked hot springs, and of course festivals like Burning Man.  I quickly realized how much I loved to free my body, I loved to shock people on the streets during Naked Bike rides throughout the city, and I was moved to tears once I saw naked bodies at a hot spring north of San Francisco. Here was the first time I saw naked people in a truly healing environment, completely free of a sexual atmosphere. I was completely moved and connected to a deeper sense of love and gratitude for my own body exactly as it was, as well as the bodies of the people around me.

Ines: How would you respond to the statement that naked yoga is only a media trend to attract attention? In general, how do respond when confronted with prejudice to naked yoga?

Danielle: It’s ok if people do not like or approve of what I do. I understand this class is not for everyone, & if it’s not for you, you don’t NEED to be there. I believe full-heartedly in this class and this offering, that it is positive, well-intentioned, and a healing experience for all who join. And that keeps me calm and strong even when I hear prejudices about this class.

“Naked yoga is simply a different set of sensations in body mind, heart, and body.” – Danielle

Ines: Why is it that so many women have difficulties with their bodies, to accept and even like themselves?

Danielle: So many reasons. Overall of course, it’s the society and the culture that we have all grown up with. It’s media, it’s fashion, it’s porn, and it’s food.  It is clear that currently the entire food system is shifting, and it seems like more people are realizing that eating more fruits and vegetables really DO make them feel better. Or am I just living in a bubble? Myself and I imagine many of us grew up, or are still living in a world where eating processed, packaged food is the norm, and vegetables just don’t taste good. Umm, anyone that eats chips every day is going to feel bad. It’s hard to feel good about yourself if you are not actually taking care of yourself. This means eating foods that make you feel good, moving your body, being creative, doing things that feel goods for the body AND the soul. I think when people start to live in alignment with what TRULY feels good to them, they will automatically start to feel better about themselves and better in their skin.
And, DANKBARKEIT. When any person sinks into the miraculous gift it is to have a functioning body, regardless of what it looks like, then I think it will be much harder to hate our bodies for their size. Big arms that give amazing hugs, thick thighs that carry my body through each and every day, pimply skin that no, it’s not perfect, but I am alive. Finding the medicine in the challenging days, moments, and thoughts. What is there to learn from our self-judgement? Would you judge your body so much if you were missing a leg or an eye? I think gratitude is the answer to self-love and acceptance.

Ines: What is your advice to women who are afraid of taking a naked yoga class but would like to try it?

Danielle: If you think that class sounds interesting, then please, JUST COME. Isn’t there a saying, we should do one thing every day that scares us? Doing something that pushes our boundaries and our own ideas of who we are and what we do is an AMAZING way to find out even deeper who we are. Perhaps also asking the questions, WHY am I so nervous to try this class? This could be an amazing learning experience to get to know your own fears and self-judgements.

Ines: What was the nicest feedback you received after a naked yoga class?

Danielle: People not wanting to put their clothes back on, women connecting and making new friends; long hugs, laughter, and new connections.

Ines: Which three things in your life are you most grateful for?

Danielle: Community, my friends and family. My health. Nature, the ocean, trees, children, and animals. Laughter, good music. Ahh… there’s just too much.

Ines: What is your wish for today’s women?

Danielle: BIG QUESTION. Thank You. For women around the entire planet, I wish for safety in their bodies, in their skin; free from harm and violence in every form. I wish for them to be connected to & supported by community, family, friends, and a tribe of sisters. I wish for every woman a conscious connection to her femininity/her body, a conscious connection to her menstrual & fertility cycle, her sexuality, her health, her heart, and her mind. I wish for freedom, peace, and strength for every woman, every person, on this planet. We know our power, our beauty, and our strength, and we use THIS to create the world we dream of.

Ines: In addition to naked yoga, you also teach regular courses at studios in Berlin or teach at festivals. How can we find you, get in touch or get all information about your schedule?

Danielle: Check out my website “breath love flow“.  

Many thanks dear Danielle for this sincere and wonderful interview. I hope that you will reach many more women with your message. 

To me you are an inspiring woman and friend and I am curious to see what great projects you will realize. I wish you to keep your motivation, your heart, your belief in an equal world and to carry your positive energy out into the world.

How my first time with naked yoga was and whether I now practice regularly without clothes, you will learn in my very personal soon coming blog post. Be curious!  

Leave me a comment on how you liked this interview.  

With love & Namasté
Ines

Photos © Danielle Barnett and Unsplash

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