Are There Really Naked People In Naked Yoga?

| Fitness

Yes. People strip down to their birthday suits and chaturanga their way through the flow. Naked yoga classes are actually conducted in public (bring your own mat, please), and everyone is naked together. There must be a half dozen questions at the tip of your tongue right now, but the biggest question is "why?"

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In order to truly practice yoga, you need to leave everything behind and give into it. Yoga means "spiritual discipline." It was not originally created as a physical exercise despite the popularity of its modern evolution, including trends like Bikram (too hot?). It was based, however, on the "transcendence of the ego," which is achieved by letting go. This means you walk through the doors and become the same as your fellow classmates. Even if you're practicing alone, you can't be bothered with clothes, right? Think about it: stripping down the Lululemon gear, the flashy colors, the strappy backs and booty shorts is definitely an equalizer. Unless you're really into your naked bod (no reason why not!), this process should quiet the ego so you can focus on the inner workings of your mind and spirituality.

>> Read more: Yoga in Every Shape and Size

Erica Leibrandt, a certified yoga instructor, teaches naked yoga and also shared nude photos of herself in yoga poses... with the world. She was published in Elephant Journal explaining her decision and her support to naked yoga. "When yoga becomes a performance, it is no longer yoga..." she wrote. "Yoga is never about what’s happening on the outside... We all want to be beautiful and admired, but it takes a much stronger character to practice in obscurity, with only the reflection of our own thoughts to inform us." (Read her essay here. Warning: nude photos shown)

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Say you sign up for a class. You walk in thinking you're prepared for the nudity, but you might really be bothered by it. There will be vaginas and penises and bare backsides all around you. As much as you're looking at them, they're looking at you. Then class begins. There's no sexual energy. One participant explains it as being "hyperaware" of her body, feeling every drop of sweat everywhere, darting her eyes around the room, but eventually forgetting she was naked. (See more on her experience here)

If you're no yoga rookie, try stripping down in the comfort and privacy of your home. Otherwise, click here to try up to 20 poses perfect for a newbie. Eventually take it off — see if you can let go of the fact that you are naked and actually make it through a flow — spend time just breathing. It's just you, and that's nothing to fear.

Curious about a class? Get familiar with the Bold & Naked Yoga Studio in NYC.