Upon initiating her yoga journey a decade ago, Jessamyn Stanley did not envision becoming a nude practitioner. However, today, she integrates entirely or partially bare yoga postures as a fundamental element of her practice and guidance.
Stanley elaborates, “It’s not solely about being naked. It’s about truly peeling away the layers that hinder my ability to connect with my most authentic self.”
For those unacquainted, Stanley has been at the forefront of advocating body diversity in yoga since the mid-2010s. As a plus-sized African American woman, she confronted the notion that only slender Caucasian women could engage in and instruct yoga, as was customary in the Western hemisphere for the prior 15 years. This ideology continues to underpin her practice, now encompassing nudity as well.
Most mornings, Stanley commences her day by engaging in nude yoga within her personal studio, and she also broadcasts bare classes to patrons on her OnlyFans channel. Nevertheless, this was not always the case. Initially, she donned compression attire to feel “streamlined” and “constricted.” Ultimately, however, she found apparel to be restrictive.
Commencing Nude Yoga at Home
“Over time, I observed that clothing induced discomfort and detachment from my physique,” Stanley remarks. She gradually progressed from a complete yoga ensemble to loose garments, then to undergarments, and ultimately to practicing unclothed.
“Initially, I start off clothed, and eventually, I find them irritating and gradually discard them,” Stanley elucidates. “I don’t categorize myself as a nudist. I don’t constantly desire to be in the nude. It’s more about a specific garment driving me to the brink, consequently necessitating its removal.”
Nevertheless, this transition from practicality has led to a deeper sense of self-acceptance. “Engaging in nude yoga has been pivotal for me in terms of self-acceptance—essentially examining myself and acknowledging the way I’m assembled,” Stanley expresses. “And this self-acceptance facilitates a more profound execution of the postures.”
For instance, abstaining from wearing compressed yoga leggings permits Stanley to manually adjust the positioning of her abdomen and adipose rolls, enabling her to lean or twirl more deeply and completely immerse in the stance.
“In the nude yoga classes, I might give directives like, elevate your gluteal region, shift it to the side, or lift up your skin fold, or whatever the case may be,” Stanley expounds. “Having the capacity to enact these adjustments and genuinely delve deeper into the postures, I feel that it prompts a more profound spiritual awakening.”
Stanley suggests identifying any garments that may cause discomfort and experimenting with discarding them during home practice. Bear in mind, you can commence by removing one piece at a time or, in a warm room, endeavor practicing in the nude to gauge the sensation.
This may initially induce discomfort, such as perspiring without absorbent apparel and heightened awareness of bodily fragrances. Having a towel or quilt for cushioning, utilizing a non-slip mat, and reminding yourself that it’s just you and your physique could prove beneficial.
“There’s an abundance of stigma surrounding the unclothed physique, and existing in an environment where one does not have to experience shame is extraordinarily beautiful,” Stanley remarks regarding her encounter with nude yoga, particularly in the OnlyFans community. “Asserting ownership of your physique, without having to apologize for it, without having to be ashamed of it, and truly getting to understand it—that’s a foundation of empowerment from which you can lead your life, so that every other aspect emanates from this place of independence and self-possession.”
If the notion of nude yoga appears discomforting, Stanley suggests testing a virtual nude yoga session or seeking out in-person unclothed yoga classes. She favors the intimacy and self-exploration entwined with practicing nude yoga in the comfort of one’s home.
“For me, the nude yoga practice is akin to a time of profound mastery,” Stanley states. “Alone at home, you needn’t feel ashamed of the aromas emitted by your physique. You needn’t feel ashamed of your physique’s appearance. You can simply embrace your own energy and develop confidence in the manner in which your physique moves.”
Above all, she urges individuals to approach the experience with a lighthearted, joyful outlook, being prepared to laugh at oneself and acknowledge any sentiments that surface.