- When you walk into a naked yoga class, it’s hard not to think about that iconic “Seinfeld” episode. You know the one: the good naked and bad naked episode.
“The thing you don’t realize is that there’s good naked and bad naked,” Jerry tells George when describing a new girlfriend who walks around his apartment in the buff. “Naked hair brushing — good. Naked crouching — bad.”
With all the twisting and bending and reaching and breathing that comes with a traditional yoga class, one might come to the conclusion, “Naked yoga — bad.” But don’t be too quick to judge.
“I’ve had people come up to me even after one class and tell me how amazing it felt just having permission to be comfortable in their own skin with no judgment,” says Megan Leigh of Megan Leigh Yoga, who has been teaching a weekly naked yoga class in Tempe for four years.
Proponents say naked yoga offers practitioners a unique opportunity to experience the act of existing and practicing yoga without the facade, literally removing all masks and protective barriers to approach your individual yoga practice as yourself, unencumbered. Practitioners say this act of vulnerability also helps set the stage emotionally for some great healing and personal growth. But what happens if you fear entering a different “Seinfeld” episode? “Shrinkage.”
“Naked yoga really benefits people who don’t have a lot of self-confidence issues or have body-image issues,” Megan Leigh says. “It helps you feel more comfortable in your own skin.”
When most people hear about naked yoga, the thought usually evokes nervousness at the thought of attending a yoga class without clothing and being so vulnerable in front of strangers. The beauty of naked yoga is that it attracts all body types — tall, short, fat, skinny, young, old — and all genders who are united in one single goal — to focus solely on themselves and go deep within to become more comfortable with themselves and with their yoga practice. Those in the class stay focused on themselves, eyes closed, concentrating on the moment and on the pose.
“I teach an all-levels class,” says Megan Leigh. “Those who have practiced yoga for a while benefit from the class and beginners benefit, too. It’s accessible to all ages, all body types and all levels of flexibility and experience.”
And what about those “bad naked” concerns?
“We practice in single-file lines so you don’t have to worry about people being behind you or in front of you,” Megan Leigh says. “And if you want to try a class but don’t know if you’re ready to get naked, the class is clothing-optional, so you dress or undress to your comfort level.”
Megan Leigh’s naked yoga mantra says it all: “Love the skin you’re in.”