Post image for Why I Went To Coed Naked Yoga Class

Why I Went To Coed Naked Yoga Class

by jenny sansouci on April 27, 2014

Hey guys. Here we go.

This week I went to a naked yoga class. I’m here to tell you everything you want to know about it.

The reason I went? Well, for one, all my favorite lululemon clothes got lost when my baggage went missing on the way back from Nicaragua. So I don’t have any yoga clothes, and now this is the only place I can go where they will accept me.

Ok, that’s not the reason, even though it’s true. Truthfully, I went so I could make a video. No, you little pervs, not to videotape naked people. To just gain the ability to make a video in general. Any video.

Let me explain my logic.

I am so incredibly uncomfortable when there’s a camera on me. I’ve never made a video with myself in it before, and I always say “no” to video collaborations/interviews because they make me feel so awkward and weird and self-conscious. I feel like I can’t relax or be normal in a video. I don’t even really like doing phone interviews because I feel so put on the spot. This is why I’m a writer. :) I can stay in my little comfort zone of researching, editing, and pressing “publish” when I feel like it’s perfect, and not be exposed or vulnerable in a way that isn’t controlled.

But comfort zones are so 2013.

I decided that one of my challenges for my 2014 Comfort Zone Crusade was going to be to make a video. Any kind of video, with me talking into the camera. YIKES! Literally…terrifying to me.

During my fitness challenge, my friend Jamie emailed me a link to an article about naked yoga in NYC. I think she meant for it to be a joke, but for some reason I felt compelled to look into it more.

Here’s the thing. I’m a Virgo – if you know anything about astrology, you know that Virgos aren’t exactly known for being naked and uninhibited. I’m totally not a “naked person.” Meaning, I don’t walk around my apartment naked, I’m not one of those people who gets naked in front of my friends when I’m changing, I don’t like to stand around naked in locker rooms…I’m just generally not naked a lot. So naked yoga? In front of other people!? Including men? COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone.

But for some reason I had this little feeling. This feeling kept me up at night – no joke. I was lying in bed one night and I couldn’t fall asleep because this naked yoga thing was on my mind. Why does this keep coming into my head? What’s the deal? Then a thought presented itself – very clearly. Can’t explain it.

If you can go to a naked yoga class, you can make a video.

Yes. That was it. It just made complete sense to me. Doing yoga naked in front of 20 other people sounded like the most exposed and vulnerable scenario imaginable. (The only thing more vulnerable to me is probably expressing my feelings to a guy I like and not knowing how he’s gonna respond – but let’s be real here, at this point I could probably do that in my sleep…as my friends say, “you love doing that”). Haha.

Anyway, If I could be THAT exposed and vulnerable, I could definitely get in front of a video camera and speak. Right?

I’m telling you, my brain works in weird ways but I decided naked yoga was the ONLY answer and the only way to further my career as a blogger. At that point it seemed dire and urgent. It wasn’t even a question. I needed to go to naked yoga ASAP.

It took me over a month from when I found out about naked yoga to actually go to a class. Then, last week, I got an email from the studio saying they were holding a special Earth Day candlelight naked yoga class. I had no plans that night. I registered right away without letting myself think too much about it. I was going.

I was so nervous for the hour before the class so I drank a huge coffee (made sense to me at the time, although it actually made my nervousness much worse). I walked over to the door of the studio (in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan) and I saw a guy going in with a yoga mat. I freaked out, knowing that that guy and I would be naked together in a room in about 15 minutes. It suddenly became real for me. I almost ran into the subway and booked it back to Brooklyn to hide in my safe apartment where all the clothes are. I couldn’t bear being in the elevator with that guy and having to make pre-nakedness small talk, so I waited until he was out of sight and I reluctantly walked in.

I got to the studio door and peeked inside. Yep. Just as I suspected. There were naked people in there. Some of them were standing there having conversations or giving each other a high five to say hello.  OMG. “Just pretend you’re comfortable. Like you’re a regular here,” I thought to myself.

I filled out the paperwork and one of the owners showed me the cubby holes in the main lobby area to put my clothes in. People were getting undressed right there in the lobby and going into the studio and sitting down naked on their mats. Everyone seemed all comfortable with it. But who knows what’s really going on inside their heads, I guess.

Deep breaths.

The absolute hardest part of the entire experience was getting undressed. I just about had a panic attack doing it. I’ve never taken my clothes off so slowly before in my life. They had given me a little white towel (like a hand towel) and I sort of tried to cover myself with it but then I laughed out loud, because it was so tiny, and what’s the point?

Once I took a hundred years to take off my clothes and I somehow walked in there, I put my mat down as quickly as possible in the very back corner and sat down. I figured in the back corner, at least there would be only 1-2 people who would be practicing close to me, rather than being in the middle of the room. The room was dark and candlelit. It was pretty serene. Everyone was sitting quietly. I could basically just see everyone’s naked backs.

After a few minutes of feeling INSANELY AWKWARD, I realized that even though I felt really self-conscious and weird…EVERYONE WAS NAKED. The whole room. Not just me (God, that would be so weird if it was just me).

There were about 20 people in the class. More guys than girls. Probably 12 guys, 8 girls. There were 2 teachers, one male, one female (both naked).

We went around the room and everyone had to say how they felt being naked. I know, I know. Peeps were like “I feel free,” “I feel liberated,” etc. I said “I feel really weird.” The teacher was like “Thank you! Someone finally said it. But you know what’s even weirder? Not being naked.” Haha! Ok.

Anyway, the class started and for the first 20 mins or so I felt totally insane. I was hyper aware of my body, every part of it, every movement. Even though there were naked people practicing all around me, the only body I was really seeing up close was my own. Aside from my own body all I could really notice was a sea of butts. So yes, I saw all kinds of body parts, but it was a yoga class and everyone was practicing. People weren’t like…inspecting each other.

The class was a pretty typical vinyasa class, kinda rigorous but not super challenging. People were sweating a little. We did all the poses you would expect in a yoga class — and we even did inversions (shoulder stand – which was actually kinda awesome). About halfway through the class, I suddenly realized that the nakedness wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. Once you get past the initial shock of being naked it was kinda…fine.

Oh, yeah, the teachers adjusted us during class. Hands-on adjustments. So trippy.

By the end, laying in savasana in the candlelight, with beautiful music playing, I was like…wow – this actually feels AWESOME. Really. Judge all you want but honestly it was cool – I was smiling. I felt much, much more comfortable by the end and I kinda didn’t even want to get dressed. So weird right?

So all in all, the 2 hardest parts of the class were: 1) taking my clothes off and 2) putting them back on.

So I pretty much demolished my comfort zone at naked yoga. Will I go again? Maybe. If you ever go and you see me there, just put your mat down on the opposite side of the room so it’s not weird between us. And don’t start a conversation with me while we’re naked because that’s also really awkward. Cool?

Overall it was a crazy life experience and I’m glad I had it. And now I can start making videos. So that’s nice. :)

(I’m weird).

So there’s the story. If you have any questions, let’s hear ’em. What do I have to lose at this point? I’m kind of an open book with you guys.

Here’s the video. The lighting is awful and the sound doesn’t really match up with the video because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I MADE A VIDEO, OK? This is a milestone. Let’s look back and laugh at this someday. 

Why I Went To Naked Yoga from Jenny Sansouci on Vimeo.
 

“I am nuts for real, but I’m ok with that.” -Eminem

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Joline April 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Yea! Good for you and great job. I can’t wait to see more videos from you. I’ve been following you for quite some time now. In fact, you were my IIN Ambassador. I signed up through you. So, thank you for all you do for us and thank you for sharing all that you do!

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Thanks!! And that’s awesome that you enrolled at IIN through me, congrats. Rock on and thanks for reading. :)

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Andrea Balt April 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Jenny, you’re awesome. This made me laugh out loud. “comfort zones are so 2013” – LOL & true.

I wanted to thank you for being in my head. I’ve been talking the video subject with at least 4 different unrelated people in the past couple weeks (it just came up as an inevitable must-do for both – fun & biz) and funny enough, I’ve been wondering about naked yoga as well and if I could everrrrrr… So thanks for putting the two together. Is this the sign I was waiting for?!

You’re lovely in the video. Now you that you crossed that line, you can’t stop. 😉

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Ahhh, my girl crush commenting on my blog, I thought this day couldn’t get any better. Can’t wait to see what kind of brilliant videos you come up with. Plus, K and I have been scheming about the 3 of us doing some type of power-trio project. Lots of fun stuff to come, I think. :)

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Clea April 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Omg this is great! It had me laughing out loud! Thanks for sharing :-)

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Good! Making people laugh is a total win. Thank you. :)

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Lauren April 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Loved reading your story! I would definitely feel “weird” too. I went to UVM in Vermont…and at the end of the semester, they had a naked bike ride/run. Hundreds of students would run around the quad bare naked…I never was interested, mainly because it was always cold (they did it in the snowy winter too!).

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Haha! I heard about naked bike rides when I was in Boulder. So funny! I bet it would be an adrenaline rush to do in the winter. Crazy peeps.

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Maria April 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Jenny this is awesome!! I was wondering when you were going to start making videos. I”m a virgo too so i can totally relate to you. I have been avoiding two things, public speaking and making videos lol . I can’t even express into words how much those two things scare me. Giving a speech and making a video have been on my mind for some time now. This must be a sign I need to do this. Thank you so much for putting your work out there and inspiring myself to step my game up 😉

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Virgo power! I totally understand what you’re saying. Keep inching forward and experimenting. :) Excited for you!

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Todd Wheeler April 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm

If you weren’t so damn cute it might be embarrassing.

The weirdness and uncomfortableness comes from your head. When you dropped into your body (2nd and 3rd chakra) in class you saw how much easier it was (is). Love ya Jenny. Great job.

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Oh, Todd!!! Thank you. :) You’re totally right. Huge hugs.

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Jaime April 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm

You’re adorable! Good for you for putting yourself out there…that’s so admirable! I could never do it…I never use my Facebook & I have hard time posting pictures of myself on instagram. haha.
LOVE! Keep it up…looking forward to more videos from you! :)

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Feeling “exposed” is tough. But rewarding, I think.

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denese bottrell April 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm

ok, you are awesome. i’ve always wanted to sing but am terrified to sing in front of anyone + truly can’t sing. so………i enrolled in a community college Voice for beginners class. the mid-term is to sing a classical, opera-ish song in front of the class (about 20 people). the final is to sing a song of your choice in front of the class. what in the world. talk about scary. especially when the class is supposed to be for beginners but everyone in there CAN sing. somehow i made it through the mid-term. it was kinda painful… to be honest i cried in my car after class. but you know what they say, “you gotta show up and suck before you can show up and shine.” here’s to stepping outside comfort zones…. and more videos. you’re right, you will look back on this first one someday when you are a big TV star and smile. know that you rock, and are appreciated for all you do, right now.

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jenny sansouci April 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Ahhhh, thank you!! That singing midterm sounds incredible!!! My friend did a hip-hop dancing midterm that sounds similar to that and he is my hero. And now you are my hero too. Especially for the crying in the car part. How many times I’ve cried in my car I can’t even count. You rule.

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Valerie April 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Your story was awesome. Your video is adorable. I cannot love this blog or you anymore than I do right this second. Sorry if this sounds creepy but I can’t help it! Mad props to you!

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jenny sansouci April 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Waaaa! THANK YOU. My heart just fluttered.

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Michelle April 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm

OMG!! Ive been telling my boyfriend for weeks Im going to try naked yoga. He always says “You better not.” Last week when I told him again I wanted to try it (Kinda wanting his blessing) he said “You don’t have the balls to do that.” So now its so on!! Im going to bite the bullet and try it!

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jenny sansouci April 28, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Awesome!! Let me know how it goes. :)

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Amanda April 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I love this article! Exposing yourself is scary and you took it to the next level. Thanks for sharing this experience, it’s very inspiring :-)

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Thank you! xx

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macha April 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm

love it Jenny!!!!!! I have felt the same way as you!!!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Love you macha!

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Jennifer April 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm

This is AWESOME. This will be on a bucket list now, thanks for the inspiration!!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

nice!! good luck.

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Nora Walsh April 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

Way to go girl! Naked yoga + video. Big stuff happening in 2014! You are so cute. I loved your video. It was nice to see you! Keep on rockin’ girl!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Thanks Nora!! xo

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Ben David April 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Jenny,

Great for you!

Now that you have done naked yoga + a video, would you consider making a naked video?

Thanks!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:22 pm

….

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Jill May 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I’ve been following you for a while too and always wondered why you never posted videos or why I couldn’t find any when I googled you (creepy?). I saw the video you created for IIN about starting your website & business and I remember it basically being one of the tipping points that made me finally enroll :)
Good to hear what your voice finally sounds like; isnt it weird always reading someone’s words and then you finally HEAR them? I think you did a great job, keep it up!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Haha! Aw – awesome. Thanks, Jill!! Good luck on your IIN journey. :)

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Sarah May 1, 2014 at 6:12 pm

You are awesome! I love your logic- my brain works in a very similar way and I’m totally okay with the fact that I’m half bat shit in my thought process. The video was super sweet and you are just too beautiful and courageous for words – congratulations on such a huge milestone! Xo – Sarah

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Thank you so much, Sarah. :) Really appreciate that.

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Kim May 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Love it! Love you! I think you are hilarious and the most entertaining health expert that I follow! Thank you for keeping it fun!

I too have yet to do a video. As a health coach, I know I need to do them, but I have resisted. Seeing your video has inspired me!

Thanks!

:-)

Kim

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

“Expert”! That’s hilarious! And thank you so much, Kim. :) You’ll do it…everything will happen at the right time! xo

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Jennifer Forchelli May 1, 2014 at 6:46 pm

LOVE THIS! You are awesome on camera, definitely do it more!
And I love that you mentioned the Virgo. Your Virgo energy is definitely the voice making you shy and nervous :-)

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Thanks, Jennifer!! OOH – I just checked out your site…eeee! Gonna read through it. I love astrology.

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Figz May 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

I love you. You did great, J.

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:26 pm

I love you my sister.

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Trish May 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

You are INSPIRATIONAL, dear Jenny. I hope you are very proud of yourself because you truly NEED to be! Both of these new experiences – naked yoga & a personal video! – are VERY difficult. You rock. Plain and simple. Keep up the awesomeness of being YOU because you’re inspiring to so many of us. Namaste and peace to you. ~Trish

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:26 pm

THANK YOU Trish!! Namaste to you. :)

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Lori Delaine May 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

The camera loves you, Jenny. What a nice surprise to finally get to hear your voice!

I began IIN in March after connecting with you. At that point, I’d already spent nine months thinking about it. Thanks for your encouragement and for making us smile!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:26 pm

You’re awesome, Lori! Glad you enrolled at IIN, what a freaking awesome experience. Thank you.

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Danielle May 1, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Way to go!

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 8:27 pm

:) !

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gabrielle May 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm

omg i love the video!!! goooo jdog!

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm

love you g. <3 thank you!!! #miraclesnow

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Kelly May 2, 2014 at 12:07 am

Good on you Jenny! And p.s you are beautiful and look great in your video so I look forward to more of them. I really enjoy your blog. I am currently studying at IN so I am really looking forward to working through some of my “stuff” so I can influence the world as much as you do….
I spontaneously did a naked photo shoot with my ex-husband once, we went for potraits and the photographer commented on how interesting all out tattoos were and whether we had ever had a naked shoot? We said no and he asked if we were keen as he would love to make black & white arty pics, I just said yes and I can relate to you in that taking off the clothes was terrifying, I was shaking but once we got into the shoot which was really beautiful and tasteful it was ok..I forgot I was naked and we had a lot of fun. Afterwards I said to my ex-husband….”man if I can do that, I can do anything” it was really liberating!
Cheers

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Kelly, that is so awesome! My friend David did a naked photo shoot, which is what inspired me to do this whole comfort zone crusade thing in the first place. I don’t know if I’d ever do a naked photo shoot!! With yoga, at least I don’t have photo documentation of it. 😉

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Patricia May 2, 2014 at 2:41 am

Just wait, 1 video under your belt, many more to come :) xo

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I hope so!!!

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Robin May 2, 2014 at 9:10 am

Wow — you are an inspiration. Love that you did naked yoga. And love your idea about doing something more scary than the scary thing you need to do. Totally makes sense. Your video was great! Thanks for sharing your story. Love your comfort zone quote, too.

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Thank you, Robin!! Thanks for reading.

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Leah Slagenwhite May 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm

WOW! The fact that you are open enough to do a nakey yoga class is awesome! I also had a difficult time putting my first video out there, as I, too, feel most comfortable writing. You are so beautiful, inside and out and doing video just allows more of your power to shine through! Love that you put yourself out there (literally) I’m inspired : )

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jenny sansouci May 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Wow right back. Thanks, Leah! Really appreciate you saying that. Keep making videos. :)

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Leah Watson May 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

My eyes were huge reading this–amazing. That takes some serious courage. I love the video too! Whatever it takes! I’m with you and cannot stand being on camera. I thought about not having a wedding just so a gazillion people wouldn’t be watching me walk down an aisle!
I want to thank you again too for being my IIN a ambassador. I’m enrolled and start next week. I couldn’t be more excited. :)

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Jen @ Existential Evolution May 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Comfort Zone 2013 ended with a trip to Jamaica at the nude beach. It was a whole new experience to be lounging, lunching and socializing stark naked! So glad we left those little ego voices at home which allowed us to really soak up the whole experience!

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Khadia May 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

You are hilarious! BEST. POST. EVER. And also the cutest video ever. I can totally relate to your weirdness and love your transparency around it 😛

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Cynthia May 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Can I say triple wowwy?! I am so proud of you! I really enjoy your writing and couldn’t read this one fast enough! I feel liberated enough through your writing and experience that I never have to go to a naked yoga class myself! Lol congratulations girl for going for it! Btw if you had to pick your top five things to do with an education from IIN , What would they be?

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Andrea May 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Kudos for you for going way out of your comfort zone, in taking the class, in doing the video and in sharing your experience of the class in print and video blog. The video is adorable, endearing and inspirational. I too feel, “in my little comfort zone of researching, editing, and pressing “publish” when I feel like it’s perfect”. I’m a sensitive Pisces.

The good thing about something like Naked Yoga, the safe thing, is that the nudity is in context. Everyone is doing it. It reminds me of when, 3 summers ago, I went to a nude beach with a platonic male friend. Some people were nude, some weren’t. After some hesitation, and easing into it, I took it all off. Sure, my arms and legs were crossed for awhile, but eventually I convinced myself that it was okay in the context. It was awkward and freeing and got progressively more awkward when we emerged from our private spot to go to & from the water (a bit public), walked along the beach in the water (more public), and then strode along the beach (even more public). But, it was all in context.
Some people I know will be naked anywhere, any time. Not me. Just typing about it feels weird.

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Ansley May 21, 2014 at 4:17 pm

JENNY!
Loved hearing your voice! I was totally surprised by what you sounded like – in a good way! That was not awkward at all by the way. In fact, you should do it more often. I like your strategy too – do something scarier than the thing you are scared to do and then that thing will become easier and less scary. I’ll have to give it a try. But probably not naked yoga. You’re so brave. I hope everyone had to have their butts facing the wall.
:)
-Ansley

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Eric May 22, 2014 at 9:17 am

Jenny! Good for you. Loved the article and the video

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Jeska June 12, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I just read an article about naked yoga and wondered how many people would participate in classes like that. Props to you for trying it out! Though I don’t normally have a problem with being naked I think being with a group of stranger dangers would make me uncomfortable too! lol

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Tori July 8, 2014 at 12:20 am

thanks for sharing that, you are awesome!!! I used to to nude modeling for art classes and I know how scary taking your clothes off is, and I was the only naked one in the room, and all of the artists obviously had their eyes only on me!!! I am such a prude now, I don’t think i would do it again!
xo

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Jochanaan December 5, 2014 at 7:31 am

Good start, Jenny! You have a lovely speaking voice. Here’s to more video presence!

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marc December 16, 2014 at 3:29 am

I have always wanted to try nude or naked yoga for the relaxation aspect of it and NOT the sexual one. I feel like it could be very relaxing. I have been told that I am a attractive man but am still a tad uncomfortable with my body, but I feel like I should step out of comfort zone and literally “just bear it” no pun intended and face my fears and insecurities. Plus I have to learn to relax more. Is this right for me? Thanks Jenny for any info. :)

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Steven January 3, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for your openness..
I’m going to my first coed Yoga class, this Tuesday, Cant Wait..

; )

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jenny sansouci January 4, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Good luck!! :)

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