At least that’s the case on Wednesday nights during Free the Nipple Yoga—a candlelit restorative class and sound bath, where both men and women will be ditching their t-shirts to practice nude from the waist up.
“The concept behind the class is simple: equal rights for everyone,” says Danielle Dorsey, who conceived of the format with Astroetic Studios founder Jonathan Haloossim. She was inspired by the global Free the Nipple movement, which is striving to legitimatize public toplessness for women—an act that’s currently illegal 35 states. (In fact, a few years ago in New York City, then 29-year-old activist Moira Johnston was famously banned from Jivamukti for going topless.)
“In order to normalize and decriminalize breasts, we have to present them in more non-sexual settings, but because women are constantly objectified, they also need to feel safe in those spaces where it is allowed,” Dorsey explains. “Some of my most peaceful moments have been on the mat, so I thought that it would be the perfect place to allow people that freedom.”
So what to expect (beyond liberation from chafing tank-top straps)? Llyn Stransky, an instructor whose classes focus on body awareness, will lead you through a series of slow-moving, hip-opening poses, taking special care to incorporate asanas that are comfortable for all breast shapes and sizes. Classes are 18+ and co-ed, but men are asked to give Dorsey a heads-up prior to attending their first session.
And at the end of the experience, says Dorsey, you can plan on feeling freer in more ways than one. “In my experience, the class is peaceful, affirming, empowering, and has given me a greater appreciation for my body and all that it does for me,” she says. “None of us is without insecurities, but Free the Nipple Yoga has made me more accepting of mine.” Cue the smell of bralets burning. —Erin Magner
Free the Nipple Yoga, Wednesdays at 8pm, $20, 224 E. 11th St., Ste. 700A, Los Angeles, CA, 90015, www.facebook.com/freethenipyoga
Want to know what it’s like to practice co-ed yoga in the buff? We’ve tried it…
(Photo: Jonathan Haloossim)