An anonymous model only known as “Nude Yoga Girl” has started a movement of people posting nude photos of themselves doing yoga poses to spread body positivity, and the results are bringing up some stark truths about body image.
Since 2015, Nude Yoga Girl has been posting pictures of herself doing yoga in the nude, positioning her body so that the poses aren’t too revealing for Instagram’s strict guidelines. The photos, many of them taken outside in nature or in beautifully-cultivated interior spaces, have captions about self-love and self-care.
In early October, Nude Yoga Girl started using the hashtag “#NYGyoga” for her photos, saying that she wanted people to use the hashtag to “connect with themselves and celebrate their unique bodies” and “support and inspire each other to love ourselves.” The move inspired many of her 672,000 Instagram to do the same, and nude yoga photos tagged #NYGyoga have been proliferating across the site in the last two weeks.
Many of the people posting photos have captioned them with inspirational quotes, a few words about the importance of self-care, or their own struggles with body positivity. They’re charming, sweet, and nakedly honest.
Some have even combined the hashtag with the recent #metoo movement, where people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted speak up about their stories.
And #NYGyoga isn’t the only hashtag to embrace the nude yoga trend. Yoga buffs have also been posting under the hashtag #stripdownasanas, which currently has 4,764 posts.
When asked why she thought her movement was so popular, Nude Yoga Girl responded, “It’s much more than just the actual photo. I think about it as an experience to really connect with your body, be there with it in a natural way.”
While the #NYGyoga tag is relatively homogenous in terms of ethnicity and body type, #stripdownasanas features far more “models” who span the full range of the human body.
And while women are still the majority of those completing the challenge, men are catching up and posting their own photos.
“I’ve been so surprised about how many are taking part and joining in to share the body positive message that everyone is unique and beautiful exactly the way they are,” Nude Yoga Girl told Allure.
“I’ve been receiving more and more photos and stories about people’s experiences with their bodies via direct message on Instagram and people using the hashtag #NYGyoga. It’s been amazing to see that so many people are taking time to celebrate all sizes and forms of human bodies and support and inspire each other.”