Wellness

Nude Yoga Photos Capture The Human Body In All Its Bendy Beauty

Nice angles!

More than 20 million Americans get down with yoga. It's a wonderful fact, considering the ancient practice can do a body and mind really, really good.

But many fewer, we'd bet, practice yoga in the buff. For yoga novices, it takes courage enough just to show up to a class, what with seasoned head-standers ohm-ing a mat over. But a new naked yoga Instagram account could be just the thing a burgeoning yogi needs.

Nude Yoga Girl shows that getting into a naked downward dog can be a spiritual practice all its own; her account serves as a handy instructional guide for newbies. The 25-year-old model-photographer has racked up 245,000 Instagram followers by sharing graceful black and white portraits of herself in yoga poses without clothes.

While "model" and "naked" might not sound like a recipe for empowering yoga beginners, the feed is all about showcasing the human body in a new way, while offering a clear guide to proper form: Yes, many of the yogi's poses are advanced and super twisty, but many of her photos work as guides to beginners who want to grasp the right alignment. And indeed, the lack of clothing makes it much easier to see the clear lines of each pose.

"I want to show that nudity can be something else than only sexual," the model behind Nude Yoga Girl, who prefers to remain anonymous, told The Huffington Post in an email. She continued:

The human body is beautiful and the poses and shapes can be seen very well without any clothing on. I wanted to take off everything unnecessary from the pictures on my account. Nudity in social media is a taboo but on the other hand the nakedness and rawness of my photos reflect well what I want to tell people with my account.

The artist said she's been practicing yoga for most of her life, ramping up to a daily practice about a year ago.

She mostly practices by herself at home, she said, and will sometimes use online classes to move her yoga forward. With nearly 100 posts, she has the process for practicing and capturing her poses down to a science. It looks a little something like this:

I set up the lighting and the camera settings ready. After that I do a short yoga practice to warm up before starting the photoshoot. Sometimes I plan the poses in advance by browsing the internet or books for some inspiration and sometimes I get creative in front of the camera! My boyfriend is kind enough to press the camera button and take the photo of me. I'm very grateful for his help.

If this type of art and exercise has piqued your curiosity, there are naked yoga classes available in cities nation-wide. If that's too much for you, might we suggest sleeping in your birthday suit? The practice is a little less risqué, but comes with plenty of benefits and you won't have to worry about slipping out of position on your yoga mat.

See more of Nude Yoga Girl's beautiful photography on her Instagram and website.

Related on HuffPost:

10 Of The Best Yoga Poses For Sleep
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)(01 of 08)
To perform this pose, stand with the feet about six inches apart and fold the torso to the ground, reaching toward the ground or bending the arms and grabbing opposite hand to opposite elbow. In addition to helping to relieve headaches and insomnia, the pose can also be helpful for lowering stress levels, according to Yoga Journal.

"Sway a little side to side and breathe," says Bielkus. "Bend the knees as much as needed to ease any strain. Tension in the legs and hips will start to release."
(credit: Hero Images via Getty Images)
Plow Pose (Halasana)(02 of 08)
Yoga Journal recommends staying in the plow pose for one to five minutes to fall asleep easier. Lie down on your back, lifting your legs over your head and then to the ground behind you, with your hands either on your back for support or on the floor.

"By turning the flow of blood around, you bring new vitality into the body," says Bielkus.
(credit: Kolett via Getty Images)
Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)(03 of 08)
This simple pose, performed against a wall, is excellent for evening relaxation and stress relief. Bielkus recommends staying in the pose for as long as five minutes, with the eyes closed and using a soothing eye pillow if desired.

"When we flip the legs up, the blood can rush back down to the heart," says Bielkus. "It has a soothing quality."
(credit: Yuri Arcurs via Getty Images)
Corpse Pose (Savasana) (04 of 08)
Get your body into sleep mode with a simple corpse pose, focusing the attention on the body and breath, and letting go of the day's worries.

"By focusing the mind and bringing awareness in, you take the mind off of what is causing stress or restlessness," says Bielkus.
(credit: Alamy)
Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)(05 of 08)
This reclining twisted pose can easily be performed in bed before you fall asleep. Lie down on your back and bring the right knee into your chest and then across your left side. Extend the right arm out and gaze to the right, taking several deep breaths and then repeating on the other side. You can also try bringing both legs up and then over to each side, as pictured at left.

"Gentle twists relieve tension throughout the whole spine and also aid in digestion and help us rinse out some tension from the day," Bielkus says.
(credit: Alamy)
Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)(06 of 08)
Like the supine twist, the seated spinal twist (also known as the half lord of the fishes pose) can create a sense of relaxation in the body while gently stretching the spine. The stretch can be practiced with both legs bent or with one outstretched. (credit: Alamy)
Reclining Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)(07 of 08)
A variation of the basic butterfly pose (pictured at left), the reclining butterfly can help the body get into rest mode. Lie down on your back -- on your bed or on a mat -- and bring the feet together, splaying out the knees in a diamond. If your hips are tight and the pose feels too intense, Bielkus suggests putting a folded blanket or cushion under each of the knees.

"Bring one hand to your heart and one hand to your belly," Bielkus says. "Breathe deeply observing the breath move in and out of the body."
(credit: Getty)
Left Nostril Breathing (Surya Bhedana)(08 of 08)
To try this relaxing breathing exercise (pranayama), you can either sit up crossed-legged or lie down on your right side. Cover the right nostril with your thumb and extend the fingers out. Then take five to 10 deep breathes out of your left nostril.

"If I can't sleep ... As soon as I've done three left nostril breaths, I'm out," says Bielkus. "It's really, really effective."
(credit: Alamy)

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