Free the Nipple Yoga interview with Danielle cofounder and producer.
How long have you practiced yoga (clothed and/or topfree) ?
Danielle – I have practiced yoga off and on for a few years, and began practicing topless or nude in the last few months or so.
What was the inspiration for practicing topfree yoga?
Danielle – The inspiration was born out of frustration. I took hot yoga classes often and was frustrated that I wasn’t given the same rights as the male students who were practicing shirtless. To me, wearing a sports bra was uncomfortable and distracting and prevented me from fully appreciating the class, so I wanted to create a class that gave women that freedom while also objecting to outdated and sexist censorship laws.
What is the structure / format of a typical Free the Nipple Yoga class? (style of yoga, number of students, mat setup, space setup)?
Danielle – It is candlelit class that takes place in a 7th floor downtown Los Angeles loft with floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a restorative vinyasa class with a focus on hip-opening and back stretches, and we provide pose variations so that it is suitable for students of all levels.
What do you want students to walk away with after taking a topfree yoga class?
Danielle – A greater appreciation for their bodies and all that they are capable of. I want them to leave feeling empowered, confident, and free.
What are some of the most memorable feedback thoughts students have shared with you about their experience practicing topfree yoga?
Danielle – A lot of students have said that practicing topless feels natural, like it’s the way yoga is “supposed” to be experienced, and many have said that it feels like a safe, supportive environment where everyone is working towards a common goal of equality.
What’s your favorite yoga pose? Least favorite yoga pose?
Danielle – It depends on the day, but happy baby (Ananda Balasana) and pigeon pose (Kapotasana) and really any hip-opening stretches are always very healing for me. I wouldn’t say I have a least favorite pose. If I struggle with a pose, I find that usually means that I’m holding onto some tension or stress, and so I try to figure out why the stress is concentrated in that area and what it’s stemming from so I can work through it.
Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share?
We’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far and are so appreciative of our growing community. We have lots of plans for expansion and growth and can’t wait to share them!