Nude Yoga Photos: Educational or Simply for Shock Value? Take Our Poll

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Fair warning: The item we’re about to discuss is completely, totally and utterly NSFW. It’s a handful of photos that have been making the rounds on Reddit lately. The photos in question are of a yoga instructor who, while completely nude, demo’d several yoga poses and let her husband, a photographer, take some photos.


According to the website Nerve.com, which posted the photos last week, here's why they did it:

For those who aren't experienced yoga buffs, it's often hard to see the muscles being affected by the poses, especially when the instructor is fully clothed. These photos, thanks to perfect lighting, highlight the muscle tones being worked out by each unique position.

I'm curious to hear from some yogis about this, particularly instructors. Do you think these kinds of photos are actually educational, or do you think these photos were taken and posted purely for shock value (or, at the very least, just as art)? What I'm asking is: Does a student of yoga really stand to gain something more by seeing a nude person in certain poses, or could the same kind of yogi-muscle-education be accomplished, say, in a sports bra and Boogie shorts?

See the photos for yourself here (again, NOT REMOTELY SAFE FOR WORK, PEOPLE), and take our poll below.

POLL: Do you think nude yoga photos are educational or simply for shock value?


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  • a

    I’ve got a mixed review. POV – heterosexual female, periodic yoga practitioner, art lover, pro-equality. The good: the photos are just beautiful. They have definite artistic value, and little to no shock value for most modern culture. They’re gorgeous. The poses are well-executed.

    The not so good: Not educational – you really don’t learn anything. Not great as an image of women – she’s probably barely 18 and made up to look in her late 20s, and unbelievably thin, and airbrushed within a inch of her life. With all of the images of women that are so distorted – thinner, fatter, dumber, louder, etc – than they really are, do we really need this newly shorn skeletal baby representing any ideal, much less an ideal yogini? This would have been better represented with a mix of men and women, but there is so much more taboo on male genitalia than female, as though male genitalia is more precious (we certainly guard it more and censor it more highly) than female genitalia. How ridiculous. In some ways, Americans never stray too far from their Puritanical roots, however far the lip service may seem.

    Images like these remind me in some ways of the images of women portrayed by drag queens. Those extreme, hyper-feminized (in some ways – hair, nails, chest, fey demeanor, overdramatized, overgesticulated manner that even the most extreme New Jersey Mob Wife wouldn’t recognize as her own) are extremely insulting. These narrow, views of women – the “magazine” view (light, unmarked, hairless skin/ thick, full hair/ full-breasted, slim-waisted, long-legged), the “Drag Queen” view, the “black girl” (loud, sassy, smart-talking “best-friend”), the two sides of the “Asian girl” (either quiet, studious, dutiful, or bad-ass, martial arts expert, with a dark past), etc. Even Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean-In idea is based on a false stereotype: We aren’t all obsessing about leaving our careers over parenting decisions, or planning how to get out of the work force before getting in. She paints a very narrow, shallow view of women – even more shallow than the very, very small selection that she’s been exposed to, which are successful women in the tech industry (women comprise less than 15% of the core tech (programming/data science) population).

    All of these stereotypes – ALL of them – deny the incredible breadth, depth and subtlety that pervades all concept of femininity than the incredible breadth and subtlety that mark the reality, just as stereotypes of men – how they should appear and act – deny the huge range of masculinity.

    Overall, this would have been better with a range of body types, ages, and both sexes, showing the beauty of bodies doing these positions, and how anyone can become a practitioner of yoga with…practice (and patience!) It misses the mark. But lovely shots otherwise. Hope this helps.

  • m

    If the woman wasn’t severely anorexic these pictures could provide both beauty and educational value. However, having someone who obviously disrespects their body is against the most basic principal of the practice.

    • MaineLine

      weak comment – you are projecting your poor self image. :(

  • crateish

    That is a porn star known as ‘Luba.’ She has about a million nude photos of herself on the Internet. She is not a ‘yoga instructor.’

    • Meena

      First, these photos are not ‘new’. Second, porn is what someone does, not who they are. A porn star could very well could be a yoga instructor–just like they could be a son, mother, college student, etc.

      Also, she doesn’t look like Luba.

      • crateish

        Search for Luba and Yoga. This old soft-core porn set is all over the place. Her husband Petter Hegre, who runs one of the top porn sites in the world, shot the photos. The site focuses on ‘beauty.’ There are photos of women doing yoga, exercising, washing cars, using dildos, and having sex with men and other women.

  • Natalie

    I think they are actually more like art. Quite beautiful shapes and lighting. Nothing vulgar about them. I wish she wasn’t so skinny though.

    I disagree with A in some ways that I feel that female genitalia is way more taboo. Boobs and penis are the most likely to be seen in recent mainstream movies (forgetting sarah marshall, sideways, something about mary, harold & kumar 2, hangover, etc.)

  • maryan

    Young, white, fit, skinny, big boobs, tan, shaved public hair. Why is this a mystery? Not beautiful nor artistic, just pics of a devotee of yoga.