Nude Yoga Girl and her manager/boyfriend, Larry, take the photos at their home in Italy, or on a secluded mountainside nearby. Larry, speaking on behalf of NYG (for the time being the former model has decided to remain anonymous), told Culture Trip the aim is to inspire body positivity and self-acceptance.
Like every human, NYG has her insecurities, but yoga — not to mention her 500k+ admiring Instagram followers — has helped her appreciate what her body can do over what it looks like. And what it can do is damn impressive.
We caught up with NYG over email to find out what happens when art and yoga collide.
Esme Benjamin: What inspired you to start photographing your yoga poses, and to do it in the nude?
Nude Yoga Girl: It all happened spontaneously really. I didn’t plan it. Photography and yoga have been my passions for years. One Sunday I tried to bring them together and I found this kind of style to express myself. I thought I was able to show nudity in a non-sexual way and the photos, my art, would also support my message: “you are beautiful exactly the way you are.” I wanted to show the human body in a raw and natural way. I also think that all the created shapes and lines can be seen very clearly.
EB: Even fully-clothed yoga can be a vulnerable experience at times. Do you ever feel exposed, even though you artfully cover the parts Instagram might remove?
NYG: At first, when I started my account, I felt a bit nervous and scared about what others would think, and if they would understand my art in the right way. But they did, so I’m very happy and grateful for that. I think about the poses, angles and shadows very carefully and I use photos that I feel comfortable with.
EB: Your execution of these poses is incredible. Tell us about your personal yoga journey from when you started until now…
NYG: Thank you! I’ve always had a sporty lifestyle since I was a child. I have been practicing yoga for several years but I really got into it about two years ago and started to practice daily when I understood that it’s more about how you feel on the inside than how you look on the outside. Yoga is not about what poses you can do, it’s about the connection between your body and mind. Nowadays yoga is a lifestyle for me. I practice mostly at home by myself, and it can sometimes be just 10 minutes in the morning. I always listen to my body and base my practice on my feelings.
EB: What’s the most challenging thing about your yoga practice?
NYG: My life can be very busy and when I feel stressful it’s hard to remember to breathe deeply. Yoga helps me to be present but sometimes it’s really, really hard.