When you think you’re in the mood for some hot yoga practice, you might be surprised to discover that some people are uncomfortable with the idea.
It’s no secret that yoga poses are often a little awkward, but the idea of stripping down for a few minutes while your shirt is still on is probably not what you were expecting.
“When we first started [doing yoga], it was a way to relax and feel better,” said Ashley Williams, a yoga teacher in New Jersey who’s also a blogger for the website Yoga Bliss.
“But it was not meant to be something you had to do every day.”
In some cases, stripping down is even more uncomfortable than you might think.
“[Shirt-less] poses can feel like a weird and uncomfortable experience,” said Lisa Miller, a fitness blogger and author of “Pleasure Is a Warm Bath,” which explores how to achieve a comfortable yoga position.
“Some people may not even know how uncomfortable it can be to have their shirt off.
Some people feel uncomfortable that their shirt will fall off while they’re in their pose.”
But what about those people who might not want to be naked?
“It’s not necessarily about the pose,” said Williams, “but what you’re doing that’s going to cause you to feel uncomfortable.”
So if you’re uncomfortable with stripping down, there’s probably not much you can do.
“It’s a good idea to wear a long-sleeve shirt,” said Miller, “because you might want to remove your bra and/or socks to have some space between the shirt and your legs.”
But the more comfortable you feel with your shirt off, the less likely it is that it’ll be uncomfortable to get up and take a few more steps in a pose, said Williams.
And in fact, stripping off your shirt can be fun and empowering, she said.
“There’s definitely something positive about stripping off,” said Smith, who also teaches classes at the Women’s Center at the University of California, San Diego.
“The fact that you’re taking off your clothes and touching yourself is pretty empowering.”
But if you think that stripping down can be a bit uncomfortable, you may want to consider the possibility of a more intimate pose.
If you find yourself in the midst of a heated or challenging pose, you can try taking your shirt to a lower position, or to one of the other poses listed in this guide.
“That’s not as difficult as it sounds, because it’s just like lifting your shirt,” Miller said.
“You’re going to be putting your shirt on lower.”
If you’re a beginner, Miller suggested starting with one of these poses first: “A lot of beginners feel uncomfortable doing that first, because there’s no room to do a few poses.”
If you feel comfortable taking your shirts off, you could try a pose that involves your chest or shoulders and lower back.
“Maybe it’s the pose with your legs spread out, or a pose where you’re pulling your shirt up and off,” Miller added.
For more on yoga poses, check out our guide on yoga and posture.