Free The Nipple Yoga Opens In Los Angeles

January 22nd 2016

Laura Donovan

Over the past two years or so, many have talked about the widespread Free the Nipple movement online, which aims to highlight society's hypocritical treatment of nipples. Men and women alike have called out Instagram's double standard for female nipples, and a number of female celebrities have shown support for Free the Nipple by posting pictures of their own breasts on social media.

Los Angles writer Danielle Dorsey helped take Free the Nipple further by starting Free the Nipple Yoga, a candlelit topless yoga class in the downtown LA area. With a mission statement of "uplifting others and dismantling the patriarchy, one asana at a time," Free the Nipple Yoga is allowing people to bring their support for the growing movement into yoga class, and many are intrigued by this marriage of ideas. The first official class was sold out on Wednesday, and lots of people are already begging for expansion to Santa Monica and even New York City.

Free the Nipple Yoga LA

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Nathaniel Garcia Tascione, one of the men who attended the pre-launch class in mid-January, wrote on Free the Nipple Yoga's Facebook page that the class was "great" and he will continue to fight for the initiative at large. Kerry Quinn wrote in a Thrillist piece that while the class isn't necessarily her cup of tea, Free the Nipple Yoga presents a substantial opportunity if you "want to push your boundaries and do it in a body-positive way."

We had the chance to ask Dorsey a few questions about the class and talk about the evolution of her practice.

ATTN: Why did you decide to marry Free the Nipple and the practice of yoga?

DD: I've done yoga off and on for a few years, but began practicing almost daily about a year ago. My favorite class was hot yoga, but I was really frustrated that men were allowed to practice shirtless and I was forced to wear a sports bra. It was uncomfortable and prevented me from fully experiencing the class, not to mention that it was just downright unfair. So that's kind of where the idea stemmed from. To me, yoga was the perfect fit because it's already a space where people feel comfortable being vulnerable and that promotes acceptance and self-love as well as respect for those around you.

Free the Nipple Yoga LA

RELATED: This Guy Just Challenged Instagram's Nipple Policy in a Very Clever Way

ATTN: What was the event itself like?

Danielle Dorsey (DD): I would describe the energy in the class as electric. I feel really lucky to have been a part of it because we were able to see people's boundaries and perspectives shifting before our eyes. There were several female students who were unaware that the class is open to all gender identities (we're pretty explicit that all are welcome in our promotion, but I can understand how one would make that assumption) and were understandably a little uncomfortable that a few men were present.

I explained to them that the class is candlelit, and that men are required to contact us before attending their first class, which helped put them at ease, but I think it was the actual experience of practicing yoga topless with a mixed group of people that made them realize, "Wow, I really can be this free without being harassed or feeling like my safety is in question. I can actually relax and allow my guard to come down to fully appreciate the class."

That was remarkable to witness. We mingled after class and many of the students thanked us for the experience, telling us that they appreciated that everyone who attended had the same mission of supporting gender equality and that it felt like a very safe space.

RELATED: This Yoga Teacher is Challenging Body Stereotypes In An Amazing Way

Free the Nipple Yoga LA

ATTN: I noticed your first class was sold out. What sort of feedback have you gotten about the class, and why do you think the idea of Free the Nipple Yoga is so important to people?

DD: So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. People are begging us to expand to Santa Monica, New York City, and I was just contacted by a Swiss newspaper today. I think people are recognizing that it's time to change these antiquated censorship laws and are willing to do what they can to push this cause forward, even if it means stepping outside of their comfort zone.

After they take the class, they realize that most of the insecurities associated with being topless are driven by a patriarchal mindset: How will people receive my body? Is my body acceptable for public consumption? Am I inviting violence or harassment by exposing myself in this way? And that there's nothing wrong with allowing yourself that freedom. If anything, Free the Nipple Yoga, and the Free the Nipple movement, are challenging standards that should have been changed a long time ago. We are pushing society forward.

Free the Nipple Yoga LA

For more on Free the Nipple, watch ATTN:'s video below:

Where Do You Stand on the Free the Nipple Controversy?

Where do you stand on the Free The Nipple controversy?http://bit.ly/1TMmUcF

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, August 16, 2015

RELATED: Naomi Campbell Joins Free The Nipple