It’s not surprising that yoga has many trendy hybrids, be it yoga with dogs, goats, lemurs or on horseback. There’s yoga in water, with trampolining, with weights, Rolfing, snowshoeing, Pilates, mindfulness, rafting, Capoeira, crossfit, Hip-Hop, boxing, acrobatics and using a silk hammock (aerial yoga). Geeta Iyengar offered yoga for women and now you can take a live or online Naked Yoga class.
Who practices naked yoga and why?
Yoga in the nude began way back with ascetic Hindu yogis called Naga Sudhus. Their intention was to pacify one’s desires while connecting deeper with the natural world. Many people associate being naked with sex; however naked yoga de-sexualises it and emphasizes self-love and body acceptance.
Take Doria, who became a yoga teacher after surviving cancer. She attended her first naked yoga class in Nevada at Burning Man. She found a judgment-free and safe space to express her vulnerability. She says: “Naked yoga finally taught me to accept my body and accept myself exactly how I am today, with all my imperfections. Naked Yoga is about knowing and loving yourself at your core – a tool we can use on our road to self-acceptance.”
She now works with women who struggle to accept their own body – be it from cancer, anorexia, bulimia. Many studies show a link between nudism, positive body image, and overall happiness. Nudists appear to have better body image and higher self-esteem in comparison with non-nudist participants. And a significant proportion of nudists are actually people who initially were uncomfortable being nude.
Being naked with all shapes and sizes means that you will likely be next to someone who has the “embarrassing flaw” that you feel you have. You may feel ashamed about it, yet the other person doesn’t care, so why should you? They are not judging you, so why are you judging yourself?
You begin to see that what you consider an issue, isn’t a big deal after all. That protruding stomach or wobbly bit? So what? It’s no big deal. .You start feeling better about yourself. You slowly begin to accept the parts of you that before you hated. You feel stronger, less scared. And start to focus on more important things.
For some, the act of physically removing clothes, symbolizes removing judgements and letting go of critical self-talk.
Similiar to the freedom when you can skip concealer and makeup and instead go bare faced in public. (Read Dare to Go Bare for tips on how to achieve this)
Willow Merveille, owner and founder of Naked in Motion, says “You learn to see your body, to look at it, and to accept it the way it is.”Your insecurities aren’t all going to disappear after one class,” she says. “Acceptance comes with time, repetition and patience.”
Doing naked yoga does not mean you have to become a nudist. Some people take one naked class and never try them again.
No matter your gender, naked yoga can push you out of your comfort zone. The sensation of air against your skin as you move helps you connect to the present moment. Most of us live in the mind. We are barely aware of our bodies.
What do you do in a naked yoga class?
The session follows your standard yoga class, with poses such as mountain, tree and triangle.
There are rule and boundaries in class:: No cruising (staring at each other), no body compliments, no comments, no asking someone out on a date, no stalking attendees online afterwards. If you get an erection, you simply do Childs pose. There is no touching without consent. (You let the teacher know if you want/do not want corrections). Women and transgender folks get the option to keep their underwear on.
If you’re interested in attending a naked yoga class, do your research first. Decide if you’re willing to attend a co-ed class and if you’d like the option to keep minimal clothing on.
For the shy, why not try a round of Sun Salutations in the nude in the privacy of your home, first?
The goal of naked yoga is not about seeing or being seen by others. Like all kinds of yoga, it is meant to be an introspective and individually insightful experience.