The Truth About Naked Yoga.

Via on Mar 15, 2011

My Experience.

Nakedness is often viewed with shame and fear.

By practicing Naked Yoga, the aim is to shift these feelings and the limited perceptions we have of ourselves and others and move into a place of openness and acceptance of who we really are. After all, we come into this world naked, so what is there to hide?

I chose to write this article after I posed naked for various Yoga shots to create my website. Naked Yoga was barely spoken of three years ago, which was partly why I chose to do the photographs. As the majority of my pictures were taken out in wilds of nature during the autumn season, the experience was one of great liberation. Although initially I felt apprehensive about taking my clothes off, when I really thought about it I questioned, what is clothing? Is it not just an outer façade or an expression of our personalities?

Looking at this from a Yogic point of view, even our physical bodies are not a true expression of who we really are. The body is just the house, the temple, the vessel, the residing place for the soul. Wouldn’t you agree? So, looking at it from this angle, I dropped all fear and anxiety and made the most of being in the moment.

Autumn time is my favourite time of year. Nature dies to be reborn again in the spring. The feeling I had was of being one with the earth. Feeling the earth beneath my feet and the crisp leaves between my fingers brought me the closest, I think, that I could ever have been to the world of elemental beings—whether we chose to believe in them or not. The true sense of freedom, of being unclothed and unrestricted by space brought with it great exhilaration, which also allowed for my personality to shift into a more playful, childlike form, in turn creating a sense of youth within me. However this is not to say I encourage you all to go into the woods practicing naked yoga, and I doubt that I would personally find a naked Yoga class quite as liberating.

The lack of nature within a class situation doesn’t fill me with a sense of nurture and certainly the thought of people bearing all in downward dog doesn’t appeal.

My images have certainly been a target for criticism, a risk I was willing to take. I was always aware of the implications that may arise by choosing to take on this project and that people do have the freedom of speech, whether that is one of love, hate or constructive criticism it doesn’t really matter people give their opinions. Through certain eyes there may be a fine line between images such as these and pornography, but I see this as a different topic altogether.

So let us look at the benefits of Naked Yoga as a practice or personal Sadhana. When we think about naked Yoga we think about shedding our clothes, with this comes a sense of release and liberation which could also be compared to shedding out personal emotional load and baggage, helping to open new horizons and giving a sense of feeling at home within your skin.

The origins of naked Yoga stem back from the hippies of the 1960′s, the beginning of peace, free love and harmony in the flower power era. Although naked Yoga has become a fad it is highly popular amongst young people who live in metropolitan areas and the male gay community.

One of the major objectives when practicing naked Yoga is to enable you to feel free within your body and eliminate any concerns that you may have regarding physical imperfections, which in time will help win over any discomforts you may have regarding your body and feelings of self consciousness.

In a nutshell naked Yoga helps to encourage a new appreciation for the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of being in and with the ‘self ‘. However what would the negatives aspects be regarding the practice. No matter what our personal point of view may be nudity is still classed as a taboo subject in both eastern and western continents. This is the reason why naked Yoga has taken a back seat role across the globe. Nudity is distracting and not only is it a challenge to the concentration in a class situation but in the majority of peoples eyes nudity goes hand in hand with sex. If we think of nudity we think of sex and when we think of sex we think of nudity, this is part of human nature.

Naked Yoga falls into 3 categories, one of acceptance, discussed or humour. We could converse forever as to why people feel this way, which could simply be due to the fact that Nudity is not everyone’s cup of tea, that it’s not acceptable as human beings we flaunt ourselves in such a public manner. A bit of modesty and respect for the body goes along way, which also adds to the mystery of life, when we reveal all then the mystery is shattered to a degree. So for those of you that may feel up to participating in naked Yoga, here are the goals and etiquette tips when participating in a naked Yoga class:

Goals

Encourages correct alignment
Promotes a sense of openness for class participants
Eliminates concerns regarding physical imperfections
Helps develop self esteem

Etiquette

Remove clothes (this is expected)
Don’t stare—it’s simply not polite
Naked Yoga is just as tough as any other Yoga class so be prepared to work
Don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding how to perform specific postures
Bring your own mat and towel
Enjoy the class

About Indra Singh

Indra Singh loves to write anything from Yoga Articles to Creative Writing works. She is a full time mother and works predominantly in the world of addiction therapy, helping individuals with their journey through recovery by assisting them with Yoga techniques to help support their daily lives. She runs general classes and workshops too and is an experienced Children's Yoga teacher. She's studied Aura Soma, reflexology, aromatherapy and is heavily into flower essences and vibrational healing. She also loves to knit. For more about Indra, visit her website, Facebook or Twitter.

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24 Responses to “The Truth About Naked Yoga.”

  1. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the new Elephant Yoga homepage.

  2. yogainthevalley says:

    Wow, great article – beautiful images. Thank you

  3. Hanu Yoga says:

    I think that people who sign up for anaked yoga class might not be the same people who need their self-esteem built up!

    I don’t have a problem with naked yoga at all; it’s not for me, but I don’t find it offensive or in any way clashing with the idea of yoga. I just don’t think I would be concentrating on rolling out my arms when I was in downward dog – I would be worrying who was behind me and what on earth I was subjecting them to.

    • Kala says:

      I agree! Also I wonder if people would find these photos so compelling if the subject did not conform to society's standard of beauty.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    #
    Kat B: Naked yoga rocks!

    #
    Karen W: The photo's are "pure beauty!" I cannot understand why anyone would criticize photo's of what is all natural and so beautiful about yoga and our bodies. Uninhibited—done with such good taste – it is what it is…..to hell with those that are so uptight ! Kudos to you for a well written article as well as spectacular pics!! Loved the toe ring also!!! Ha – I'll be interested to see other comments, but I do expect more positive rather than negative as to the opinions of others.

    #
    Ananya F: This culture is soo confused in regards to our natural nude body…after puberty, child like playfulness is even more misunderstood with our unclothed body…your are a risk taker and rocking a tired old boat. In grace and beauty you pioneer the way…keep on rockin!!

  5. Genevieve says:

    These photos are so beautiful. I don’t associate sex with them at all but instead true authenticity and an outward expression of inner beauty.
    Thanks for the share :-)
    You’ve inspired me to give naked yoga a bash sometime in my own practice.Im sure my dogs won’t even bat an eyelids :-)

  6. Sonyata says:

    In 2009, I published a book called "Naked City Yoga". It was the chronicles of my adventures working in a mini-mart the previous summer in a neighborhood of Vegas called Naked City. Naked City was named such in the sixties, when the show girls lay out by the swim pools sunbathing in the day time. Eventually, the neighborhood was over run by gangs, drugs, prostitutes, and crime. Now the term Naked City took on a new meaning – the nakedness of poverty.

    In my book, I went back and forth from the Naked City Seven Eleven, to the Topless Pool on the 25th floor of the Stratosphere, where I lay out in a thong sunbathing, reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I spoke of my yoga practice, and how I viewed my world through the eyes of a yogi. I wrote of the eight limbs of Ashtanga, and used examples from the many thugs, criminals, alcoholics, gang bangers, pimps, prostitutes, homeless, gamblers, crack and crystal addicts, and psycho taxi cab drivers who came into the mini-mart, along with tourists from Europe and poverty stricken, disabled people living in the neighborhood. It was quite a circus, but the change between the mini-mart, the topless pool, and the yoga studio made an interesting juxtaposition of views.

    I was very excited about starting a studio in Naked City, calling it Naked City Yoga. I saw yoga as a way for a person to climb out of poverty, to restore and rebuild themselves. Unfortunately, I saw a local advertisement for Men's Naked Yoga, and it even got coverage in the newspaper. People were confusing my idea for this other practice, so I changed the name of my practice. I did not want to step on any…toes.

    Yoga is a wonderful path of healing. If there are those who need to practice yoga in the raw, then may they find what they are looking for. Being naked in nature is quite different to me than going to a studio where a bunch of other people are naked, though i did manage to talk some girls at the pool into some pretty provocative poses. wearing nothing but a thong. Lol.

  7. ARCreated says:

    pictures are gorgeous…and I say GO for it…I love the "theory" of naked yoga and totally applaud those who practice it…but "practically" speaking it just doesn't sound comfy…the girls need containment and sweat needs absorbing. and although not "embarrassed" my body I do feel a certain sense of privacy —- a sense that my nakedness is too intimate to share willy nilly…mmmmm now that you got me thinking about my "concerns' I'm hearing fear and ego and disconnect and wondering…hmmmmmm…. my poor patient husband….

  8. jh00mer says:

    Naked yoga is great. A clothed body traps sweat. A naked one doesn't. And the latter dries faster. And I have moved better without clothes. But I'm not ready for a class, yet.

  9. indrasingh says:

    Thank you all for your comments i love to read your views. Naked yoga isn"t my regular practice but after my photo shoot there was something special about being out there, raw, in the elements. Slightly different to a normal class i know, but wanted to share it with you.There is a beauty about being naked however we must value all views in their own right.
    thank you all again

  10. Emily says:

    Been considering different aspects of naked yoga lately thanks for feeling that and shedding light. I am envisioning a solo trip into the wild for some earthy practice in the near future. Beautiful photos

  11. AMO says:

    I have practiced yoga naked alone. I won't ever do a class. There are things, no matter what you make of it, that I don't want anyone looking at on my body with the exception of my lovers, and I don't want to see those things on other people's bodies in public either. It's not that I judge those who are comfortable, I just am not. I was a massage therapist for 15 years, and while my clients were naked I draped them and was VERY careful with certain extremely VULNERABLE areas of the body. I can imagine that, trying to adhere to the "don't stare" rule, which is a good rule, would make it hard in a classroom full of naked people to find an appropriate place to put your eyes, especially during postures when the legs are not together. I practice and teach hot yoga and have practiced in a hot room alone, in a closed studio. It was very nice. No teacher. No recording. No plan. Just me and my yoga. And, to be honest, it just wasn't enough of a big deal to bother with doing regularly. Then again, I wear clothes inside my house when I'm alone. I don't really care for being naked. And I'm good with that…

  12. indrasingh says:

    AMO thank you, great points made there

  13. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the new Elephant Yoga homepage.

  14. aimee says:

    the photos are beautiful and inspiring and its always wonderful to hear of ways people can feel more akin to the earth.

  15. I think naked yoga would be very healing for people with a negative self image, even if practiced alone. Doing something physical without focusing on one's flaws, great idea! Oh and your pics are marvelous

  16. dingbat says:

    Yeah, and people don't like Weiner's pics. All he was doing was Naked Yoga. He was just trying to overcome his negative self image. Hypocrites everywhere I guess. LOL

  17. Aella says:

    I also find that clothes restrict me when I do yoga. I don't think I have the confidence yet to go to a naked yoga class yet, but at home definitely. I get waay too warm if I have to wear a bunch of clothing, lol. And I don't associate naked with sex either, you can do pretty well anything(except shoveling snow in winter :P) naked, or have sex with clothes on. They aren't very exclusive things to each other in my opinion.

  18. [...] The Truth About Naked Yoga. ~ Indra Singh [...]

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