Asana as Art. {NSFW}

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 3, 2013
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“We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” ~ RuPaul


“In true meditation, we’re in the body as a means to transcend it. It is paradoxical that the greatest doorway to the transcendence of form is through form itself.” ~ Adyashanti

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state.” ~ Sharon Gannon

A comment: “It’s interesting how much more detail you can see in muscle tone when clothing is off. Though the lighting helps tremendously. I’m not much of a yoga buff myself but I try on my own. I don’t think I could ever get to this level of balance or ability. I imagine that you’d have to have a great deal of intimacy and confidence in your photographer to get shots like this and still keep such a calm disposition even as a yogi.”

Another: “The photographer [Petter Hegre] is her husband.”

PS: All bodies are beautiful, and healthy can look curvy. What’s key in terms of beauty is, firstly, maitri, and in terms of these poses, some strength, and alignment, and lots of practice.

PS: if you have photos of nude male yoga, send them in. We’re all for tasteful balance. For now, this will have to do:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


16 Responses to “Asana as Art. {NSFW}”

  1. Ugh. I am so not impressed with this trend. Sure you can "see much more detail in muscle tone" (this statement is laughable) but why do we need to? I certainly know why "we" Want to. I'm not against nudity or loving your body but this over sexualization and public exhibitionism all in the name of yoga is simply NOT yoga. I personally found my practice 11 years ago at the age of 28 after a 18 year battle with an eating disorder and overcoming childhood sexual abuse and I know that I am not alone here. I teach yoga on a native american reservation where people are subject to all kinds of abuse. It's disheartening to have an edition of Yoga Journal to use as a teaching tool when you have to hurry and skip (or tear out) the Yogitoes ad. Why? Why Katherine Budig? I adore you, you inspire me, but why are you naked in a public magazine that can be found in the hands of many different people, girls, boys, women, men from all different backgrounds? When my nephews look at these pictures you can be certain that what they are seeing has nothing to do with yoga and that's not what I want them to think of when I am inspiring them to live and practice yoga. Be proud of your body, take artistic photos, be a part of an art exhibit, take as many naked asana pictures as you want, but as soon as you post them in a general public forum please, do not call it yoga.

  2. Kate says:

    Somehow I don't think the ancient yogins had this in mind.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    What do you think they had in mind? Could this be on of the evolutions of yoga? ~ Bryonie

  4. This woman has a beautiful body, for sure. In my opinion again it's focussing on perfection…her body is 'perfect' she'd perhaps disagree with that statement, most people focus on imperfections. What if we could see pubic hair, cellulite in this picture, or her breasts / thighs had stretch marks from childbearing / weight gain / loss…I wonder how people would deem the photos then? Don't we have a world full of photos like this already? Don't we need a few more 'real' pictures? Unbrushed, touched up? But then I wonder what comments those pictures would produce?
    Is it not like Barbie doing yoga? Is it making yoga even more exclusive than inclusive? For some even taking their first class induces enough fear…without pictures like these, sexy / beautiful as they are…!

  5. Dusankipoeira says:

    I’d argument that that would have to very much depend on your inderstanding of the concept of evolution.

    Because if it is used only as a synonym to an off shoot, or breaching out or shifting the focus onto irrelevant aspects of the science that is yoga, it is one thing. But to use it to insinuate that evolution equals progress (I.e. the next, more advanced step, that has discarded with the superfluous and is bringing yoga in a new, better direction?…. It’s only my opinion, of course but, I reckon you have missed the point of the whole thing long long time ago, if not from the very start of your “yoga journey”, as the only place that will bring you is closer to your toes, not your self… Perhaps we are meant to be one with our pedal digits, yes?… Aaand, breathe out… ;-))

  6. Ass-ana says:

    Bryonie, you clearly know nothing about yoga. The only thing that stands between us and knowledge of our True Self is wrong identification with the physical form. So to get beyond wrong identification lets objectify beautiful naked forms. It's not yoga honey. If you think it is you have fallen down a rabbit hole that serves the purpose of enforcing more ignorance on an ancient practice that was about Self Knowledge and Wisdom. It doesn't come from displaying our private parts in public in yoga poses while we are soft porn models for a living. Yes, she does porn. Could this be self promotion. After all she is not the only hot naked body on the internet. Porn sites are the number one searches on the internet. Consider that, of all the billions of searches we do for day to day for research for education for directions for bios for …on an on we still can't beat out the searches online for porn. So now we reduce yoga to porn. Because what is at the top has to seep down to the bottom. And if it is porn at the top it will come slowly and infect all aspects of life. Look at the ads in magazines? Look at the bus ads?They have to make laws to regulate the amount of nudity due to children and general public seeing it in the open. Laws because we have no real moral standards any more. Shove naked genitals at the public that is the way of evolution in the world today. Anybody that abhors this trend is accused of not being comfortable with sexuality or nudity. When in fact the things that used to be sacred like sexuality and privacy no longer are. They are cheapened and they are everywhere. And it is on our children's heads. There is no respect any longer for anything. So Bryonie, if you mean it's evolution of yoga into the Western abyss of degradation and abysmal self worth among women. You are correct. It has risen from the old Wisdom Schools of Higher Spiritual attainment to the mainstream Western exploitation of anything and everything that exists. Sell cars, phones, liquor, clothing with… sex. And let's ignore the fact that by age 12 most girls have no self confidence or self worth. That evolution is a marvel.

  7. Row says:

    But it is yoga. And it's not sexy. I know sexy. I love sexy. This is beauty of the most divine sort. You can see clearly her mind is on her practice. She's not pouting or looking lustfully. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As are other things which sometimes just aren't there.

  8. John R says:

    astheticism (sorry – sic!) in yoga? visible muscle tone (rather than core strength, visible or not). human body as art to be looked at (rather than as a vehicle to perforn poses with good form)? Nah! this is not evil or anything but, in my opinion, is making yoga for beautiful people sort of thing. I know ladies in their 70s who can hold sirasana without effort for over ten minutes and that is beauitiful and looks so too. but how would a pic of that go down? These pics here celebrate youth, nymph like bodies and flexibility. all good but not the embodiment of yoga. in my mind anyways! but you gotta have an open heart in all things. I like Iyengar yoga and wonder what Mr Iyengar would think about all this? That we have lost our way pretty badly I suspect! OK have a good day all and adios! x

  9. Shannon says:

    This series of photos, taken by her husband a photographer, is located on a porn website that he runs. Put in the context of this, I do not find these photos to be so great.

  10. This is art in the same sense as the statue of Daniel or "The Birth of Venus". It is the human form presented as living sculpture. Those who see it as lewd or sexual likely cannot see past the end of their noses.

  11. Rio says:

    I think it's important that images be properly credited to the artist that has created them.
    The photographer, whether you approve of his other projects or not, is Petter Hegre.
    He used to publish an art magazine as well, and yes this is his wife.

    Perhaps this would not fall under the purest description of yoga practice, but neither does the statue of David…which I don't see anyone complaining about.

    This really isn't so much an article as it is a copy and paste of an un-credited photographers work.

  12. elephantjournal says:

    Hi there! thanks for pointing this out. I will be editing the article shortly to include a clear attribution. ~ Ed.

  13. nunh says:

    I don't think of these photographs as over sexualization in the slighest. Why does nudity scare anyone. It is the most natural of states on this material earth.

  14. brickinthewall says:

    it would be nice if it wasnt a person with the ideal perfect body.

  15. John says:

    If this really was about perfection of the body related to yoga and not about sexual arousal, then I am sure the photographer would have tried the same with a naked man. Oh wait. thats such a turn off, rite? See what I did there? Instead, they hire a shaved, big titted bimbo blondie to do the posing

  16. vanessavy says:

    I see this more a long the lines of art. As in holding still for someone to draw you in art class. There is nothing sexy about this.