Yoga is all about loving yourself and loving your body. So, what better way to truly get in touch with your inner god or goddess than doing yoga au naturel?
It’s the newest trend in yoga — naked yoga. That’s right. A growing number of yogis are casting aside their yoga pants and practicing in the buff. Why would someone opt for yoga in their birthday suit instead of Lululemons? Proponents say there are many reasons to hit the mat without the yogawear.
Acceptance Through Naked Yoga
Practitioners of naked yoga claim stripping off their clothes forces them to fully peel away their masks and learn to accept themselves for who they are at their very core. Without clothing to hide behind, they say they experience a unique form of vulnerability and have to find strength from inside in order to push through the practice.
The more you can accept and love yourself undressed, the more you can open yourself to others.
Yoga teaches us that we are all one. We come from the same divine spark and are all connected. In most yoga classes, this belief is honored through the sound Om, or the gesture Namaste. In much the same way as school uniforms put all children in a class on the same playing field, in a naked yoga class there’s no comparing who’s wearing what trendy new yoga brand and feeling a sense of inferiority — or superiority —based on a label. Instead, everyone is the same.
Yoga helps us turn inward, but naked yoga kicks that up a few notches. In an environment where there can be high financial costs to participate, and even higher costs for popular yogawear, the removal of clothing removes some of the tendency to compare ourselves to others and what they’re wearing. Instead, as you separate from the label on your yoga top, so too do you learn to separate yourself from the labels you place on yourself and on others.
Overcoming Fears Through Naked Yoga
There’s a common trick to overcoming the panic of public speaking — imagine the audience stripped down to their underwear. Now imagine that reversed — being in front of a crowd in your underwear, or even more frightening, completely naked. That’s what naked yoga does. It puts practitioners in an uncomfortable situation and teaches them to focus on the breath and the postures and not to give power to the fear and insecurities.
With no cute outfits to hide beneath, naked yoga teaches you to calm the mind in a situation where you’re literally exposing yourself completely.
Now you know why people do it and the sense of freedom, strength and self-acceptance that can come with practicing naked yoga, but you may still have a lot of questions – and doubts.
But...Really? Naked Yoga?
First off, it may seem like it’s going to be filled with voyeurs or have the vibe of some underground sex club. Those who participate in naked yoga classes say it’s quite the opposite. They insist there’s nothing sexual about it. Like any other yoga class, the people who attend these classes are there to focus on themselves, not on anyone else in the room.
And who are the other people in the class? With more studios offering these classes sans clothing, more varieties are showing up on schedules too. When naked yoga first came into vogue, many classes were men only or women only. Now, some studios are starting to stretch the boundaries and even offer co-ed naked yoga Vinyasa.
Naked yoga is also not just some trend that popped up as a new way to attract attention. It’s been in the United States since the 60s but goes back even further than that and dates back to ancient times. It’s still practiced in India by religious figures.
Naked yoga may not be for everyone, but if you want to push your practice to new boundaries and experience a new level of intimacy with your own body and mind, then maybe naked yoga is a good venue to learn to be completely comfortable in your own skin.
Honor yourself – all of yourself – in all of your glory.Image credit: Petter Hegre/ Luba Shumeyko (Yogi)