Naked yoga is increasingly gaining popularity. Asanas are performed without any clothing. It can be practiced by either individual classes or in a group.
The practice of naked yoga is a total exit from the comfort zone. What could be more awkward than naked people around you performing the Cat-Cow pose? But the naked practice is aimed at getting rid of the psychological and emotional blocks, physical body attachments, insecurities, low self-esteem.
After naked yoga practice, most people notice the feeling of liberation. Many people also note that it is very comfortable to perform asanas without clothes that constrain the body. Of course, it may feel awkward at the beginning but the benefits of this practice are simply amazing and definitely worth trying it!
In this article, we will share with you what naked yoga is about and those amazing benefits that may inspire you to try this practice.
Ancient Practice of Naked Yoga
We used to think that the naked body is related to sexuality and some people even find it vulgar. But we, modern human beings, should remind ourselves that nudity is a natural state of our body. Naked yoga brings us back to our nature and roots and allows us to work with what we have — with all our folds, flaws and shortcomings.
Despite the fact that naked yoga seems to be another marketing move (like goat yoga or cat yoga), in fact, nudity was present in many ancient practices to get rid of attachments to the material.
Naked yoga (Sanskrit: “nagna yoga” or “vivastra yoga”) has existed since ancient times as a spiritual practice. It is even mentioned in the 7th-10th century Bhagavata Purana and by the Ancient Greek geographer Strabo.
In the Bhagavata Purana (written c. 800–1000 AD) it says:
”A person in the renounced order of life may try to avoid even a dress to cover himself. If he wears anything at all, it should be only a loincloth, and when there is no necessity, a sannyasi should not even accept a danda. A sannyasi should avoid carrying anything but a danda and kamandalu.”
Alexander the Great reached India in the 4th century BC. Along with his army, he took Greek academics with him who later wrote memoirs about geography, people and customs they saw. One of Alexander’s companions was Onesicritus, quoted in Book 15, Sections 63-65 by Strabo, who describes yogins of India. Onesicritus claims those Indian yogins (Mandanis) practiced aloofness and “different postures – standing or sitting or lying naked – and motionless.”
The practice of spiritual nudity is common among Digambara Jains, Aghori sadhus, and other ascetic groups in the dharmic religions. The order of Naga Sadhus, conspicuous in the processions and bathing ritual at the Kumbh Mela, uses nudity as a part of their spiritual practice of renunciation.
Naked Yoga Benefits
This ancient practice has lots of wonderful benefits that you may find very inspiring. Here are some of them.
#1 It helps you accept your body
Unfortunately, in our modern world there are lots of people who are dissatisfied with their bodies, find them shameful and even ugly. If you feel like it’s not easy for you to see your naked body without judgment or desire to improve something in yourself, if you feel uncomfortable getting naked even in front of your partner, then a naked yoga class can be good therapy for you.
Practicing naked yoga will help you reconnect with your own body, stop being ashamed of it, learn to accept yourself, and increase your sense of self-worth.
The vulnerability of the naked body can help bring people together, make them understand that each of us feels insecure about something, but we are all beautiful in our own way.
Naked yoga can help you overcome the rejection and shame about your own body, cope with the psychological blocks associated with your body, and look at yourself in a new way. It will teach you to love your body the way it is, see your body as a beautiful temple for your spirit, and love your shortcomings.
#2 It boosts your confidence
The naked practice is a way to learn how to interact with your body, feel it, and become more confident. This is an opportunity to really see your body and stop taking it for granted.
#3 It motivates
Nude yoga classes motivate you to master your yoga practice. This is due to the ability to see how each of your muscles moves and how it responds to each exercise. Practicing yoga naked, you are more likely to understand which parts of your body need to be worked out more. You can see and understand more clearly what muscles are too tight and what parts of your body need more stretching. Moreover, you will be able to see where your blocks are located. When you see what your body needs, you can change the content of your classes to suit your needs by targeting the right muscles and body areas.
#4 It makes your skin “breathe”
When you exercise and sweat in your clothes, it adversely affects the skin, because the clothes prevent it from being cleansed. When you sweat naked, your skin can breathe.
Wearing clothes during your yoga class may dry your skin and increase the appearance of wrinkles.
One way or another, clothing always restricts our movement. But when we are performing asanas naked it becomes so much easier for you to improve your practice and reach a new level of mastery!
The Bottom Line
We should always remember that our body is a temple for our spirit. Therefore we need to treat it with love, care, and respect. Even if you want to change something in yourself, it should not be accompanied by self-torture and criticism. Treat your body with care and without excessive fanaticism in the pursuit of ideals.
Would you like to try naked yoga? If your answer is “definitely not”, then think about what kind of mental blocks stop you from doing this? We are all born and start this life without clothes, so why not to try to reconnect with our true natural selves?