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Rough Guide To Naked Yoga

Rough Guide To Naked Yoga

November 11, 2010

Nude need not be lewd. Shedding one's clothes can be a truly liberating experience.

Oxford English dictionary

na-ked adj. - without clothes, nude, defenceless, unsheathed, plain, undisguised.

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 other’s, 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!

Naked experience

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 perspective 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 shed 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 in the spring. The feeling I had was of being at one with the planet. Feeling the earth beneath my feet and the crisp leaves between my fingers brought me the closest I think I could ever have been to the world of elemental beings, whether you 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 allowed my personality to transform into a more playful childlike form - in turn creating a sense of youth within me. However, this is not to say I urge you all to run 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 scenario doesn’t fill me with a sense of nurture. Certainly the thought of people baring all in downward dog doesn’t appeal!!

My images have been a target for criticism, a risk I was willing to take. I was always aware of the implications of taking on this project and that people do have the freedom of speech, whether that is one of love, hate or constructive criticism. 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

Naked Yoga in a Class Environment

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 our 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 time of 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 its major objectives 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 could the negatives aspects be regarding the practice? No matter what our personal point of view may be, nudity is still a taboo subject in both eastern and western continents. This is the reason why Naked Yoga has not taken off 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.

Perception of Naked Yoga falls into three categories - acceptance, disgust or humour.

We could argue forever as to why people feel this way. It could simply be due to the fact that nudity is not everyone’s cup of tea; that it’s not acceptable as human beings that we flaunt ourselves in such a public manner. A bit of modesty and respect for the body goes along way and adds to the mystery of life. When we reveal all, then the mystery is shattered to a degree.

Conclusion

So for those of you that may feel up to participating in Naked Yoga, here are the Goals and Etiquette tips that you should consider.

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

Unite your mind, liberate your body, feel fantastic, find your spirit, feel a new confidence, and don’t be afraid!


20 Comments

  • sandy
    By
    sandy
    11.01.14 05:00 PM
    Please inform me about classes in pune for nude yoga
  • Lloyd
    By
    Lloyd
    08.01.12 07:44 PM
    Indra,
    Thank you for pointing out what a wonderful experience being naked outdoors can be, especially when doing yoga. Thank you as well for allowing yourself to be photographed in ways that capture that feeling. Nude yoga is a difficult topic to handle in a balanced way. One wants to preserve the attitude of the basic goodness of the human body of which sex is an integral aspect. On the other hand, one does not want to pander to those whose focus is only sexual. On the other hand one shouldn’t encourage those whose disgust and fear of the body restricts spiritual growth and self acceptance.
    I practice yoga nude, usually alone. I have also spent some time at nudist parks. Your recommendations for naked yoga etiquette are precisely what you will find at any nudist club. People do not need to fear improper behavior. When everybody had their clothes off, it’s like nobody does and the same rules of courtesy apply when everyone is naked as when everyone is clothed.
  • Abhijit
    By
    Abhijit
    19.12.11 06:38 PM
    Hi Indra, My name is Abhijit.Hat's Off to your naked yoga's valuable tips.I am a college student. I always do yoga completely naked, whenever I get time. I used to practice naked yoga from very early age. My middle aged mother, being herself a yoga instructor also does nude yoga completely without any clothes. I feel more liberal and more relaxed doing nude yoga.I strongly support your views. My mother also supports that and she always encourages me to do yoga without any clothes.We should not be ashamed of our naked body. Waiting for your reply.
  • Jorge San
    By
    Jorge San
    13.10.11 06:26 AM
    I think that the mistery of the body begins in your soul, if you are naked its not important for the soul, but it is important for your ego.
    You need dhyana (meditation) and know about the experience with the body naked.
    The sex, body and mind must trascend the ego and search the happiness.

    We need Awareness in practice...day after day...Bhakti

    JOrge
    Thank u dear Indra
  • varah
    By
    varah
    16.08.11 08:45 AM
    madam are there any branches in visakhapatnam Andhra pradesh, India.
  • Indra Singh
    By
    Indra Singh
    18.11.10 05:23 PM
    Alamgir with thanks
    Jahangir, ok i think reading the article you might note that i do not say at any point i take part in a class, In class people will stare, that isn't something that appeals to me personally. Some people or let me say MOST people are likely to do naked yoga because of the freedom and the liberation NOT because they want to be stared at. They are comfortable with who they are so are likely to go beyond the mocking. Obviously you have a great deal of respect for other peoples views, Nonsense?(is a strong word) or just a controversial subject that we choose to differ on.
    thanks for you input, respect
  • Alamgir
    By
    Alamgir
    18.11.10 04:52 PM
    Being naked is a personal thing. Surely staring is rude.
    Like a person wearing "skimpy clothes" on say a Friday night whilst out clubbing does that give someone the right to ogle or stare at them? Its not polite.
    How can looking at a naked body make the "voyeur" or spectator feel liberated?
    I liberated person is the one sans vetements and not the one staring.
    How is what the author saying "talking nonsense"?
  • Jahangir
    By
    Jahangir
    18.11.10 03:56 PM
    "Don’t stare – it’s simply not polite!"
    WHY don't stare? If you are not bothered about being naked in public, why are you bothered about people staring? If you like being naked and feel liberated, why have shackles on other people's eyes, let them also feel free and liberated. If not, then cover up and stop talking nonsense!
  • pramod
    By
    pramod
    14.11.10 07:58 PM
    very nicely stated, and being a yoga teacher you know well that you wish to acheive.
    My knowledge says this mode to be influenced by the tantra marga, wherein,the ultimate enlightenment is the goal.
  • Indra Singh
    By
    Indra Singh
    14.11.10 05:03 PM
    Thank you David for you words of Wisdom
    always appreciated
  • david sye
    By
    david sye
    14.11.10 09:59 AM
    I always enjoy your balanced views,.Indra,..but I wanted to add that the very act of practicing yoga in the nude,.is a wonderful metaphor in which practitioners get to excercise the "wildness"the elemental sides of their own natures, amidst a society which tends to over favour conformity and domesticity,.yogis for thousands of years have inspired,others..by daring to live outside of the "box" and actually daring to live out their truth (satya) No Matter What,..thats also why they generally lived at a safe distance from others in caves!!!!(societys never tend to favour any one that operates outside of its own regulations ) This is just one opinion,. but i beleive to keep yoga vital,and inspiring for everyone,it has also to take some risk,some divine daring and inspiration, like all the arts from music/art/food etc,.Nude Yoga may not be everyones way ,but at least it brings with it some risk and in that sense, i for one applaude it, !!!Peace,,.. David Sye
  • Granville Cousins
    By
    Granville Cousins
    13.11.10 01:16 AM
    The photos on your website look artistic and project an air of aesthetic beauty which enhances both our search for purity and innocence. This is a worthwhile ideal. I once taught a yoga class at a nudist club and welcomed the experience. My feelings though are with yours in that our personal preferences need to be recognised as truly valid and to be confident that we each have our journeys to fulfill and may differ from that of others. We must respect the views of others and be happy with our own choices. 'You are right from your side and I am right from mine, we're both just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.' End of quote. A refreshing article that will encourage people to do their thing.
  • Indra Singh
    By
    Indra Singh
    12.11.10 05:07 PM
    Thank you Marcus and Alamgir
    great to hear your personal views
    thank you for your input,
  • Marcus
    By
    Marcus
    12.11.10 01:54 PM
    Good article, well written. Challenging topic because as you point out nudity inevitably has sexual connotations , if people can see beyond that then great. I think people also have self body image issues, if I'd got my kit off last summer when I had a flat stomach I'd have felt more comfortable than with the two stone I've added since then!

    Well done for getting it out there and much luck.
  • indra
    By
    indra
    12.11.10 12:31 PM
    Padma, thank you for the positive feedback. Fear is something we all get caught up in at times in our lives, the odd reminder that is it an illusion really helps:) don"t you think?
    Gaia thank you, I am not sure if it is small mindedness or as we mentioned above, fear and lack of acceptance of the self. Like i said Class situation isn't for me but alone in nature there is a true beauty in such a practice.
  • Alamgir
    By
    Alamgir
    12.11.10 11:01 AM
    A very controversial issue handled well. What is wrong with yoga practice sans vetements?? Nothing if done in the privacy of ones own home but in a class? Depends on how comfortable one is.
    A topic well handled and discussed.
    It would be interesting to hear from those who are totally pro naked yoga and those totally against it.
    A well written and interesting article on a delicate subject.
    Thank you for sharing your insights with us.
  • Gaia
    By
    Gaia
    12.11.10 02:55 AM
    I love your pictures and i think the naked yoga is a really good idea and if some people dont understand that it's because they have a small mind and small brain!!!!!!!!!
  • padma gedan
    By
    padma gedan
    12.11.10 02:03 AM
    Thank you for your insightful article. I practice yoga in the nude whenever it is possible to do so in a safe and people-free environment. I too believe that honest and unencumbered acceptance of who we are can serve as a touchstone of true spiritual growth. Thank you for this reminder to not be afraid to skillfully face our inner and outer nakedness.
  • indra
    By
    indra
    11.11.10 08:59 PM
    Totally Jayanth where do we draw the line? I am with you here. We may like to hide from the fact that we all have NAKED bodies but what ever the intention is NAKED YOGA is out there. Just google naked yoga in nyc, it's pretty popular.
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    By
    Jayanth Tadinada
    11.11.10 07:51 PM
    You have given a very thorough argument from your side. You are a Yoga expert and doing it as an expression of your art is at some level acceptable. But Playboy also cashed in on this trend and released a naked Yoga video.

    Where do we draw the line? This I think is what freaks your critics the most.

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