Yoga has been popular in the United States for some time now, and you’ve probably heard all about its benefits. It’s a great low-impact exercise that improves flexibility and core strength, and it’s an excellent way to relax and meditate. There has even been a trend in more recent years toward naked yoga, and while some have written this off as a new-age fad, there may be some real benefits to attending a yoga class in the nude.
Naked Yoga vs. Clothed Yoga
Technically speaking, practicing yoga while naked isn’t that different from practicing it while clothed. Naked yoga poses aren’t any different from the poses you would do while wearing clothes, and a naked yoga workout will have the same physical benefits as any other yoga regimen. Yoga will help you relax and improve your flexibility no matter what you are (or aren’t) wearing.
And yet, naked yoga does seem to provide a completely different experience from “standard” clothed yoga. First of all, it does seem to help improve people’s self-esteem and provide a more relaxing atmosphere. One would think that the opposite would be true since most people in our society are anxious about being naked in front of others, but many practitioners of naked yoga report that it is a very freeing experience.
There is a short period of awkwardness for first-timers, but it’s important to remember that everyone in a naked yoga class is naked or close to it. Nobody has a “perfect” body, and going nude in a yoga class will obviously put all of one’s physical flaws on display around people who are doing the same thing. It’s something of an equalizer that turns the class into a very body-positive experience.
Those who regularly practice and advocate naked yoga claim that it adds a new level of authenticity and honesty to the experience. There’s a certain level of fashion and branding around yoga, something that can be seen by anybody who has ever shopped around for the perfect yoga outfit. True yoga has nothing to do with being seen in a pair of name-brand yoga pants with a cute top to match. It’s about self-improvement and relaxation.
Practicing yoga while naked takes away that emphasis on fashion so you can better focus on yourself. It is yoga stripped down to its most basic elements, no pun intended.
Now that we’ve established that practicing yoga while naked can be a positive and enlightening experience, are there any downsides to it? Not exactly. The only real danger to trying some naked yoga poses is a slight risk of infection. There are obviously no more barriers between your skin and a yoga mat, so any scratch or scrape you might have is exposed. This is really only a risk for those who might share a yoga mat, so you might want to invest in your own mat that you keep clean between classes. Otherwise, the only issues associated with the practice are the same ones that people have with nudity in general. Most of us have been taught that nudity is to be avoided except in private, so nude yoga has been met with a lot of resistance from those who see any kind of nude recreation as dirty or strictly sexual. Once you let go of the idea that the need for clothing is a cultural norm and that there is nothing morally wrong with being naked, a nude yoga class becomes much easier.
So with that being said, should you try a naked yoga workout for yourself? That’s really up to you. As we said before, a lot of people are really uncomfortable with being naked around others either due to societal norms or their own insecurities. It may take a while for someone who doesn’t regularly get naked around others to get used to practicing yoga while nude, so it’s understandable if someone is simply unable to get around that particular barrier.
On the other hand, they may be missing out on a beautiful and positive experience. There may be classes offering nude yoga classes near you, and you should be encouraged to check them out. You might be surprised at how much more powerful and enlightening it is than a “regular” yoga class.