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What Is Naked Yoga? How Nudity Can Benefit Your Practice

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Elyce Neuhauser post Reviewer Elyce Neuhauser post Reviewer
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Yoga Expert, E-RYT 500, Certified Meditation Coach

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Does the price of a good pair of leggings get you down? Here’s an unexpected solution: naked yoga! 

What is naked yoga? Let’s find out more about this unorthodox approach to your yoga practice.

What Is Nude Yoga?

That is what it sounds like — practicing yoga undressed. Many ancient yogis found freedom through non-attachment to material things, including their clothes — so naturally, yoga has its roots in spirituality, not sexuality. 

The practice, also called “Nagna Yoga” or “Vivastra Yoga,” goes back to ancient times. It is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, a sacred Indian text composed between the 8th-10th centuries. 

As time has evolved, naked yoga has emerged with it, showing up in alternative populations during the 1960s and in naturist groups today.

What to Expect From Naked Yoga? Benefits & Challenges

Classes can be men-only, women-only, or co-ed; some are exclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community. Some studios offer longer workshops and others that have online-only practices.

How You Might Feel

  • Anxious – You are starting a completely new journey and one that might be misunderstood or judged by others. It is totally normal to feel apprehensive at first.
  • Self-Conscious – Society heavily emphasizes physical appearance, but everyone has insecurities. Feelings of inadequacy are natural.
  • Exposed – Is everyone looking at you? Do they judge you for your physique? You are the center of your emotions and experiences, so it’s perfectly normal for you to have those thoughts. Practice shifting your attention to your sensations rather than thoughts or what others might be thinking. 

Naked Yoga Benefits

If you finally make it to a naked yoga class, here are some benefits you may experience.

  • Improved Self-Esteem – As you move past initial inhibitions, your confidence will grow. After making it through a nude yoga class, many day-to-day self-doubts will seem trivial. Cultivate a new sense of honesty and authenticity in your yoga practice. 
  • Healthier Body Image – Embracing your body for what it can do rather than how you think it should look can make you more comfortable in your own skin. Without clothing to hide behind, we are invited to strip away limited views of ourselves and let go in the most natural way. 
  • More Comfort Clothing can pinch and squeeze during your practice. You can be more fully present in your poses without having to continuously tug at your leggings. Plus, the freedom of moving through space without your clothes has the potential to energetically free any shame that restricts your soul. Enjoy the authenticity that may emerge from shunning your yoga fashion — you may find that you can energetically release yourself from other constraints that are holding your back in your life.
  • Better Health There’s no shortage of reasons to take a yoga class to promote a healthy lifestyle, such as improved strength, flexibility, and relaxation. Adding nudity to the practice enhances physiological benefits even more. The psychological advantages of releasing inhibitions are the immune system boost and the restoration of the energy that can be drained from the weight of others’ opinions.
  • Cultivate CommunityEven if you never see your classmates again, you’ll no doubt experience a feeling of connection with your fellow nudists. No one is judging, much less caring, what anyone else looks like. Savor the compassion and peace of being around people who are kind and vulnerable, just like you!

Challenges You May Face

  • Finding a Class While naked yoga is nothing new, it’s not exactly mainstream. Use Google to find studios and teachers in your city or to seek out those who offer classes online.
  • CriticismAny time you deviate from social norms, you will likely face some judgment from others. Some people mistakenly believe that nude yoga is meant to be sexual and might question your motives for trying it. Not everyone will ask, “what is naked yoga?” with an open mind.  
  • First Time Jitters Learning to fully accept and honor your body in the nude may not happen with just one class. It might take time for you to truly let go of the panicked “Omigosh, I’m NAKED!” thoughts and embrace the practice for the self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-appreciation that it inspires.

How to do Naked Yoga: 6 Basic Rules During Class

Nude yoga classes will vary somewhat depending on the teacher’s approach. There may be teachers who have you begin the practice fully nude. Others might include disrobing as part of the centering meditation, and some will invite you to slowly shed your robe as the class progresses.

General Etiquette

  • No staring at others – focus on your own practice.
  • Avoid commenting on others’ bodies, even if you think it’s complimentary.
  • Some teachers may offer physical adjustments. If you are not interested in being touched, let your instructor know before the class begins. 
  • Know before you go: consider asking what to expect in the class you are attending. Some studios might offer non-sexual partner work, talking circles, or additional free-form movement.

Only attend if you are willing to participate fully, along with everyone else. Sexual arousal is nothing to be ashamed of. If that happens,  take a resting pose, such as Child’s Pose.

How to Prepare For Naked Yoga

Stepping outside your comfort zone can be nerve-wracking for anyone. Be kind to yourself and eliminate your fears of doing naked yoga with some advance planning. 

Practical Preparations

  • Shower before your class.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal beforehand.
  • Bring your own mat and towel.
  • Be on time – the door will probably be locked as soon as this class begins.

Mental Preparations

  • If you are feeling anxious, keep in mind that you are not alone. Remember that everyone else in the class is just as vulnerable as you are.
  • Instead of focusing on any fears, bring your awareness to the good you are doing for yourself – deepening the connection within and building confidence.
  • Let go of expectations. This practice is about developing a greater appreciation of your body and connecting more deeply to yourself so you can open yourself more deeply to others, too, through radical self-love and acceptance.

Remember that experiencing nude yoga benefits doesn’t have to take place in a class full of people.

If you are not ready to show up in a public class in your birthday suit or need time to get used to the idea, you can practice a yoga sequence at home (try this 15-minute Yin-Yang Yoga sequence) without any clothes to see how you feel.

Final Words: Why Naked Yoga Can Enhance Your Practice

  • Naked yoga is meant to be spiritual, not sexual.
  • Nude yoga is not a brand-new trend. It has been around for centuries and is sometimes called “Nagna Yoga” or “Vivastra Yoga.”
  • Group yoga classes will have guidelines to help you feel more at ease and alleviate the awkwardness. Ask questions beforehand to allay your concerns.
  • While you might have feelings of anxiety beforehand, you will experience how and why nude yoga can lead to a better self-image and more ease in your practice.
  • Preparing physically and mentally for your class will also help to quell your fears.

A naked yoga practice can be done in group classes, workshops, or online. Don’t hesitate to try it by yourself in the comfort of your own home using a yoga app like Yoga-Go for personalized yoga sequences.

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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