Naked yoga is just what it sounds like; yoga done while in the nude. This form of yoga first surfaced in the west, in the 1960s, but didn't gain widespread popularity until 2001. Yoga is considered a celebration of the body, and practicing in the nude is said to increase self-acceptance and love of the body. Insecurities about sexuality and body image have been alleviated and healed for some practicing this form of yoga.
The word yoga translates to mean union, which refers to the union of mind, body, and spirit. This union is a very important aspect of yoga, also called asana. It is an increasingly popular form of exercise, consisting of practicing physical poses. These poses, when done consistently and correctly, create a balance in the body through developing strength and flexibility. When these poses are done in the nude, it is called naked yoga.
Naked yoga has been practiced in the west since the 1960s. It is one of the newest additions to the ancient practice of yoga. Aaron Star began his own Hot Nude Yoga classes in April of 2001, which gained wild popularity. From then, nude yoga classes began popping up all over the world, in cities like Sydney, London, Moscow, and Madrid. Reports of this strange new practice in Time Out New York and the San Francisco Chronicle, further popularized nude yoga.
Many people cringe when they consider trying to hold awkward poses in the buff, but this is actually one of the reasons to try naked yoga. This type of yoga is designed to remove the shame associated with the body and nudity. According to many people practicing nude yoga, it can be a very healing experience. Acceptance of the whole self, including the physical body, is cultivated during the practice of naked asana.
One of the most difficult and nerve-wracking parts of naked yoga is disrobing. This anxiety is present for many individuals whether they are on their own or in a class setting. For this reason, disrobing is made into a very spiritual, ritualized occasion. The underlying message of this practice is that nudity can be very freeing, and as such, disrobing can be like an act of freeing oneself.
Naked yoga is often done with other people, in a class session, but is not considered a sexual experience. Some people are afraid they will become physically aroused around others practicing in the nude. This is an understandable fear, however, shame about sexual arousal is discouraged in these environments. Being sexual is part of being human, and all aspects of the body are celebrated during yoga. Safety is a top priority during nude yoga classes, so no touching of other members or teachers is allowed during sessions.