Certified yoga instructor Jeffrey Duval, left, and student Todd
Erickson roll up their mats following a nude yoga class in New York.
Fans of nude yoga say the nudity aids in deepening their yoga practice.
(AP Photo/David Goldman)
High Noon: Yoga Sans Clothes asks, “Isn’t yoga difficult enough without this twist? Is this something you’d be interested in doing?”
The answer to the first question is “No.” Yoga isn’t difficult. Sure, some of the poses are challenging but you work to your own limits on any given day. Is nude yoga something I’d be interested in doing? You bet!
I’ve a naturist for a number of years. I find nudity in situations where clothing isn’t necessary for warmth or protection to be perfectly normal and natural. To me, a nude human being is a person in their natural state. From naturism I’ve learned to accept my body as it is while at the same time striving to make it a better place to live. I’ve also learned to accept others for who they are, regardless of physical appearance. My yoga practice reinforces these ideas and I find that the two philosophies work very well together.
One of my biggest distractions in doing asana is having to interrupt my focus to adjust my clothing because it doesn’t want to stretch in the same way or direction that my body does. Practicing yoga in the nude obviously eliminates this distraction and during my home practice (where I practice in the nude) I find I’m able to focus on my breath, the pose and my intention. At the studio where I attend classes, nude yoga is not an option so I deal with it.
Would a practice with other nude yogis (either mixed gender or same sex) be distracting? For some, yes, especially if they were unaccustomed to being nude with others or hadn’t developed an attitude of body acceptance. I haven’t yet done nude yoga with others so I can’t say with one-hundred percent certainty that I wouldn’t be distracted but I’m reasonably sure I’d find it no different from a nudist venue.
Many of the comments I’ve seen in blog posts or news articles stress the “Ewww” factor in regards to certain poses that might expose body parts some would rather not see. I find such comments to be juvenile. These body parts are common to all of us. To my way of thinking, one body part isn’t any more or less offensive than any other. If seeing a particular part of the human anatomy offends or titillates us it’s because we’ve chosen to be offended or titillated by it. If you’re attending a nude yoga class to indulge in moral outrage or to be titillated, then you’re there for the wrong reasons.
Another reason, I’d probably not find nudity distracting is that in every yoga class in which I’ve participated, I rarely spend any time looking at others in the class. Most of the time, I’m listening to the instructor and focusing on my practice — my breath, the pose, how my body feels in the pose. About the only time I do look at another student or the instructor is for guidance when I’m unsure about a pose.
I’m not saying I don’t get distracted by bodies in a yoga class. I do. However, I have the respect and presence of mind to accept it, let it pass and return my focus to my practice.