While most people are looking for the best yoga clothing that can help them the most during a class, some are ditching the idea of clothing altogether and practicing yoga completely nude. Naked yoga started gaining attention a few years ago as stories of naked yoga classes went viral. While some feel uncomfortable doing this, others have no qualms whatsoever. Clothing is often designed to feel like it is not there, so why not remove it altogether?
The idea of being nude during yoga and surrounded by others is not for everyone. Many people are far too modest to consider doing this. However, there is a surprising sense of empowerment that many are finding by trying out naked yoga at home. The feeling of being unhindered by anything while holding the poses can be viewed as liberating.
Most won’t go beyond playfully trying naked yoga out at home, but some like it so much that they seek out classes to join others. These classes are usually divided by gender and taught by similarly naked instructors.
Fascinatingly, these classes are probably a lot closer to how ancient yoga classes were taught. When scouring ancient yogic texts, there are interesting comments about the refusal of material goods. One passage said specifically to get rid of the clothes on your back and to only allow yourself a loincloth if you are overly modest. Many ancient yogis perfected their art while completely naked or only in a small loincloth.
Some religions also viewed nudity as part of their spiritual practice. Their use of naked yoga was to tame their desires, to get in harmony with their physical bodies, and to attempt to break their attachment to the material, physical and sensual. Ancient Greek writings contain the word “gymnosophists” as their description for the wise yogis from India. It translates to “naked philosophers”.
Naked yoga classes were popular during the hippie movement of the 1960s, went out of fashion for a while, and have now begun gaining favor again. Beyond classes, the hashtag #nakedyoga has become steadily popular of late. While one would expect something a bit risqué, you will be surprised to see beautiful works of art. Most of the pictures are in black & white, in stunning locations, and cover the more sensitive body parts that Instagram would have an issue with.
The trend seems to be about showing the world how beautiful and graceful yoga is. As it gained popularity, some started viewing yoga as a health/fitness fad. But others dug deeper below the surface of popularity to the essence of what yoga truly is. These beautiful photographs look to do the same.
While not everyone is okay to follow in the ancient yogis’ naked footsteps, we luckily can find yoga clothing that is designed to feel weightless. We are fortunate to live in a time with state-of-the-art fabrics. I wonder if synthetic fabrics and moisture-wicking technology had been around when the authors of these ancient yoga texts were alive and if we would still be reading about naked yoga.