Originally adopted in the 18th century, nude yoga has long been a tradition of master yogis, although mostly among esoteric practitioners. With the counter culture of the 60’s and a return to naturalistic themes in popular culture nude yoga has since enjoyed an increase in popularity, and today nude yoga taken its place in full blown mainstream society. So much so that nude yoga classes are even being taught to children. While the idea of nude yoga alone might make any of us recoil in a shy horror, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that indicates several key benefits to the practice.
Many might find their first excursion into nude yoga to be distracting to say the least. However, they will quickly find that the anxiety associated with nude yoga melts away rather quickly and we then gain the ability to be comfortable with our naked bodies which negates so much of the poor self-image that we acquire throughout our lives. With television and magazine articles dictating how we think we should look, naked yoga allows us to let go of the stringent societal norms that we all cling so despairingly to and, be comfortable in all of our flaws and imperfections; and with our bodily perfections as well.
Stepping into our primal element comfortably through nude yoga might not necessarily be a good enough benefit for us to shed our flared yoga pants or what have you, however most of us would find benefit in increased sensory perception and free range movements. Nude yoga provides exactly that. Science has long proselyted about the benefits of naked time for infants and toddlers for the increase production of neural pathways. These pathways in our brain allow signals from our various extremities to more readily register and therefore increase our perception of external stimuli. The more frequently our brain experience external stimuli the more abundant neural pathways are.
The act of being naked allows for our epidermal layer to experience stimuli without the interference of clothes. Since neuroscientist now agree that neural growth is not static like once thought, people of all ages can experience these same benefits from nude yoga. Clothes also restrict free range movements of our joints, just try doing the splits in a pair of jeans and you’ll understand the wisdom in performing nude yoga. Although this restriction of movement might not seem overly detrimental (in and of its self it isn’t) the freer flowing movement that nude yoga provides can increase neural pathways associated with movement as well as decrease the possibility of various kinds of arthritis and joint pain in our later years.
Much of the controversy surrounding nude yoga stems from the sexualized manor in which we as a society view nudity; this is especially true in nude yoga classes that are taught to both men and women. That being said, if you are considering nude yoga it might be easier to start off in a class with all men or all women. However after the adjustment period, nude yoga will begin to feel completely natural, and most will find the anxiety associated with nude yoga in being to dissipate.