Nude Yoga -History, Etiquette & Nude Yoga Groups


Nude Yoga

Nude Yoga is certainly an adventure – out of about 100 websites, you may find one or two legitimate nude yoga sites in amidst a plethora of other adult oriented or retail oriented sites. Frustrating, yes – but this shouldn’t diminish your opinion of naked yoga. In fact, nude yoga exercise is becoming one of the fastest spreading Yoga techniques in North America, and is recommended by many master yoga instructors worldwide. 

Freeing the body of clothes and performing yoga positions nude can make yoga poses twice as easy – and liberating. Many who try yoga nude feel constrained and uncomfortable if they perform yoga poses with clothes, even with certified yoga clothing.

Nude yoga is in fact no different from any other yoga – it is simply the art or performing your preferred type of yoga without clothes. Naked or nude yoga is most popularly associated with hot yoga like Bikram Yoga. The reasons for this are ambiguous – people who practice hot yoga tend to get very hot and sweat, therefore performing the exercise without clothes is much more comfortable; people who prefer to practice yoga in the nude usually find that heated rooms provide a much more comfortable environment.

nude yoga
nude yoga

Nude Yoga History

Pinning down an origin to nude yoga is literally impossible: one can assume that yoga has been performed by various groups throughout history in a sporadic manner. However, in western culture, nude yoga first became a fad in the 1960’s as part of the hippie movement. The natural lifestyles of the era celebrated the human body as beautiful and something not to be ashamed of.  

Yoga itself whether naked or not, also garnered a lot of popularity in the 60’s as part of a natural healing movement that embodied again, the era of nature and honest beauty. Many progressive healing institutions at the time introduced naked yoga, however when the 60’s and early 70’s passed, nude yoga exercising appeared to have ‘cooled off’ along with the cooling of extreme liberalism.

The early 80’s brought a resurgence of nude yoga, as gay rights and gay pride became hot topics in western society. Although naked yoga is by no means directly associated with the gay community, the idea of naked yoga was embraced by the gay community and used as a media for gathering together in lieu of gay clubs, etc. Naked yoga is popular with peoples of all sexual orientation and is becoming more and popular as yoga continues to rise in popularity.

Nude Yoga Etiquette

Joining a nude yoga class?  Not sure of the proper etiquette?  Follow these simple rules…

•    Don’t stare!  It’s not very polite to stare at the best of times, let alone when participants are naked!

•    Try to become comfortable with your body beforehand, even if you are going to the class to become more comfortable with your body, it’s not a bad idea to at least walk around nude at home a few times (when you’re alone if preferable), and take a good look at yourself in the mirror as well (how often do you really do this?). The more comfortable you are with your body, the more you will enjoy the class.

•    Wait for others before removing your clothes, and don’t linger. Make sure that when you decide to go to a nude yoga class, you are prepared to be naked. Leaving your clothes on while others are naked may be seen as impolite, but it will also make it more and more difficult for you to ‘just do it’. 

•    Limit your talking. It stands to reason that even if you are not uncomfortable, someone else may still be getting used to the class. Therefore, chit chat and small talk may not be appropriate. Use your best judgement and remember not everyone may be as comfortable with their body as you are!

Nude Yoga Stereotypes

In the past, yoga was associated with hippies and thus a stereotype was formed encompassing free-thinkers and leftists in the field of yoga. If you did yoga, you most certainly were a hippie. Nude yoga exercise was stereotyped as an extreme leftist activity – ‘OK, maybe other people besides hippies practice yoga, but only hippies practice naked yoga’ – etc.

Another stereotype associated with naked yoga is its parallels with the gay community. In the late 60’s and early 80’s, the gay movement brought with it many stereotypes, many of which still linger pointlessly today. Naked yoga is no exception, and many people automatically make a direct connection between naked yoga and being gay. Certainly the gay community has not made any attempt to rid themselves of this stereotype, but as people become more accepting of the human body and turn to more fundamental forms of healing (body and spirit), naked yoga continues to increase in popularity and shed its old stereotypes.

Couples Nude Yoga

Nude yoga as part of a couples exercise routine is probably it’s most popular form. Again with the growing popularity of eastern medicine and healing techniques, people are more and more open to ‘alternative’ practices such as the Karma Sutra which was wildly popular (at least in spirit) in the mid-90’s and early 21st century. Nude yoga, as part of a couples exercise routine, brings the perfect balance of sexuality, exercise, and relaxation to many people’s relationships.

‘Performing yoga in the nude with your partner provides an intimacy far more memorable than traditional sex. Your mind and body are joined as one – and the lights are always on!’  Nancy McDermitt, Phd., Professional Yogini and Psychologist

All humor aside, nude yoga is now being used as a healing technique for couples in relationship therapy. The practice has been highly successful because it incorporates many levels of a psychological relationship – trust, openness, teamwork and of course the appreciation of the physical body.

Nude Yoga Groups

Naked yoga groups have been around since the 60’s and possibly earlier. Up until recently, these groups were stereotyped as part of the gay or hippie community. Although still practiced by these groups, many people outside these social groups have decided to join group yoga classes. In some cases, whole families are attending although this still considered controversial in many communities.


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