Naked Yoga . . .
Full disclosure: this blog post is not going to be about the nude, let-it-all-hang-out yoga you may have read about lately. Yes, ‘clothing optional’ yoga is currently a hot trend. But I believe there are ways to go into the studio fully clothed and practice a version of Naked Yoga that offers more to your body and soul than any nudist-colony exercise program ever could.
Going onto the yoga mat ‘naked’ in this sense means taking away anything that prevents your natural flow of breath as well as your presence in the now. It’s not an easy thing to do, because all of these thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and habits are part of the human condition.
Still, it’s worth the effort.
Some ways to ‘get naked’ inwardly might be:
Strip away your ego’s concern with being better or worse than the person next to you….or being better or worse than you were last year…or wondering “do these yoga pants make my butt look big?”…and on and on. Trust me: listening to the ego never serves us well. It only compromises the calm and concentration we could be enjoying on the mat without its ‘help’.
Take off attachment to outcome whenever and wherever you notice it arising. Yoga asks only for honest effort in the present moment. Do your best and move on to the next pose.
Peel away layers of thought, body sensation and emotion by focusing fully on your breath. A clear, calm mind enhances life on and off the mat.
Remove any unconscious tension in the body when you notice it, allowing your beautiful breath to flow smoothly and deeply. This will give you greater ease and space as you move through the asana.
So, wear as much or as little as you wish on the outside the next time you step onto the mat. It’s your practice! Consider ‘getting naked’ on the inside, and see where it takes you.
Dianne Ochiltree is a writer and 200-hour RYT with Yoga Alliance. She is a proud graduate of the Teacher Training program at Yoga from the Heart, where she can be found teaching chair yoga in addition to her duties as Teaching Assistant for Lynn at Parkinson Place in Sarasota. Dianne is also a published children’s author. For more information on her books, go to dianneochiltree.com.