Recently, I have become a lot more interested in yoga. Working from home has been a great opportunity to practice this discipline and really push self-discovery. In the morning, I make a cup of coffee and participate in at least 30 minutes of yoga before I begin my day. Sure, there are days when I don’t really feel like it. But, once those 30 to 60 minutes are up, there’s never been a time that I regret pushing myself to do it.
We hear about the benefits of yoga all the time. But until you try it for yourself, it’s tough to really gain a true appreciation. You have to open your mind in order to harness its potential. I was one of those people who thought it’s just another form of exercise, but I was very wrong.
When I first began, I invested in a nice little yoga outfit. Of course, nothing flashy or over-the-top, just something comfortable. But apparently, I was out of the loop. Stripping down to your birthday suit seems to be where it’s at. Here’s how naked yoga can improve your life!
Being naked isn’t that odd
Before we dive into the benefits of being nude, I’m not telling you to show up to your next yoga class with nothing more than your hair flowing down your back (although your teacher may very well encourage it). There are classes that do encourage this liberating activity, so you can always make the switch.
Within our modern society, you can’t walk around exposing yourself — obviously! With that being said, we’re mammals. We’re just like all the other naked warm-blooded creatures that roam the earth. Although we have been wearing clothing for centuries, some tribes still proudly walk around, showing off what their mama gave them. As we all know, though, clothing isn’t necessary — it’s a social norm.
So, the next time you’re rolling out your yoga mat in your living room, why not strip down? Here are five great reasons to give it a whirl:
1. Naked yoga supports a healthy body image
It’s sad that most of us look in the mirror and think something negative. Whether we don’t like our arms or our hips, we’re often far too hard on ourselves. Women, in particular, tend to be insecure when it comes to their lovely bodies. How comfortable are you in your own skin?
The truth is, we’re exposed to far too many images from the media, telling us what’s beautiful. Even if you don’t realize it, you may allow these images to get into your subconscious mind. As you begin to regularly practice yoga in the nude, you will learn to acknowledge and respect your body.
At the end of the day, positive body image is so important. I want you to learn to embrace your imperfections and enhance self-confidence. Learn that the negative feelings you experience when looking at your body aren’t really your own — they’re essentially inherited based on social judgments.
2. Break away from social norms
Social conditioning and cultural norms can in many ways be beneficial. Now, with that being said, there are many restrictions based on what we’ve learned is right and wrong. Of course, committing a crime, such as a robbery, is most certainly wrong — there’s no question about it.
There are other “norms” that do not fit this bill, yet are still frowned upon. Being naked is a great example of this. When you really think about it, is someone that prefers to walk around naked wrong for doing so? We have developed a sense of what’s wrong and odd, based on where we live and what our social norms have taught us. Whip that bra off ladies — it’s liberating!
3. Amp up vitamin D production
Growing up, I had to walk about 10 minutes to get to the neighbor’s house. There were so many trees along the way that even if they wanted to spy, they couldn’t. If you’re in a similar boat and feel comfortable walking outdoors with nothing more than your headphones — go for it!
As a society, we spend so much time indoors. We leave our houses in the morning (often when it’s still dark), get into our vehicles, then walk into our place of work. It is estimated that three-quarters of American teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D. This can lead to thinning bones and may even play a role in cancer and diabetes.
When you practice yoga in the nude outdoors, you’re exposing your entire body to the possibilities of enhanced vitamin D production. For those who are all too familiar with seasonal affective disorder, you understand the importance of the sunshine vitamin. After 10 minutes or so in the midday sun, your nude yoga poses will significantly reduce your risk of deficiency.
4. Save some coin
My yoga outfit isn’t anything special. It’s just some stretchy pants and a plain tank top (or one of my husband’s t-shirts). I’ve never been one to obsess over fashion, but I can understand why you’d want to look good — especially if you practice in a public area.
At the end of the day, yoga outfits are expensive. In comparison, your birthday suit doesn’t cost you a dime. And hey, you look good in it!
5. Reduce stress and enhance compassion
In this day in age, we all need to practice greater acceptance. It’s painful to see the judgment that people pass on others — especially when they know nothing about them. Far too many of us walk around acting like little stress balls, ready to explode. This is where nude yoga comes into play.
As we learn to practice self-love and focus on what truly matters, the anxiety and stress surrounding everyday life melt away. When you’re transitioning from one pose to the next, in your most natural form, you will begin to experience true psychological benefits.
Once you learn to love yourself, you can pass on that compassion to others. When you accept yourself for who you are, negative thoughts vanish. If you can relate to this — embracing your innermost self — pass that feeling on. We need more people to spread feelings of love and acceptance, diminishing thoughts and actions of hate.
Try naked yoga to enhance the benefits of this ancient practice. Free yourself from limitations — and your clothing!
— Krista Hillis