Naked yoga’s a little extreme for me

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yoga is a wonderful practice. Actually, it is a wonderful way of life, and I’m interested in learning more about this ancient science.

There are types of yoga to suit everyone no matter the age, shape, size or level of physical fitness. Again, I am open to learning about new ways to practice yoga.

To give you an example of what’s out there for someone who wants to try yoga; a person might like Iyengar with its focus on proper alignment and the use of props to achieve that alignment.

You might try a challenging Ashtanga practice or step into a heated studio and move with other hot yogis in a Bikram class. Then there is my favorite, the flowing movement of a Vinyasa class.

Of course, the choices seem endless. There is Kundalina yoga, and Anusara yoga and Jivamukti yoga, yin yoga, power yoga…

As I said twice already, I like to keep learning and experiencing the variety yoga offers. And that brings me, finally, to the real subject of this column.

Yesterday, I read a story and saw a video clip about a yoga class that may be a little too open-minded even for me. It described a studio that offers — are you ready — naked co-ed yoga classes. Apparently known as ‘nagna yoga’ in Sanskrit, it is ancient and still practiced by religious figures in India.

Yep, you read that correctly, naked, or in the language of the South, “nekked” yoga. Better yet is the fact that the class is co-ed. (They do offer segregated by sex classes too).

The pictures accompanying the story showed a bunch of nude folks on yoga mats looking happy as surely naked yogis look all the time. In an interview, the teachers who created the class said the goal is to help students overcome “body issues.”

Well, okey-dokey and namaste. Let’s take off our clothes and shed our body issues in the process. Of course, I noticed the people in the pictures didn’t appear to have many issues since their bodies looked pretty darn good.

In the article, they said, and I quote, “… when we’re naked, it’s like we’re all the same.” And continuing with this line of thinking they say.

“Practicing yoga naked frees you from negative feelings about your body and allows [you] to be more accepting and deeper connected with yourself and the world around you.”

That might be true, but while I’m accepting myself in downward facing dog, I may not be connected enough, yet, to be fine looking up and seeing a bare backside in front of me, especially if it is co-ed. And for you yogis, imagine a naked happy baby pose.

I’m doing my best to remain open minded, and my husband, when he stopped laughing, said I could drop the word naked and call it a “clothing optional” class. Still, I’m not sure Covington County will embrace this class no matter what I call it.

I am also concerned the places where I teach might not want to host a group of clothes-free yogis. Some how I can’t picture naked people, yoga mats under their arms, strolling across the LBW campus, the Mizell Wellness Center parking lot or the grounds of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. (Although they said religious figures practice this type yoga, I am not thinking Mother Cindy is going to be one of them.)

Therefore, that leaves me with few options should we decide to take up the practice of nagna yoga around here. Wait, I know what we’ll do. We’ll take it outside — perhaps to the Andalusia square.

Yep, can you imagine it? A group of naked people line up on yoga mats, and stand quietly in tree pose happily shedding their body issues right up to the moment when the police show up and haul them to jail.

Hold the phone. I think I have an idea for a new class. I‘ll call it Naked (or clothing optional) Incarcerated Co-ed Yoga.