Disclaimer: I am NOT offering naked yoga in Copenhagen! If you are still interested in reading why people do naked yoga, when and how I do naked yoga, and what my suggestions for you are, I would be pleased if you would read on.
The Danes and Nudity
Denmark is known for its soft-footed dealing with nudity. People do not care about walking around in their apartments in the Eva costume while the curtains are open. The Danes stick to the rule: if you see something you do not like to see, then look somewhere else. Nevertheless, I did not find any naked yoga courses here in Copenhagen, although you may find some hot or Bikram yoga classes in which people wear a lot less than in usual yoga classes, but not the “real thing”.
Me and Naked Yoga
I am from Germany and a yoga instructor, and I do naked yoga every morning. Me doing naked yoga in front of a mirror started when I was learning a cleansing technique called Nauli. Nauli is quite an advanced practice in which you move and rotate the muscles in your stomach while holding the breath after a big exhalation. It helped me a lot to see my bare abdominals in the mirror. Still, it took me over one year to learn Nauli, and since I finally managed, I kept doing it as a daily routine naked and looking into a mirror.
Nevertheless, I avoid that my neighbors can see me. Occasionally, they might catch a glimpse when I go naked in the morning into the kitchen to get my glass of warm water for drinking. Likewise, just as not wanting to be seen naked by my neighbors, I considered naked yoga in a public yoga class nothing for me. However, after researching the topic and becoming more familiar with its concepts, I am more open and curious.
Common Prejudices on Naked Yoga
Some comments on naked yoga you might hear (besides the foolish ones) are:
- “… a disrespect to yoga and Hinduism.”
- “…yoga is an art but naked yoga a disaster.”
- “… what if a man gets a harden?”
- “…how can you be comfortable practicing with naked strangers?”
Let’s Dismantle these Ideas
Let me dismantle the first idea that naked yoga disrespects yoga and Hinduism. The very first yogis already over 3.000 years ago, have only been wearing “clothes made of wind,” meaning that they were naked. Similarly, today, there are still a lot of Indian yogis who walk around completely naked. They only cover their skin with ashes so that their skin shimmers blue like the skin of the Hindu god Shiva to whom they are devoted.
In a trustworthy naked yoga class, a strict bundle of rules exists, which the yoga teacher reads before each class. Anyone ignoring these rules will be excluded from the course. For example, people have to consent that they practice in a genuinely non-sexual place. Any kind of compliments and even the exchange of telephone numbers is prohibited. If a man gets an erection, the rules recommend that he takes rest in child’s pose or a meditation seat and covers his erection with his hands till he calms down.
Me in a Nude Camping Place
Can it ever get comfortable practicing naked yoga with strangers? Let me tell you a story about this. When I was 13 years old, in the middle of my puberty, I was invited by a friend to go three weeks camping in Croatia. It turned out to be a nude camping site! This was a shock for me. My friend and I felt excited and, at the same time, uncomfortable and confused – at least at the beginning. Then we started making jokes and remarks on the different forms of the genitals, breasts, and body figures in general. Fourteen days later, we got so used to seeing naked people everywhere: in the shop, at the beach, even playing tennis, wearing nothing except socks and sport shoes. Thus, you can get comfortable with nudity even in your puberty. I have found on Instagram pictures of women in all sizes and shapes doing yoga naked. Have a look here: #nygyoga.
The Essence of Naked Yoga
To overcome the discomfort of showing up completely naked is part of the naked yoga practice. To see yourself with all your wrinkles and rolls, stretch marks and scars in front of others, is as well part of it. You will have nowhere else to go than to a place of acceptance and kindness with yourself and everyone around you. In other words, you need to give away insecurities and learn self-love and compassion. By diving deeply into yourself you will find the essence of each yoga practice.
If I consider all of this, I am looking forward to finding the right offering to try out naked yoga in a secure and loving environment. I want to stay open to change, try out new things, and find out for myself. I hope this article inspired you to check out naked yoga yourself, and please let me know if you found something fitting here in Copenhagen!
Rock on & Namasté,