Traveljunkieindonesia.com – Naturist or Naked yoga, in it’s true form, has very little to do with sex and eroticism.
Naked yoga originated with the Naga Sadhus, a sect of Yogis in India, dating back to the 8th Century BC. Their name describes the philosophy and thinking that is central to their approach to yoga and spirituality. The word Naga means “naked,” and the word Sadhu, “one who has renounced the world completely.”
Nudity on the part of the Sadhus is a symbol of renunciation of all things material; symbolically, by renouncing their clothes, they renounce ambition and any attachment to objects, emotions or desires. There is a sect of the Sadhus that even renounces sex and embraces celibacy and learns to face the harsh elements without concern for physical comfort or satisfying human desires, including the freezing cold of the Himalayas, where many of them reside. These acts are meant to help break the attachment and identification they have with the physical body and sense organs, and allocate energy and attention towards utilizing the body as a means towards reaching enlightenment.
The real meaning behind nudity in the yoga practice, specifically, the Sacred Tantric Practice in Yoga Undressed, in its purest form, describes the resolution of conflicts between the opposites in life–finding the perfect balance between the deepest and most complete connection to the body, while simultaneously cultivating absolute detachment from it, in order to encounter the eternal soul essence, or the pure energy of creation. The purpose of yoga is to create a vibrant, powerful energetic connection to the body, but not as obvious is the goal of detachment from the body, the recognition of the body as a temporary dwelling place for the soul. A true naked yogi, then is one who has shed his coverings, not only his clothing, but his attachment to the myriad and insidious aspects of all human drama and resides in and embraces his pure, untouched, infinite nature.
Naked yoga removes any sense of restriction from clothing, promoting a greater sense of freedom during asana practice and thus, an enhanced awareness of the body. Seeing and feeling the body as you stretch and move from one posture to the next, inspires a more mindful, connected practice. When we consider the role that clothing has played in society, it seems to be in direct opposition to the spirit of yoga, which speaks to “oneness” and union. By design, clothing reminds us of our differences. It serves as a distraction that leads us away from a central yogic principal, the commonality of all living things which inspires peace and compassion.
Naked yoga creates a sense of total physical freedom, but the real freedom that the Sadhus in particular, are seeking from their nakedness, is freedom from inhibitions, opinions of others and any shame about the body. When you are naked, and start to embrace your nakedness and find comfort in its naturalness, a care-free attitude emerges. You forget your own interests, ambitions, and problems, and you lose yourself to the feeling of bliss that is your true and immortal nature.
One of the greatest proponents of naked yoga Lalla, an empowered, naked female mystic, who lived in Northern India during the 14th Century, achieved fame with her exquisitely powerful poetry that made her one of Kashmir’s favorite poets, esteemed as much as Rumi and Hafiz.
Adorned by only her long dark hair, Lalla became a legendary figure, with her poetry and her tantric outlook on life. In Sanskrit she is called Lalleshwari, the great yogini – a prophetess and practitioner of yoga. She found a freedom that was impervious to praise or blame, bucking convention and bravely asserting her calling to the Tantric way of life.
One of the most famous tales about Lalla goes like this: One morning some children were making fun of her nakedness. A cloth merchant scolded them for their disrespect, and Lalla asked him for two strands of cloth equal in weight. She then flung these over either shoulder, and through the day, whenever someone mocked her she tied a knot in one cloth, and whenever someone praised her she tied a knot in the other. At the end of the day she asked the merchant to weigh both, before all of the villagers and their children. Both sides of the cloth weighed the same, and her point was made: praise and blame have no substance. Lalla was so filled with ecstasy from her revelations, her dedication to ritual– to her practices and philosophies, that she began wandering and dancing naked in a state of ecstatic clarity, inviting others to let go of their attachments, to live from the soul, and to be free …
Happy Green Travels!
images courtesy of Yoga Undressed
Travel Junkie Indonesia Magazine Post | Vol 2, Naturist Issue.