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Nude Yoga Girls
Categories: What is Yoga?, Yoga

Photo from 'Nude Yoga Girls'

My friend Roseanne Harvey, genius behind “It’s All Yoga Baby” had an interesting post the other day about new, nude trends in yoga, and as she said “the precarious relationship between yoga, nudity and sexuality”. She talked briefly about the work of Abby Winters who started Nude Yoga Girls (which features exactly that ok… so graphic content warning here), which is a site that I had seen about a year ago but hadn’t thought about much since then. I remember at the time thinking… “Great. This practice that I love that has actually helped me to finally come to peace with my body is now going to turn into yet another tool to objectify the female form.” I still feel pretty much the same in essence, though Roseanne has brought up some interesting points that have made me rethink my opinion and come back into the question.

Ultimately I think that as we muck through the messiness of human existence we have different levels of obsession that we need to work out. Obsession with the body in its form, function and appearance whether directed towards others or towards ourselves is just that… Obsession. But what is the line between obsession and appreciation? Where does confidence become egotistical and where does humility become shame? Yoga as the gift that it can be offers us the objectivity to observe our desires for extremism and identification. I think that the real question is, will we delve into the deeper questions that are beyond the form, function and appearance, or will we stay with how things look from the outside?

On the aside, all the recent posting on It’s All Yoga Baby and Elephant Journal about this topic is leading web browsers with tags “naked” “yoga” and “girls” to our sites. So comment and let’s keep the conversation going!

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1 Comment to “Nude Yoga Girls”

  1. Renee says:

    “This response from Michael Stone”- Renee

    I think that when we make choices about taking our clothes off for a camera in the name of yoga or following any path that tries to integrate discordant practices (like porn and spirituality or even punk music and religion), we should ask ourselves if there is some higher criteria we can impose on our intentions. The first thing that comes to mind is not the stiff precepts of “do this” or “don’t do that,” or even the basic tenets of peacemaking practices. What I think for myself is this: Is this action or thing going to help wake me and others up, or will it contribute to old habit making? To me this is a very important criteria for all my activities before I categorize them as sexual, deviant, exploitative or joyous. In some instances porn may wake us up and in other instances it’s designed to shut us down. Nude yoga may or may not be porn and may or may not be skillfull action in the ancient view. That’s not really the point. The key question for a yogin is whether or not we are waking up through our actions. Some forms of art and spiritual practice need to include the grime and the shadows, even of bodies, sexual or otherwise, as well as the beauty of saggy breasts and different shaped vaginas. Everything and anything can wake us up but our intentions certainly matter. In the privacy of one’s bedroom or computer screen, we can still ask this very basic question about awakening or shutting down and hopefully we can move beyond debate about what is or is not yoga and into the more heartfelt and altruistic sphere of interrogating our intentions to see if they match our ideal of waking up ourselves and others.

    But something also needs to be said about the logic of pornography. Porn assimilates whatever is in the tracks of mainstream culture, prefrerably anything remotely sacred. Women feeling free enough to move their bodies in shapes as postures in classes is colonized by the pornographic gaze! This is hardly news. Women are always negotiating between this gaze and their own experience of themselves/desires/will. Even as a man this is not hard to see. This is what it means to be colonized, as it is the dominant hegemonic gaze.

    Michael Stone

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