Nude yoga is good yoga
I always appreciate when life presents me with opportunities to test the principals that I live by and widen the view through which I see the world around me. This winter when I was invited to teach a naked yoga class in New York City, I knew I was being presented with one such opportunity. I accepted. As a yogi and a yoga teacher I explored this new facet of my life by beginning with a simple question, is naked yoga yoga-like? With respect for the long and beautiful history of the philosophy and practice of yoga I proceeded with humility. I did not presume to know the answer to the question. I began my inquiry with awareness that the context of how people live their lives changes with time and so a modern view of an ancient system invites questions as to where we have been and where we are now. I also reflected on the body of knowledge left for us by yogis of past and I viewed what I found through yogic philosophy. I have indeed made some surprising discoveries! A simple question set me on my way. How has the role of clothing changed in the several thousand years that have passed since yogaÕs creation? In ancient and modern times clothing has a utilitarian purpose and it also demonstrates social rank. In ancient India clothing was utilitarian and it was also used to distinguish people from one another in a way that exposes caste. The people of India have long lived in a caste system. A giant leap forward reminds me that the more we change the more we stay the same. While the utilitarian functions of clothing have slid to the background the social value of clothing has moved even closer to the forefront. Today branding and endlessly cycling trends divide people into socio economic stalls that reflect the size of their wallets rather than their commonality.