Nudity is not a perversion. The mind makes it so, writes Luna Phoenix Kunst
I have been teaching nude yoga for eight years now. It has both closed and open doors to me in different ways.
I have been met with closed, perverted minds. I have been met with body positivity issues. I have been asked numerous times whether anyone has sexually assaulted anyone in my classes. I have been asked if I allow sexual activities during my yoga classes. I have been asked if I have a gorgeous body. I have been asked if I let all the ‘ugly bodied people’ in like the nudist resorts do. I have been asked how I can stomach looking at ‘ugly bodies’. I have been asked if I do it behind my husband’s back. The list goes on.
However, I also have been met with like-minded individuals who have felt the freedom of yoga practice without clothing. I have met individuals who felt healing through practicing yoga in the nude. I have met individuals that have had similar sexual trauma experiences as I have had and felt alignment through the practice. I have met couples that told me that their intimacy has improved due to the practice. I have met people whose mindsets have changed due to the practice as well.
It is the word ‘nude’ in front of yoga that has caused some resistance to the practice. Why is that? Why do people think that as soon as they hear the words ‘naked’, ‘nude’, ‘unclothed’, sex is involved?
Why do some Christians state that nudity is perverse when there are several bible verses that state nudity is natural?
Here are some of those verses:
Genesis 2:25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[a]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 26:6 The realm of the dead is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands.
Isaiah 47:3 Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.
Of course, there are other verses that speak of nakedness as a reason to clothe someone out of respect or need. Shame was brought upon nakedness when lust was introduced to the mind of the person viewing the naked body as mentioned in this Bible verse:
Isaiah 57:8 Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.
Native tribes found no problems with being nude and it didn’t bring shame to the children or perversion as much as the thought of nudity does now to modern society. It was the introduction of religion and other cultures that caused them to learn that their naked bodies were shameful just as the snake taught Adam and Eve upon eating the forbidden fruit. Somehow, modern society taught our ancestors that nudity is wrong.
Unfortunately, this means that some people who might benefit from nude yoga, never get to experience it.
Some of the many benefits I have found practicing nude yoga are body positivity and acceptance of my physical body as a holy temple protecting a precious soul, spiritual body, or inner me, whatever you wish to call it. I have felt a sense of freedom from the shame I felt after my sexual assault. I gained an understanding of my physical body and anatomy in each and every posture.
There are many articles that have been written about the benefits of nude yoga, whether written by authors who have experienced the practice firsthand or studied it.
It is the way your mind, your thoughts that perceive nudity that causes the practice to either be holy or perverse. The nudity bias can be taught by the family, societal perception, media sources, or culture. Bias can make someone react negatively or positively to an activity, thought or product due to experience, word of mouth, or misinformation. It can change either way as well.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a set of practices and threads of wisdom, yoga is the unity of the mind, body, and spirit. The purpose of yoga is to calm the mind from fluctuations so that we can connect to our True Nature which passes the physical body and frees one from the constraints of the mind. Yoga practitioners work on this on a daily basis.
There are many translations of the Yoga Sutras that one can study. There are also many yoga schools and yoga philosophers that offer their interpretations of the Sutras. I felt more aligned by the teachings I connected with during the Indra Yoga Institute 300-hour online yoga teacher training I graduated from recently. Yet, there are many other places one can learn from to help with your understanding.
My nude yoga
I started teaching nude yoga by the suggestion of my partner to help me heal from my sexual assault memories and attachment. The first time I learned about the Sutras was back in 2011 during my initial 200-hour yoga teacher training.
Although I had been practicing yoga physically since I was 14 years old, I really didn’t understand why it helped me de-stress and be calm. I thought it was just because I had to be quiet.
In 2012, introducing nudity into my yoga, I did feel a better sense of alignment and shame removing itself from me with every practice, yet I couldn’t explain why. Re-studying the Sutras again through this more recent training really helped me understand why practicing nude yoga aligned me with the Sutra interpretations.
The body is just a physical holding of something greater within me. Whether I am clothed or not, it doesn’t matter.
The physical body, the mind, and the spirit are to be one anyway. Nude yoga provides me freedom, without any distraction or discomfort, and to practice unity and to connect. It allows me to feel the elements surrounding me so that I can connect with the Divine and all creation without restrictions. It allows me to be one with God, the Great Spirit, The Divine, (or whatever you wish to call it) as I came into this world with nothing dressed only in my birthday suit.
So if it was okay then, why not now? Why can I not meet my Divine on the mat and connect with everything without clothing? Why is it perverse to do so? Well, if you think it is, then to you it is. But in my mind, the nude body is a natural phenomenon and Divinely inspired. Clothes are just a necessity for the weather and modern conveniences.
Yoga is yoga. One can have clothes on or practice yoga without clothing. You don’t have to agree but don’t dirty my practice with your bias!