Naked yoga (Sanskrit nagna yoga) is the practice of yoga without clothes. The practice is gaining popularity, notably in western societies that have more familiarity with social nudity. While many practice naked yoga at home and in nature, there are a growing number of participants, including children, in group classes. It is becoming popular in Europe and United States.
Naked yoga should be considered in relation to the dress code at yoga courses, varying from different times and yoga directions.
The origination of naked yoga dates back to the 8th century BC. One of the Indian sects called Naga Sadhus made nude yoga a part of their spiritual practice. "Naga" meant "naked" and "Sadhu" meant "one who has renounced the world completely". Members of the sect considered nudity a way of rejecting the material side of life. Celibacy and disregard of the harsh outside conditions were among the key ideas of their philosophy. They practiced naked yoga to tame their desires, identify with their physical bodies and to break the attachment with everything physical, sensual and material.
The word "gymnosophists" (naked philosophers), is used in ancient Greek writings as the designation of wise men (yogis) in India.
In the West since the 1960s, naked yoga practice has been incorporated in progressive settings for well-being, such as at the Esalen Institute in California, as depicted in the 1968 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Other films with notable segments include The Harrad Experiment and Naked Yoga (1974).
Another person famous for the promotion of naked yoga in the West is Aaron Star, owner of Hot Nude Yoga. He began his version of nude yoga in April 2001 becoming an instant "underground sensation" as quoted by Time Out New York. The practiced yoga combined elements of Ashtanga, Kundalini, and Contact Yoga with elements of Tantra.  Because of the success of Hot Nude Yoga, nude yoga groups began to blossom all over the world, from London, Moscow, Madrid to Sydney. Many of these male-only naked yoga groups have been associated with the gay community, though often not intentionally. One Taste Urban Retreat Center popularized naked yoga after it was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. Nowadays, there are also specific naked yoga clubs for homosexuals that are not simple yoga classes, but rather communities for keeping fit and sharing sexuality. Aaron Star says that many people, especially in cities like New York and Los Angeles, don't have ways to express closeness and intimacy without having sex, and that his practice affords that.
Motivations are the acceptance of one's own body with all its imperfections and to open one's heart. Naked yoga often symbolizes separation from worldly possessions and helps those who practice it to calm their active mind, which is one of the main aims of yoga practice and is often hard to achieve.
Apart from that, nude yoga multiplies the medical effects of other yoga types and is a great way of preventing heart disease, digestion problems; reducing stress and anxiety, improving the endocrine system and immunity. 
Naked yoga is often criticized for challenging one of the most important social norms, especially in cases when classes are open for both genders. The supporters of naked yoga argue that this particular type of yoga is the best way to achieve the ultimate goals of yoga practice. Although people practicing naked yoga for the first time often find it hard to concentrate and focus, the problem often disappears after 15 minutes giving way to a new experience.
One of the serious concerns is the risk of catching an infection in places where used mats and other gear are offered. This problem can be solved by bringing personal equipment.
San Francisco courts found that naturist and libertarian George Monty Davis (aka "Naked Yoga Guy") did not commit a crime by practicing naked yoga in a public place, but rather a variant of public nudity.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Naked yoga|
- Naked Yoga
- Aaron Star - Hot New Yoga Founder
- "Naked Yoga for men - Gay Naturists International (GNI)'s worldwide class listing (includes mixed-gender)". Gaynaturists.org. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Carolyne Zinko, Doing it in the altogether is what makes this yoga practice altogether free from distractions SF Chronicle, May 24, 2005
- Yoga's Naked Commercialism
- "German source". Amica.de. 2005-10-28. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Getting to Know About Naked Yoga
- Medical Benefits of Naked Yoga
- Naked Yoga: Would You Dare
- Would You Get Naked for Yoga?
- Au naturel is natural for Naked Yoga Guy, San Francisco Chronicle, September 22, 2004
Further reading 
- Naked Yoga, by Yen Chu and George Monty Davis (1st printing had no ISBN).
- A Book of Yoga: The Body Temple, by Jo Ann Weinrib and David Weinrib, 1974, ISBN 0-8129-0494-X.
- Nude & Natural magazine, "Naked Yoga: A Sanctuary and Source of Strength", by Kevin Brett. Issue 25.3, Spring 2006.
- Shakti: The Feminine Power of Yoga (Hardcover) by Shiva Rea (Foreword), Victoria Davis, ISBN 0-9715581-1-6. Photographs of yoginis in the nude.
- Naked Yoga Camping Retreat Semi-annual outdoor naked yoga retreat hosted by Austin Naked Yoga
- Be Naked Yoga Offering naked yoga retreats for men. Private beachfront location on quiet tropical island in Thailand.
- The Boston Phoenix AU NATUREL Yoga buffs By Nina Willdorf, Issue Date: April 26 - May 3, 2001
- Yoga Journal December 2005 Peel It Off: For nude yoga practitioners, doing yoga in the altogether can be a liberating and respectful experience By Jaimal Yogis Includes comments by instructor Meredith Medland.
- Common Ground October 2005 Naked Yoga Revealed: SF’s Edgiest Yoga Class Wants to Liberate Your Bodysattva by Lisa Maria
- San Francisco Chronicle, 24 May 2005 Doing it in the altogether is what makes this yoga practice altogether free from distractions by Carolyne Zinko
- TashiTagg 27 May 2005 Naked Yoga: The Hard Truth by Luke Tagg
- San Francisco Chronicle, 22 September 2004 Au naturel is natural for Naked Yoga Guy by Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
- China Daily 23 September 2004 Naked yoga OK in San Francisco
- Naturist UK Fact File page on yoga and naturism
- "Naked Yoga. Is it the Yogic Way?" Article by founder of popular naked yoga group in New York
- Striking a pose, stark naked by Charlotte Maitre
- Links to Naked Yoga groups worldwide
- Naked Yoga NYC Another well developed naked yoga practice, in NYC
- Naked yoga and the Movement