The soul, like the moon
is new and always new again
and I have seen the ocean
Since I washed my mind
and my body, I too,
am new, each moment new.
My teacher told me one thing:
Live in the soul.
When that was so,
I began to go naked and dance.
We spend the better part of our lives either scrutinizing our bodies or trying to forget that we have one. What is the secret to making peace, or better yet, to making love to our bodies and ourselves?
Naked yoga was one of the most powerful catalysts to discovering unconditional acceptance and love for myself. From the moment I embarked on my maiden voyage, my first ever, all-female naked yoga class in San Francisco years ago, I had my first taste of absolute freedom and carefree joy, perhaps since childhood.
Lying there at the end of a rigorous practice, a journey of deep self-discovery, in my first Savasana sans yoga clothing…a tidal wave of tears. The release came from feeling deep relief, and a kind of freedom I had never experienced in a conventional yoga class. The fight was over: the fight with myself, obsessing about every little flaw, the fight to achieve the perfect asana practice, the fight to prove something, the fight to win approval and acceptance.
Practicing naked in that simple room, in the company of others who had embraced the same philosophy, I was liberated. Looking around at the other women in the class, and feeling their kindness, comfort and ease, within minutes, I forgot that I was naked. Tenderness and compassion welled up inside me for these other women, and because I suddenly understood that I was one of them, that we were all the same, and I felt this new sweetness flowing from my own heart into my own soul. I no longer felt compelled to criticize anything about myself.
As I rooted my feet into Virabhadrasana I, and reached my arms high overhead, I started to recognize how miraculous my body was, how all of the moving parts and systems worked in intricate harmony to execute the commands it was receiving, and I was filled with gratitude. I felt incredibly free and became immediately aware of how preferable it was not to have to contend with what had become by contrast, the trappings of “pre-naked yoga,” the sleek, restrictive lycra clothes that limited my movements! I was filled with peace and love for myself, for everyone in that room and for the great world beyond.
In that class I discovered the secret: by loving my body, I could go beyond it and uncover the true jewels that yoga is meant to give us. I discovered that supreme happiness lies in being who we really are, which is not the body, but what lies within – pure awareness of our timeless essence, of the soul, of spirit.
Naked yoga not only assists in developing a strong body and peace of mind, it inspires self love. It helps people create a healthier, more balanced feeling about themselves, resolving the internal conflict that arises from poor body image and low self-esteem, facilitating the integration of all aspects of the self in a harmonious way. For this reason and so many more, naked yoga is a powerful vehicle for self-improvement, heightened consciousness and spiritual fulfillment.
Naked yoga helps practitioners to discover an entirely new way of looking at their own bodies, urging people to take pride and pleasure in their unique physiques and capabilities. The practice has a subtle, but profoundly empowering effect, moving people to accept themselves, embrace their imperfections and open their hearts to the world with courage and confidence. The practice is cathartic and healing because it frees the practitioner from inhibitions and the opinions of others. The minute someone starts to practice without their clothes on, in a safe, nurturing, supportive environment, they come to understand that their feelings of shame are not their own, but a kind of inherited mind state that comes as a result of societal judgments from the outside world.
We all come into the world innocent, pure, free and yes, naked! We are born free of the incredible burden of self-consciousness, which leads us to doubt ourselves and diminish our own light. We come into the world shining, and it is the “grown ups” who carry their own unresolved issues and unconsciously project their shame and sadness onto us as children. Naked yoga can break this tragic generational legacy by inspiring compassion and the knowledge that we have the ability to choose to be conscious. We can choose to be joyful and free. Naked yoga can break the chain of history, by leading us back into the garden of awareness and empowerment where we can shine again!
When we start to embrace our nakedness and find comfort in its naturalness, we forget our own interests, ambitions, and problems, and we lose ourselves to feelings of bliss and contentment, accepting ourselves exactly as we are. We learn to love ourselves unconditionally, and the body, mind and spirit unite and heal together, arriving at a place of powerful truth, peace and aliveness.
The practices in Yoga Undressed remove any sense of restriction from clothing, promoting a greater sense of freedom, confidence, and an enhanced appreciation for the body. Seeing and feeling the body as it stretches and moves from one pose to the next results in a more mindful, sensual and connected practice. The practice inspires people to treat their bodies with love and appreciation, which is not necessarily always the end product of conventional, clothed practices, where athleticism and physical prowess in the postures are frequently emphasized.
Naked yoga is intended to bring people inside their own beings where they can discover the real meaning and purpose of yoga, a powerful conduit for evolution and true spiritual enlightenment through authentic integrity – true union of body, mind and spirit. Through the potent techniques and philosophies contained in the programs, Yoga Undressed facilitates glowing good health from within, inspiring the participant to celebrate the body, to embrace her innermost self and cultivate unconditional love, acceptance and joy.
Yoga Undressed provides a sheltering playground where we can uncover our most primal, powerful, sacred, sensual, authentic and integrated selves, our original selves; the joyful, unguarded, bold spirits we truly are.
Integrated wellness, fitness and lifestyle expert Jennifer Kries is credited with being the first to bring Pilates to a mass audience. Her award-winning videos, DVDs, and TV show revolutionized the fitness community and started the explosive wave of enthusiasm for Pilates and mind/body exercise. In addition to Yoga Undressed, she is the creator and producer of several other original DVD Series and modalities including Waking Energy, The Hot Body Cool Mind Series, and The Pilates Method Master Trainer Series. Jennifer has inspired countless readers, practitioners, graduates of her programs, and viewers alike to embrace her all-encompassing philosophy of movement, art, health, life and energy. yogaundressed.com
Editor Tanya L. Markul