December 10, 2013

Nudity in the Winter.

I remember a time when there were running races devoted towards baring it all for the sake of testing the boundaries.

Men and women ran naked through the streets of their cities during the cold winter months, with big smiles and arms raised in Rocky fashion, to show to the world that nudity in the winter is perhaps a statement of being able to withstand more than just the cold.

Being naked means stripping down to your core, not necessarily feeling the outside elements, and proving just how awesome bodies are at handling frigid temperatures with nipples on high alert.

Even football game attendees, in outdoor arenas, with snow and ice, will showcase their love of the team by painting their bodies with fellow crazies, donning zero clothes in zero temperatures, and wanting that five minutes of fame on television to show the world just how brave they are by not wearing any clothes.

This falls into the “weirdo” category, alongside those who jump into the Hudson Bay naked on New Years’ day, just for the heck of it.

Ah, the hodgepodge of nudity in the winter. From running races to football games to the yearnings of beach climates with rebellion acts of pleasure, wearing no clothes can have numerous meanings.

I was a fan of naked yoga for years during a transformative time in my life. Living in a small sublet, sleeping on the floor, one window, barely any furniture, a small loyal-beyond-belief dog, and my heart blossoming with possibilities.

I had tried every yoga class under the sun and was no longer able to afford going to classes, so I set up a makeshift practice at home. It is trendy now to do home yoga—it saves money, gives a greater sense of peace and well-being and it is your own. I did it for more than a year, but my naked yoga was pivotal, especially during the winter months.

With that one window in my sublet, I would crack it, allow some refreshing cool air to enter the small space, open the front door just a touch so my little dog could escape and find his own fun in the morning (the neighbors were all cool and were aware of his meanderings), and roll off my floor bed and into a morning stretch.

My bed during that year was actually a yoga mat with a few sheets, a blanket, a great pillow, and faced the window, so there was a feng shui feel to it. I slept naked.

The minute I had the sublet to myself, as my little pooch was on his own journey, I glanced at my feet, started a standing balance pose, which progressed into a series of asanas—all naked and real.

I wasn’t cold, despite the window cracked open and the door ajar. I had candles lit and it was the wee hours of the morning. No one could see me, as my modesty was on high alert at that time, so gratitude for that.

The naked yoga practice was my own. I handled the hot and humid summer months just fine, mainly because clothes were not an option as my solo sweat took over. The winter months were a different story. I never gave it two thoughts about how cold it was outside, and it was a rather icy year in Austin. All I needed was my mat, a cracked window so I could see the chilly smoke billow out my mouth, and a heart full of grace.

A solid metal figurine of a naked yoga person adorns my nightstand. It is a reminder of the beauty of starting out in that form, with nothing on and nowhere to go at that moment, and no one to see how that solitude is necessary for truth and awareness.

No amount of Lululemon apparel controversies or overcrowded classes can shadow the feeling of being nude in your own practice. I believe there are naked classes being offered somewhere in America, but modesty rules in my book. From the moment I wake up to the moment my feet hit the mat, I absorb the confines of my skin baring it all for only me to see.

Nudity during cold months need not be masked by too much fake heat blowing in the house. Starting off with a relative amount of heat helps the process along, yet going so incredibly deep inside your breath will generate enough heat, even with a window or door cracked in the cold weather.

Perhaps it is the time of my life and being a bit menopausal that feels good with nakedness in the winter. Sleeping bare under the fleecy covers, no pajamas to get all crumpled up at my head, a foot hanging out the side of the bed in case I get too sweaty, my man’s burly chest next to me, a slight crack in the window, a cold mist falling outside, and knowing all the while that waking up naked and starting the morning on my mat is the best medicine for the next few months.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Ada Juristovski by bgbabygirl / Flickr

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