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March 15, 2014

Naked & Vulnerable on My Yoga Mat. ~ Jen Loving

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Getting naked in yoga class was a profound experience of wild freedom and vulnerability.

My naked yoga class adventure turned out to be more than just my free spirit having a weekend road trip and some fun in The Big Apple.

Through a deep, bottomless look into myself over the last few years I have come to understand that my inability to be vulnerable is blocking the very growth I am after. My struggle with trust and abandonment is barricading my ability to inhabit vulnerability as a daily characteristic.

I realized I needed to stop controlling the parts of my soul that I allow visible. I want to be able to fearlessly let others into my personal and vulnerable whole self.

One of my New Year’s intentions this year was to grant myself the freedom to express this locked down vulnerability deep inside my soul. In order to have a piercing and intense experience with vulnerability I needed the perfect culminating environment and situation.

What better place than in a room full of complete strangers who are fully naked practicing yoga?

It was time for me to hail a cab onward bound to the class address. I found myself nervously smiling as I sat in the back seat; I think I was proud of myself that I was actually going to go through with this challenge.

As I walked up to the door of the naked yoga studio, I took a deep breath and turned the knob to enter. My heart was racing from a combined nervous energy and genuine excitement.

I was not sure what to expect when I entered the studio.

I had mentally prepared myself to be ready for a room full of naked people.

As I opened the door I entered the reception area where both owners were there to greet people as they entered for their scheduled class. With two different classes going on that particular night there were quite a few people buzzing around, all clothed for the time being. I signed my release form and nervously chatted with a few people. I couldn’t help but think about the fact that we were all about to be naked together in just a few minutes.

There are many beautiful aspects about my body that I enjoy and appreciate yet; the only parts I could concentrate and obsess about as we walked into the classroom were my imperfections that I was going to be sharing with complete strangers.

I was wondering if the people behind me would think my ass was too big. What if the lighting would make my butt have that cottage cheese look? What will I look like when the instructor is adjusting me in a pose?

I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the classroom. The room was absolutely beautiful. The lighting and music couldn’t have been better in setting the mood in the room. However, I did take notice that both side walls had mirrors on them! I guess mirrors allow for more visibility and serve as a constant reminder that you are completely naked; there certainly was no place to hide.

Our class instructor led us to the dressing area while she offered us mats and towels. I had brought my own mat but gladly accepted the towel. Once I got undressed I headed to my mat and sat down.

Not only was I naked, but I had removed all of my makeup, jewelry and nail polish. I wanted to be truly naked, exposed and vulnerable.

I had removed all the many layers of masks that I use to shield myself behind every day.

When I was undressing I even went so far as to brush all the hairspray out of my hair. My 80’s big hair, as crazy as it sounds, provides me comfort.

I wanted to be stripped down to create as raw and vulnerable place for myself as possible. This was going to be a lesson in vulnerability that was of GBGH (go big or go home) proportions.

Right from the beginning of class there was a great energy in the class. Sometimes you find yourself in a yoga class that has a fabulous energy and vibe; luckily this happened to be one of those classes. Everyone seemed pretty comfortable naked, including me. I think I surprised myself by how comfortable I was and how good it felt to be free of all the things I hide behind.

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We chatted for a few minutes as we introduced ourselves, talked a little about where we were from and why we had chosen to take the class.

Then, the instructor says, “Let’s start the class in reclining bound angle pose since everyone seems to be comfortable being naked.” Reclining bound angle pose is about as open and vulnerable of a pose as you can get, especially naked!

I kept saying to myself over and over, “Jen, breathe and lean into this discomfort.”

The easiest thing to do is to move away from discomfort however, if you lean into the discomfort and allow the process to unfold; you might find that you learn something powerful.

As the class progressed I felt more comfortable with a surprising sense of confidence. I enjoyed the freedom of expression that the class allowed. By the end of class, I couldn’t help but notice how good it felt to be vulnerable.

I felt like I had let go of who I thought I should be and accepted who I am.

This class had become an experience of joy rather than a mountain to be climbed.

Leaving the room everyone seemed to possess a sense of courage, connection and compassion toward each other and themselves. I had fully embraced vulnerability and it made me feel beautiful. Vulnerability allows your spirit to give and receive a deeper dimension of love. I could feel how open my heart was when I took off my many masks.

There is no article or anything I can say to you that would trump you experiencing vulnerability for yourself.

I invite you to the challenge to surrender to your own vulnerability in whatever way works for you.

I chose yoga because it has a wonderful way of making things clear for me.

I just might practice naked more often!

 

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Editorial Assistant: Lauren Savory / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photos: Courtesy of the author

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