*caution: naughty language ahead!
Dear Naked Yoga Teacher,
I just wanted to thank you.
You have my deepest gratitude, although probably not for the reasons you might think. Let me explain.
The first time you posted that naked yoga picture I thought “oh” and “brave” and that’s about it. I didn’t examine your body—for perfection or flaws. I didn’t compare my own body. I’m happy to say that those are not my issues. You can be any size you want and I won’t shame you nor will I judge. It is enough just to keep myself healthy and strong without calling out others.
I did notice that your picture was artistic and tasteful and I appreciated that.
The next few times you posted naked yoga selfies, I worried. I thought “oh shit” and “uh oh” and unconsciously, I began to judge you. I did. I thought you were craving attention. I thought you were desperate, needy and clearly a bit of an exhibitionist.
I even asked another teacher friend if we should try and get in touch with your family—because really, I was a little worried about what was going on with you.
I wondered what you could possibly be deriving from posting so many nude yoga selfies.
And then it happened—the magic. The reason I am writing to thank you.
I realized that I was in fact judging you. I realized that I was under the delusion that I might know what your path should be, when in fact—who the fuck am I to know anything about someone else’s path?
How can I possibly know what might be healing, or freeing or liberating for you or anyone else? How can we know another’s path to salvation? And while I might not know where your path should lead or how your journey might unfold—I do know that as long as I am judging you, there is no lotus unfolding in my heart.
It is impossible to sit in judgment and awaken at the center of your soul. It just is.
The minute I let go of my judgment and just attempted to see what was—love began to flow again.
I was able to see what was without all the other stuff. I was able to see how much you love yoga, how much you love teaching yoga and how you, like all of us, are just seeking grace.
From the other side of the continent, you were able to teach me. You reminded me that falling into judgment is so easy, so messy, so ego driven and just so wrong. There was a teeny bit of me that felt superior to you because I was keeping my clothes on. That is judgment in a nutshell, isn’t it? If it is judgment, there is always a bit of comparison, a bit of power disparity. Someone always comes out short with judgment.
So, clearly—in addition to thanking you, I need to apologize to you.
Dear naked yoga teacher, I’m sorry for judging you. I hope that you will accept my apology. You have helped me to recommit to my practice of Viveka, the effort to distinguish between what is eternal and what is non-eternal, to see what actually is.
You have helped me to look again from my deepest self, my heart self, to see you and your actions from the depth of my being. When I look in this way, I see our unity and as well, our uniqueness. And as I gaze upon you, I understand there are layers to your journey that I could never hope to know. I remember that there are many different ways in which we can flower towards the light.
So—Dear Naked Yoga Teacher, thank you again and again.
You have taught me so much with your practice and given me one of the best gifts of all, insight into myself. The chance to blow more dust off this awakening heart.
Please accept my deepest gratitude and bless you, bless us all.
P.S. I think you are beautiful and powerful and brave and I think it has nothing to do with what you are wearing or not wearing.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Sierra Hollister
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Judyth Greenburgh/Flickr