Lately I have been called back to nature and its cycles.
To the grass and the golden sunrises, to being my natural self in the natural world. It has happened kind of subtly, but become impossible to ignore; I need to reconnect. Specifically, to do things mother-naked.
To quote Oprah, and I paraphrase:
“The universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers… If you don’t listen to that it gets louder, it’s like being thumped. If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick in the head. You don’t pay attention to that, the brick wall falls down.”
Well, the whispers have been coming for a while. They sound like:
“Those are interesting thoughts you are having about your body. Are they true?”
I heard those babies, but ignored them. Then the thumps turned up. Like:
“Whoa. Do you know you are researching plastic surgery right now? Like really?”
I saw those clearly, but let them pass without taking any action. And then the bricks hit me.
“You are not in love with your body. You are planning to hurt it for a false aesthetic. This needs fixing. Now.”
Whoa Nelly. Sometimes internal messages can pack such a punch.
The bricks were right—I had fallen out of love with my body. And I think it happened very slowly, over time, without me really noticing until I had a surgeon’s number in my hand. Thankfully, this was my wakeup call before my wall came crashing down on me, or I let a knife decide my level self-love.
After seeing the beautiful photos of Luba Shumeyko photographed by her husband doing naked yoga, I thought this could be my first step on the path to body love. I am no professional yogi by any stretch, but as I already have a morning yoga practice at home, it required only getting my kit off and getting on with it. Well, that’s what I thought.
Here’s what I found.
1. The Practicalities Allowed More Presence.
I had no idea how much I thought about my clothing when doing my yoga. My underwear riding up (and I’ve tried every kind from g-string to nanna pants, they all have their downsides when in stretchy poses). My top peeking open and my exhaled breath getting caught in it, creating an unexpected breeze. The bottoms of my yoga pants tickling my ankles as I moved.
I thought I was pretty good at being present despite all of those things, but once they were removed I had so many less things to compete with. It was just me, my body and my breath, nothing artificial.
It was, in a word, free-licious.
2. It Brought My Shame to the Surface.
This was a surprise I must say. I knew that I possibly wasn’t the kind of person who would be comfortable at a nudist beach (where do you look?!), but I am no prude and will try almost anything once. Feeling the warm water on my clothing-free body in the shower is the best part of my day.
But when readying myself to do my yoga nude, I found myself triple checking all the doors were locked (even though I would be home alone all day). I had to close my normally open window. I had to peek through the curtain to check no one was coming up the driveway a few times (even I can hear vehicles a mile away).
The words in my mind were “What if someone sees me?!” It was all very interesting.
Well… what if someone sees me? Might they be shocked? Might they find me unattractive, or worse yet, attractive? Would I feel ashamed? Ashamed. Ahhh…there it is.
Shame seems to be such a common part of the human condition—we have all felt it at some time, and it can be carried in our depths, unknown, until triggered.
If naked yoga can trigger my shame while letting me gently and safely work with it, I am all for it.
3. I Became Better at Yoga More Quickly.
In hindsight it’s kind of obvious. Before I was mainly working by feel and what I could see of my body through my clothes, but being naked allowed me to actually see my muscles and the way they were moving. I could clearly see which way each bone was pointing, and if my angles were really correct. It also allowed me to reach poses more easily and hold them, as there was no competition with material. Overall, I felt stronger and more sure of my practice.
Because I was more present, had created a safe space for myself, and was willing to be fully in my body, my flexibility and strength came much faster—even in the one 20 minute session.
So, while this experience was a teensy bit confronting and brought up some intense emotions, it is those emotions that I know I must keep gently opening up to.
I will be continuing this practice until I no longer need it, and keep bumping up against my boundaries.
So next time I hear the whisper, feel the thump, or get a brick in the face, I will turn to my naked practice and breathe.
Author’s note: I have also looked into naked yoga classes (with other humans!) but have found there to be a distinct lack of them in Australia, and none at all for women. This may be different in your country or city, and I would love to hear your experiences if you have attended one of these classes.
Author: Crystal Davis
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own