My dad reminded me that my body was a gift & not something I should feel ashamed about. He reminded me that all bodies are neutral. My first nude yoga photo was done in Saudi Arabia (it’s somewhere in my feed) & this is one of the more oppressed places for women. I had previously lived in Austria where a nude sauna with 20 other people mixed genders, was like going to the pub, having a chinwag & a laugh. Since then I have been blessed to work with Photographers like @olivianachle the photographer of my book Brave, Beautiful and Baring it All. I have worked with a few photographers over the years but the truth is most photos I take are done by myself to bring self awareness to my mind muscle connections and my body acceptance.
I didn’t really start practising yoga until I was 31 years old, when I tried to commit suicide thankfully failing. My daughter, Laine, was two years old and I felt like a failure as a mother, a human and I was unworthy that nobody loved me. My failure to take my life marked the start of my real yoga journey.
I realised yoga was not about a posture it was about the sensations and breath. Without controlling my breathing, my panic attacks and depression were going to take me over and I would never be a good example for my daughter. Through slowing down and connecting with my breath, I realized it was okay not to be perfect. There was no need to be ashamed about the things I was or had been.
Society has sexualised the human body to a confusing extent. For instance, in recent years, some social media platforms have at last officially amended their censorship policies to allow uncensored childbirth-related images. This is beautiful news but still creates stigmas and creates the question of what is wrong with exposed nipples for women when they are not with a baby and in motherhood?
Nipples create lives. I feed my daughter but society has twisted the truth so beautifully that we think we damage lives by showing them! Our conditioning means it can be difficult as a woman to feel nude is normal, that a naked body is the most natural thing that exists. At some point we need to realise that society’s so-called truths don’t all make sense… We need to call out these confusing messages where we find it, while remaining open to new possibilities and doing it with love not fear.
My personal belief is this is my body. I was given this at birth to create a life, it is a vessel to experience life. I no longer wish to be others’ shame, judgement or the world’s untruths. I believe we all as humans & should get to choose how to nourish our body. I created a child, lost a child & feed a child with this body. In this world It’s hard loving your body when you are taught & reminded you are not enough by your internal & external worlds. It’s hard loving your body when everyone talks about it like it is an object for their use & approval. In a world that is so busy owning everything but their own responsibility to healing & uses labels to butter egos with hurt people hurting people..I have chosen to look at the world as my father has taught me through the eyes of everything is neutral until I place my memory or thoughts & teachings towards. The neutral view helps me to remember to focus on my sensations & how I feel instead of constantly objectifying myself & others to a standard that does not bring self worth or happiness. Inside this body I carry the most powerful source of love & love is not meant to be contained, it is meant to be nourished & shared. I know that the only way to love is to be the love.
Let’s stop shaming, judging and hiding ourselves. Instead, let’s love and celebrate our bodies and others for all their gifts. Let’s spend our valuable years on this planet thinking about something other than our weight and imaginary flaws. A way I learnt to connect with my body was working with my sacral charka. Here is an exercise below you can try.
Unblocking your sacral chakra
According to Hindu tradition, there are seven energy centres in the body. These begin at the root of the spine and ascend to the crown of the head. The second chakra is known as the sacral chakra or Svadhishthana, and it is linked to the colour orange and associated with movement, flow, care, pleasure, sexuality, relationships and procreation. It represents the male and female aspects of ourselves. It is about creating joy, happiness and loving relationships.
The energy of the sacral chakra stores desires and emotions. If it’s over-active, you might to be overly sensitive to the opinions of others, whereas if it’s blocked, you might find it difficult to express your feelings.
To unblock this chakra:
- Sit quietly and take some deep, grounding breaths.
- Place your hands on your lap, resting on top of each other, with the palms facing upwards and thumbs touching.
- Focus on the sacral chakra, which is positioned in the lower abdomen of your body. Imagine it as the bud of an orange flower, spiralling open a petal at time.
- Think about the qualities of pleasure, sexuality and creativity that are associated with this chakra and what these mean to you.
- Silently chant the sound “Vam”. This sound’s vibrations are believed to cleanse the sacral chakra.
- Continue to think about what this energy centre means to you until you feel you are ready to finish the meditation.
- When you are ready to close the chakra, image it now as a flower in full bloom, and allow its petals to close one by one.
- When you are ready, gently return to your daily life.