It has taken me a long time to share this. I still feel vulnerable but I hope it will help others.
A long time ago I decided there was nothing wrong with the human body. I wanted to share my teaching of yoga naked and free and in the human form with no clothes. I was asked to teach a few sequences via a site.
I never knew the consequences would be so big from doing this. The videos went viral and were misappropriated on many sites. The bullying began online through many yogis hating me and many people shaming me and calling me pörn. I was bullied on instagram by some yogis they would block me from seeing their stories and share passages of messages I wrote to them about my rape and my life experience calling it BS. I found blogs on the internet about me hating on me from people I never had met.
As a mother and a human that had experience trauma rape, losing a child, physcial and mental abuse and come to yoga to heal it was shattering. I was trying to heal and here were hurt people hurting people. To me this is what is wrong with the world, not our pain but our hurt being transferred and judgment and shaming being done that stops us healing. I do not understand how we as a society and especially a yoga community are still not practicing kindness and being the change in ourselves. I do not understand why society keeps teaching yoga from the outside and fitness from the outside when it is from the inside where everything happens. Social media is a great gift for connection however it is also causing egotastic behaviours by the likes and algorithms and we need to work on this and ourselves to see this. I did not hate and do not hate these women and yogis that hurt me. However I do feel sorry for them as what has the world done to them that they can be so cruel to someone? Personally I nearly lost myself and it took me to a very dark place and it also rippled into my family life where family members became cruel too. It was a very hard time in my life. I felt ashamed & hurt by strangers misappropriating me, yogis judging and sending hate messages on social media and just a world I did not realise could be so cruel.
For me I realised I grew up very different to most. I was always taught an honest approach to nudity. “I grew up with a father who would happily walk around the house naked. Through him, I associated the body as a tool for life. It was something that was part of our day-to-day life and did not have a ‘look.’ It had a feel. To him, the body was neutral and natural, as it is for me too. My mother however was very shy and uncomfortable in her skin, due to her upbringing and past experiences, and her self-worth was sadly lacking. She was beautiful to me however, even if she didn’t swim much and wasn’t comfortable showing her body.
“In 2010, when I went to Austria for the first time, I had my first naked sauna experience with the family I was staying with. It was all so normal. We went to a unisex change room, which included families getting changed for the pool all together. We then went to a unisex sauna. I met the head of the Police and the Town Mayor, and still cannot recognise them with clothes on to this day!”
She has a similar attitude to body positivity. “It’s about accepting ourselves for who we are, and others the same. It is not about whether you wear clothes or not; it is simply about feeling good within yourself. I respect that my dad was comfortable naked, and I respect that my mom prefers clothes. I believe we need to allow people to be themselves, and never force anyone into something they are not comfortable with, or label them. It’s why I don’t necessarily call myself ‘a naturist.’ I am simply a human. Just like when someone asks me what yoga I do. I simply do yoga. I don’t need labels to show who I am. I am just me, and allow others to do the same. I think as soon as we label ourselves we already set up invisible barriers. Why can’t we just ‘be’?
“I have been naked all over the world in many places, creating art, experiencing different cultures. My favourite place to be naked? It always changes, because the only constant is change. My most recent favourite place was with a good friend, creating art in St Louis in the woods and by the river. But it is always about the joy it brings, not where I am.”
During this experience online one yogi, a very famous lady, reached out to me and told me that she was sorry what was happening and that if I ever needed support or someone to talk to she would be here. She told me yogis were reaching out to her telling her not kind things about me asking why she followed me?
It was at that moment although I was struggling and hurt, I realised that there were some people that practice true yoga and there were kind soulsp in this world true to their word on social media and in life. Although this experience taught me how innocent I was in terms of seeing the world sexuality and the online world being so sexual it also taught me how there were great people in the world and those were the voices that matter not the voices of hate, shame and misappropriation. It also reminded me even more why I was doing it and how important it was for me to change the narrative of sexuality for my daughter and future generation.
Not long after this I got contacted by Watkins Publishing who asked me to write my story in a book now published https://www.amazon.com/Brave-Beautiful-Baring-All-Happiness/dp/1786782898
They found me through Instagram. When they did their QA of me before proceeding with me writing my book they also told me what they had found on the internet about me. It was a very embarrassing and comforting experience. So I sat down and talked to them about what happened. They were shocked and horrified. At first when they saw me online they were going to cancel the book deal it seemed. However after we sat and talked they thought it even more important I tell my story. It was a whirlwind and a very hard experience, not only dealking with all this but also re telling my story for the world to read. I am glad I have done it but I can tell you every day I am still challenged by it and others perceptions and still have healing to do. I am just grateful that there are kind people in the world willing to let the real stories be told, see people rather than judge them, so we can allow people to see the truth. In the end I hope it helps others as I know many people have suffered in their own way through similar things to me.
Although teaching naked yoga and fitness has been very difficult with the naysayers I feel most at home doing it and it has helped me heal from my trauma and self hatred. I feel like it is world changing and life changing to understand sexuality and sensuality co exist and helps us to become more whole as humans and also with others.
My journey to teaching naked has been confusing and overwhelming and often painful. There has been no easy about it and not a lot of unkindness until recently. I did it before there was Nude Yoga Girl https://www.instagram.com/nude_yogagirl/?hl=en was sharing more of her art, true naked yoga started their platform https://www.instagram.com/true.naked.yoga/?hl=en, Audri Asana started creating workouts https://audriasana.live, the nude blogger https://www.thenudeblogger.com became well know etc.
Now I am grateful that many others are doing it. I am not the most famous but I know in my heart of hearts I have always lived in my truth and done it from a place of love and realness. I am so grateful now also to collab and work with like minded women Audri Asana and also so grateful to be working to create our next retreat together next year mix of yoga, art and fitness in Europe. Stay tuned for more details.
I hope one day more people will see me and these beautiful healers, artists and movers with kindness. I know personally I do not have the most perfect video edits, content or a whole team supporting me to make it magical like many. However I have me, my heart and soul and put all of that into everything I do.
I want to share a large extract from my book I hope it helps others:
Sex and sensuality
Sex and sensuality lie at the root of who we are as human beings. We are spiritual souls in physical bodies, and sensuality comes into existence the moment our hearts begin beating and our breath starts its rhythmic course, inviting us to join the dance of life. Sensuality asks only that we find our beat – and it’ll keep the rhythm…
The relationship between sex and sensuality
Sensuality is a heightened sense of physical awareness that can connect us to the primal nature of being. As the natural expression and experience of passion, sensuality links with our memory and activates those associations we have made around feelings of lust and sex.
Although they are intimately linked, sex and sensuality are not one and the same. Sexuality can exist without sensuality, but then it is simply based on the physiological responses of the human body. While this can still be experienced as a pleasure, it is a more animalistic urge. This attitude is prevalent in, for example, the porn industry.
When sexuality ends up being divorced from sensuality in this way, it’s no wonder so many of us end up feeling uncomfortable about, and ashamed of, our sexual instincts.
Sensuality as a connection to the self
Sensuality is a way of being. Whenever I move with sensuality, I re-build a connection to my soul and the core of who I am, through my body. Moving in this way helps me recognize and undo all the conditioning that threatens to box me in. To be someone who is comfortable in their own body is one of the greatest experiences I’ll ever know.
The practice of sensuality
Sensuality can be expressed not only in our intimate desires, but in the ways in which we move and interact with each person, moment and experience. Through being grounded in the full awareness of our physical and emotional sensations, we begin to experience so much pleasure even in mundane, day-to-day activities. When we practise this way of being, we start to unlock our deeper passion for life.
By thinking of sensuality as a practice that helps us to rediscover life and others before the intimacy of connection takes place, we will gain a fuller understanding of it. Sensuality can amplify the magic all around us that we are so often disconnected from.
So the greatest pleasure isn’t sex alone, but the passion with which it is practised… Just like the greatest pleasure in life doesn’t come from having it all – it is the passion with which we live it.
Seeing ourselves as fully sensual, sexual beings
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 amazing news – but it still begs the question of what’s wrong with showing women with exposed nipples in other situations?
Nipples create lives, 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 hypocrisy where we find it, while remaining open to new possibilities.
“Stand tall and flower like a lotus.”
Sensuality as a form of vulnerability
Sensuality means being open and receptive to all that is around us – and that kind of openness means being prepared to be vulnerable. It means being willing to engage with the world in the knowledge that life can make us or break us with a touch, sound, feel, taste or look.
Real beauty blooms from the essence of our being, just like a lotus flower rising from darkness and mud. Out of the mud of your fears, struggles, pain and confusion, the lotus flower of your inner heart will spontaneously blossom. You cannot grow lotus flowers in marble. You have to grow them in the mud.
Without being sensual, vulnerable and knowing suffering, you have no way to learn how to be understanding, compassionate and beautiful.
Reclaiming our own bodies
Let’s stop berating and shaming and hiding ourselves. Instead, let’s love and celebrate our bodies for all their gifts. For all our sakes, please let’s spend our valuable years on this planet thinking about something other than our weight and imaginary flaws. Now, moving on…
Reclaiming our thoughts
It’s not the human body that’s offensive. It is not the human body that is ugly, beautiful or flawed. It’s our perspective, our conditioning, our teachings, our thoughts. Human bodies create movement, hence experiences and life. It is our thoughts that create the stigma…
Change your thoughts and watch your life change; change your thoughts and watch your body change before your eyes. You see, you can make heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven all by the way you think. If you want to feel loved, change your thoughts. Want a better life, change your thoughts.
Your thoughts are your superpower and your key to a better tomorrow. While changing your thinking won’t necessarily make everything better overnight, it’s a small thing that can make a big difference.
Think your body beautiful
Before I became pregnant, someone told me, “Don’t have babies. Babies will ruin your body.”
But my body is only a vessel for my spirit. Yes, it’s an incredible vessel – just like all our bodies are, however fit we are. It is strong, capable and undefeated by all that life’s thrown at it.
My body is full of life. My body is powerful. My body made me a mother. If anything, I was ruined by the world before I knew my little girl, and she made me whole again.
Your body is loveable just as it is
I have one of the most sensitive skins. It took me a long time to get over this, as I was teased badly for being red faced. But red skin, acne, cellulite – whatever it is that you’ve got going on that you don’t like about yourself – none of it need stop you: it isn’t a flaw, it’s just you. Being human. So please stop letting your physical features hold you back, because they aren’t hindering you like your mind is.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’m reminded of my redness each day, but, hey, it is just part of life. I can still be a mom, do a handstand and laugh, so really it means nothing…
The truth is, you can have cellulite, fat or scars and still be strong and healthy. You can have them and run marathons and ultra-marathons, be beautiful and a great human. Please don’t let your so-called flaws stop you from achieving your dreams. If you saw a photo of your face now in ten years’ time you’d be amazed at how gorgeous you were. So be amazed now!
If I only wanted to share red-free pictures of me, then I’d have to stay posed and still. But if I wanted to look perfect then I wouldn’t be doing yoga, I guess!
Loving other bodies
We don’t fall in love with someone just because they have a beautiful physical body. We might lust after them, but if they’re not beautiful inside, it won’t turn into lasting love.
We fall in love with people’s minds, souls, hearts, and the way they make us feel. We find them beautiful because of how their body expresses these incredible inner qualities as part of their external being.
The body as a work of art
We can admire physical perfection like we can admire a painting. However, like any masterpiece, the human body only becomes art when it has a soul. It has to make you feel something.
In the same way, these days I don’t want to look nice and be pretty in the images that I share. I want to be like art that makes other people feel something in this numbing world!
So here is an exercise for all to try from my book. I hope telling the real story behind a naked yoga helps you to see more than meets the eye.
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 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 times.
- 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, imagine 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.
THE BACKSTORY MY BOOK
Brave, Beautiful and Baring It All by Rhyanna Watson
A 160-page paperback, described by its publishers Watkins as “a bold, compassionate title” from an author who “loves engaging with her extensive online community, helping them be brave enough to live in ways that they previously only dreamt of – fit, open, vibrant, contented, true to themselves and free. She is now keen to share her messages of love and empowerment in this book.”
Available via watkinspublishing.com or amazon.co.uk