When I tell people I teach Nude Yoga, I get all kinds of responses and facial expressions. I have heard every nude yoga joke in the book and every excuse as to why not come and attend a workshop. Such as:
“Eww, I don’t want to see other people’s dangly bits.”
“Naked downward dog…interesting.”
“You couldn’t pay me to do that.”
“Thanks, I think I’ll pass.”
“I don’t think I am there yet…wherever ‘there’ is.”
“Mmmm. Maybe…if I lost 10 kilos.”
“No one wants to see that!”
And so on and so forth.
I was determined to break the taboo and extinguish Nude Yoga’s bad reputation by creating a beautiful, safe space for people to come and experience complete acceptance of their physical bodies. I yearn for people to be able to access, express and release their raw bodies and stored emotions, in a safe and supportive space. I want people to be set free and allow fresh life force energy back in to nourish their bodies and souls with pleasure and vitality…and do it all in the nud!
As with anything in life, it’s super important to be clear with your intention and be authentic no matter what you do…especially when it comes to nude yoga.
So here are my WHYS:
1. SHED YOUR INSECURITIES AND BODY IMAGE ISSUES
Nude Yoga brings up all kinds of layers and ‘stuff’ for people – fear, insecurity, shame, worth, body consciousness, self image, vulnerability, anxiety, dread. Women in particular have a tendency to be insecure and self conscious in their bodies, especially after child birth. With todays societal perception of what a ‘beautiful woman’ looks like, it’s no wonder so many women have so many hang ups.
This is my purpose for nude yoga: for women to LOVE their body, every inch of their body, as it is NOW (not when you lose 5kg), instead of comparing it to what society, social media, instagram and magazines portray the perfect body to be.
From the moment you book in for the class, you begin the process of, what I call, ‘shedding the layers’. Even as the teacher I also go through a process of expanding myself to hold space, to be vulnerable, to create a gorgeous non-invasive yoga sequence and to open myself up to move, inspire and create an incredible experience for each student. I shed my layers of nerves, worry, stress, body image perception etc. So by the time I am sitting at the front of the class I am so open, joyful and in alignment that I am actually bubbling with excited! It’s a real process for everyone involved.
“You don’t just shed your layers of clothes, you shed your layers of insecurities”.
For some attending a Nude Yoga class might be synonymous as jumping out of a plane, public speaking or letting a tarantula crawl all over your body. For others it’s no biggie. However, wherever you’re at with your body I recommend every one to come and try it out, especially if you’re a sceptic as you’re probably the one who needs it the most.
Although I have never had any serious body image issues or eating disorders, I still had my hang ups, such as “My belly is too big”, “My boobs aren’t big enough”, “I don’t like my nipples” and so on and so forth. But through the practice of yoga I have learnt to accept and hence LOVE my body just the way she is. And this is what I want to share with other women (and men ideally).
2. HONOUR YOUR DIVINE FEMININE
At the end of teaching my first Women’s Nude Yoga class we went around the room and said out loud one word that described the way we felt. It went something like this….
My heart sung! It had always been my dream to teach Nude Yoga, and to be sitting in front of twenty beautiful, brave, naked women expressing their truth and their gratitude after the class brought me (and them) to tears. The energy in the room was SO ridiculously feminine. I had never experienced such divine feminine energy…in one room…in my life. It was jaw-droppingly moving.
“I was in my masculine energy for many years, working in a high-stress corporate job in Sydney and in a relationship with a man who was in his unhealthy feminine. I drank beer. I smoked Malboro Lights. I wore a suit. I was a hard-nosed, bitchy, scramble-over-anyone-to-make-a-buck recruitment consultant. I was strong. I was resilient. I was powerful. I was practically a man. Yoga helped me chill the f*ck out, detoxify and come into my feminine essence.”
I was never drawn to the hardcore Vinyasa or Ashtanga style of yoga. If I wanted to practice yoga it was to stretch, unwind, and relax, not to get buff – I would go to the gym if that’s what I wanted.
So fast forward three years and here I am. I tailor my classes for this exact reason – to stretch, unwind, relax, chill the f*ck out and get women into their healthy feminine space.
Nude Yoga amplifies this intention.
So if you’re a woman and in a similar place where I was in 2011…come on down…this will be just what the Yogi ordered.
3. DROP DOWN YOUR BARRIERS AND BECOME VULNERABLE
In 2014 I met my match, Ares. He is ahhhmazing and such an unexpected surprise in my life. He has also taught me that my vulnerability is my super power (so did Brene Brown).
Every time I am vulnerable with Ares, he says he falls even more in love with me, because it makes him feel that I trust him, which makes him feel safe, which allows him to be in his healthy masculine and surrender more deeply to me, which helps me surrender more deeply to him. Boom!
This can translate in life, in work, in relationships, and…in Nude Yoga!
A lot of people think that vulnerability equals ‘weakness’ and opens you up to be taken advantage of. Yes, in some cases, vulnerability may expose you or open you up to being taking for granted, however that’s where our intuition and inner guidance comes in to protect us. We can’t be vulnerable to everyone all the time, but we have the power to choose when we do and who to. If we are never vulnerable (i.e. never ask for help, show our weakness, cry, admit we’re wrong, say sorry, or simply refuse to talk to someone about what is going on) we remain guarded, hardened and eventually stagnate in our rigidness.
Being vulnerable is a beautiful quality of the healthy feminine, and in Nude Yoga we remove our clothes, masks, shields, armour and resilience and simply drop down our barriers to all manners. We have nothing to be ashamed on.
“Nude yoga is a deamouring of your masculinity, resilience, shields and masks. It exposes you in the most divine way, dropping down your guarded heart, releasing your shame and allowing healing to grace your body, mind and soul”.
Inevitably in Nude Yoga, you will feel vulnerable, exposed, awkward, seen, embarrassed… But these feelings and sensations pass momentarily (usually after a few minutes) since most of the practice is done with your eyes closed and no one in the class is looking at you. It’s all about YOU!
These days, people do so much to not be vulnerable so as they are seen to be strong, powerful, and that they’ve ‘got their shit together’. Nude Yoga get’s you into your vulnerability zone by allowing you a place to safely step out of our comfort zone. It’s in this place we can finally put our masculine ‘got-my-shit-together’ masks away for a few hours and just soften into your feminine mama home! This is where the real growth happens.
Walking out of a Nude Yoga class you will feel a mixture of emotions. You may feel super vulnerable and emotional, you may feel on top of the world, and like you can achieve almost anything you put your mind to. You may say something to someone that you have been wanting to say for a LONG time. You will be sexual with your partner that night, or will self pleasure. You may LOVE and ACCEPT your body even more because you have witnessed 20 other women with similar ‘stuff’ and layers. Either way, you will be so proud of yourself for what you achieved.
4. NUDITY DOESNT ALWAYS EQUAL SEX
Naked Yoga in its truest form, has very little to do with sex and eroticism.
In saying this, the practice certainly does get your juices flowing by bringing more awareness to your sexual organs and your sexual energy. This is completely natural as in our daily life, the time we do spend naked (other than in the shower) is when we are being sexual with a partner (unless you’re a nudist). It is very natural after class to feel ‘turned on’ about your body, about your life and about your sexuality, because we have just been witness to our own naked bodies and many other beautiful naked bodies. Being naked more often makes you more sexual, period. As women, we all cover up far too much, sleep with too many clothes on, and don’t wear nearly enough flowing skirts for easy access! Nude Yoga strips all that away so we are bare, raw, vulnerable and free.
“In western culture, nudity and sexuality are pooled together. Just flick through a Vogue magazine and witness the sexualisation of women’s and men’s naked bodies to sell products (hey, sex sells right?).”
However with the rise of nude-positive events such as the Sydney Skinny Swim and the Perth Naked Skinny Dip, as well as World Naked Gardening Day, I felt it necessary that we have Nude Yoga to add to the list.
These events, as well as the #freethenipple un-censorship endeavour (thanks Miley Cyrus, Scout Willis & Keira Knightley – you chicks rock!) have created a foundation for striking a blow against destructive body pressure. These events and endeavours are a radical statement of self acceptance and lead the way in de-sexualising the naked body.
Just because I choose to be naked at a beach, garden in the nude, swim naked, rip my shirt off during a hot, sweaty run, practice yoga naked doesn’t mean I should be gawked at, perved on, shamed on, shunned, masturbated over etc. I would love to live in a world where being nipples and nakedness were normal, not offensive (yes Facebook I am referring to you!).
5. WORSHIP AT YOUR OWN TEMPLE
Naked Yoga removes any restriction from clothing, helping you sense more freedom in your asana and movement and thus experience more body awareness. Seeing and feeling the body move, inflate, deflate and stretch inspires a more connected, mindful practice. Sans clothing, we literally and metaphorically let it all hang out. We renunciate the need to ‘cover up’ with the latest Lulu Lemon yoga tights or crop top, and instead lose the attachment both to our clothes and to our bodies (and all the drama that often comes along with it).
“During the practice we connect with our higher, infinite, feminine nature. Naked Yoga is an honouring of your physical body.”
As a sacred tradition, Yoga combines a perfect balance of connecting with your body, but also detaching from it too, with the purpose to connect with your eternal soul self (remembering that our bodies are simply a vehicle and a temporary dwelling place for the soul during this lifetime). Practicing yoga naked creates a sense of total physical freedom. Freedom from inhibitions, opinions of others and any shame about the body. During Naked Yoga you begin to embrace your nakedness and find comfort in its naturalness; a care-free attitude emerges and you begin to feel light. You forget your own interests, ambitions, and problems, and you lose yourself to the feeling of bliss that is your true and immortal nature.
We spend so much time worrying about the way we look, stressing about our weight, thinking we’re not beautiful enough, that I feel it’s time to put an end to destructive self body consciousness. Naked Yoga is an avenue, a tool, a method to experiencing acceptance, letting go, vulnerability, ecstatic clarity, releasing attachments, and complete and utter freedom.
*All classes are taking place at an infra-red heated studio called Twisting Peacock Yoga Studio in Osborne Park: 7A, 44 HUTTON STREET (above the gym).