What a way to celebrate International Yoga Day.
I find myself in a dark room softly illuminated by the glow of candles. Outside there is a wild and wooly storm, the wind and rain lashes against and rattles the window. It’s a stark contrast to the warm, welcoming and cosy environment inside. I am on all fours, running through a cat/cow sequence with 20 other gorgeous women, who like me are all naked. Stark, bare, beautiful, and NAKED.
Tonight I experienced my first ever nude yoga class.
Now let me commence with my original comment when someone told me about Nude Yoga.
“Gross, just GROSS. Nope, no, definitely not!’
In my mind I had a visual of a well lit room, filled with naked bodies in uncompromising yoga positions, a rear view vision of downward dog. Shudder.
However, this idea kept presenting itself and after a girlfriend told me about a class currently being run in Perth and after reading the brief; a women only restorative yin style yoga class in a candle lit room.. well I was more than a little intrigued.
Yoga is all about stripping back the layers, finding and connecting with your true authentic self. It is about acceptance and love, especially of yourself where you are, right here and now. Metaphorically and literally, I could see how practicing yoga while naked could align with that concept.
Earlier in the week I put my name down on the waitlist and let it go. This week there has been a lot of buzz about Rosie Rees and her class at Twisting Peacock so I thought there was little chance of getting the opportunity to attend. Until, 1pm today when I got the email: ‘you have been moved from the waitlist to attending’… My stomach dropped, my heart skipped a beat. Oh dear, what had I got myself into?! I would be lying to say I wasn’t a little bit excited.
It was nerve-wracking to walk into a studio ALONE to attend a nude yoga class, I felt embarrassed and nervous. I am pretty uncomfortable without my layers, I don’t sleep in the nude and I very rarely strip down to the bare basics (unless there is lots of wine involved but that’s a whole other story).
The class was an interesting journey emotionally. For the majority of the class I wasn’t aware of other women in the room, apart from on an energetic level. I could feel them in the room with me and make out their shapes moving in the candle light. I was a lot more connected with myself; what I was feeling and what I was thinking. It was a great way for me to practice, as one of my biggest obstacles in practising with others is my struggle with self comparison. My ego taunts me with constant reminders that I am not as flexible or capable as others in the class. However tonight it truly was as though I had stripped back the layers and was left my own internal self.
A lot of old memories and feelings presented themselves during the two hours.
It was a beautiful experience as I reflected on how far I had come. This is the girl who used to struggle massively with her body image starving herself throughout her teens. I still bear the scars on my legs from self harming when I was young. I often struggle with intimacy and affection. I have spent so many years of my life hating, hurting and abusing my body in various self destructive ways.
Something beautiful happened tonight and I realised that this has all changed. As I looked at my body in the soft glowing candlelit I felt a whole lot of self love. My heart was bursting with love and acceptance; for me, myself and all that I am.
- I love my ribs that poke out to look like an extra set of boobs (as the kids would torment me as a teen that the bottom ones were bigger than the top)
- I love my massive mole on my cheek (‘moley, moley, moley’… kids are so cruel)
- I love my knobbly knees and bowed legs
- I love my alien toes with the extra knuckles
- I love my not straight, not curly, not wavy, mousey hair
- I love my little dimples on my bum that won’t disappear no matter how much exercise I do
- I love my boobs that seems to be on a mission to disappear out to the side and under my armpits
- I love my half innie, half outey belly button that looks completely different to everyone else’s
In that moment that I loved every single bit of my body, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes.
This is the same person who less than two years couldn’t attend shopping centres because of crippling panic attacks. Yet here I was lying naked in a room full of strangers completely calm and without any fear at all. Do you understand how liberating that is?
The energy in the room is so hard to put into words. There was a feeling of love, tenderness, openess and acceptance. I didn’t feel insecure about my body. I felt connected with myself and every woman in that room, despite having never seen their faces or knowing their names.
We closed the class with a circle where we all talked about how we went with the class and how it made us feel. Just some of the words that rolled off our tongues were: nurtured, liberated, connected, happy, playful, sensual, beautiful and feminine. As I looked around the circle everyone was radiant, gorgeous and glowing. It was a truly transformational experience and one I will definitely be doing again.
Onward Bound xo