I’ve been doing something a bit unconventional and I’m very smitten: naked yoga. Though I’ve practiced for almost 15 years, it’s never been like this before.
Yoga classes in L.A. can be less about the asanas and more about checking out who looks the youngest, the most anorexic and who has the latest $120 stretchy pants. It’s distracting, annoying and costs $22 a class to boot. Of course not all classes are like this, but still…
I started to get curious about exploring – on my own – the point of why I do yoga in the first place: to actually be Union with my body and experience the miracle of this ‘container’ that holds my soul and allows me to travel the beauty of this earth.
I leave my mat out the night before so that it’s ready for me when I roll out of bed. I leave the curtains closed so that it feels private, while still allowing lots of natural light to flood the high ceilings of my bedroom. The birds are chirping at 6:30am and I feel safe and warm.
I’m not doing any particular sequence of poses or holding them for any particular length of time. Of course I have my favorites: down dog, warrior two (and three), triangle, crow, pigeon. I’m not looking at the clock, I’m just moving as it feels natural. Two minutes, ten minutes, a half hour; the amount of time isn’t the point.
As I’m doing all of this – alone in my birthday suit – something amazing has happened that is quite the opposite of what I expected: I seriously am in LOVE with my body. Not because I’m judging it from the outside, but because in this quiet, private, raw moment, I’m completely amazed at the perfection of this ‘vessel.’ Not airbrushed magazine, 17-year-old model perfection: God’s perfection. Or evolution. Or whatever your beliefs are about how we got here.
The fact that (for most of us) we wake up and have this soft, strong, warm, healthy body that is completely functioning and operating on its own is a small miracle. The heart beats without us asking. Our legs take us wherever we ask them to go. Our eyes work to see the beauty of the world. Our nose works to smell the roses. Our ears work to hear the birds chirping in the early morning.
All of this ‘work’ happens without us even asking – we are so lucky! And yet most of the time, as women, we ‘hate’ our bodies and obsess over all of their imperfections. It’s tragic, really.
And from a more superficial, aesthetic perspective, doing naked yoga has actually made me love my body even more. This really surprised me. Rather then getting neurotic over a fold here or a stretch mark there, in that quiet, safe place, I can just be with my body Exactly As It Is. There is no judgment here, only full acceptance. Acceptance of things I ‘like’ and think look ‘good’ and acceptance of things I might ‘change.’
But then I stopped myself and asked the question: do I really even need to change this perceived imperfection? Why?
No, my body doesn’t look like an airbrushed, spray tanned teenage model in a magazine, but I’m not her, I’m ME. A 37-year-old mom who has a body that has given life, fed my son, helped others, planted gardens, written poems and felt immense pleasure. Why on earth would I ever want to change that!
I’m stepping into my Full Power, and it feels amazing. Redefining what it means to be a True Woman and enjoying the miracle of this body that was given to me the day my mom conceived me inside of hers. One day I’ll have to give it back to the Great Mother, but until then, I’m going to enjoy it and give it respect, each and every moment, whether it’s naked on my yoga mat or fully clothed out in the world.
painting by Antoine Calbet