Letting Go of Shame: A Naked Yoga Practice

I did something this morning that, actually quite surprisingly, I’ve never done before. I practiced yoga completely naked. No tight yoga leggings or sports bras. Totally in the nude.

And it was one of the most honest, liberating, divine, emotional experiences I’ve had in a while.

I’d heard of naked yoga before in the context of taking a nude class in a public space. How awkward, I thought, downward dogging in someone’s face. While a nude public class didn’t sound appealing to me, I’d never considered a naked home practice until last night.

See, as spiritual and full of self-love I’d like to believe I am, I can’t deny that I’ve fallen into the trap of shame that our culture creates, and I’ve tried for many years to break myself free from these false beliefs.

How many ways can our society shame women into believing they need to be something other than they are; that in some way they are not good enough?

There are so many things we’re told need to be a certain way in order to be considered beautiful.

Our genitals and breasts need to be a certain shape or size.
We’re not muscular enough.
We’re too muscular.
We have too much fat.
We’re too thin and not curvy enough.
We’re shamed for pubic hair and armpit hair.
Stretch marks.
Blemishes.
Wrinkles.
Sagging.

And sometimes, myself included, we go to great lengths to please the arbitrary definitions of beauty our culture creates.

So, after getting down on myself the past few days, I decided to try yoga naked. Now, I’m not a physically open person. I’m modest and shy and feel uncomfortable showing skin.

But this morning, I laid out my mat in our spare bedroom and shimmied off my clothes.

For a few moments, as I stood at the top of my mat, I felt embarrassed, as if I had just realized I forgot to put on pants in public.

Then I started flowing. I began breathing into my sun salutations- movement I’ve done thousands of times before. Yet this was new.

In downward dog, I was looking back at my belly and my pubic area. In upward dog, my breasts were shining forward and open. Every part of me that I’ve ever felt insecure about was wide open to my own eyes.

And as I moved through this strong flow, I felt so powerful.

This body has gotten me through 26 years of life. It has danced and walked and carried me through challenges and hardships so beautifully.

How DIVINE my body is. This temple that I am HONORED to call home for the rest of my time here on Earth.

How could I have possibly shamed this gorgeous arrangement of atoms into believing it was anything less than infinite? I was flooded with so much love and respect and reverence.

If you are currently obsessing about some aspect of your physical appearance, know that you are a divine, infinite, strong, beautiful being just as you are.

Do yoga naked. Walk around your house naked. Sit and meditate naked. Honor your body. Allow the imperfections to fade into the beauty that already exists. Just as you are.

Never forget how wondrous you are, sweet soul.

I’m going to start adding a naked home practice into my weekly routine. Who’s with me? Has anyone ever done a public naked class? I’d love to hear about it!

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