How a nude yoga class changed my life.
I COULD begin this piece by telling you I was attending a nude yoga class on a Friday night for research purposes for this article. That my editor that sent me the information had asked me to go along for a giggle. But that would be a lie.
I pitched the idea to write about the class because I was filled with curiosity and as a regular yoga goer and I wanted to give it a go.
So as my friends were downing their third espresso martinis I was deciding in my rushed shower at 6pm (the class started at 8pm) whether I should get rid of my three day shadow … down there.
I was filled with questions. What kind of maintenance will others have? If au natural types attend this kind of affair, will I be the only one without a full bush?
I had quickly gone from excited curiosity to fear and concern. What kind of people would be there? Who would be looking at me through their legs in downward dog and seeing my natural — slightly saggy — boobs hanging from my chest? Would there be lesbians there? What shapes and sizes would the bodies be? What happens if someone’s cheeks are spread so wide I am disgusted rather than humbled and can’t look away? Would people see my vagina?
My thoughts were starting to feel like a circus. A naked freak circus. But what I was about to experience was far from it.
As I walked into the yoga studio I was approached by Rosie Rees, the event organiser and I was feeling a little anxious. She had a kimono on and was lovely, warm and exuded calm. We had met when she was a guest on our Thinkergirls podcast so was willingly waiting for me to arrive and asked me to grab a towel and my kimono. I smiled at her, graciously walked away.
Kimono? I had a hot pink fluffy dressing gown! You know the kind — it was so daggy I may as well have thrown hot rollers in your hair and called myself Mrs Mangle.
Once I got over this roadblock, I chose a mat and sat down. Everyone had different kimono style robes on so it was comfortable and felt a little like a teenage sleepover was about to begin. It felt very innocent — a little school like. The event was a woman only event, and after not too much time, the air in the candle filled room was awash with a combination of nerves yet openness. It was far from a nudist sanctuary. Rosie asked us to sit in a circle and say our name and share a little bit about why we were there. During this, her robe was completely open, and I found myself being mesmerised by her breasts. It isn’t often you see the naked body of someone you barely know.
All covered up, one by one each woman opened up and shared why they were there. I was in tears by some of the vulnerability women displayed. They shared stories of their breakups, alcohol struggles, having babies, body issues, wanting to feel sexy but having a sense of lost sexuality, not sleeping with their partners for long lengths of time; the list went on.
I was so moved at how present everyone was, and how open the women were to give this a red hot go.
And just like that, I was sitting in a cross legged position looking across the room at 22 bare backs. I could see different size bums, long hair, short hair, different waists, different postures. It was incredibly beautiful. I was most confronted about how I kept accidentally touching parts of myself that I wouldn’t usually. I was sitting cross legged naked, you can use your imagination.
The class slowly built up and when I say built — it was the slow build that was a game changer for me. The breathing and audible releases were FULL ON. Slow building breathe. What does that remind you of?!
There were elements of tantra that were advertised on the website — but, um, I think I missed this part of the description. Before I realised, we are all making sounds that I have only ever heard in the bedroom, and pretty quickly I was back inside my own thought circus (Insert clown music). Am I a part of a group orgy? What will people think of me when I write this? Why does this feel so natural yet weird? The breathing was the same as a normal yoga class — but all of a sudden it was a little sexual without clothes!
Once I surrendered to not worrying about what people thought of me I was able to relax into what was happening. Looking at everyone stand in front of me, for a small moment, I started to remember being a kid running through the sprinkler with my brother and my cousins and not having a worry in the world. I was instantly thrown a sense of sadness. We lose this innocence and so much of the way women feel about their bodies becomes complex and unhealthy.
It started to awaken things in me about my own body and sense of self. My insecurity about my ‘round face’ was brought to the surface when Rosie asked us to close our eyes and touch something we disliked. Tears streamed down my face as I stopped for a second and considered the amount of times I had berated myself on this.
Yeah sure, I was confronted by looking into people’s bum holes at times. OK, the entire time. For yogis reading this — chair pose had a whole new meaning!
I would encourage women to trial a class to explore their sexuality and treatment of their bodies; it was a life changing experience for me. I have a new found curiosity about my breathing during sex, the idea of tantra and my body in general.
WhenI think back on the experience, I don't think about uncomfortable giggles, I think of the word ‘courage’. That is the word that comes to mind to describe the women I shared my nudey night with.
Photo courtsey of Storytrender