I’m a person who likes to take myself out of my comfort zone. I know that’s where the growth comes, so I will always sign up. I’ve pushed the envelope ever since I was a kid. So at 31, I’m used to it. When I first heard about Nude Yoga I thought even cobra (Bhujangasana) would be uncomfortable, let alone downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) for my, ahem, let’s say, perineum. Then an opportunity arose with Fit Gangster, a fitness community who review the latest in studios. So I just went for it. What’s the worst that could happen? Who cares if I get embarrassed? I’ve been to circles and 5rythym dances before, so I know spaces like this are always shared with like-minded people and I would feel comfortable.
I was not nervous, just psyched for the event. I started following @rosie.rees on Instagram and could see how genuine she is and felt immediately at home when I turned up on the night.
I brought with me a towel for my mat, a kimono to start class and a very open mind. Of course I made sure I did a ‘tidy up’ and shaved the legs and pits. I wanted to be completely bare, raw and vulnerable – no make up, no clothes, just me. I want to see how close I can come to being myself in all situations.
When I arrived I started to feel my heart pounding in my chest, I think most of us may have felt like that? Rosie was just as beautiful as she is on social media, this 5 foot 3” ball of love, who is so calm and supporting. You feel so warm in her presence.
I put my bag in the change room and sat in the common area to drink some tea and meet other women taking the plunge. No one had done anything like this before, apart from the two or three nudists, but nude Yoga was something very different.
It was time to bare all! Some of us huddled in the change room, peeling off the layers, starting to release the courage but keeping our eyes on our own undressing. Kimono’s went on and mats were chosen. Not knowing which would be the best – front row… or back. Which one would you choose?
I went right up front. I wanted to be close to Rosie, not to miss a word!
The room was beautifully lit with candles and Rosie eased us in with some slow breathing techniques to ground ourselves in the space and settle the energy. I could tell Rosie knew how we were all feeling and she respected a slow start, showing us where we could take the practice.
We then came to a circle with each person sharing our intentions for being there. I could relate to something in each story: being in a relationship, out of a relationship, finding feminine love for ourselves, mothers, abuse of some kind, anxiety, body image, becoming real in our own skin, being comfortable in our own skin without needing to build layers or without needing anything from others to feel the love. Even though most of us didn’t know each other, every single one of us trusted as we became vulnerable with each other. It was truly empowering to be amongst our own kind, supporting each other like that. We hadn’t even done a pose yet. This was the most important ingredient, I thought.
And then we began moving our bodies in non-offensive poses (asana) (I might add). During twists or forward folds I would peel my eyes open to see the wonderful bodies around me, skin, so much beautiful skin. All shapes, all shades, with all their stories. We were all the same. And the thing, which surprised me most, was that it all felt so right. So innate. During one point in my practice I felt like I was moving back in time, flashes behind my closed eyes, like I was connecting with something very wise in previous experiences from a long, long time ago. Where it was all accepted, nothing was hidden. Women gathering, believing, moving, all in a supportive way.
It was such an amazing and beautiful experience. When we came out of relaxation (Savasana) and gathered in our circle again. Kimono’s were loosely drawn, some weren’t on, and we shared how we all felt, now. So much peace, calm, everyone looked so relaxed and so comfortable in their own skin. What a transformation we all had made. We are all on a healing path and this had helped immensely. Rosie is a very special person to hold space for us all, but first for recognising her gift and having the belief in herself to share it.
Afterwards, I really thought, “every woman needs to do this.” How can you say you couldn’t do it, when you don’t know what it is? How can you say it’s not for you when you don’t know how you would feel? There were 21 women there and each one of us from different paths, living very different lives but not one of us had any regrets.
I hope this comes to Melbourne to stay, I would be sure to do it weekly and I would want you to come with me! Game enough?