As humans, there is something about seeing the word ‘nude’ in the title of any (normally clothed) activity that makes our heart beat much faster than usual.
Care for a little nude gardening? How about a round of nude golf, or a terrifying game of nude bowling? And don’t even start with that Dating Naked show, where potential lovers are forced on first dates… without a stitch of clothing… on television. It’s a heinous crime against humanity, and my eyeballs.
So when my friend Bonnie told me she was going to a nude yoga class on the weekend, I wanted to hide under the couch and hyperventilate for a while. But deep down, I was also a bit jealous of her confidence to try it, because nude yoga takes some serious balls (ahem).
“My friend mentioned it to me and I thought ‘why the hell not’. It sounded like it could be an empowering and unique experience and I knew I’d regret not trying it if I didn’t go,” Bonnie told me.
“Honestly, I was just expecting a yoga class but a bit of an awkward one where I am naked.”
Bonnie signed up for Rosie Rees’s Nude Yoga, which is not any old yoga class, but in fact a three-hour long practice in vulnerability, courage and radical self-acceptance.
Rosie launched the classes after hitting “rock bottom” from a high-pressure corporate job and a toxic relationship that led her to being overweight, addicted to smoking cigarettes and relying on wine as an antidepressant.
“I discovered a yoga studio at the end of my street and took up regular hot yoga classes, healed myself, walked over hot coals at a Tony Robbins seminar, ended my toxic relationship, quit my job, moved to India and became a yoga teacher and coach,” she said.
“When I relocated back to Australia, I moved in with a friend who was a nudist. I decided to try something different and embrace a more naturist way of life, so I rolled my yoga mat down outside under the trees (when no one was home) and practiced nude yoga.”
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For someone who had never classed herself with having ‘body image issues’, Rosie was surprised by how much she was beating herself up about not ‘looking good enough’.
“I ended up having such a transformational experience getting naked on the yoga mat, I felt I needed to share it with people – my first three workshops sold out and I had a wait list of women.”
OK, so it sounds lovely and deep, but what actually goes down in a nude yoga class? Do we need to be in our full birthday suit, or do we get a chic little modesty cloth? Is it dark in there, or is it fluorescent like a bad change room? Do we have to downward dog like, at all?
In short, yes, you are completely naked. Yes, it is (pretty) dark. Yes, you have to downward dog. But Bonnie says it’s not as panic attack-inducing as it sounds.
“When you arrive, you’re asked to slip into a robe, and you’re able to take it off whenever you feel comfortable, whether that be immediately or five minutes before the end of class. You are then saged as you walk into a very tranquil studio space. It’s dimly lit and everyone is in a circle, so there’s no awkward bending over in front of anyone,” says Bonnie.
“Before the yoga, we took part in a workshop based around a theme – ours was ‘body image’. I went into the class thinking I didn’t really have any body image issues, but after being exposed to the vulnerability both physically and emotionally, I realised I had a lot of work to do personally. It really started a self-love journey for me.
“During the workshop I got really emotional, but afterwards I felt completely liberated.”
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It turns out this is exactly what Rosie is going for. She says by getting naked more often, it allows us to feel exposed and vulnerable, which should be seen as a strength – not a weakness. While it might be confronting at first, over time, you can expect to feel more confident in all (clothed) areas of your life.
“By stripping back the layers of clothes it organically strips back all the emotional blockages you are feeling, so often there are a lot of tears during the workshop,” says Rosie.
“But if we can be more comfortable in our naked body, we can be more confident in our clothed body, which radiates through our work, social life and relationships, from the bedroom to speaking our mind in a business meeting.
“Nude yoga is so much more than getting nude and doing yoga! Women leave feeling empowered, liberated and completely in love with their body, which is something we are not taught in school.”
Have you tried nude yoga? Tell us about it in the comments!