Women’s nude yoga is not just about practicing yoga in the nude, it is a practice in vulnerability, courage and manifestation of radical self-love and acceptance. Simply turning up to the workshop is a major feat for many and enough to change their entire attitude to life. For some women, nude yoga helps them reconnect with their sexuality; for others, the process helps them to move past trauma that was holding them back.
Women of all ages, shapes, sizes and shades come along for a powerful three to four hour immersion in surrender, softening and letting go of acquired armour, masks, masculinity, shame & body insecurities. Rosie Rees, who is one of the biggest champions of this movement in Australia, says we gather all this baggage over time from not feeling or believing we are good enough, especially in relation to the media’s standard of beauty.
But Rosie herself wasn’t always such an awakened naked yoga guru – and it’s from her past that she’s gained her wisdom.
Six years ago, she worked a corporate job as a Finance Recruiter in Sydney and lived a toxic lifestyle of binge-drinking, cigarette-smoking and self-sabotaging. At the time she was in a bad relationship with a man who totally suppressed her, she was gaining weight, suffering from migraines, stressed out, anxious and clueless to what her life purpose was.
She finally quitting her unfulfilling job and travelled to India for a total detox, learned all about yoga and qualified as a yoga teacher. This is when her whole life began to turn around and she found her true life purpose – to help other women reconnect with themselves. Since then she has been championing the nude yoga movement all over Australia, and it’s gaining serious momentum.
I was curious to see what a nude yoga workshop could do for me, so I signed up to attend her session together with 18 other women – no waxes required. We all showed up in sarongs, nervous to undress. Luckily, we were all in the same boat, and what seemed like hours of pep talk in flattering candlelight helped relieve anxiety. One by one we removed our covers as the evening went on, with only the last hour spent doing yoga in the nude.
We practiced meditation at the beginning, then a run-down of the rules and schedule for the evening, before moving on to sharing with the group. We were encouraged to look at each other’s bodies – to observe how different women look, and how we’re all beautiful and we should all feel comfortable naked.
Each of us held a ‘talking stick’ during our turn, telling everyone our name, how we feel and our reason for coming to nude yoga. I heard many stories of body insecurities, waning sexuality, desire for personal growth, self-love and acceptance. I felt inspired by each woman and honoured their bravery.
Then – more challenging – we were to disclose our barriers to worthiness, the things that hold us back from feeling like we are enough. Rosie supported us through each step with inspiring talks, echoing the work of social researcher Brene Brown. It was a process of shedding layers until we were all fully bare – emotionally, and then physically too. It truly felt like a form of therapy and it helped us to bond and trust each other in the sacred space.
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My fellow yogis and I connected with one another, especially with our direct neighbour in the circle. Despite the few who came in pairs including best friends and mothers and daughters, we’d never even met before. For me, it was a woman called Dani, who possessed many qualities I admire deeply. We hugged, practiced extended periods of eye-contact, and shared our innermost feelings, worries and desires. It felt uplifting and refreshing to be so raw and authentic. After the session, we even became Facebook friends.
The final step of the evening was the nude yoga, which we were finally ready to engage in fully – even the most apprehensive if us. During the practice, we performed plenty of hip-opener poses which are said to release emotions, such as Pigeon and Warrior. At one point we were on our elbows and knees in Puppy Dog pose, looking into our upward facing palms as if they were our ‘wishing well’ and visualising all we want in the world. Tears were encouraged from the get-go, and many of us cried during the manifestation exercise and as each woman dreamed up her future life.
At the end of the class we ate a selection of delectable handmade vegan snacks including bliss balls, chocolate-covered strawberries and fresh figs, and we had the opportunity to purchase a yoni egg – a crystal egg for your vagina, which is said to heal and help with many issues, including improving orgasms and strengthening the pelvic floor.
Nude yoga is becoming more popular in Australia, three years after Rosie made the concept more mainstream by launching it in her local yoga studio. Now she runs sell-out events all over the country. There are now classes popping up in the UK and US…so the big question remains, is Singapore ready for it?
Check out also 10 yoga poses for glowing skin.