Or At Least Get Naked More Often
Being naked in public seems taboo, especially in the United States. There is something seemingly shameful about it. Even walking by an art gallery with nudes depicted in the window can send a shrill of awkwardness causing you to pull your coat collar up even closer to your neck. Why?
What is so strange about being in the buff? Isn’t the human body supposed to beautiful? Isn’t yoga supposed to help us forget all that drama about our lives and that extra fold of skin on our bellies?
The conversation in your head as you walk into a sea of naked bodies on yoga mats probably would sound something like this: I don’t wax. I have stretch marks on my hips from having a baby. My left boob is a little bigger than my right boob. When was the last time I shaved my legs? Oh my God, that 50-year-old woman’s breasts are bigger than mine. Will my ass look like that when I’m 70? No. God no! At least I exercise. Well, I guess I’m thinner than she is. And so on.
Why is it our first impulse to compare my body to everyone else’s? Why are we worried about cataloging every inch of cellulite?
Samantha Rose, a 200 hour RYT, discovered the amount of “body baggage” she carried around with her everyday and how getting naked changed all that. She gives us 5 liberating reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to get naked.
1. “Perfect” is an illusion.
Even though I’m happy with my body most of the time, I still feel an immense pressure to appear “perfect”. From an early age I was taught how to make myself more appealing to men — how to flirt, wear heels, short skirts, wax my eyebrows, slather on makeup, etc. And still, when all the clothes come off, I tend to worry about all the imperfections because let’s face it, none of us are airbrushed.
“Imperfection” means there is an object of perfection, and that is just not true. Every body is different. As I looked around the spa that day it wasn’t my body that separated me from everyone else, it was my attitude.
2. Being vulnerable in front of others is a good thing.
In Europe — Germany especially — it’s perfectly normal to lose the swimsuit and go for a dip in the buff. Going to the sauna is a beloved pastime and it’s generally understood that everyone will be unclad. At the yoga studio where I teach, there’s even a coed sauna room in the basement — in case you didn’t sweat enough in class. I’ve found that seeing other bodies in the nude can make us more comfortable in our own skin, if we’re willing to sit with the discomfort and fear.
3. When you judge other people, you judge yourself.
I realized I was afraid to confront my own self-judgment. Instead of practicing self-compassion, I defaulted to fear. Society has taught us to judge and criticize, instead of to love and care for ourselves and others.
When you compare yourself to other people, it’s a form of self-harm. We have to take care of our bodies physically and emotionally, and sometimes it’s equally important — if not more important — to have an emotional fitness routine as well.
4. When you become comfortable being naked, you’ll feel less inclined to wear makeup and heels.
I was never a girly-girl — it’s just not my natural state. Sometimes I feel like wearing lipstick (but most of the time I don’t) but I finally realized and accepted that this is OK. Making myself up was a way of putting myself down. Losing the costume helped me feel comfortable with just being myself.
5. Baring your bits to Mother Nature feels really good.
Like the snow on the pristine Alpine peaks, my body too will one day melt away. My bottom will get saggy and my skin will wrinkle.
If practicing yoga has taught me anything, it’s that I am not my body and I am not my mind. Everything in this world is material, and is subject to constant change. Even sitting here now and writing this, my body is changing. My skin is a material barrier to the world around me and somehow taking my clothes off on that mountain, made me feel more at peace with nature and with myself.
So what are you waiting for? Be brave. Be Bold. Be willing to confront discomfort and fear.