As yoga clothes start to resemble lingerie ads, nude yoga calendars are being printed, and I hear chatter of my students discussing their nude beach experience, I start to wonder what it is with naked yogis. Is it that they want to show off their “yoga buns”? I have bought into some of this myself (mostly the feminine looking yoga outfits) and although I consider myself a “free spirit,” the thought of baring all makes me a little flush in my cheeks. Am I a prude, and why are yogis so comfortable with this?
This brings me back to an interesting experience I encountered in my early twenties with a guitar teacher of mine. Let’s call him “Harry” to protect his identity. I began taking guitar lessons at the request of my then boyfriend (Chris) in hopes that we could form a rock band together. Although I was feeling “too old” and insecure to begin learning an instrument, I put my fear aside and went for it, getting the highest recommended yoga teacher in town. Each week when I showed up for my lesson, I felt anxious and exposed, due to my own lack of confidence. As the lessons progressed and I began feeling more comfortable, it seems harry was too. Yes it is true… I showed up for my lesson and Harry was the one who was exposed (naked)this week. After a moment, an apology for forgetting about my lesson, and a quick change we proceeded as usual. I thought to myself, “Wow, who would have known he was a nudist.” I went back the next week. Same thing. This time it was “laundry day”. I left vowing to never return, but being coaxed into it by my boyfriend, who didn’t fully believe me (and would have much rather had the Janice Joplin, than the Seane Corne type) went back a third time. Needless to say (since I am not a famous guitarist) I didn’t go back again. In fact, I quit playing guitar because in my avidya(illusion) I thought it was Harry’s way of telling me I was not a worthy guitar student, because I had NO rhythm. I have never been one to judge others, only myself. THANKFULLY Yoga has helped me turn away from this judging mind and feel more comfortable in my SKIN. Maybe not to the extent of sitting naked on the beach (although I would like to think I could) and the nude yoga classes, well they just seem like they would be as awkward as a naked guitar lesson.
Why are many yogis comfortable in the buff..well..I think it is this reason.
I have had students express to me the awkwardness they feel post savasana (deep relaxation) bliss. This is the point where we pause and look deep into each other’s eyes for a moment before bowing our heads in Namaste (light in me-honors the light in you). Here we sit much more exposed than when we are nude. Through the process of yoga, we shed the layers that we put on ourselves or others put on us that lead to our fears and insecurities. We come in to this world naked and pure, like a crystal clear wine glass, and then we get passed around and the imprints began to dim our sparkle. Yoga begins to wipe these smudges away and if we are lucky, we can catch the glimmer that is there…here we sit uncovered, natural, crystal clear. Namaste’