You probably tried some weird fitness stuff in January out of post-pie desperation. We all did. We all have various DVDs with smiling women on the front that we're now using to prop up a wonky bookcase. That's cool. What'd you try? Yoga? Pilates? Yogalates? (It's a thing.) What about NAKED yoga? This is also a thing since we saw someone mention it in Elle magazine a while back. But what's it like? Allana Reoch, Tobias Fünke's polar opposite, went and found out.
I love being naked. I love walking around my house naked, I love eating naked, and I love working naked (I'm naked now!) so when I found out that naked yoga is a thing that I am allowed to do in public without getting charged for indecent exposure, I jumped at the chance to give it a go. “Naked fitness - here I come!” I thought to myself, quickly shimmying out of my ensemble and rushing to the door. A few seconds after I found myself sprinting, destinationless down the street in the nude, I stopped, turned around and went back home to look up the class schedule. Doing yoga in a room of naked strangers is an enlightening experience on exactly eight levels. I consider myself a changed person, having learned invaluable lessons about myself that I will now impart on you, fellow bare-skinned bodhisattvas.
1. Maybe I'm not as comfortable with my naked body as I thought?
Whoops! Having spent countless hours bumming around in the buff, I figured a little nude stretching would be no big deal. However, faced with the prospect of a garmentless downward dog, I really did get a little nervous. My Renaissance Nude-eque figure being twisted and contorted without the aid of the enchanted fabric of lululemon athletica, seemed suddenly overwhelming. To calm myself down, I used the age old technique of picturing everybody in their underwear.
2. One must place her naked-yoga-mat strategically and carefully in the naked-yoga-studio
The reasoning is childish, but let's be blunt about it because secretly we're all on the same page. Basically, back of the room = I see your butt. Front of the room = You see my butt. These are the terms, and we must make our choices within them. Put your mat down at the back of the room like you know you want to and try not to openly stare at the woman warming up in Pidgeon's Pose to your left.
3. Your genitals are NOT as abnormal as you imagine them to be
They laid it all out so let's lay it all out: your lop-sided labia and meaty mons pubis are not alone! Everybody has something that they feel weirdly about, look around and see! However, you can't expect to reach nirvana when you're peeking at pudenda so close your eyes and focus on your breath.
4. Judgement and curiosity are not the same
Ask yourself if you're sneaking a peek because you're genuinely interested, or because you're doing a sneaky body comparison. One is great, the other is not healthy. Decide what your perspective is, and then get back to aligning your chakras the way you should be! What are you even doing!? You're not even concentrating!
5. Sneaky Glances are easy in the following poses:
Well, alright. If you're going to look, then you might as well use Triangle Pose, Eagle Pose, Downward Dog or a regular ol' over the shoulder spinal-twist-swivel-peep (I made this one up).
6. About five minutes into Naked Yoga, you will regret whatever it is you've eaten prior to the class
From one seasoned yogi to another, do NOT eat a burrito before this or any other yoga class. Needing to pass gas seems like a way bigger deal when you don't have pants on.
7. There are certain things you simply cannot know about how your body works when you have clothes on
Like how my nipples uncomfortably graze the floor while transitioning from Plank Pose to Upward Dog.
8. Bodies are odd
We're really all just blobs of flesh with dangling appendages. Our shapes are peculiar, our privy parts are strange, and when reminded of this in a room full of women holding their own flexed feet above their heads, I am desperate to make sense of the experience by claiming that I think bodies are beautiful. The truth is, I think we all look pretty weird.
At the end of the class I lay in savasana, slightly sweaty, having taken most of the 75 minutes to redefine what it means to balance without a sports bra. I feel powerful, awakened, and still very naked. I take a breath in, congratulate myself for showing up to my mat, and take a couple of final sneaky glances around the room before sauntering back to my clothes. Perhaps the biggest lesson of the experience is the reminder that while I do enjoy being naked, I am also thankful that the outside world is not “clothing-optional”. It's just too distracting. Namaste.