The Naked Truth
“Goddess of Beauty: You are a wondrous being of light; there is nothing to change or fix.”
This is the angel card I intuitively picked before our nude yoga workshop began. By the end, I really understood exactly why this message has been on constant repeat in my world for the past three months. It took me really gazing inward though to find it.
Er… what – NUDE yoga?
A lot of people have asked me why I would attend a nude yoga class and my response has been two fold…
Firstly, I like to try new things that I believe can contribute to or enhance my mind-body wellbeing. Some people decide to sign up to a marathon or go camping or hike Mt Everest. I like to try new things related to food, fitness and wellness.
Secondly, because I’ve been saying I will attend one of Rosie Rees’ (@rosie.rees) Women’s Nude Yoga Workshops for a good couple of years now. I’ve watched many friends attend and I had let it become just another one of those things I’ll ‘get around to.’ It took bum-ping into Rosie (pun intended), who I’ve known for a long time, late last year along with current life circumstances to finally commit. So, I put it up on my 2019 vision board and low and behold a workshop landed right in time for my birthday weekend (happy birthday to me!). Timing is everything, right?!
So, back to the workshop… I’m sure you’re all curious to know just what it entails!
On a beautiful Friday evening, I walked into Yoga Om with my hesitant but excited girlfriend in tow. I had my robe and massage oil as instructed and decided to leave any inhibitions (not that many exist) at the door. The smell of chocolate filled the space along with candles, cards and yoni eggs, all perfectly placed in the centre of a giant circle made of yoga mats for 25 women.
The focus of Rosie’s workshops are always slightly different and this one happened to be around Breast Massage & Cacao (separately, not combined).
There was a sense of nervousness and self-consciousness in the room as we all sat patiently on our mats, robes on, waiting for the inevitable strip. There is a reason this is a 3-hour workshop. You don’t just walk in a get butt naked!
Rosie starts by putting us in a relaxed and eased state via meditation on our back and hands on heart. It is here we begin to investigate our minds, our thoughts, our intentions before eventually sitting up and, at our own pace, de-robing. To my surprise, most women were quite comfortable to just get it off (keep in mind the room is pretty dark anyway). Me? I’ve never had a problem with stripping down. Years spent as a dancer and getting naked side-stage for quick costume changes left very little concern around nudity for me. But I know this is not the case for many if not most women – I could still feel the uncertainty coming from my girlfriend next to me.
If you’ve ever met or followed Rosie or have the pleasure to, you’ll soon realise how easy she makes it to relax, let go, have a laugh and lose any fear you may have initially had signing up to do this. After sharing a little bit about the evening and her journey, the beautiful Laura took us through a cacao ceremony – something I had never done but have been hearing a lot about. It makes sense right? Cacao (and some of the other amazing ingredients that were incorporated into our warm, chocolate cup) all promote relaxation and libido. Not that this is about a sexual experience in any way! But it is about being in touch with your body, your own sensuality, your senses, your inner goddess.
Rosie then invited us to go around the circle one by one and share our names, relationship with our breasts and our intention for the evening. I listened to the eight or nine women before me all share similar but different reasons before finally it was my time.
Sharing my name was easy, sharing my relationship with my breasts was easy (our relationship is fantastic and we are still blissfully in love with one another) but the part about the intention was the hardest. I found myself tearfully blurting out “three months ago my husband left me.”
To even write that now has taken a LOT of courage and a LOT of self-work. But I can’t ask others to be vulnerable and not do the same. You see, you can have people around you telling you that you’re smart, beautiful, loving, talented and ‘could have anybody you want’ and yet NONE of that seems to matter if you don’t believe it and the one person that you want doesn’t want you.
“I’m not enough.”
It’s been the shitty story of my life that I have felt too many times over. “Why am I not enough for this person?” It was in this moment I realised why I was meant to be in that workshop. Why I was meant to pick up that angel card. Nude yoga is another part of the process in me kicking that old, un-serving story to the curb for good!
As we continued on around the room, it saddened me to hear so many women talk and feel so badly about their bodies. I realised how horrible women really are to themselves. There were stories of abuse, near death experiences, body image issues, bullying and even where one lady was told to keep her bra on by her ex-partner during sex because her boobs weren’t up to his standard.
This is the kind of shit women deal with and walk around with EVERY DAY!
Once we had all bared our truths it was like we had all become best friends and you could feel the energy had completely shifted in the room to one of trust, understanding and permission to be totally vulnerable for the rest of the evening.
This involved learning about the connection between breasts and heart and how to lovingly massage them. To love them full stop! By now lights had come up a little so there was no hiding anything. So when Rosie asked us to walk around the room and really acknowledge each other, there was no distinction to our interaction from being nude or fully clothed.
I’ll never forget when she asked us to stop and stare at the woman in front of us intently for a good three minutes. I looked into the eyes of a gorgeous soul who I could feel was uncomfortable in this situation and still holding onto something. By the end of the three minutes that awkward, uncomfortable smile she had disappeared, she let go and the tears came. In those three minutes she saw all of me and my crap and I saw all of hers. And our eyes alone told us it’s ok, you’re fine. You’re beautiful. You’ve got this. That’s women connecting on a whole other level that can only be experienced, not described.
We finished off the workshop with a little yoga (yes there was a downward dog but we were all in a circle, bums facing out so safe from any face-on scenarios! LOL) before dancing it out and thanking each other and ourselves.
The amount of women I’ve chatted to in the days between doing the workshop and writing this I’ve heard say, “I could never do that,” has me answering over and over again: “That’s exactly WHY you need to do this!” Most of the women in that yoga room had all said the same thing at one time and yet there they were.
Being able to love yourself in your bare beauty is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself. It also allows you to let others love you at your whole and gives permission to others to love themselves too.
The day after the workshop my girlfriend, Kat Blake @invigoratenaturopathy put up a post. The image featured was us sitting back to back, bare bums and all and words such as “My history of bulimia, obsessive exercise disorder, hating my tummy, wishing my breasts were larger. All of it. I shed the “crap” I’ve been telling myself for 29 years and learnt to celebrate my body…honestly the best experience of my life.”
That testimony from her alone is worth every penny I spent to be there for myself.
It is my hope that through this open, honest and confronting share of my Nude Yoga experience, you give yourself permission to feel safe, held, honoured and respected, too.
Thank you Rosie Rees for being the ultimate Goddess that you are.