Is nude yoga one step further from the lithe women doing handstands in bikinis all over my Instagram feed, or is it the ultimate liberation, a way to feel feminine and empowered? Being too un-feminine and un-empowered myself, I spoke to a regular woman who got her kit off, all in the name of Namaste.
When my dear friend Fabienne told me she was planning on heading to Rosie Rees’ Nude Yoga class, I scoffed. When the notification popped up in my feed – “Fabienne is going to Nude Yoga with Rosie Rees”, I thought perhaps there was a bit of her that was accepting the invitation just to make a point. That, like any normal person, she’d be at home watching Netflix and drinking wine on Friday night, instead of heading to a “candle-lit room, heated to a warm temperature and contained in a private, safe red tent space”, to practise downward dog with her bits hanging out. But no, she was deadly serious.
No sooner had I learnt Fabienne was planning on stripping down in a room full of strangers, more of my friends started popping up on social media confirming their attendance at Nude Yoga. Apparently, I’m the only one keeping my Dharma Bums leggings ON these days! Am I the lone person thinking through the health and safety issues of naked yoga? Like, who cleans the mats? What about strategic mat location? Front of the room or back? Slippage? God forbid, accidentally touching someone during a twist… There were more questions than answers, so I had to go straight to the source – the ever enlightened, Fabienne.
What made you want to do nude yoga?
FC: I’ve always been partial to practicing yoga naked in the comfort of my own home, and when I saw that Rosie Rees was offering nude yoga in Brisbane, I thought it would be a unique opportunity to get over any consciousness, celebrate my femininity and connect with likeminded women. I don’t think people look at their own naked bodies often enough, which means we don’t get the chance to accept ourselves for who we really are.
What did people say when you told them you were going?
FC: People had pretty strong reactions, which I think stemmed from their own insecurities, which is understandable. Surprisingly, my partner, Dale, said “Fab, you’d really like that” – he was all aboard the nude yoga train!
What was your first thought walking into the room?
FC: I felt oddly normal! I’ve done things far less intense, but I didn’t feel half as safe as I did walking into the yoga studio that day.
After Rosie introduced herself, I could tell some women were very nervous, but there was definitely a feeling of connection, and the space felt very peaceful, like I had met these women before. Rosie directed us to get changed into our robes, everyone else was in these beautiful hippy caftans, and I was in my girly pink lace robe! We all spoke about why we were there, for some people they wanted to let go of their body insecurities, while others just liked to get naked!
Rosie then asked us to remove our robes in a ritualistic way, then we were off! The room was pretty dark, and the yoga was very Yin and restorative, lots of ground work, based on sending love into the physical parts of your body. I certainly got in touch with certain parts of my body that I hadn’t seen from certain angles before!
What was the most awkward thing?
FC: Doing cat/cow with my friend behind me.
What did you get out of the experience?
FC: Wouldn’t say I have a warped sense of body image, but some days everyone feels a bit bloated. When you’re naked, and have your head between your legs, you’re forced to look at your body and accept it – it’s a pretty powerful feeling. Nude yoga reminds you that you’re more than just your physical body.
Was there anything you didn’t expect about the experience?
FC: How comfortable I would feel. I got nude in front of 30 women, and I didn’t feel judged at all. I was just there for me and I was really enjoying the moment. I really think women need this – we are so detached from our nakedness, we cover it with layers of clothes that we spend hundreds of dollars on, to make us feel beautiful. With this experience, I got to peel back those layers and feel a sense of worth without the façade.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of trying nude yoga?
FC: Go! Be open to whatever you receive during the class. At the end of the class, 80% of the class stayed naked, and women who were visibly nervous at the beginning were so calm. It was my favourite part of the experience.
So, erm, who cleans the mats?
FC: We all used towels! And I took my own mat.
Next up: part two of our Nude Yoga series, in which we talk to Rosie Rees, the bare yoga instructor herself, and ask her questions such as WHY NUDE?
If you’d like to experience naked yoga, head to Nude Yoga with Rosie to find out more.