Image © istockphoto.com/hannamonika
Once Upon A Time, when I was fat in the way only a healthy 25-year-old girl can be fat (i.e., perfect with tiny flaws only she can see with the help of three hand mirrors and a bad romance) I did yoga naked. Well mostly naked. In the secluded backyard of my friend’s house, with two wonderful gal pals, we did (almost) naked yoga one fine summer day.
It was glorious: warm sun shining on our nubile bodies, wind rustling our hair. The naughtiness of it was thrilling and dangerous . . . until we heard someone call out! You should have seen how fast we moved when we saw the surprise male visitor coming up the driveway! We made his day.
Later I practiced “brag” yoga in front of my husband when we were dating. (See how sexy and flexible I am? You better put a ring on it!) I pictured myself as strong. I saw myself doing yoga as sexy, even in yoga pants.
Seven years later and I rarely do yoga in front of him. I certainly do not do it naked. When I was younger and lived alone, I had naked time all the time. I used to languish about all afternoon, munching grapes and reading on my couch, naked. I was comfortable in my skin. I valued myself and I felt lovely. Things are different now. As I have aged and grown fatter as a 42-year-old mother of two, I struggle with my mama body. I work harder to feel beautiful and it involves more makeup, more hair products, and more clothing layers.
Then I read this piece on The Huffington Post about moms and their swimsuits. The author’s words keep rattling around in my brain, speaking beauty and acceptance into my womanly soul. I could not wait to flaunt my abundant posterior at the next beach day. I wouldn’t hide on my beach blanket any more. I will PLAY. Thank you, Jessica N. Turner, for reminding me about what matters.
I kept thinking about Turner’s beautiful words and realized I have grown apologetic about my body. I self-consciously hide it. I dim the lights at night. I wear pajamas and dressing gowns. I add layers even in the summer heat. I still do yoga, but it is less of a celebration of my body and more of a maintenance plan.
So today I did yoga naked in front of my husband and in front of my daughters. I had something to discover about myself. I needed to rise to the challenge and woke up inspired. I took my lovely naked self downstairs and did fifteen minutes of YogaGlo yoga. Naked. I felt vulnerable, anxious, and proud of myself. I felt accepting of my body. It was wonderful. It was embarrassing. It was liberating, and empowering, and not as gross as you might think because I’m really not that bendy.
When she woke up and came downstairs, my little daughter only asked me two questions, “Mama, why are you naked?”
I told her I wanted to be thankful for what God gave me, even if it has shifted. I told her I wanted to have a little naked time and do my yoga this morning. She took that in stride. Any kid can understand their Mama wanting “Naked Saturday” on a Tuesday morning instead.
Then she asked the best question ever, “Why aren’t they naked?” as she pointed to the on screen instructor and class. I stifled a chortle and smiled, “Because that is another kind of channel entirely, My Love!”