Hey guys. Here we go.
This week I went to a naked yoga class. I’m here to tell you everything you want to know about it.
The reason I went? Well, for one, all my favorite lululemon clothes got lost when my baggage went missing on the way back from Nicaragua. So I don’t have any yoga clothes, and now this is the only place I can go where they will accept me.
Ok, that’s not the reason, even though it’s true. Truthfully, I went so I could make a video. No, you little pervs, not to videotape naked people. To just gain the ability to make a video in general. Any video.
Let me explain my logic.
I am so incredibly uncomfortable when there’s a camera on me. I’ve never made a video with myself in it before, and I always say “no” to video collaborations/interviews because they make me feel so awkward and weird and self-conscious. I feel like I can’t relax or be normal in a video. I don’t even really like doing phone interviews because I feel so put on the spot. This is why I’m a writer. I can stay in my little comfort zone of researching, editing, and pressing “publish” when I feel like it’s perfect, and not be exposed or vulnerable in a way that isn’t controlled.
But comfort zones are so 2013.
I decided that one of my challenges for my 2014 Comfort Zone Crusade was going to be to make a video. Any kind of video, with me talking into the camera. YIKES! Literally…terrifying to me.
Here’s the thing. I’m a Virgo – if you know anything about astrology, you know that Virgos aren’t exactly known for being naked and uninhibited. I’m totally not a “naked person.” Meaning, I don’t walk around my apartment naked, I’m not one of those people who gets naked in front of my friends when I’m changing, I don’t like to stand around naked in locker rooms…I’m just generally not naked a lot. So naked yoga? In front of other people!? Including men? COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone.
But for some reason I had this little feeling. This feeling kept me up at night – no joke. I was lying in bed one night and I couldn’t fall asleep because this naked yoga thing was on my mind. Why does this keep coming into my head? What’s the deal? Then a thought presented itself – very clearly. Can’t explain it.
If you can go to a naked yoga class, you can make a video.
Yes. That was it. It just made complete sense to me. Doing yoga naked in front of 20 other people sounded like the most exposed and vulnerable scenario imaginable. (The only thing more vulnerable to me is probably expressing my feelings to a guy I like and not knowing how he’s gonna respond – but let’s be real here, at this point I could probably do that in my sleep…as my friends say, “you love doing that”). Haha.
Anyway, If I could be THAT exposed and vulnerable, I could definitely get in front of a video camera and speak. Right?
I’m telling you, my brain works in weird ways but I decided naked yoga was the ONLY answer and the only way to further my career as a blogger. At that point it seemed dire and urgent. It wasn’t even a question. I needed to go to naked yoga ASAP.
It took me over a month from when I found out about naked yoga to actually go to a class. Then, last week, I got an email from the studio saying they were holding a special Earth Day candlelight naked yoga class. I had no plans that night. I registered right away without letting myself think too much about it. I was going.
I was so nervous for the hour before the class so I drank a huge coffee (made sense to me at the time, although it actually made my nervousness much worse). I walked over to the door of the studio (in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan) and I saw a guy going in with a yoga mat. I freaked out, knowing that that guy and I would be naked together in a room in about 15 minutes. It suddenly became real for me. I almost ran into the subway and booked it back to Brooklyn to hide in my safe apartment where all the clothes are. I couldn’t bear being in the elevator with that guy and having to make pre-nakedness small talk, so I waited until he was out of sight and I reluctantly walked in.
I got to the studio door and peeked inside. Yep. Just as I suspected. There were naked people in there. Some of them were standing there having conversations or giving each other a high five to say hello. OMG. “Just pretend you’re comfortable. Like you’re a regular here,” I thought to myself.
I filled out the paperwork and one of the owners showed me the cubby holes in the main lobby area to put my clothes in. People were getting undressed right there in the lobby and going into the studio and sitting down naked on their mats. Everyone seemed all comfortable with it. But who knows what’s really going on inside their heads, I guess.
The absolute hardest part of the entire experience was getting undressed. I just about had a panic attack doing it. I’ve never taken my clothes off so slowly before in my life. They had given me a little white towel (like a hand towel) and I sort of tried to cover myself with it but then I laughed out loud, because it was so tiny, and what’s the point?
Once I took a hundred years to take off my clothes and I somehow walked in there, I put my mat down as quickly as possible in the very back corner and sat down. I figured in the back corner, at least there would be only 1-2 people who would be practicing close to me, rather than being in the middle of the room. The room was dark and candlelit. It was pretty serene. Everyone was sitting quietly. I could basically just see everyone’s naked backs.
After a few minutes of feeling INSANELY AWKWARD, I realized that even though I felt really self-conscious and weird…EVERYONE WAS NAKED. The whole room. Not just me (God, that would be so weird if it was just me).
There were about 20 people in the class. More guys than girls. Probably 12 guys, 8 girls. There were 2 teachers, one male, one female (both naked).
We went around the room and everyone had to say how they felt being naked. I know, I know. Peeps were like “I feel free,” “I feel liberated,” etc. I said “I feel really weird.” The teacher was like “Thank you! Someone finally said it. But you know what’s even weirder? Not being naked.” Haha! Ok.
Anyway, the class started and for the first 20 mins or so I felt totally insane. I was hyper aware of my body, every part of it, every movement. Even though there were naked people practicing all around me, the only body I was really seeing up close was my own. Aside from my own body all I could really notice was a sea of butts. So yes, I saw all kinds of body parts, but it was a yoga class and everyone was practicing. People weren’t like…inspecting each other.
The class was a pretty typical vinyasa class, kinda rigorous but not super challenging. People were sweating a little. We did all the poses you would expect in a yoga class — and we even did inversions (shoulder stand – which was actually kinda awesome). About halfway through the class, I suddenly realized that the nakedness wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. Once you get past the initial shock of being naked it was kinda…fine.
Oh, yeah, the teachers adjusted us during class. Hands-on adjustments. So trippy.
By the end, laying in savasana in the candlelight, with beautiful music playing, I was like…wow – this actually feels AWESOME. Really. Judge all you want but honestly it was cool – I was smiling. I felt much, much more comfortable by the end and I kinda didn’t even want to get dressed. So weird right?
So all in all, the 2 hardest parts of the class were: 1) taking my clothes off and 2) putting them back on.
So I pretty much demolished my comfort zone at naked yoga. Will I go again? Maybe. If you ever go and you see me there, just put your mat down on the opposite side of the room so it’s not weird between us. And don’t start a conversation with me while we’re naked because that’s also really awkward. Cool?
Overall it was a crazy life experience and I’m glad I had it. And now I can start making videos. So that’s nice.
So there’s the story. If you have any questions, let’s hear ’em. What do I have to lose at this point? I’m kind of an open book with you guys.
Here’s the video. The lighting is awful and the sound doesn’t really match up with the video because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I MADE A VIDEO, OK? This is a milestone. Let’s look back and laugh at this someday.
“I am nuts for real, but I’m ok with that.” -Eminem
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