I am participating in a 30-day naked yoga challenge offered by Isis Phoenix via Naked Yoga Alliance (http://asanaexposed.com/blog-posts/) and I am loving it.
I have participated in yoga challenges, clothed and clothes free, via Instagram in the past and have had some wonderfully positive and memorable experiences there. I made new connections, new friends, and I learned a lot about expanding my practice. The clothes free yoga challenges in which I have participated were led by very grounded and focused clothes free yogis who kept the conversations centered on the yoga.
Given my other experiences on Instagram outside of naked yoga challenges, however, I decided to put the app aside for a while. One of my biggest concerns in doing so was whether I’d have ways in which I could connect and share with clothes free folks regarding common activities and interests online. Then this opportunity came.
What is it about Isis Phoenix’s 30-day yoga challenge that resonates with me? It reminds me of the naked yoga challenges on Instagram where there is a yoga pose and some kind of reflection, quote or investigation. My yoga practice has always been a full body and soul experience. So, to have this on offer has kept me in a consistent inquiry clothes free. Maybe there is a pose I don’t practice regularly. Maybe there is a quote I never heard before that resonates with me. Whatever it is, I love that I am not alone in the journey, that someone else out there is also inquiring.
At the same time, I love that I don’t know who else is participating in the yoga challenge. In taking a break from Instagram, I realized that I had spent a lot of hours each day looking at other people, comparing my body to theirs, watching their behavior and reading their comments. Meanwhile, I wasn’t in action at all. I’d get caught up in comparison, worry about my body and how it expressed poses, diminish my own self worth, etc. For some reason, I didn’t have a healthy relationship with that environment. Through this method, however, there is no one for me to look at but myself after seeing the pose on offer. So, I spend more time exploring not just alignment, but how it really feels in my body and soul as I breathe in the moment. I experience a true pleasure and peace, and intimate conversation with myself, the likes of which I have not had before.
Many different emotions have come up as I’ve taken this time for myself each day to investigate the poses and, from there, allow a full on yoga or dance practice to unravel. But rather than the feelings being comprised of jealousy, anger, disappointment, comparison and judgment, I’m actually experiencing a lot of love and gratitude for the body I have, my spirit, the moment and the gifts in my life. I feel and express beauty, power, grace, peace, love, gratitude, service, generosity.
And as I express these things in my own intimate practice, I find myself practicing them off the mat, especially at work. I am truly learning what it means to be generous with myself as well as with others. And so in the same way that I drop the negative conversation about myself during my clothes free yoga practice, I drop reaction and negative conversation with others when issues arise at work. Even today, I could see that flicker of reaction trying to spark, and as soon as I saw it, I poured a well of generosity over my thoughts. I forgave myself for errors, which freed me up to move forward and complete lot of items as well as clean up other issues that had been lingering. Task list BOSSED. It also saved a lot of my work relationships as I collaborated with others on solutions to problems that had arisen.
I am tapping into deep beauty as I move through this 30-day challenge. I have heard clothes free people talk about this kind of feeling before, but honestly I thought they were off in space and full of bologna. “Beautiful queen goddess full of light and wonder.” I was like, “Yeah, okay, just settle down there.” Now I actually feel it, see it and create it myself — that beauty, grace, generosity, strength, peace, love and intimate inner and outer magnificence. And it is spreading viciously everywhere. What a mess of greatness!