I started practicing yin yoga about three years ago. It was a point in my yoga journey when my body started to break down from too much power yoga. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what I needed to be honest. But, I knew I needed a change. Enter yin yoga.
As I think about it, I started yin yoga not long before I started clothes free living. In fact, it was the practice of clothes free yin yoga that got me comfortable living clothes free generally.
Yin Yoga is a practice of stillness, breath and being. One stays in simple shapes for long periods of time. With supports, of course. Honestly, I use all sorts of supports: blocks, pillows, stuffed animals, bolsters. And that is how one is meant to practice yin. Supported. But, what I also learned is that, for me, it is most effective to practice it clothes free.
So, when I was little, I had epilepsy. That was a rough period in life with financial and drug problems splitting the family. As a result, I found myself anxious and worried all of the time. More than anything, I feared not for myself, but for my mom. I wanted her to be safe, healthy and happy. I suppose the stress of all that plus other imbalances got to me and triggered epilepsy.
That anxiety stayed with me over the years, even as I healed from epilepsy. Well, it’s really more like managing a life balance that keeps it at bay. But that anxiety, caused a lot of trouble in my body. And even though I enjoyed power yoga, it wasn’t helping me ground and connect. I didn’t experience peace and letting go. The anxiety was still there, day after day.
When I started yin yoga, healing finally came. Over time, as I practiced stillness, breathing and being, anxieties began to subside. Finally, I could see more clearly. At last, a sense of grounding, freedom and availability to the unknown without anxiety.
The thing about clothes free yin yoga, is that nothing touches my skin. So, in a way, it’s both nerve-wracking and wildly calming for someone like me. I remember that the doctors told my mom that the layer of coating people normally have on their nerves, I have very very little. So, I’m truly more exposed than most others in my everyday life. And I am much more sensitive than the average person, biologically speaking.
So, at first, it made me nervous to feel my body fully exposed while doing nothing in yin yoga. No TV, no Netflix, no chatting. Just…silence. But, over time, as I breathed in and out for minutes at a time in a shape, I realized something. I saw that everything was OK. Even when I had nothing, no protection, when I didn’t move, when all I could do was breathe, I was OK.
I carry this with me. In fact, I engage in some clothes free yin yoga almost everyday. Not just for the physical benefits of a more open body. But rather for my nervous system and spirit. And I have to say that during the transition in seasons I had to wear layers as the building management shut off the heat. Practicing yin in clothes is just not the same for me. I like having nothing, which is a weird thing to say. Maybe not weird. But, it seems strange that something that used to scare me is now my preference. Funny how that happens, right?
I can be OK with nothing. I can find peace with what is.