Naked Yoga: I’ve tried it! Have you? (Body Perception Part Three)

Got your attention, eh? If there was a February 29th it would be the 10 month anniversary of the day I started taking Bikram. I’ve chronicled so many of my internal and external changes, many of which have surprised me, but none so much as the personal revelations I experienced the day I tried Naked Yoga. Not the Naked Yoga you might have heard about where you have to send in pictures of yourself to be approved to practice.  They actually only offer Naked Yoga for men, and only fit men at that.

My naked yoga was more personal. A few days ago when I was involved in making a yoga video I decided to film myself, without clothes, doing some yoga poses. I wanted to see what my body looked like, really looked like, without the mask that clothing provides. I didn’t know what I’d see. I didn’t know how I’d feel. I’ve spent so many years having such negative thoughts about my body, and that’s not really surprising given that my body was, for years, too big to do things people take for granted such as sitting in a booth or buying underwear in a regular store.

It’s been so easy to see all that I thought or felt was wrong with my body. If I didn’t hear my own thoughts, I’d hear others snickering around me, pointing at me, whispering, etc. It was hard to find the good in something so many people told me was wrong.  Or if I got a compliment it was “you have a pretty face, but……..”

My thoughts have changed much during this past year. I’ve gone from being semi-covered up in my yoga classes to practicing in bike shorts and a sports bra. And I’m quite comfortable with that mode of dress.

But something in me wanted to see how my body moved. How it really looked. So I closed my blinds, turned on my lights, set my camera to film, took off my clothes and did some yoga.  Naked Yoga.  I went through just a few of the postures I normally do, and after I finished, I got dressed and sat in front of my computer for a viewing.

As I watched the video, I found myself more than pleasantly surprised by my reaction. I didn’t experience a single bit of negativity. I could literally feel myself appreciating how my body moved. I loved seeing that my abdomen, which I don’t much care for, didn’t look as big as sometimes I feel it to be. I loved seeing how freely my body could move. Sure it jiggled and wiggled, but that’s to be expected unless one has had an all over botox job!

Perhaps, most importantly, I felt no shame. I watched. I observed. I appreciated. I expressed gratitude. I liked what I saw. And that I never saw coming. And that I’m grateful for in ways I can’t express. I could see where I’d been. I could visualize where I’m working toward being. And I saw where I am right now. And that’s an image I love.

That’s a feeling I couldn’t imagine having 10 months ago, or even a few months ago. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror without clothes, but seeing myself move—that’s something entirely differently altogether.

If you’re feeling brave enough, I’d recommend at least watching your body move, while you’re not wearing clothes. You never know what you might see, and your experience might just surprise you!  Love yourself! It’s an amazing feeling!

BTW, these videos will NEVER be put online, but they’ll be there for me to see, for me to measure my progress.

IF you’d like, please feel free to follow my daily journey on facebook via my community fitness page:

https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaHawaiianPrincess

and my personal facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/IggieSue

While I won’t show you those videos, here is an un photoshopped pic of me, sans make-up, with my hair in its natural state!

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My Life without Limitations!

I’ve been thinking a lot about this post. Last week when I was in Arizona I had a bit of an unfortunate encounter. Someone who ought to have known better treated me patronizingly because of my size, because of my weight. This person made presumptive assumptions, which, in another time and place would have made me feel bad, would have left me in tears. The details of what happened do not matter. My reaction does.

I have almost never allowed people’s negative perceptions of me to stop me from living. I’ve always worn bright, colorful and happy clothes, even at my highest weight. I’ve traveled to places near and far. The very first time I bought a new car I traveled alone throughout the Southwest for three and a half weeks, without hotel reservations. I went to England and France twice by myself. I cruised to Alaska and Mexio with friends. When in Mazatlan in 2010 I climbed to the top of “El Faro”—most definitely not a hike for the faint of heart!  Here’s one person’s description of that climb: http://attractions.uptake.com/blog/worlds-highest-lighthouse-mazatlan-mexico-9705.html

My zest for life goes beyond travel. If there’s been a movie I wanted to go see and I couldn’t find a friend, I’d go by myself. The same is true for going out to eat. If I wanted to go out on a Saturday night and didn’t have someone to go with I’d just go by myself. It’s not that I lack(ed) friends. I never have. My point is that I didn’t depend on needing others to do something if I wanted to do it.

When I’d encounter attitudes, like the one referenced in the first paragraph, I’d maybe cry for a bit, but I’d get over it and do what I planned anyways. Sometimes it might have taken me a few days to recover, but I did. I didn’t allow people to stop me, most of the time. Certainly, I don’t allow them to stop me now. I don’t give people power over me. I don’t allow me to stop me, at least not now!!!

I’m living the life I’ve always wanted while working on the dreams that have heretofore been dormant. I love the place that I’m at now. I’m learning, more than anything to get out of my own way. What does that mean? It means I really have no limitations. I can go anywhere and do anything. My future is truly limitless!!  And whenever I catch myself going down a negative path—I get myself into the hot room because I know that after 90 (well, in my case, 180) minutes I won’t have any room for negativity, not mine and not anyone else’s!!!

Standing at the top of “El Faro”! It’s a really really really STEEP hike to the top!

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Cruising the River Seine!

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British Museum “Selfie”!!

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IF you’d like, please feel free to follow my daily journey on facebook via my community fitness page:

https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaHawaiianPrincess

and my personal facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/IggieSue

Secrets from the Hot Room Part Two: What YOU Think of ME is None of My Business!

Last week, after yoga, someone asked me how Bikram had changed me. I started to explain how it had changed me more on the inside, but I couldn’t quite find the words to express the deep fundamental changes that have taken place within me during these past 9 and 1/2 months. These changes are profound, and, at times, defy rational explanation and have occurred as a result of my efforts to improve my life by following a spiritual meditative lifestyle and engaging in Bikram Yoga.

For most of my adult life, I fit the model of a co-dependent personality. Every time I did or said something/anything the first thought to enter my mind would involve what someone/anyone thought of what I did or said.  Anything I did, any word I uttered, had to meet with the approval of others. For those of you who have known me, that might not seem to be the case, but inside my head, well that was my truth.

Sure, I always had a flair, an outspoken style. Hardly ever wore black. Heck, I don’t even wear black to funerals, but I have discovered lately a tendency to wear black on occasion as it does have that slimming effect! BUT I digress.

The colorful external flair didn’t match the internal drama of my “crazy brain”. I’d feel moments of terror if I did something someone didn’t like. What if they didn’t love me? What if they didn’t like me?  I’d feel this way with strangers, acquaintances, friends, intimates, with anyone. I lived with my stomach in knots a lot of the time. Food didn’t talk to me. Didn’t argue with me. Didn’t care what I did. And loved me no matter what.

I started to lose weight before I ever went into the hot room. But I still carried with me so many emotionally destructive patterns that had haunted and tormented me for years. Does this sound harsh?  Well, it’s the truth. What YOU thought of me mattered far more than what I thought of myself. I’d give up my happiness if you might not like something I did or said. I’d wait for others’ approval before I made decisions that would bring me happiness. I GAVE UP my happiness on more occasions than I ever care to think about.

One day last April when I was having a difficult time, my spiritual advisor told me to go hang more with my friend MK. When I told her what he said, the first thing she suggested was that I go try Bikram.  I said “okay”. I didn’t know how much that chain of events would change me.

Over the course of the past few months, my sense of self, my self-respect has grown. In some ways I’ve watched my reactions go from that of an immature little girl to those of a self-confident woman. As I have emotions these days I observe them, watch them. I can see when they come from an irrational emotional realm as opposed to a calm observant realm. I can’t always stop myself from having emotional reactions (I’m human after all), but I catch them much more quickly and am more easily able to rectify them when need be.

I’m finding that I make decisions about my life that make me happy without stopping to think if someone else/anyone else will approve/disapprove. If it makes me happy the world needs to celebrate with me, and if the world chooses not to, well then it’s not my problem.

I spend at least 9 hours a week in that hot room. I don’t do it for fun; although, I often do have fun and giggle a lot!  I show up because every time I do show up, I’m showing up for me the other 159 hours of the week outside that hot room. (The other spiritual efforts I sometimes mention, which occupy some of those 159 hours, I’ll discuss when the time is right.)

I’m learning lately that I can slow down. I’ve been running and running and running since my father’s death (actually, I’ve been running away from self most of my adult life), but in these past few weeks, I’ve noticed I can stop and be okay. I can spend a day, a whole day just by myself and be. Just be.

My head is far from perfect, but I’m happier. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been. That can’t be measured by a scale, by a measuring tape, by any external evidence. Well, okay, maybe by some! I have a swagger to my step that hasn’t been there before. I wear whatever makes me happy. I am happy. I am also very lucky.

And that’s how the hot room has changed and is changing me. I’m sweating away the illusions that have covered up the essence of who I truly am.

BTW, what you think of me really is none of my business, and what I think of you is really none of yours…………………….But I do happen to think you’re all pretty awesome!

Here’s a pic of some roses I bought myself just because!

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Follow more of my journey on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaYogaPrincess

and my personal facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/IggieSue