Ready your bodies, we’re doing naked yoga today.
No, no. I mean – a friend recently posted something about a chick doing it.
And that was after another friend posted a video a while ago about its benefits, too.
(Unintentional troll alert: Before any hetero readers who aren’t chicks get too excited – they were both dudes.) But I sense some of your “right top x button” trigger fingers getting antsy, so here’s something to keep you around a moment longer:
At first, I kind of had raised eyebrows about the prospect of naked yoga.
You might be thinking “yes, this is what I would expect from a female.” But when I really thought about it and listened to my yogi buddy’s message, I realized my apprehensions weren’t really well founded. I mean, it’s not like I’d be putting on a show or recording the whole thing and uploading it to internet land (insert collective “aw” of disappointment… from an empty auditorium). It’d be alone – set in an unsexy bedroom with my dog farting in the corner while toxic mold gently streams from the A/C above.
What it was, I realized, was a general discomfort of my prolonged stay in this meat puppet I’ve been given. I’ve never quite been committed to it, so connecting to its various parts have been a lifelong battle. Yoga’s great because it kinda U-turns that truculence truck by redirecting blood flow through paved pranayama all over the place in the body to make me feel like I’m actually… human.
After a day playing laptop pilot, it feels like every ounce of chi or reiki-energy or just plain old goopy blood gunk has been vampired up into my Igor postured tense neck and shoulders. This gets so bad that my legs and toenails start turning all the shades of the My Little Pony cast.
And as someone used to discomfort-numbing, I disconnect from discomfort in any way possible – rather than fixing it. While that’s not a breaking headline for my self-awareness newsfeed, what is are the ways my effed up brain will still trick me into mentally numbing in the post apocalyptic dystopia that is life after pills – by ignoring my body’s problems and cocooning myself into a robe or sweatshirt or sweatpants during downtime from work or cardio. This is next-level stupid, because when I’m all covered up, it’s like I’m blocking out the reminder of how terribly taut some of my muscles visibly are or the fact that I’m slumping forward.
If I saw them, I’d feel compelled to stop and stretch them
And stretching painful muscles is hard.
So why look?
Had I been doing yoga before? Or just kind of going through the motions? For certain, I was failing at that whole “breathing into the pain and letting the muscle relax” – mostly cuzza the “feel” part. Whenever I journeyed into the eye of the tough spots like my hips or legs, is was like Fort Knock-knees.
Were these miserable things even part of my body? Can’t I just exist up in my shoulders?
Spend life as a balloon dragging lower limbs around like Faruza Balk in The Craft?
Do I have to feel the pain and fix it?
Ughhh… Can’t you just use magic?
“Wait… those two gif guys aren’t the same, Ashley.”
Fact. They each do different stuff to make the same magic.
And I too had to make my own muscle magic by supplanting spells… with nude yoga. Upon forcing my feel-fuel into the ouch-spots that I could actually see now, I realized they were everywhere. I was a knotted wad of pain. I was Gulliver, strapped down by my own sinewy cable wires of meat and manned by Hellraiser instead of the Lilliputians. My IT band was so tight, that my leg had become an interrogative punctuation mark. Moving into the stretch (Or pose. Or asana. Or who cares, really?), I started sweating. When I got to my shoulders and scalenes, they were so tight that my right eye started convulsing and leaking as vessels burst.
But I couldn’t stop.
There was something in that process, where I knew my muscles knew what to do and letting them flow felt like I was “riding the snake” from that Doors song. When I got calm enough, each release was slow and guided – like a warm knife through butter (not almond butter, though – that shit’s impossible even with a machete)
WTF had I been doing to myself that I had to spend this long de-knotting?
Or not doing?
Here I was almost a year away from terminating years spent using easy relief – covering up pain with pharmaceuticals – and gone straight to covering it up literally with my alma mater hoodies to avoid seeing my myofascial scarlet letter of recalcitrance. The answer’s simple: I’ve been doing this detachment my whole life, in one way or another – long before my disc herniated and my body went all demon-possessed spasmodic. So this sudden epiphany about threadless stretching is all good news. Even though I have an ish-ton of work ahead of me, I’ve come a long way for spending a lifetime living like a body snatcher.
And it helps to remember how sometimes life has to get super shitty first.
Then you’re ready to rip it off your body, turn your world upside down, and start anew.
My body is ready.