As a young Christian woman there are two words that certainly should not come out of my mouth, especially in connection: naked yoga. Yoga has been a challenging concept for many of my Evangelical predecessors and I have even heard some interesting comments made towards my “taboo” practice of spirituality. And nudity…well, it will take more than a few centuries to work through that issue.
I am proud to proclaim that I regularly do naked yoga, and I am a better person because of it. I love yoga, I am a fitness fiend and have found yoga to be a very practical way to exercise and de-stress It is a place of safety for me and accomplishment that I am proud of. This past summer I spent countless hours (nearly everyday) getting into my yoga practice. All through online videos, I learned to downward dog my butt off and namaste my way to mental release. When I arrived in my new home in Newberg this past September, I decided to take some liberties in my room without a roommate on a hot summer day, and forego clothing during my yoga session. And suddenly, something inside my heart began to click.
The weather has since changed to muggy rain and freezing days, but I still regularly practice naked yoga. When the world is constantly revealing images of what and who you should be, sometimes we forget the beauty of the individual we are created as. Body image is a journey most of us must wade through, and I probably will for most of my life. But I promise you that taking happy baby pose without any clothes on doesn’t leave much to be revealed. I am forced to examine my heart and mind in yoga, and in naked yoga I am forced to recognize and accept my body’s capabilities and unique design. There are folds on my tummy and hair on my legs, but God says it is good. When our standard of beauty is God’s finest creation of our own bodies, how much more blessed are our lives? When we recognize that no fad diet or crossfit workout will give us more worth, how joyful and free are our hearts able to be?
I am passionate about caring for our bodies because I believe in good stewardship. I believe in healthy eating and regular exercise. But even more than that, I believe that I am Jake’s standard of beauty, I am my own standard of beauty, and I am God’s standard of beauty too. This gives me the freedom to see my imperfections very clearly, and realize that they are marks of a unique design, not a mistake.
Naked yoga may not be for you. Maybe sometime, in the privacy of your own home, you can take sometime to recognize the pattern of design God has made that is called your body. He says it is good, and you should too. Be free when you recognize that you have nothing to compare to, and that the gentle curves or the harsh lines are landscapes of divine beauty, and Christ would not have you any other way.