We are all born naked, and within minutes our parents wrap us in clothing.
Take off all your clothes right now, stand in front of the mirror, and look at your body. Are you comfortable? Do you love your body? Most of us don't. We go through life hiding our bodies. If you're uncomfortable, it's OK. It's completely normal. I'm still uncomfortable with my own.
In our culture, we wrap ourselves in clothes, makeup and pretense. What if you let it all go? What would you feel if you stood in front of your friends completely naked, just you, with no clothes, no makeup, simply yourself? What if you could stand completely naked in front of your friends, completely comfortable with your body, every inch exposed ?
Becoming OK with your body, accepting yourself and feeling comfortable being naked in front of others is a big step toward healthy self-confidence. No matter what your body looks like, you can find a new self-confidence about your body, your person, and your sexuality.
Ready to take the first step?
Step 1: Take off all your clothes
Find a private space right now, whether it's at home or somewhere else. You don't need a mirror unless you want one. I recommend avoiding the mirror at first.
Next, start taking off all your clothes. But don't rush. Take your time. Go slow, peeling off layers, starting with your socks, if you are wearing them. Once you're barefoot, take off your pants or skirt. Leave your shirt or blouse for last. Also, if you're wearing underwear or panties, leave them on for now.
If you're wearing a watch or jewelry, take those off next. Lay them somewhere nearby safe and out of the way.
Now it's time to take off your blouse or shirt. Peel it off and toss it to the side. By now you're standing or sitting wearing just your underwear, possibly just panties and bra. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. With each deep breath, fill your lungs with air and hold it in for two seconds, then let all the air out through your lips. If you know ujjayi breath, practice it now. When you feel your heartbeat calm, and you're steady and peaceful right where you are, it's time to proceed.
If you're still wearing underwear, I want you to peel them off. Unhook and remove your bra, and peel off your panties. Guys, take off your underwear. Get completely naked right now.
Step 2: Find your calm
Now that you're completely naked, don't do anything. Just be. Close your eyes and rest.
Most of us find being naked equal to being vulnerable. It's only something we're going to do when we get in the shower, or the bath, or when we're in the heat of the moment and about to have sex. What I want you to do right now is just be. Feel the air around your body. Close your eyes and just become aware of the space around you. Your skin isn't reporting anything- no clothes or jewelry or anything distracting your body from the elements. You're just feeling air, and anything you're sitting and/or laying on.
Step 3: Accepting yourself & your body
Once you've reached a point of comfort with your body, you can explore. Yes, explore.
Touch yourself. For women and men, this is different. I recommend you close your eyes. Don't let your visual perception influence anything. Just touch.
For both men and women, touch your body. Let your hands roam freely. Let your fingers roam over the surface of your skin, your shoulders, your neck, your tummy, the inside of your thighs, your feet, your lips, your chest, your face.... Nothing is off limits. Feel what it feels like, imagine if you were someone else feeling you. What does it feel like? Without the visual you'll "see" your body in ways you never imagined, and you'll also "feel" your body in ways you didn't expect.
Step 4: Celebrating your body
As you get more comfortable with your body, you should realize that there's so much more to be explored.
For women, you can (and should) discover your body, including the areas that traditionally are considered too intimate. Hopefully by now you've found that you're excited, possibly even turned on, from the exploration of your body. You may even find yourself getting wet from the experience, the anticipation and the sensuality of exploring your body. If you are, embrace this opportunity to explore your body, your sexuality, and allow yourself to go anywhere. You can even take yourself to climax. Go ahead and touch yourself. Discover and enjoy your body. After all, it's your body.
For men, as you relax and rediscover your body naked, you may rediscover your penis: If you find yourself aroused and hard, it's OK to touch yourself. Men have been told for ages to avoid touching themselves, but it's a natural and OK. Close your eyes, touch yourself. Just let the experience happen.
Being OK with being naked
Becoming OK with being naked is difficult. We're taught from birth that naked is bad. And yet it's so important to who we are, and the moments in our life that are so important to us.
Now I practice yoga naked at least one morning each week. I feel that it's so important to being OK with my body, every inch of my body, and my own sexuality. I believe you can have the same confidence in yourself. Hopefully this post helps you to get started, finding your own way toward becoming confident with your body and your sexuality.
What's next? You can practice naked as a couple together with a friend or lover. More on naked couples yoga in an upcoming blog post!