The FEAR Factor: How to Get Past Your Anxieties and Get to Naked! Yoga
Scared of naked yoga? You're the perfect candidate. In the spirit of Halloween, Naked in Motion dares you to face your fears.
You remember the nightmares: it’s the first day of school, you spot your friends just down the hallway, but before you can get to them you realize: everyone is, yes, staring at you, and, yes, they’re definitely laughing at you, and ohmigod in all of your nervousness you’ve forgotten to wear your pants! And your shirt! And maybe even your underwear! You're naked! EEEEEEK!
Fortunately, you’re all grown up, and you’re over those base fears...right? Ok, maybe not. To be fair, usually the naked dreams are stand-ins for other anxieties, and absolutely no one wants to be naked and vulnerable in an unsafe environment. That goes double for women and trans folks. But, ok, you’ve read the FAQs about our naked yoga classes and consent culture, seen the testimonials, and you’re still facing the fear factor. What’s that about? And what might you do about it so you can finally muster the courage to sign up for a naked yoga class?
Let’s get into it.
First of all: DUH. Yeah, it’s a little scary.
Sure, there are those people out there who have always been comfortable and happy naked, even in public, but most people are accustomed to saving nudity for private encounters--with yourself, your lovers, maaaaybe your doctors. A little bit of nervousness and apprehension is normal before trying anything new; shedding all of your armor to do it can definitely get the heart racing and the palms sweating. Remember: you’re with a welcoming group of people-- who are just as naked as you are! That old piece of advice to conquer fear in front of your peers--imagine them naked--has conveniently materialized, no powers of imagination necessary.
Do something every day that scares you.
Because: Resilience. Because: Confidence. Because: Adventure.
There’s a good reason you can find so much great writing about fear from notable people throughout modern history. They knew it was crucial to get a little uncomfortable to see leaps in personal growth and outlook. Eleanor Roosevelt, social activist and wife to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said:
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Also, because actively challenging your fears can be beneficial to your overall health and boost your immune system. The improved wellness from overcoming fears, combined with the benefits of social nudity and the wonders of yoga, makes for a pretty good reason to give naked yoga a try.
Afraid of your own shadow?
But perhaps this goes beyond nerves and first-time jitters. Many of us, especially people who have dealt with invasive and/or traumatic experiences, struggle with feelings of loathing, shame, and disgust with our bodies. If you check in with yourself and realize your fears are directly connected to negative feelings about your body, know you’re far from alone. Naked in Motion’s mission is, in part, to help people confront these feelings and encourage radical self-acceptance and body-positivity. We strongly critique the yoga industrial complex and its patriarchal roots: we decry implicit or explicit promotion of the idea that yoga is only for thin or “fit” bodies. We offer women’s and trans-only classes, and all of our classes are bottoms-optional for women and transgender participants, because we recognize the barriers that disproportionately impact these folks. We think taking a class like those we offer at Naked in Motion can be a step along a journey of self-love and an act of rebellion.
Want some other inspiration on overcoming fear? Check out these tips from Jeff Wise, author of Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, and this playlist of TED talks on the topic of fear, how it shapes us, and how to deal.
And sign up for our newsletter to get updates on periodic workshops we offer in addition to our Naked! Yoga & Pilates classes. Our next workshop, “Healing Your Relationship With Your Body,” is expressly for female-identifying and female-bodied folks and is led by the wonderful Reverend Legs Malone.