AYJ – What inspired you to create Nude Yoga?
ROSIE – My own body image issues and learning to love my imperfections inspired me to start holding nude yoga workshops. I found that when I did my yoga practice naked, I felt a deeper sense of self-acceptance, body love and freedom in my skin, versus when I practiced with clothes on. Initially when I practiced nude yoga, I felt insecure, nervous and even embarrassed, especially if anyone saw me, but then a comfortability and a heightened feeling of both presence and letting go of my mental chatter came to me that didn’t come as easy as when I was restricted by clothes. For me, shedding the clothes was symbolic of shedding the mind.
AYJ – Tell us a little more about the practice of nude yoga and the workshops you facilitate
ROSIE – The practice is not your typical vinyasa, downward dog, power-poses yoga class. Quite the opposite, in fact! The first half of the immersion is getting to know the women in the class through sharing, partner work and workshopping a topic like body image, self-love or vulnerability. The second half is integrating through breath, sound and movement in a gentle, feminine yoga sequence designed for women to surrender their armour and fall in love with their mind, body and heart through nude yoga.
AYJ – What has teaching nude yoga taught you?
ROSIE – It’s taught me that every woman could benefit from attending this workshop — women who already love their bodies and women who are deeply insecure and resistant to coming. When I go on tour around Australia I consistently sell out, which demonstrates that women are becoming more and more open to stepping out of their comfort zone to be vulnerable, and they have a deep desire to love and accept themselves in ways they never thought possible. It has also taught me that women of all shapes, sizes, ages and races are beautiful, and when I look around the candle-lit room at women in their most vulnerable, bare and raw state … it’s one of the most heart-opening, exquisite experiences of my life. More than anything, it’s taught me that having courage reaps unbelievable rewards!
AYJ – What kind of experiences have your students had during the practice?
ROSIE – For some women it’s the first time they have sat in a circle of women, so they feel a sense of uniting, community and sisterhood that they have never experienced before. I have had women feel safe to be completely themselves and be “seen” for the first time ever. Women who have never been vulnerable, and for the first time can speak their truth (usually with a complete stranger). Women who have had babies and never loved their bodies, come to a place of acceptance and even gratitude about their belly and breasts and the life they have created with their body. A lot of women go home to have the best sleep of their life, or the best love-making of their life — with the lights on — because they finally feel at ease and free in their body. Truly amazing things happen when women relinquish their armour, masculinity and barriers to love. When a woman feels safe, she can soften and surrender, and that’s the space I hold in these workshops.
AYJ – What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about relationships, and how has this influenced your teaching?
ROSIE – Relationships are where we implement our life lessons; without them we don’t receive the fullest growth our soul needs to experience in this lifetime. As Yogi Bhajan says, “Relationships are the best form of yoga!”
Although I feel very comfortable being naked and vulnerable on a yoga mat, my growth has been in allowing myself to be fully vulnerable in a relationship — the true test of vulnerability. Sharing my greatest fears and insecurities with another person and them still loving me was such a powerful lesson for me. It is the essence of what I teach; come to me with all your scars, stretch marks, cellulite, rolls, wrinkles, creases and freckles and I will still love you. This is unconditional love.
I believe relationships to be the foundation of life, and the first relationship to cultivate is the one with our self. Since experiencing this unconditional love, my fear of commitment and intimacy (moving away from love to experience freedom) no longer runs the show, nor does my fear of rejection and abandonment (moving away from freedom to experience love). When my cup is overflowing with my own love, I have more to offer others, in relationships and in my life’s work.