Nothing is more empowering than being healthy, strong, and naked.
When was the last time you looked at your body in all its naked glory? I mean really looked at it. No squeaming at chubby thighs or grimacing at lanky arms. Just looking at, understanding, and accepting your body in all its perfectly imperfect brilliance?
I had the opportunity to model for an art nude yoga photo shoot last year which aimed to celebrate the beauty and diversity of every body. While it was the most empowering and liberating experience of my life, I have always been too afraid to share the magic of nakedness with anyone. Until now.
My relationship with my body has been a turbulent one. At 15 I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At 19 I had a near-death experience, weighing 25kg (just over 55 pounds). Five years (and virtually double my bodyweight) later and I have transformed those struggles into strengths.
Physically, I am a healthy woman who can happily do Sun Salutations all day and has embraced Olympic Weightlifting to show the capabilities of the human body. Mentally, I can now use my own experience to help other people with body battles to go on to lead wholehearted lives through my research into the role of sport and exercise in post-traumatic growth (yes, you can grow from trauma rather than remain devastated by it!). And emotionally, I'm at peace with my body and with myself.
Healing, transformation, and growth take time. It's taken me years of self-awareness, self-discipline, self-acceptance, and self-love to become strong, healthy, and courageous enough to bare all and let myself be deeply seen.
But it's 100% worth it. To be naked and vulnerable means you are alive.
So, If you want to stop beating yourself up every time you look in the mirror, learn to love the body you have been blessed with, and give a huge middle finger to every fashion show, magazine, and reality TV show that says you need to look a certain way, daily naked time should be at the top of your to-do list. Why?
1. To own your story
Your body tells your story. When you get to know your body, you get to own your story. And when you own your story, you get to write the ending.
2. To embrace your completeness
You will never be more than when you are naked. The word "naked" comes from the Old English "nacod," meaning "bare." And the word "bare" comes from the Lithuanian word "basas," meaning "complete in itself." That encapsulates the power of being naked: it makes you see that you are complete, you are good enough, and you have the power within you to do and be all that you want.
3. To experience vulnerability
According to Brene Brown’s research (and the inspiration behind this post), being naked is the epitome of how vulnerability feels. Being naked is about being vulnerable. And being vulnerable is about having the courage to dare greatly, to let yourself be deeply seen, and to live your life from your heart.
4. To show the world that you are uniquely beautiful
Stripping bare and making peace with your body is one way of giving a huge middle finger to a world that says you need to look or act a certain way. By declothing you are giving a metaphorical punch in the face to a society that promotes a one dimensional standard of beauty. You are beautiful. Full stop.
5. To face your fears and liberate yourself
We spend so much money on clothes, but some of the best moments in life are enjoyed without them. It is in these moments we face our fears and can free ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Nicola Jane Hobbs, MSc, is a RYT 200 certified yoga teacher and lifestyle coach. Her blog Naturally Nicola shares her love for whole food cooking, yoga, handstands and all things happy and healthy. She specializes in teaching yoga to athletes and to those with eating disorders, depression and other mental health challenges. Nicola's first book Yoga Gym will be available internationally from January 2016.