A yoga teacher is encouraging women to strip off for classes, claiming that practicing the ancient Indian art in the buff can pep up your sex life, improve body confidence and relieve stress.
Rosie Rees, 30, from Perth, Australia, was first persuaded to disrobe after she returned from an intensive yoga retreat in India and was persuaded by her nudist housemate to try it in the nude.
After quitting her corporate job to focus full-time on holding naked yoga workshops in her home city, Rees says she’s converted hundreds of women to the idea in the three years she’s been doing it – and now plans to take the concept to the US.
The 30-year-old, who is also a relationship coach, said: ‘When I first tried to do yoga practice without clothes – first in my bedroom and then in the backyard – I was shocked at how critical and judgmental about my body I was.
‘I didn’t like the various scars on my body, rolls of fat on my belly and I noticed all the cellulite. But I also felt liberated and free. As my practice progressed, I felt a lot more present with myself.’
Rosie first began practicing yoga in 2012 while working in a stressful finance job which had left her eating, drinking and smoking more than she should.
After breaking up with her then-boyfriend, she made a spur of the moment decision to travel to India in Jan 2013 where she practiced yoga for 10 hours a day, six days a week.
She turned vegetarian, stopped drinking coffee and after two months came back to teach yoga in Brisbane to backpackers and hotel chains.
Nine months after returning from India made yoga and relationship counseling her full-time job and she continued to teach yoga for the next two years.
However, it was those first naked yoga sessions with her housemate in the backyard of her Perth home that made her believe she could convert other women to the practice.
Rees says: ‘I became really aware of my body and breath, even the tiniest movement, how the air felt on my skin, the beads of sweat.
‘I began loving my body as it was, became more accepting and comfortable, began seeing any imperfections as unique parts of me.
‘I felt naked yoga was having a positive impact on me and it needed to be shared.
‘I approached a renowned yoga studio with the idea of naked yoga, but the initial reaction was skepticism.
‘I told them I wanted to desexualize nudity and wanted to help women overcome their body image issues.’
Finally, the yoga studio agreed to let her hold a class – and it was a sell-out.
She says: ‘Naked yoga is not just yoga, it’s a spiritual journey. Yoga only releases stress, but naked yoga digs deeper into our souls.
‘It takes courage to come to a naked yoga class, but that courage translates to better relationships at work, with family and most importantly, with oneself.’
She says women learn to ‘accept and love their naked bodies, it directly affects their relationship with their partners so men have become big supporters of mine.’
Rosie said: ‘In my old job, I was earning well but drinking and smoking too much, and had put on weight too. That’s when a friend suggested hot yoga.
‘The studio was down the road from me so I decided to give it a shot. In six months, I felt more relaxed and alive than I had in the last three years.
‘I decided I wanted a fresh start but I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
‘My friend was going to India to study yoga and asked me to come along, so I jumped at the chance.’
She says leaving her job was terrifying, but that the trip to India changed her life.
More and more women have since joined Rosie’s naked yoga revolution, and in the past three years, she has run hundreds of successful workshops across Australia.
She has even been invited to the Naked in Motion studio in New York later this year to bring her unique brand of yoga to the USA.
And the 30-year-old said as far as she is aware, she is the only person on the globe holding naked yoga workshops currently.
Rosie said: ‘I feel like Australia is ready. Our women are ready to step out of their comfort zone, to participate in ‘self-love’, to appreciate and respect their bodies. I can’t believe why anyone didn’t think of it before.’
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