Valerie Sagun makes a great case for practicing au naturel.
Nude yoga has been becoming less taboo (thanks in part to the popular @nude_yogagirl). But it's still far from mainstream, so if you're hesitant about giving it a try, you're not alone. Maybe when it comes to exercising nude you're a firm "hell no." Or maybe you'd consider it but have some hang-ups about posing in your birthday suit. Either way, yogi Valerie Sagun wants you to rethink trying yoga in the nude (or at least partially nude).
This body of mine. I am the only one who has a say of what I do with it, and no one can tell me what to do with it because it is mine. I can wear nothing or be fully clothed, and still be respected in the same way. I respect those who choose to be fully clothed and those who choose to wear the bare minumum. Either one can liberate different people. One is not greater than the other. My body is also for those who feel they need to hide or shame their bodies because of deeply rooted misogynist modesty in our society. That believing a mans opinion outweighs the opinion if what a woman chooses to do with her body. Where they can openly sexualize our bodies and slut shame them all in the same breath. That if you feel like showing yourself you are craving attention with desire and waiting for approval to be validated of our insecurities. My body being seen has been the ultimate liberation and declaration of my honest self. I choose to express myself through my body. Giving strength and representation to those so we all can express our honest selves. Women empowering women to do whatever they want to do for their bodies. Photo by @samanthastudio Mermaid swim bottoms made by me
In her new book, Big Gal Yoga, Valerie writes about the many benefits of yoga that are often overlooked in favor of the physical perks. In one section she writes about bhakti yoga, which is all about self-love. Valerie goes into detail about how she was able to learn body acceptance through practicing yoga.
"You're very hyper-aware of your body when you're practicing yoga," she told us in an interview. "In yoga, you're mostly moving your body the whole time, so you know exactly where your hand's going, what your legs doing, what part of your muscles are moving so it makes you very aware of your body. It helps you look at it in a positive way."
As she explains in her book, there's one technique that can take your self-love to the next level: Stripping down while getting your om on.
"Here's a challenge: Try yoga in just your underwear. I mean it! There is something about doing yoga in your undies or even in the nude that feels exciting. This is especially true for us big yoga gals. I thank the amazing Jessamyn Stanley, badass fat femme and fellow curvy yoga teacher, for exposing me to the idea that a big woman could practice in her undies! I had no idea how liberating it would be until I tried it for myself," she writes.
Valerie goes on to talk about how she first gave it a try, in a public place no less: "On a last-minute trip to Joshua Tree National Park I went for it, and I went all the way. Keeping an eye out for wandering hikers, I took off all my clothes and went into a one-legged king pigeon pose butt naked. It was extremely liberating! You don't have to streak in public, and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. But if you want to do yoga wearing your undies, or less, just find a place in which you feel safe and comfortable."
"I do recommend taking a photo or two, or at least having a mirror nearby. You can start by wearing whatever you want and remove clothing as you become more confident," she says. "Look at your body in the mirror, search out every curve, and appreciate it by giving it some love. This exercise is a good way to recognize and embrace the beautiful imperfections that make your body yours."
Big Gal Yoga will be available July 25, and is available for pre-order now.