Anya’s story is one that has touched and moved me so deeply. It hits close to home for me as a woman growing up with the challenges of body dysmorphia and confusion around food as nourishment. Her path is fearlessly transparent and deeply self-inquiring. I am so grateful for all that she has chosen to share here. My hopes are that when we tell our stories and lay ourselves bare we create an entry point of unconditional love and universal transformation for the highest light and love possible. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Love & Blessings,
Occupation: Yoga Teacher, Counselor
I’m just starting to put myself out there as a teacher of naked yoga. Naked yoga is not just about taking off your clothes. It’s about taking off your belief systems and, more importantly, realizing just what beliefs you’ve been wearing.
There was a lot of duality for me growing up. I grew up in Italian Jewish family and food was a big part of our lives. It was an eateateat culture, but in this culture it was also expected that you had to thin. In my family, food was a form of both reward and punishment.
From my parents and grandparents, I felt judgment and disdain for people who were overweight. If I wasn’t thin, I wasn’t good enough and no one would love me. How does one eat and be thin?
With those dualities in me, I became bulimic. I used to go from McDonalds, Burger King, 7-11, eat as much as I possibly could and then throw up. The binging numbed my sense of not feeling good enough. I was a train wreck with food for most of my life because of the bulimia. I never felt in control over what I would eat and was in a constant cycle of binging, purging and not eating. I was like a heroin addict when it came to eating. As I look back, there was a lot of undoing to do, to create peace and contentment and acceptance within myself. I have a tremendous amount of compassion for people who are caught up in food addiction.
The practice of yoga has been a wonderful tool on my healing journey. This next step of practicing nude yoga has made me feel more comfortable in my body than I ever have.
Yoga is a process. Nude yoga is a process. I discovered naked yoga sort of by accident. One day, I happened to do yoga in my home yoga studio before getting dressed and discovered how different the practice felt without clothes on. It wasn’t a planned experiment. It just happened. And instantly I felt more open in my body, more deeply connected to my inner self, and more able to radiate my energy. It started organically and it then began to gradually happen more regularly. I found I continued to be drawn to go into my yoga room to practice without clothes. There was a deeper drawing that my body and soul wanted to experience in this practice.
What yoga does is give me a new awareness of my body. It gives me a space in which to attune to myself, and part of that is noticing what foods don’t work for me. Yogic principles of mindfulness help me recognize what my body feels called to eat and predict how I will feel after that. I didn’t learn those lessons on the first try. It took a lot of time and awareness and patience. I have a lot more awareness now but know I still have a long way to go.
Cultivating my relationship with the inner witness to my body’s needs has become one of the strongest lessons I’ve learned through yoga. There are different qualities to this witness. I’ve learnt to see her unconditional love, her acceptance and her great sense of humor. Because I spent so many years with negative thoughts and emotions controlling my mind, the inner witness took a long time to emerge from her shell. But now she has, I can see that all that negative programming is not who I am. I can choose what’s right for me in any moment.
No one knows your body the way you do. Each day the body is different, each year it evolves. What we need to eat and how we need to eat changes as well. There’s no expert other than yourself and your body. That lesson also took some time to sink in. At first, I attempted to heal my food addiction through consulting experts in the field. That basically turned my addiction to bad foods into an addiction to raw foods, vegetarian diets or veganism. I was just as mentally sick on these diets as I was eating McDonalds. I don’t think being vegan or a raw food-ist is the answer if it’s just a swap of one addiction for another.
Just as my yoga benefited from removing my clothes, my relationship with food was strengthened by removing labels, food belief systems and ‘right diet’ concepts so I could focus on my own personal balance. This was so important in the process. Now, I eat raw food on some days and cooked meat on others because I can feel what my body needs and wants on a day-to-day basis. I can choose what’s right for me in any moment. Eating as simply as possible works best for me, but I’m attuned to my needs. I have become empowered to be my own body’s expert.
This empowerment grew alongside the increased body consciousness I found in naked yoga. For me now, teaching nude yoga is about self-study as well as deconstructing imprisoning belief systems. You can’t get out of a prison if you don’t know you’re in one. Most of us don’t know it. We’re just there. The first step is finding what imprisons you. Come to where you are in the present moment and love that, whatever it looks like. I know sometimes it’s hard to love things that seem ugly to us, but begin to love yourself just as you are in the present moment, no matter what it looks like. Put your own needs ahead of pleasing someone else. Practice self-awareness and self-study.
Each person comes to the mat with the work that they need to do. When teaching naked classes, I want to create a space where each person can receive their work, let go of imprisoning belief systems and thought forms, and find their unique truth, so they can feel truly comfortable in their body with or without clothes on.
When I’m practicing or teaching naked yoga, so often it doesn’t feel like it’s my decision to be doing it. It feels as if it’s being worked through me by a much greater and wiser force.
Anya is currently teaching Nude Yoga at Release in Asbury Park. To inquire about Anya’s New Jersey based naked yoga classes email email@example.com
For private naked yoga sessions with Isis Phoenix in New York City email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reblogged this on home clothes free and commented:
Awesome story of finding freedom in body mind and spirit
Thank you so much for that wonderful article describing your evolution thru
social conditionings of food and body. Your soul has bloomed and now your
teachings will help many others flower into the being they are supposed to be.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and to post it on your page.. Yes to Freedom!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Your words are beautiful insightful and inspiring. Looking back it has been a painful road to blossom.. I first came to Yoga after my husband overdosed and passed on. I would sit in the suffering but something tole me to keep coming back.. I am sure glad I did.. Sometimes yoga does bring up emotions that feel unpleasant.. My advice.. Do not let that stop you… Sit in it and it will move through. Keep coming back, do your work, and you will realize there is nothing else to do
Great article, no lie. Spent some time reading nothing but crap in a famous yoga blog site yesterday, this is such a better piece. Great pics great honesty great insight well written.
Thanks Willy for taking the time to read my story. Your words are authentic too, I can feel we are on the same page.
Anya, your story is so very inspiring…
Much like your classes. .Thank you for all you do…
Thanks Stephanie, for reading my story, for trusting me and showing up for yourself. You are inspiring as well.
Beautiful and Delicate…it really focused on the true essence.
Thank you for sharing the page.
I’m proud of you for stepping outside a zone of comfort into a zone of change and progress 🙂
Much love and gratitude.
Anya , thanks for making the nude yoga experience so comfortable and inspiring for me,
and hoping more of us can discover this heart opening release, looking forward for the next class. Dan
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and for honoring it. My only hope that it inspires others to face their story and to know it is just a story as they seek freedom and truth. May this be our journey.
Thanks Dan for being open to the experience. Look forward to seeing you in class.
I found your story very moving. So much so that I found it important to contact you directly We all have a different relationship with our bodies, what we do with them and what we put in them. Many of the things you talk about stuck with me. I was over weight and ashamed of body when I was young and I still fight that battle everyday.day never won never lost only fought to a draw.
I found my way first with a healthier life style chooses then nudity, then yoga and finial putting the last too together through the classes held in NYC 1st with Isis then by Cindee.
Best wishes on your journey
Namaste Jim and thanks for taking the time to read my story. I am glad you took the time to reply. Perhaps our paths will cross, it would be nice to meet you. Best of luck on your journey too.
Blessing of peace,
Anya’s clear intention to bring healing to the bodies, minds, and spirits of her students is inspiring. In revealing her own personal story, there is also a sense that we can heal ourselves through our practice, along with the support from people like herself. *
Thanks Alice for taking the time to read my story, one on the path knows another on the path. You continue to show up for yourself to do your work. Beautiful!
Thank you, Anya, for sharing your experience. So simply, you say so much. It took great
courage to put it all out there. It resonates strongly in me and I pray it reaches someone who is ready but may just need a nudge open the door and start healing.
I have has the pleasure of working one on one with Anya for close to two years. Her honesty and willingness to share her own life experience has given me a safe place to share mine, and she has helped me work through and unload the unnecessary baggage has given a new lightness to my life!