Naked Yoga Alliance Interview with Mike & Tracy
Mike and Tracy, husband and wife yoga practitioners from Northborough, Massachusetts, share their journey through their nude yoga practice and how naturism has brought them closer as a couple.
Q: How has naturism affected your body image and self-esteem?
Mike: Naturism has definitely helped me to accept my body and myself. Of course I would like to change things about my body, but it is my body and I can accept it for the way it is. Naturism has helped me talk more openly about personal subjects that I would not have been comfortable with before then. As child from New England in a traditional Irish Catholic family, we didn’t really express our emotions and were very reserved about our bodies.
Tracy: I grew up in a traditional family in the Midwest. My mom always ran around the house naked and I didn’t think anything about it; my father was also occasionally naked, walking from room to room. I became more embarrassed about my body when I got into my teen years and by the time I was in college I was wearing ridiculously baggy clothes to cover my body. When Mike introduced me to naturism 18 years ago it opened me to a metamorphosis that can be likened to a chrysalis maturing into a beautiful butterfly. I have now fully spread my wings to fly.
Q: Have you struggled with health or body image in the past? If so, how?
Mike: I have had type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes since I was a child. Growing up, through high school, college and beyond I wanted to be as “normal” as possible. I would often hide my diabetes and the care it requires. I felt that diabetes was “my” issue and something I needed to keep to myself. I was to some degree fearful of others judgment of my condition. My care regimen requires that I test my blood sugars and give myself insulin injections multiple times a day. I was covert about my self-care so that it would not make others feel uncomfortable. My journey through naturism has brought me to a point where I am more open about my condition. I am open about my insulin infusion set and continuous glucose monitor transmitter, both of which are attached to my body 24/7, during my naturist activities. I can more openly talk about my disease and the care it requires.
I am petite in stature and at 5’ in height (if I am standing really tall), I do not have a lot of body mass. As my friends developed breasts in middle school, I developed bumps and was very self-conscious. To make matters worse, my father made comments about the size of my breasts on a semi-regular basis. The comments continued for nearly 30 years and subconsciously cast a shadow over my self-image. I did not realize how deeply they affected me until earlier this year when I was able to come to terms with my body and to recognize that I do not need to judge my body nor tolerate the judgment of anyone else. Had I not adopted a naturist lifestyle, I believe I would have carried the burden of self-judgment for the rest of my life.
Q: What inspired you as a couple to begin practicing naked yoga?
Mike & Tracy: We’ve been naturists for many years and we began practicing clothed yoga several years ago. We enjoyed the yoga practice and its benefits. Shortly after we started our practice, we found a naked yoga DVD and began practicing at home. We found that the freedom that naked yoga offered was a complement to our naturist lifestyle.
Q: How does naked yoga and also naturism effect your relationship?
Mike & Tracy: Naked yoga and naturism are activities that we each enjoy. Sharing those activities with one another has helped us to connect more fully. They have deepened our relationship and given us the comfort of knowing we can truly be ourselves with one another.
Q: What benefits have you found from practicing naked yoga as a couple?
Mike & Tracy: As we drive home from naked yoga, we always ask one and other how our practice was. Sharing our feelings about what we reveled in or struggled with helps us to better understand how we are feeling at that moment and how we can support one another.
Q: What is your favorite yoga pose?
Tracy: Although Michael thinks that savasana is my favorite pose, I love the various twists. I carry stress in my back and neck and appreciate the release those poses offer.
Mike: Bridge pose helps me open my heart and it helps me relieve the tension and stress that I carry on my shoulders.