My Experience with Anxiety, Depression & Nudity

While I am not an expert in anxiety and depression, I am an expert on how anxiety and depression manifest themselves in my body. I am choosing to share my story with you in the hopes you may find something useful as you consider your nude yoga practice. So take what serves and leave the rest behind. There is plenty of research that shows a strong correlation between immobility and stagnation in the body and symptoms of anxiety and depression. For me, each pair becomes the chicken and the egg. When I’m less active and in a rut, my symptoms flare. When I feel myself in the throes of anxiety and depression, I become immobile. I have learned that the only way to interrupt the cycle is to move my body. Sometimes this is no easy feat. My thoughts tell me to stay still, that movement is pointless and painful. My body agrees. I have learned to listen to neither, and to do what is best for both, in spite of their objections. I have to do the very opposite of what I am inclined to do. As Mel Robbins instructs, 5-4-3-2-1!

Practicing yoga at home, in the same spot, can become routine and boring. And routine and boring are not what is needed to stave off anxiety and depression. This is where a home practice sans apparel can make a difference. When I began to practice nude, I did so for several reasons. The first being that I found the clothing mildly irritating. Having to readjust my yoga pants after every forward fold seemed silly to have to do at home by myself. So off they came. On another day, I was about to shower and thought wait, I can do a few sun salutations before I jump in. I found that without clothes I was less distracted.

Another reason I practiced nude was that I realized practicing felt more meditative, special, even intimate. I was honoring my body. Honoring it in spite of my feelings, thoughts and beliefs about my body. It bears repeating, I have learned to listen to neither my anxiety nor my depression, but to do what is best for my mind and body, in spite of their objections. Move and breathe, breathe and move, rinse and repeat. I soon become aware my inner critic is a bit quieter, nope, she starts up again, so I keep moving and breathing, back to the mat, back to the right now.
This is how I started my nude practice. As I continued, I experienced more residual benefits. With consistency, I began to look forward to my time with myself on the mat. I found myself needing to practice, needing to remove layers of protection and distraction and get back to a sense of reconnection. Recognizing, reconnecting, and renewing my sense of self. I gradually began to lessen my grip on my identification with anxiety and depression. Still ever present, but further away in the closet of my psyche. I now know I have an arsenal of tools of protection at my disposal. One of them is my nude practice.

About the author: bex
I believe yoga is for everyone. I see yoga as an inner personal practice that seeks to connect or reconnect the mind-body link. When I practice yoga, I listen to what my body tells me it needs. I send breath and energy throughout my body, but especially to the places that ask for my attention. In return my body responds with action, movement and healing, as best as it can. I heal my body and my body heals me. As a yoga teacher, I hope to address concerns that prohibit or discourage people from trying yoga. By taking better care of the physical and mental needs of a community, the community can better respond with what will benefit itself. It is my lifelong plan to create a space for all people to practice yoga, but especially for people of color and those who find themselves on the margins, so they too may find their breath, turn within and understand how just doing that simple act on a daily basis can benefit them in myriad ways.

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