Room Full of Mirrors

… and all I could see was me

Being A Human Among Other Humans

This post is about my own mental image, and acceptance, of my physical self. There are nude images ahead, the most revaling of which are obscured behind a mouse click. I was inspired to write this after a post by a yoga classmate from a yoga class that I started taking in the spring of this year (2023).

My Fear §

As a child, I played baseball and I remember being quite good at it. I believe I could have at least earned a scholorship if not gone a step or two further. But, I played until I reached the point where to continue would mean two things:

  1. Having to get a physical.
  2. Having to use a locker room with the rest of the team.

In both cases, the blocker was a fear of being physically exposed in the presence of other people. I don’t really know where this fear originated, but I’m sure a lot of it came from television or movies portraying body shaming as an acceptable fact of life in high school and beyond. Regardless of where it originated, this trepidation has remained with me throughout my adult life.

It wasn’t until 2021, on the weekend of my 42nd birthday, that I really decided to do something about it. It was then that I tried to participate in the 2021 Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride (PNBR). I failed to do that due to a bad bike crash on my way to the gathering spot. So I tried again with PNBR 2022 and was successful. It was liberating. (Unfortunately, due to being out of work, I couldn’t attend in 2023.)

Nude Yoga §

The PNBR experience was liberating, at least in part, because it gave me an opportunity to be a human among other humans. My social skills are terrible. I had some success at university, but the vast majority of my adult life has been one of solitude and extreme loneliness. What I learned during the PNBR experience is that being naked with other people touches something that is core to our being. Since experiencing that, I had to find a way to get it close to home, and I wanted the group aspect of it. So I turned to the other activity I practice regularly: yoga.

I started by researching if nude yoga is even a thing. It is. There are practices like Naked In Motion, Dharama House, Bold Naked, and others around the country. As an aside, see this video article for a nice overview of Naked In Motion and this written article for a Bold Naked experience. I would certainly like to try out any of these classes if I am able to get a chance.

What I found is that it is quite difficult to find anything in the Atlanta area. There’s one that pops up at the top of search engine results, but it isn’t a class I would attend (it’s quite clear the class has extra curricular motives). All of the others that are “easy” to find are either defunct or at least unresponsive to inquiries. So eventually I worked up the courage to ask my regular instructor (shout out to KIMYB), that I have been taking classes from since February of 2019, if she knew of any. She didn’t even have to think about it. She was able to point me in the direction of The Yoga Playground and it has been amazing.

Eazy’s class is exactly what I was looking for: a co-ed class that is all about being comfortable with oneself and sharing the experience with others. Just being in the room allows me to make that base connection, even if my actual social skills are still poor. But that’s another benefit: I actually feel it’s easier to talk to others when we are exposed like that, and I’m getting better at striking up conversations before and after class.

It’s still intimidating to bare it all at the start of every class. I’m always questioning if I’m doing the right thing by, usually, being the first to get rid of the shields and storing them with my gear bag in the foyer. But I tell myself “we’re here for a reason, so let’s do it.” But by the end of class, particularly on the nights when folks chill and socialize for a bit afterward, that trepidation is gone. I look forward to each and every class. They fill a void in my life.

Me doing a headstand (NSFW) Me doing a headstand (NSFW)

Conclusion §

This has been a bit of a ramble, but I felt that I should get at least some of it out there. I don’t know if it will help anyone else to overcome their own insecurities, or if I’m just exposing more of myself for the helluva it, but this is the Room Full of Mirrors.