When I started to post nude yoga pictures on Instagram the positive responses were overwhelming. The feedback told me that the photos connected to a primal part of the viewer that wants to be free. Viewers were not only living vicariously through the images, but they also found inspiration in them for their own lives.
With the praise also came criticism, rejection, silent admiration (people who would not in any way support the continent publicly despite how much they liked it), shaming, and typecasting. I’m both fascinated and overwhelmed by the different responses people have when they are confronted with nudity, and the implications these deep rooted beliefs have on society and the human psyche.
From the very beginning of our lives we are taught that our nude bodies, our homes, our creative vessels, are dirty, always sexual and pornographic, something to be hidden and ashamed about if revealed. It’s no surprise that people have such a strong response to nudity.
I have challenged myself as an artist to present nudity as not just inherently sexual or pornographic, but also something spiritual that speaks to the deep human desires for creativity, freedom and connection to the natural world.
We live in a world where we’re only comfortable talking about nude bodies and sex to shame or embarrass each other. The topics are tabu, shameful, or inappropriate. Because WE ARE bodies and sex, this belief system makes who we are and our nature, tabu, shameful, and inappropriate. The consequences of such a conflict within ourselves show up everyday in the world in endless ways like abuse, repression, and unpunished crimes. We live in a wold where the amount of skin you show, and your sexual expression can determine how seriously one is taken in other unrelated areas of life. We live in a world where such personal choices are an acceptable cause for discrimination, and victim blaming.
It has taken a lot of courage to move forward with my own creative expression and choose to embrace what is true to me despite the risks. Given that each of us plays a role in shaping society by the things we embrace and reject, I have chosen to embrace what is true to me despite the risks. After all, progress has only come through the rejection of the status quo and our willingness to speak about, and stand up for what we believe in. All of us want to live in a place that is safe to express our nature, a human right that is robed from many of us when society as a whole continues to hold the same archaic values of always seeing the body as "wrong'" and "demeaning," and when we believe the way a persons looks, their choices in lifestyle, or personal expression are reasons to label them and put them in a box.
Not only will you receive enjoyment, entertainment and inspiration from this issue but you will be contributing to changing the way bodies and sexuality are seen. You will have the opportunity to help broaden our collective understanding of what it means to be human and express. Together we will be widening our vocabulary around nudity and sex which is crucial to understanding who we are.