Moms, Daughters and Body Issues:
Nirvana. Complete Heaven. Those were the only words when thinking back on my day at Rock Lodge that were satisfactory to describe my encounter and all in a short visit to this charming sanctuary.
“Packaging light?” my husband joked with me as I put my sarong, towel and hat in my canvas strand bag. Conspicuously missing a swimsuit, I grinned. I had wanted to see Rock Lodge all summer – a naturist paradise – beautiful lake, scenic hiking trails, wildlife and nature in wealth and the alternative to be definitely clothes free. I had offered to instruct a naked yoga class at 11:30am that day and after a few wrong turns on my experience there, I arrived just in time for the class. I was joy-filled to see a wide variety of yogis in the class, as old as seventy and as young as seven, each observing their body and the spirit of yoga sans clothing. In my yoga practice thus far, naked yoga had been about consciously removing clothing and the identities behind them and so finding a fresh, deeper layer of independence that isn’t typically available in the hurried metropolis of Fresh York City living.
Nevertheless, now I was faced with a group of individuals who already had that layer of independence available. There was no disrobing ceremony. These powerful yogis were already in celebration of their body, adored yoga and wore whatever clothing at Rock Lodge that felt appropriate in the present moment, including, most often, nothing whatsoever. Sitting, meditating, Om-ing with this community, I believed – paradise is really here on earth. This is what a planet looks like when we are free of shame, remorse and fear.
Mothers and Daughters Free From Shame
Speaking over a potluck supper that evening with my host Sandy, he mentioned of one young woman – eighteen years old, a budding opera singer and routine at Rock Lodge since she was eleven. “She will never have an eating disorder,” Sandy said very honestly to me over our potluck. “When one grows up with body love and approval in all shapes and sizes and sees their parents adopt that, one never feels the need to change who they’re.”
I understood just what he spoke of. I envied this young woman who’d been exposed to heaven from the impressionable young age of eleven, while I grew up struggling with body image issues from pre-teen to adolescence. I stared at this young woman and at all the women at Rock Lodge and was overwhelmed to tears with gratitude that a place like this existed on the planet. I remembered instantly, like moving through a memory box of graphics, the snapshots of shame I’d felt in my body from a young age – my rejection of wearing shorts in middle school due to my perceived horrible legs, walking out of a room backwards after making love with a college honey so he couldn’t see my buttocks and thighs that I thought were unsightly, feeling the self-judgment and loathing of my body the first time I was naked in public as the young French lad I was dating stripped and encouraged me to join him and his buddies in the skyclad hot tub as I tried to conceal myself and my shame under the darkening night.
While these recollected minutes felt like early memories and my shame long since transformed, today, seeing a fresh possibility being taught to future generations of girls and young women left me rolling through the memory box seeing just how much we’ve come.
During my nirvana day trip to Rock Lodge, after swimming across the lake twice, I pulled myself up onto a dock at the center of the lake and sprawled flat on my stomach, my buttocks and thighs fully exposed to sunlight, the elements, the community, with not a twinge of shame in my body. There was no idea of hiding, concealing, judging what my body should and should not look like. Here, in the nudeness of nature was the quiet ecstasy of oneness. I hiked. I swam. I spoke with friends old and new. I bared myself to the world. I marveled at a young Israeli mother and her seven year old daughter who practiced side crow yoga model on the swim deck naked as a crow.

Accompanied with her mother, an accomplished yogi practicing next to her, I saw what my relationship to my body would have been like if I had the muscle memory to both be in side crow and to be nude publicly, free of shame at seven years old. I wondered what my life would have looked like if my mother had modeled for me how to love my body instead of loathe it. I wondered for sometime what our world would look like if moms taught and modeled for their daughters that their bodies could be both holy and shame-free. ‘d be in our blood. It wouldn’t be something we would have to hunt for, starve ourselves for, we would only be in it, nude in nature, in side crow, in love of our bodies.
Lusty Shaman
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About the Writer (Author Profile)
Isis Phoenix is a sexual shaman who facilitates ceremonies for people wanting to create transformation in the area of sexuality, spirituality, intimacy and relationship. Isis eases individual training and group Shamanic Immersions and retreats. She is also the founder of Naked Yoga NYC, a nude yoga movement that continues to gain . Isis Phoenix and her work was featured in Jane Magazine, Vogue, Elle, NY Post, BBC News and MSNBC. For more information visit or e-mail [e-mail protected]