Naked In The Woods: A Liberating Experience

Whats the deal with nudists? Do they actually exist or are they just in movies? Why are Europeans always naked... or topless... or pantless? Why are americans so damn afraid to be naked??? Is there anything to the whole being naked thing? Am I missing something?

Turns out, I've been missing out on something. BIG TIME. I recently had a nude community experience... which I know sounds completely bizarre, but it was in fact one of the most liberating and freeing moments of my life. Terrifying at first but mind opening as hell once I got used to being without clothes.

Let me start from the beginning. This summer I travelled to southern Georgia to stay in a tree house hostel. The hostel is a community-driven oasis that offers visitors a place to disconnect while engaging in nature and each other. The people of the hostel were all mindful dreamers with beautifully open hearts. Gratitude and love seemed to pour from every soul, creating an aura of peace and collective unity. The wave of calm that washed over me upon my arrival was like nothing I'd ever experienced.  Once I checked in, a friendly worker of the hostel began touring me around the property. He showed me the tree houses, nature trails, labyrinth, out houses, and then finally the lake. He whisked me by while casually mentioning the lake was clothing optional. With a slight shrug of the shoulders, we moseyed along. I thought to myself, "oh how fun, skinny dipping late night... thats no big deal". 

I didn't quite realize this lake was ALL nude ALL the time; and with the heat of Georgia in the summer time, you HAVE to get in the lake. As soon as my friend and I set up camp and were settled in, we headed for the lake. Neither one of us had ever stripped are clothes off in the blazing sunlight to swim and frolic with complete strangers in the nude, but we figured "Why not, could be fun".

We dropped our clothes, glanced at one another with curious expressions, nodded and headed in the water. There were about ten or so others in the lake, many of them laying out on the floating dock in the middle of the water. So naturally, we swam out and joined them in the nude. It seemed a little foreign at first, but no one stared at one another, and nobody seemed uncomfortable. Everyone was just free, nude, laughing, and conversing. It was all quite organic and natural feeling. After the first dip in the lake (which was followed by many more), we felt liberated and cleansed. It was like exposing yourself amongst others with complete acceptance. There was no fear but just genuine love and compassion for each other. 

This experience reaffirmed to me that our bodies are just that- bodies. Our soul, our essence, and our energy is what makes us individuals. As Kathryn Budig (one of my FAV yogis) says, are bodies are just "meat suits" that house our souls. What we should all focus on is what's inside. Thats whats real. Thats what radiates.

If you ever find yourself in a nude community, I hope you'll shed those clothes and let your nudey freedom ring! I promise you won't regret it!

Rachael Croll