As a yoga teacher and self-dubbed “free spirit” who has done everything from travel the world solo to move to Hawaii with a carry on luggage, I figured going to Hedo – or Hedonism II – a resort in Jamaica known for it’s focus on pleasure – wasn’t going to be anything new.
Surprisingly, I first found myself wildly uncomfortable — out of my element in many ways, and with hesitation. How was I going to “dive in” to this experience?
I promised myself to fully immerse into the Hedonism culture — ultimately, I learned that there is a bigger purpose to nude beaches than tanning your tatas (which I’m still totally a fan of). The liberation can all around heal our society’s obsessions of rules and perfectionism.
I swapped my judgments for a nude beach in Jamaica, and here’s why you should too.
1. Nudity isn’t (just) sexual.
In a culture where sexuality is often suppressed and demonized, basic parts of who we are – like nakedness and breast-feeding – are often undeservingly shamed and misrepresented.
Being nude is in fact, our natural state (if you didn’t know), and in my eyes – a crucial component to accepting ourselves fully.
Read on …
During our trip, we went snorkeling and some of us girls decided to go topless or entirely nude. From one perspective, this could have looked like a MTV Spring Break scene of girls gone wild. From ours, it was simply a chance to plunge into a new experience and swim with the turtles naked (side note: highly recommend). In it’s own way, it was a small act of courage.
My relationship with these new friends grew to a shocking level of authenticity. I’m convinced it was because that afternoon, we stepped out of our shells, moved out of comfort zone and embraced what it’s like to feel free.
2. We get to cool down the way nature intended.
Because if hopping into the ocean naked, immediately, after a sweaty gym session isn’t motivation to workout, I don’t know what is.
A nude swim is as invigorating as it is relaxing. No loosening and losing of bikini parts… just uninterrupted freedom.
3. We finally understand the meaning to “no worries.”
Left your top at the beach? No worries! Don’t know what to pack? Not a problem! Between the all inclusive food and drinks and the kindness of everyone around the resort, I felt at my most relaxed. I loved that I could leave my cover up and walk around in my bathing suit without thinking twice that I was “politically correct.”
I indulged in the aura of a no-judgment zone, more than any luxury amenity that the hotel offered — although yes, the perks of a brand new luxury resort stimulate the experience.
4. When you stop judging others, you can stop judging yourself.
When I first arrived, I found myself (unintentionally) judging some of the people that were walking around nude. I have longtime been influenced by the perfectionist mentality that you should only be happy with your body when it looks like ____.
I’ll let you fill in the blank.
Even as a yoga teacher who focuses on self-love, I’m on a continued journey of fueling myself through acceptance, rather than criticism.
I realized that my impulsive judgments of other people are triggered by own insecurities and beliefs of what makes somebody adequate of being confident and free. Ironically, I’ve met so many people with “perfect” bodies who are miserable. Others, with societal “imperfections” radiate a happiness that even money can’t buy. There is no social standard at Hedonism and it re-defined my own standards.
While I do believe having a healthy body is important, true self-confidence comes from a level of self-worth not dependent on the body. True-self worth is a state of mind.
5. Experiences and preferences are only a “big deal,” if we make them one.
I’ve often found that our minds make things into bigger deals than they actually are. Whether it is making an important phone call, pursuing a passion or deciding to act on a suppressed desire, it is our resistance to it that causes our suffering — not the experience itself.
We can be so influenced by society’s version of “right and wrong” that there is nothing like making that decision for yourself.
I’m not going to tell you that if you go to Hedonism you will fall in love with being naked, but I will say that in going to Hedo, you just may fall in love with yourself.