I am back from sunny Mexico, where I was on an amazing yoga retreat. The weather was beautiful, the friends were fun, and the food was delicious!
One thing the resort offered was a Temazcal Ritual Treatment. This was a free “spa” treatment offered with our inclusive deal. It is not really a spa treatment, like a massage or a facial. It is primarily used for therapeutic purposes to heal the body, mind, and spirit with the aid of herbs and a trained healer. (we were lucky enough to have 3 “healers”. )
A temazcal is a traditional Mexican steam bath, similar to the sweat lodge of the Native Americans. It takes place in a round or domed structure made of stone or mud. Ours was made of stone, and looked similar to an igloo. We fit our 3 guides, a couple from London and 6 of us yogis comfortably.
I loved every part of the ritual. We were told to wait in the open lobby for them to come get us. Hearing the drums and chanting and smelling the incense got us all so excited. We followed the Shaman around the walkway to where the Temazcal was. We formed a circle and raised our arms to the sky thanking Mother Earth. Then we touched the ground, apologizing to her for any abuse we may have caused. (I’m crying of course).
Before we entered into the temazcal, we stood at the entrance individually, and the Shaman waved the incense stick in all directions. (I think it was a blessing of some sort, but I couldn’t understand him)
They say that entering the dome is like to returning to the womb of the mother; the interior is dark, humid, and warm, and the entrance is designed to be narrow and small. The fire pit found inside the structure is oriented toward the rising sun in the east because the sun represents the masculine element that fertilizes. We entered through an entrance that faces south, which represents the journey every soul makes from birth to death. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. The leader took us through a journey of our past, including remembering those who have past on. We were guided to remember happy childhood memories. We ended being led into feeling like we were peaceful, serene, loving human beings.
It was very hot, and so steamy you had to close your eyes. I peeked once and couldn’t see anything at all! The steam is generated in the dome through the use of volcanic stones heated to a high temperature over which water is drizzled. They called it tea and I saw him dropping some leaves and flowers on the hot stones. The heat can be increased by adding more stones to the ones already present in the pit. (which was done 3 times during our 50 minute ritual)
After it was over, we showered in outdoor showers, and swam in the saltwater pool.
All this being said, I would definitely recommend doing this if you are ever somewhere it is offered!
A picture of me relaxing in savanasa after an amazing yoga session on the pier. Photos on the page compliments of the talented yogi, Wanda Koch.