Read about sweat, screams, chants, and tears at a Mexican Sweat Lodge with Maya Tulum Resort
I returned to one of my favorite places on earth in January:
Things are changing fast in this tiny beach town, but it still holds a very special place in my heart. After all, it was the starting point for my year of full-time travel. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to return nearly a year later. I wanted to revisit the idyllic beaches, explore some new Cenotes, and eat plenty of tacos al pastor. I also wanted to try a Temazcal for the first time.
A Temazcal is a traditional Mexican sweat lodge. It's an ancient Mayan ritual designed to remove toxins from the body. Indigenous people previously used these steam baths to cure illnesses or purify their bodies after battles. The four stages of the ceremony are led by a Shaman, which is a spiritual healer. It takes place inside a small domed structure that represents the womb. In other words, you're supposed to feel like a spiritual and mental rebirth has occurred by the end of the process. I was interested to see if this would be the result.
When I discovered that Temazcal ceremonies were offered in Tulum, I was all in. I'm always open to new experiences when I travel, especially if they hold cultural or historical significance. So I thought, why not give it a try? I reached out to Maya Tulum Resort to schedule a session at their onsite Temazcal.
Admittedly, I had no idea what to expect. I was skeptical of whether the cleansing would actually be effective. I read many testimonials stating that the Temazcal proved to be an extremely intense and emotional experience, but naturally, I had my doubts. What if it was all a hoax?
I met a local girl on the beach the morning before I was scheduled to attend my Temazcal. We engaged in small talk and I told her that I'd be participating in a ceremony later that day. She replied, "Wow, you're going to be so drained by the end of it. It is very powerful". I was honestly hoping she was right. If I was going to do it, I wanted the real deal.
Later that night, I arrived at Maya Tulum Resort. I showed up alongside 5 other women who would be going through the experience with me. They revealed to me that this was their second time doing a temazcal, which gave me a sense of reassurance. On one hand, I was happy to go through this with a group of women who seemed to have great energy. On the other hand, I knew that it must be a great experience if they were back for more.
Before we knew it, we were entering the 'womb' with our designated Shaman. We sat shoulder to shoulder inside of this pitch black dome. The shaman asked us to state our intentions and then the process began. I can hardly put the experience into words.
There were chants, songs, screams, prayers, sweat, and tears.
Round after round, the steam picked up. I felt like I was inside of an oven. It was steaming and I honestly wanted out. I hoped that it was over everytime the door was opened, only to realize that more volcanic rock was being shoveled inside. As I crouched over in my swimsuit, I felt like I was about to pass out. My entire body was covered in sweat, but I attempted to focus on the moment. I tried to focus on the sounds around me and the feelings inside my body. So much was happening at once, yet it all felt extremely genuine. Somehow I lasted until the very end and I couldn't have been more relieved to exit the steam house.
I stepped out onto the sand to the sounds of crashing waves and howling wind. A strong feeling of relief washed over me. I didn't realize just how intense every second was until the experience was over. Time seemed to stop while I was inside, and the rush of emotion hit me once it all ended.
I didn't feel like a brand new person or anything like that, but I could definitely feel the effects of the Temazcal. I walked back to my condo feeling lighter.
This was all a very interesting experience. It's unlike anything I've ever seen or done before, which makes me grateful for the chance. Here are a few tips in case you decide to give it a go:
- Drink plenty of water beforehand
- Bring or arrive in a swimsuit
- If you have any health issues, consult with your doctor before participating
- Understand that every person's experience will be different
- It's a very unusual experience so try to go in with an open mind
Thanks to Maya Tulum for the experience! All opinions are my own.
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