The Temazcal Experience
Part of the ancient Mayan experience is alive and well at the TAO Wellness Community near Akumal on the coast. The Wellness Center is a sanctuary for health, relaxation, and a soothing of the body, mind, and spirit in a community that stresses fitness and living well. The facility includes a fully equipped gym, a yoga classroom, a salt-water lap pool, an infinity pool, massage and spa rooms, an elixir bar, meditation areas, a steam room, and a store filled with health-supporting gifts. All of this, plus the Temazcal Mayan ritual experience, gives the seeker of a healthy lifestyle a full plate of options. But the Temazcal ritual is one you will rarely find anywhere else and is an event not to be missed.
Efran, an authentic Mayan shaman, holds court over the traditional Temazcal ceremony, which is akin to that of a more conventional hot room, or similar to a North American Indian sweat lodge. The ceremony is meant to purify and re-energize the body and usually has a lasting influence. Offered at dusk, the treatment weaves together ancient traditions, chants, and meditation. The recipient is given a piece of Copal (a tree resin that is lit and burned like incense) and then asked to pray in his or her own version of religion. On entering the sweat lodge, a participant finds a mound of red-hot stones until the door closes and the room becomes pitch-black. The shaman chants and adds water to the rocks, which makes the room extremely hot and humid. The session often lasts up to two hours as the shaman chants and adds water to the rocks creating intense heat. The experience gives an almost ethereal sensation of floating in a timeless ocean of darkness, sound, and aromatic mist. Many who have gone through this ancient Mayan tradition have remarked that they left the Temazcal feeling relaxed, lighter in spirit, and emotionally cleansed. Remarkably, the physical challenge of intense heat seems to overcome many obstacles a person faces and stimulates a healthy state of mind in those who participate.
Previously published in the 2016 Spring Issue.