The other day I booked myself and my partner Zac in for our second ever, Temazcal ceremony experience here in Oaxaca, Mexico. Last year during our visit to Oaxaca City we had our first experience within the ancient pre-hispanic sweat lodge, and immediately I was hooked.
The first time was daunting, as you have no idea what to expect. But, luckily the beautiful people who own Ceviarem Temazcal Oaxaca, Blanca and her husband (who is also the Shaman) Keny are fantastic at putting your mind at ease and explaining every detail of the ritual with you.
My second visit was incredible, I had a general idea what to expect and I had a specific goal for my ceremony. Each time, as I am told by Blanca and Keny is different. Your body will bring out different emotions and help you let go of anything you wish to allow you to heal.
So if you have never heard of the Temazcal Ceremony, you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. Let me explain.
What is a Temazcal?
The Temazcal is like sweat lodge that indigenous meso-american cultures used for curative purposes. They would use the Temazcal to cure illnesses from the inside out, also to decompress and detox after battle and to help leaders clear their minds to make important decisions for their communities and to provide a spiritual place for women to give birth. The structure itself can be a circular, rectangular or hexagonal in shape. Normally, it is made out of volcanic rock and concrete. The entrance to the Temazcal is small, as to not let heat escape and limit the amount of light inside the space.
What happens inside?
The process of the ritual you will experience will be different each time. It depends on your Shaman and location. Both of my experiences have involved being guided into the Temazcal entrance, finding my place inside the small, dark, hot dome and concentrating on breathing.
When you first enter the Temazcal, the heat will take you back. But as my Shaman Keny tells me, this ritual is not meant for suffering, it is for healing and to be enjoyed. Remember that, relax into it and soak up every beautiful second inside.
The Temazcal Ceremony
Once you have found your spot inside, the ritual begins. Chanting and drumming fills the air and injects energy into the space. The Shaman then guides us to rub tangerine and orange halves over our skin just like soap. All whilst he is pouring more water onto the steaming volcanic rocks. The heat increases and energy intensifies. I continuously concentrate on my breath and cooling the air through my mouth before it hits my lungs.
The Shaman brings herbs, oils, mezcal and other ointments out during different stages of the experience to rub on certain points of your body for different beneficial reasons. The Shaman explains each stage and each reason, all whilst more water and aromatic blends are being poured on the rocks increasing the heat.
The ceremony lasts for up to 1 and a half hours give or take. After you leave the Temazcal and step into the light you can feel so in tune to the sounds, sights and breeze of the environment around you. Hopefully you step out with more knowledge, free of doubts and full of energy.
What to expect?
It will be hot, like HOT. But don't let that put you off, it is a very enjoyable experience that will only bring you healing and good energy. Just keep breathing and let the expense take you over, your Shaman will be watching you and will guide you if they feel you need some cold water, to lay down or need some air. All you need to do is let go.
It will be dark. Not pitch black, but yeah it is dark inside. I close my eyes and meditate through the ritual, so the dark isn't an issue. You will be amongst people and hopefully you will be guided by a Shaman that will put any doubts you have at ease.
Expect anything. This is a truly deep experience for some. It can bring out anything from within, so don't feel weird if emotions appear that you didn't expect to appear, pop up. Embrace them and keep going, keep breathing. You will leave the ceremony lighter and full of positive energy.
How to prepare for the Temazcal Ceremony?
-Have a good rest the night before.
-Bring a positive and open mind set.
-You can wear swimwear inside or choose to be naked. But less clothes the better.
-Bring an intention for your ceremony, or you can just see what the ritual brings out.
-Drink plenty of water after as well to re-hydrate your body.
If you are travelling through Oaxaca and would like to try the Temazcal Ceremony, I can highly recommend Ceviarem Temazcal Oaxaca.
Blanca (Who speaks English and Spanish) is very responsive via their Facebook book page and will help you with any questions you may have. Also, she can help make travel arrangements from Oaxaca City to the Ceviarem and back once your ceremony is complete.
Her husband Kenny, the Shaman, is from a long line of experienced and incredible Shamans. He is a truly amazing guide and creates an energetic, soulful experience within the ceremony. He explains why, who, when and what each ritual is for and where it came from, this information is invaluable as it makes you feel connected to many cultures that exceed thousands of years.
I look forward to many more visits in the future!