by Jeannie Ralston, Co-Founder of NextTribe.com
It looked like a pyramid for a pygmy god. Or a doghouse for a royal Mayan canine. It did not look like something my 5-foot-8-inch body would fit into. Especially with five other people joining me. The peaked structure was covered in pink stone and sat right next to the beach at a resort just south of Cancun. I would be spending more than an hour inside for a “truly magical experience” that the resort called a Temazcal. That’s a fancy, exotic name for a sweat lodge.
I don’t think I would have tried this sweat lodge thing if I hadn’t been on a vacation with an adventurous childhood friend. I was a little nervous because I’d heard that people have died in sweat lodges (but that’s usually when the ceremonies have not properly managed). I was hoping a luxury resort would have its act together.
Our experience started at sunset. As I stood on the beach in my bathing suit, our shaman Ricardo held up a clay incense burner in front of me and pointed it to the north, south, east, and west. I did feel some spiritual movement inside chest during these proceedings, but I think it had more to do with the torrid reds and yellows in the sky that shimmered on the gently lapping sea beside me. My friend and I, plus two young women and a young man, got on our hands and knees and crawled into the small door that supposedly represents the womb of Mother Earth. The room inside was so low that I couldn’t stand up or even straighten up when down on my knees. We sat on mats, and Ricardo brought in a metal basket of coals, which had been cooking in a fireplace a few feet outside, tended by a hotel worker.
With A drummer outside keeping a steady beat… READ FULL ARTICLE