Temazcal Ceremonies – Insight Into Mayan Heritage

One of the best parts about visiting Mexico is getting to know its fascinating culture. Being the home of five major civilizations, the stunning country has a rich history. Temazcal ceremonies originated more than a thousand years ago, and they are still an essential part of Mayan heritage. Whether it is to cleanse your body or calm your mind, there is no doubt that learning more about this spiritual ritual will be one of the most memorable parts of your vacation. What is more – you can experience Temazcal ceremonies near our resort Villa del Palmar Cancun.

The beautiful ritual has a long and fascinating history. Temazcal ceremonies originated in Mexico more than a thousand years ago. Since then, it is still practiced in South America, including Cancun and other parts of the world. To better understand the idea behind the ritual, you must know the meaning of the word temazcal. It comes from the word temāzcalli, which means “the house of heat.” Historically, the ritual took place before and after important battles. Often it was also used as a place to give birth since it was rumored to have healing powers. Temazcal ceremonies are an unforgettable experience and an excellent insight into ancient Mayan civilization and culture that’s totally unique to Mexico.

A fun fact – some people believe that the Temazcal is purposefully shaped in a dome – it represents a woman’s womb. After a person finishes the two-hour ritual, they are thought to have been reborn.

What happens during the ceremony?

The whole purpose of the Temazcal ceremony is to confront a person’s counterpart and reconnect with themselves. The ritual aims to have the ultimate cleansing of both the body and mind. Through intense purification and meditation, you should reconnect with yourself and the Earth.

There is no denying that Temazcal is something magical. So, what can you expect during the ceremony? Of course, every ritual can differ, but participants usually enter a sweat lodge that typically resembles an igloo or a hut. The tiny house is constructed from wood, cement, or, more often, volcanic stone. Inside the hut, hot volcanic rocks are placed in the middle. While the ceremony takes place, water is poured over them, which creates steam. To make the fascinating act even more special, different types of herbs, for example, sage or copal, are added. They are believed to have healing and therapeutic properties. In some cases, you may also get a taste of a delicious herbal tea while enjoying the ritual.

The unique experience is often led by a shaman (an ancient term for a healer – a person of medicine, or a prophet, custodian of cultural tradition) that also chants and does a bit of singing. If not – a temazcalero (a healer or medicine man or woman who uses folk remedies) might do the same things a shaman would. When the ceremony comes to an ending, participants are usually asked to exit the dome. Do not be surprised if you are directed to swim in a pool or take a refreshing shower. It is recommended to lower your body temperature.

Good for the body and the soul

Although the Temazcal ceremony is terrific to experience just to learn more about the Mayan heritage, it has also proven to have many benefits. What can you expect? Some people have reported an improvement in their weight loss efforts. Some have noticed that their skin has become clearer. But that is not all. In 2005, scientists found that the effects of thermal therapy (and Temazcal is a part of this) might improve complaints for people who have mild  depression. Research also shows that the beautiful ritual can help the body cleanse its toxins and impurities. If you are a fan of the hammam (Turkish bath), you may already know that steam positively impacts overall well-being.

While the Temazcal ceremony can make you feel better physically, you shouldn’t forget it has mental benefits too. According to scientists, sitting in a sweat lodge can decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. And, of course, it can also release different mental burdens. Since the spiritual ritual involves deep meditation, it works like therapy. You get to look inside yourself and calm your anxious mind. And you can’t deny – that is something we all may benefit from.

If you are planning to participate in the unique ritual while staying in Cancun, here are some tips to make the best of the whole experience.

  • Drink a lot of water. It is essential to stay hydrated because you are going to be sweating a lot and therefore losing fluids from your body. Although sometimes the ceremonies include drinking tea, it is better to prepare and be hydrated before.
  • Try to have an open mind and approach the ritual with respect. Temazcal ceremonies are an important part of Mayan heritage and Mexican culture. Since the tradition dates back to more than a thousand years ago, it might seem unusual. But try to commit wholeheartedly.
  • Don’t wear too many layers. There is nothing better than letting your skin breathe, and the ancient ritual is the best time to let your clothes go. When participating in a bathing suit or without anything on, you will experience the biggest benefits.

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