“Sand is my body,
Water is my blood,
Air is my breath
And Fire my spirit”
There's a saying that goes “curiosity killed the cat’’. In my personal experience, curiosity is one of my best allies; It has helped me to surpass my fears encouraging me to try endless “non-conventional’’ methods in the quest of my inner peace.
This time, I decided to calm my eagerness and stepped forward into participating in a Temazcal ritual. I confess that until very recently, I had no idea this kind of ceremonies existed and the first time I heard of it, I thought that I would never dare to do it. According to me, my hyperactivity and claustrophobia wouldn’t let me stay in a small and dark room steaming myself for two hours.
For those who don’t know, the Temazcal is an ancient ceremony that is done inside some kind of “sweat cabin” where the participants symbolically go inside Mother Earth’s womb for rebirth. The purpose of the ceremony is based on the purification of the human being at the physical, spiritual, and mental plane, by breathing vapor water from volcanic stones and the infusion of medicinal herbs.
The word “Temazcal’’ comes from temazcalli (in nahuatl) and means ‘’house of the hot stones’’. This ancestral tradition has been used by several indigenous cultures throughout North and Mesoamerica for the purpose of freeing emotional baggage and toxins. At the same time, this therapeutic ritual was made to satisfy the need for a space of meditation and connection with the consciousness by unifying the four elements of life: Air, Sand, Fire and Water. Air is represented by vapor, sand by the stones, fire by heat, and water by the infusion of healing herbs.
The circular structure of the Temazcal usually has the shape of an igloo and symbolizes the mother’s womb. Its ceiling is low and its construction is made with stones and other materials that are completely natural. At the center there is a hole that represents the navel of the world. Outside the Temazcal burns the “sacred fire’’ symbolizing the Sun God which is used for heating the stones that provide high temperatures in the ceremony. Theses stones are also known as “little grandmas’’ because they have been on earth long before humans and possess wisdom of the earth.
Some of the benefits that the Temazcal offers are the following:
It tonifies the skin and prevents premature aging. In this ritual, temperatures can rise up to 132 degrees fahrenheit, therefore the body starts to activate its homeostatic mechanism to balance the body temperature. The skin turns into a ‘’third kidney’’ rejecting accumulated toxins when the pores starts to open.
In the same way, the heat inside the Temazcal stimulates the body’s defensive ability because it boosts the production of white blood cells and remove the obstructions inside the lymphatic system. It is well known that people with chronic conditions that take the Temazcal bath with frequency are more likely to elevate their defenses and get cure from diseases faster than usual.
According to studies made at ‘’Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos’’ in Mexico, the Temazcal is used during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum as a preventive medicinal treatment. Likewise, women with infertility issues, irregular periods, and premenstrual cramps, use this ancient practice for curing these conditions. Some of the herbs used as costmary, rosemary, pepper leaf, cinnamon, patchouli, among others, vivify the woman’s endocrine system. Similarly, the Temazcal ritual decreases the chances of postpartum depression, stimulates fat rearrangement, and helps to produce breast milk.
The Temazcal is used as well for fighting diseases like asthma and bronchitis, clears respiratory ways, and purifies nasal nostrils.
Likewise, the heat promotes the removal of retained liquids and the renovation of tissues, reducing muscles inflammation and releasing tension. The Temazcal is also used to relieve contractions, backaches, among others.
SPIRITUAL AND MENTAL BENEFITS
In the Temazcal you live the "rebirth of the self”. In this ritual, the soul finds healing through the words expressed and the releasing of negatives prejudices. This ceremony is a magnificent therapy for letting go of all the baggage that we carry that isn’t working and transforming harmful emotions into fresh energy.
The relaxing vapor removes “emotional waters’’, inciting to introspection and giving us the chance to make peace with our inner child.
At the same time, the Temazcal is a practice that helps to obtain better mental control for eliminating negative thoughts. Therefore, generating positive changes in our life.
Before starting the ritual, the master of the ceremony, also known as ‘’temazcalera’’ (as a female master), cleaned my energies with copal smoke, and invited me to the cabin. I seated on the floor as comfortable as possible, with my hands touching the soil so I could have a direct contact with earth. After that, the hot stones were introduced inside the hole of the Temazcal and we welcomed them with all due respect and gratitude. Then, the Temazcal door was closed.
Darkness invaded all the space. The time of deepness with myself had come, and it was at that moment that I asked me, what am I doing here? I thought in the two options I had: Let fear invade my thoughts and have a bad time or seize the moment offering two hours of my life to connect with the Pachamama and myself. I chose the second option.
Then, water was poured over the stones and almost immediately vapor spread inside the Temazcal. The first thing I remember was feeling the sweet and fresh smell of smoke. I closed my eyes and made myself conscious of my breathing. When inhaling the medicinal vapor I felt how my skin pores quickly opened and I started sweating right away. I laid myself down in fetal position to get myself refreshed.
While I was breathing the natural medicine, I teleported to a place full of light where time didn't exist. I watched how my fears burned one by one and felt how my body got cleaned of all the impurities I had. The feeling of peace invaded me entirely.
The ritual was divided in three stages, also called ‘’doors’’ and had a total duration of two hours approximately. At each door, the hot stones were introduced inside the Temazcal and after that, herbal infusion was thrown creating a lots of vapor. Each ceremony phase was developed between songs, prayers, and thanksgiving, honoring the four elements of nature and as an invitation to self reflection and the rest of the mind.
The Temazcal is a mystic ceremony that goes way beyond a simple hot bath and that I recommend to experience to all people that wants to get purified in a natural way. It is the perfect occasion to raise your consciousness, forgive yourself, and reconcile with Mother Earth.
What if you could be reborn, loaded with new energy so you can live your life in a different manner, more present and genuinely happy?
Let go all your fears and your existence will be glorious.
Take a Chance!
By Fabiola Marquez Creative Director | WARIMBA ☮️
Article written for Mia Astral's Blog. To read the original article in spanish click the following link:
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