Costa Maya- Mayan Wellness Retreat
This retreat is a cultural experience for the soul. It is a close fit to the way the Mayans really perform the ritual with some slight variations. I was so thankful to get to be a part of this and it is amazing for anyone looking for a spa excursion or an immersive cultural experience.
In case you are curious about the modifications, I have explained both what happens during the excursion, as well as how it would be for a Mayan doing the full procedure.
Both are led by a Xaman. Upon arrival, you are given a locker and asked to put all of your things in that locker. The key is on a velcro strap and can be hooked around your wrist. We had a little wait time and were able to go to the beach and grab a relaxing chair or purchase a drink if we wanted. When it was time we were signed in and introduced to the Xaman.
The biggest difference was that this retreat required swimwear to participate, but in reality this ritual is done in the nude.
They will light incense and ask you to walk through one at a time. You are to inhale deeply and speak or think the mantra of why you are going through this experience. For example if you are looking for peace, then you would repeat the word peach as your mantra through the entire experience.
This process was pretty close to reality, they would burn the incense and you would breathe in deep breaths and focus on the reason you were going through the process.
You are placed in a shallow stone tub and they pour water with an herb mix, (Rosemary, Thyme, Basil) over your head and chest. You keep your eyes closed and relax, or repeat the mantra of what you are looking for out of this experience. Light shoulder and face massage and more pouring of water. Very relaxing and a wonderful prep for what is to come.
This step was created for a spa experience. During this step in an actual ritual, instead of pouring an herb filled water on you, they would actually beat you with herbs. They use Rosemary, Thyme, Basil among others. The Xaman said why they are gentler to women and children the men are beaten quite rough with the herbs.
After the relaxing herb bath you are moved to a hut that resembles a sauna with a heating element in the middle. This is for sweating and releasing what you need to release and it burns up in the room. You sit in the heat and the Zaman asks you to introduce yourself and why you are there. Then, you wipe the sweat off and throw it into the fire as a symbol of letting it go and being burned up and forgotten in that room.
Our hut was only in the 80 to 90 degree range, during the ritual this room would be around 110 degrees. They would crawl in on their knees and sit on the floor. Children would be in the heat hut for around 6-8 hours, women up to 12 and men could be in there 16-24 hours. This is done to remove impurities from the body and allow you to leave any negativity behind you.
Once you spend some time in the Heat Hut, you will move to a clay stone room that has shower heads. You push the button and rinse yourself with Ocean water. It is cool water and very refreshing.
We had nice shower heads that pumped in ocean water, in reality they would jump into a body of water. This would finish rinsing the impurities from your body. Often use the ocean, a lagoon or spring for this process. Water would be cold.
You are given a handful of Clay and told to rub it all over you. They explain that it is very good for your skin and therefore if you have any sunburn you should rub it on it. After rubbing the clay over your body the Xaman begins to explain how they would do the ceremony for real. Regulations require them to modify the actual process. This is giving the clay time to set and dry.
The clay we are given was sent to be purified. The clay for the actual ritual will come straight from the earth. You still would want to cover your body in the clay and let it harden.
Again, you are encouraged to use the ocean water to cleanse and remove the clay.
After using the Clay to nourish your skin, you jump back into the water to rinse it off.
You are taken outside onto a patio and placed in a tub that resembles a coconut. You are submerged in coconut milk and water and rinsed again and more light head and shoulder massage. This is to protect your body from impurities and relax and renew.
While done a little differently, you would receive a bath in Coconut milk.
After you exit the Coconut tub you are taken to rinse off in an outdoor shower.
After you are rinsed, then you are taken to the hammocks. You climb in and get comfortable. You will receive an arm and leg massage, both your arms are folded across your chest. At that point you are cocooned in the hammock. Then you are given a hands and feet massage. They roll you on their legs and knees using both to give you an amazing massage.
This was an absolutely amazing experience, the hammock massage was beyond anything I imagined. They used their fists to punch your back, their knees and feet to massage your back. The feeling was unusual at first but the relaxation felt afterwards was amazing.
This process is done with being wrapped in Banana leaves during the actual ritual. Then you are massaged while wrapped in the leaves.
Self awareness and care are so important and this was an amazing and different way to enjoy that. The procedure lasted about 2 hours and then you were allowed to use their beach or pool to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
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Thanks to Embrace the Journey Travel Planner, Angel Waite, for writing this blog post for us. You can learn more about Angel here.