I don't know why I was surprised that there was two yoga classes a day, during my week long yoga retreat in Mexico. It was a friggin' yoga retreat!! The classes were wonderful, but I was a little bored. Why did I go? Someone had put it on my to-do list. Oh, yeah, that was me. Once it's on there, it's on there.
Haramara Retreat has no electricity, no internet and you can't flush your used toilet paper. Simply throw it in the wastepaper basket and call it a day. I found this curiously fun. It did take a couple of, "Oh, crap, I put it in the toilet." I was afraid that the retreat police was going to knock on my hand-built, environmentally-conscious cabana door and put me in a time out. Or worse, make me fish the toilet paper out of the bowl.
We had fresh, local, organic food and fruit I'd never heard of. There were unpaved trails, a private beach with climbing rocks, an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean and really stupid sand crabs. The crabs would climb, or rather side shimmy, up the tropical hillside and then die. Weren't they going in the wrong direction? Every night, walking back to our rustic and built without machinery, cabanas, we'd step over dead crabs in the path.
The ocean was rough and loud, which lulled me to sleep each night.
I loved the open air shower, with its unobstructed view of the ocean. I didn't worry about my hair clogging the drain because there wasn't a drain. My strands gracefully and peacefully became one with the jungle.
We were told that the resort was situated amongst a melange of wildlife. I knew we weren't going to be bothered by monkeys, like in Africa, but what exactly was out there, no one said. Oh, maybe they did, but I wasn't paying attention.
In the middle of night, I got up to go to the bathroom. It was pitch dark. No electricity, no lights, remember. I stumbled into the bathroom half asleep and sat down. It wasn't until I felt liquid dripping down my leg, that I realized that I was sitting on top of the toilet seat and peeing myself. Boy, that was one deep sleep.
I was there for a week and by day three, I was as relaxed as I cared to be. I knew relaxation would soon turn into anxiousness.
Before I left NY, I secretly wished that I'd have an epiphany, a calling, revelations, answers, signs... something to tell me why the caged bird sings. Maybe I'd be healed. Praise be that sweet tween Jesus. I got my chance when I signed up for the Temazcal ritual, or sweat lodge.
Also known as a house of heat, it's used in Mexico and Central America for spiritual and health reasons. This was it. This was going to release me from my emotional shackles and I would be purified and emerge anew. Sign me up!
A few women from San Diego, who were also on a retreat, joined forces with our group. We were excited and "present" and ready to get our spiritual on.
Haramara had built an igloo like structure, with a hole at the top that's covered during the ceremony, to ensure complete darkness. The structure symbolizes Mother Earth's Womb. I like wombs. The female Shaman instructed each of us to kiss the ground before entering Momma Earth's womb.
Actual volcanic stones were heated and then a "fire man" brought them in, one by one. I was already sweating. There were about 20 of us in the womb and the energy and excitement was palpable. Fire man placed the stones in a pit in the center. When all of the stones were in, the Shaman had us yell in unison, "la puerta" (door). The makeshift door was closed and covered, and we were now in the dark, wet and hot womb. Huh, just like I remembered it.
The Shaman told us the meaning of the Temazcal, and how we need to respect the earth, as she poured water on the hot stones, creating pure steam and in turn, heating up the womb like a Bikram Yoga class on steroids. I kept thinking, "OK, that's enough water, Ms. Shaman, it's hot enough. I get it." I wanted to release the shit that I no longer needed as much as the next gal, but I couldn't f*ckin' breathe.
We sang, we introduced ourselves, informed the others why we were there and after what felt like a half an hour, but was probably more like 10 minutes, we yelled la puerta again, and the door magically opened.
I crawled out, sucking in the fresh air as fast as I could. There were three more rounds and I really didn't think that I could go back in. Others were saying the same thing. But then a funny thing happened. We all crawled back into the womb. I had to put my head down on mother earth's lap because it was cooler and less disorienting.
During round four, Shaman lady had us express, in one word, our wishes for humanity, or some such thing. All I heard was one word. My brain was melting.
"Love," "peace," "kindness,"... And then out of nowhere, people started reciting paragraphs, prayers, dissertations. Clearly they didn't hear the word, one. They went on and on. I wanted to scream, "One word people. The sooner we do this, the sooner we get out. What the f' are you doing? Put down the microphone and let's wrap this sh*t up."
If they were truly spiritual and caring, they would've seen the fainting people laying next to them, instead of showing off their thoughtful concern for Mother Earth.
OK, so I still have some work to do.