Temazcal or Sweat Lodge Ceremony
The Temazcal is an ancient purification ceremony from the indigenous native peoples of North America and Mexico in which we symbolically move into the womb of Mother Earth to be born again strengthened and renewed. Each element of the ceremony follows a design that fortunately, after being perfected over thousands of years in the North, came to Colombia. Gonzalo Aguila Garcia has been offering his community sweat lodges since 1992 in and around Medellin, Colombia.
Physically, the sweat lodge is an igloo-shaped structure made of wood (or mud in Mexico) into which fire heated stones are placed and then bathed in rainwater. As the water vapor rises the healer’s songs begin, accompanied by the tambor (drum) and sonaja (rattle) When entering this temple of transformation we can utter the phrase ‘’Ahó Metakuye Oyasin’’ which is a mantra meaning ”All our relationships and we are all brothers and sisters”. By saying these words we are decreeing the intention to heal, strengthen and clarify our relationships with all that we are, and all that surrounds us.
The Temazcal is an invitation to journey inward, but also a holistic therapy that carries physical, psychological, mental, and energetic benefits.
In its origin the Temazcal is a spiritual ceremony where we connect with our essence through the four elements of nature (fire, water, air, earth), meditation, singing and prayer. It is a moment of power in our lives, an opportunity to reconcile ourselves with all our relationships, our health and our spiritual path. It is an opportunity to stop and find ourselves.
Temazcal is a symbolic regression to the mother’s womb and reconnection with our inner child. With prayer and the opportunity to express deep feelings in a sacred and supportive environment we purify “the emotional waters”. An outpouring of stagnant emotions occurs, thus opening a step toward deeper healing. Moreover, Temazcal ceremonies cure and decrease fears and phobias.
The Temazcal is, like many other spiritual practices, an opportunity to learn how to tame the mind and connect to our non-egoic sense of self. When this eternal self is contacted and revived, we achieve greater control of our minds and learn to purge negative thoughts, adjust habits and thought patterns, and generate positive life changes.
Skin contact with the earth through the feet and the base of the spine produces a grounding effect for the lower chakras and creates a connection with Mother Earth. It also facilitates a release of blocked energies and promotes the free flow of energy in the body. The upper chakras are also encouraged by the spiritual character of the ceremony, creating a balance of energies. The high concentration of negative ions within the Temazcal generates an aura renewal and purification. Energy revitalizes the body through interaction with nature.
The physical benefits of the vapor which rises from the stones in the Temazcal are innumerable. Virtually every organ of the body is stimulated and purged of toxins. The following is a list of some of the specific physical benefits:
Cleanses the lungs
Purifies the digestive system
Tones the nervous system
Stimulates the circulatory system
Tones and softens the skin
Relaxes the musculatory system
Eliminates internal toxins
Stimulates the immune system
Helps regulate female reproductive cycles
Purifies the blood
Relieves fatigue by producing abundant negatively charged ions
Renews and expands the aura
Helps weight loss
Relieves fluid retention
The Temazcal was and still is used to deliver babies thanks to its obvious symbolism, high temperature similar to the womb and its ceremonial nature. Families receive new members in the temple of Mother Earth.
Today we know that induced perspiration has benefits in the treatment of: skin diseases, liver diseases, circulatory system problems, rheumatism, arthritis, gout and other chronic diseases. Thanks to its unique methods, the Temazcal is perhaps the most effective healing technique of this type. Surely the list of conditions for which it has been used throughout the centuries would be much longer than this one.
The therapeutic use of Temazcal is also associated with thermotherapy, hydrotherapy, music therapy, neurolinguistics, aromatherapy etc. It helps in the treatment of many physical and mental illnesses and is of course an excellent practice of preventive medicine when used regularly as a purification ritual.
If I could give 10 stars, I would! My husband and I are still here actually, we extended our stay to be a full 15 days, and man, these guys do not disappoint! We started our healing journey in Peru, and decided to try ECA due to their wonderful climate, beautiful living spaces, and the additional of San Pedro and the Temazcal to their healing portfolio. We have also had the chance to take Yopo here, due to our extended stay. The shamans/healers are warm, caring, and impeccable with their medicines and treatments, the food is excellent (I'd be really surprised if we both haven't lost at LEAST 10 pounds), and the facilitators are down to earth, funny, really warm spirited men. ECA is truly a family, and they CARE about your healing. They also really care about our environment and the indigenous communities these sacred plants hail from. If you are serious about changing your life, and you want to feel safe and secure in a comfortable environment, you can't go wrong here. I have done a 12 day retreat in the Amazon Rainforest with another center, and while I would not trade that experience for the world, this is a much more comfortable place. The price also, can not be beat. And the scenery, BREATHTAKING!! One note is to bring plenty of long sleeves and a comfortable hoodie or jacket. The City of Eternal Spring can get chilly at night at 9,000 feet elevation! (Im a Southern American woman though lol.)
After 5 years considering a trip, I finally decided to book it. After a month long search, many emails, and a few phone calls, I settled on the Eagle Condor Alliance. I felt comfortable with the facilitators, and the flight to Medellin was cheaper and quicker (by a lot) then the Iquitos based alternatives I considered. The accommodations were nice and the food was excellent - a nice surprise since I had resigned myself to a bland diet. As for the experience itself - it's quite transformational to say the least. It's hard to describe the experience in a brief testimonial, but you will likely end up making some rather changes in your life for the better shortly after. At all times during the ceremony, I felt safe with the facilitators and the shaman. The shaman was extremely good at calming people down who became upset during the ceremony and kept things on track. The facilitators were there when you needed them, and all wonderful human beings. If you're considering a mosquito-laden retreat in Iquitos, or worried about the long flights, or concerned about safety, authenticity of shamans - or any of the other common concerns with Ayahuasca - the Eagle Condor Alliance should be on the top of your list of retreats to consider. It checks all the boxes and will give you a once in a lifetime experience.
I experienced my first Temazcal ceremony in the numinous Santa Elena mountains with Gonzalo. I was in an emotionally and physically low state, as I had seriously injured my knee a week before, on my second day in Colombia. I was still in pain and was experiencing some strong feelings of fear related to the darkness of the inipi. I even felt afraid to take part in the ceremony, but I was determined to do something to help my knee. I was also aware that there was a good reason why I found myself in this place at this time, so I entered. As soon as they began bringing in the abuelas, the red hot stones, and singing with such joy, my spirits began to lift. I immediately connected to the prayers for spreading awareness of the plight of fresh, pure water in our world today, and I felt enveloped in a protective cocoon, a womb, with room only for pure love inside. I was able to move past the feelings of fear I had been having. I could feel my heart opening to this new strength and clarity of purpose and was able to share songs and a prayer of my own. By the end of the ceremony, my pain was greatly dimished! But what was an even greater relief was how I felt, and continue to feel personally: strong, and calm, with clear intentions. Thank you so much Hans and Jesse and Bobby and friends for the work you are all doing to share this medicine with the world!
Such a non-transferable experience as my 10 Day ECA Retreat is difficult to describe, but I now believe that everyone can feel these sacred medicines that connect us to the earth, the universe, the heart, and our own spirits. Having found the family of Makha Wakan and the ECA on my path has been a great blessing. The family is dedicated to love and to the welfare of each person who comes in search of healing. My experience of living with these amazing people for days reminded me that the importance of life lies in simplicity, awareness and love. I feel like I should mention something about the retreat accommodations: 3 gorgeous country homes on two properties that vibrate with good energy and blend with the sounds of the wind and the birds of the forest. All three have stunning views of the Andes and offer very well furnished spaces that are extremely comfortable. That comfort proved crucial to my ability to get the most out of the medicines. I loved knowing that I had a big comfy bed to rest and reflect in after a long night of study by the fire! The meals were thoughtful, colorful and flavorful. Lots of local fruits, vegetables and herbs are mixed together to create dishes that are full of life. I am grateful for having given myself this opportunity to learn about myself and refocus my energy on the parts of life that make it worth living. Andrea GH
My first Temezcal ceremony with the Eagle Condor Alliance was a truly spiritual experience (and I'm not one who would describe many things that way). It felt refreshing and healing to give thanks to the earth for all it does to sustain our lives. The staff, other attendees, and shamans were all welcoming, and treated everyone's comfort with importance. I'd love to repeat the experience.
I just came back from a 10 day retreat at the Eagle Condor Alliance in Colombia and would like to share my experience with you. First, getting to the location of the retreat is a real ’no brainer’. They pick you up straight at the airport! After a 20 minute ride you get to these wonderful little houses up in the mountains (9,000 feet high). The view is breathtaking, the air is fresh and the beds are very comfortable. Food is a very important part of the healing process and these guys take it very seriously. They serve you the most healthy/invigorating food you ever had. The 3 facilitators (Bobby, Jesse and Hans-Peter) are 3 wonderful young men that do everything to make your stay an unforgettable experience. For them, money is just an energy to get this thing going. They are dedicated to promoting the amazing power of the plants to heal your body, emotions and soul. You will see them working like bees so you can have the best experience possible. Gonzalo is the Shaman conducting the San Pedro and Temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies. His philosophy of life will change the way you look at nature and life. His wonderful wife who sang for us and his beautiful daughter are a great addition to this retreat. Thank you so much Gonzalo for these unforgettable ceremonies. Greison Leonidas Lezama, the Shaman for the Ayahuasca ceremonies is probably one of the most amazing human beings I ever met in my life. Despite the fact that he is only 26 years old, I think he has a 2,000 year old soul. He started taking Ayahuasca at the age of six and passionately kept learning his craft throughout his life. The healing he provides and the brew he prepares is out of this world. Before I leave the retreat, he told me ‘You are a new man’… well, he is right… I am a new man. I could talk about this retreat for hours but I will let you experience it so you can really understand the power of it. If you are serious about going through a profound healing process, Eagle Condor Alliance is the place to go. Next time I want to have this experience again, there is no doubt in my mind that I will return to see these dedicated persons. If you have any questions or uncertainties about this retreat, you can email me at ReviewedByBob.com/contact and I will be more than happy to help you. Have a great transformational retreat at the Eagle Condor Alliance
What a wonderful life changing experience. I've been to quite a few medicine retreats all over the world and I must say, I was totally impressed at what a wonderful retreat these guys orchestrate. They work hard and plan far in advance before you're arrival so things run smoothly as soon as you land at the airport. Upon arriving at the breath-taking finca I was blown away by how beautiful and welcoming the environment is. 3 of the sweetest gringo-gentlemen Colombia has to offer make you feel comfortable right away. Every detail of the retreats they hold is accounted for by them. The food is delicious, pure, and healthy. The company is warm and appreciated. The rooms are cozy and relaxing.... If that wasn't enough- the medicine experience is just as wonderful. I had the opportunity to sit with San Pedro led by Gonzalo. His spirit is humble and gentle just like his medicine. Sometimes I have the tendency to think about "how much longer?" when doing medicine with certain shamans I've sat with. Not here. When it was time to move to the temezcal, I immediately started to wonder when was going to be the soonest I could sit with this medicine again! I think about this experience often. So much of my life path has changed in such a dramatic and progressive manner since. I am so very fortunate and deeply grateful to have had my path cross with the ECA team and it's medicina. I do look forward to the day my path takes me there again.
A 10-day retreat at the Eagle Condor Alliance made me feel so rejuvenated, happy and fulfilled as a woman coming back home feeling like a new person with fresh emotions and a clean heart. Following the retreat I felt so good by receiving such great treatments and medicine in Colombia that I decided to share the new “ME” with my friends on Facebook to observe their reactions. Within a few seconds the picture went viral with nice comments saying how beautiful and energized I looked while showing so much “Joie de Vivre” in my eyes! Bravo ECA, this picture was worth a thousand words to show how successful my journey was, on the inside and out. People are asking me where is that special place that a person can go to to find a great spiritual journey for the body & soul and returning home a strong and happy person in only 2 weeks. The Colombia Mountains with ECA I say, this is absolutely the best gift a person could ever give to themselves as I did for myself. As for the facilitators, they are formidable individuals with lots of experience with people, music, medicine, food, and comfort. They are also very knowledgeable either on putting a successful ceremony in place, cooking a nice meal, a huge bond fire or simply by being around us having nice conversations. Bobby, Jesse, Hans-Peter, thank you for everything, I’ll never forget you for this most profound and curative spiritual experience I ever had. Special thanks to my dear Gonzalo, a great man of the heart which inspires me. His happiness is contagious and he is making me happy just remembering his words of wisdom, his songs or his music as well as for the sacred medicine San Pedro and for the Temazcal ceremonies which were all so wonderful and well put together! Talking WONDERFUL ... Greison! Off ceremonies, he looks like a nice bright young man. But when he starts dressing up for ceremonies, WOW! You can feel the power building up one piece at a time so when he’s all dressed up, his mind is like an old soul with an incredible healing power for your body & soul. You sized me perfectly Greison and gave me back so much life again! I greatly thank you for being this fantastic JAGUAR that you are! Congratulations to all of you my friends on the excellence of Eagle Condor Alliance. It has been the most positive experience of my life. In the meantime; wait for me beside the fire until I return next year.