Sanctuary of Life: Spa & Maya Retreat in the jungle of Chichén Itzá, Yucatán
Ancient Maya rituals, water from cenotes, body wraps done with melted cacao (chocolate), organic Yucatán honey, tropical fruits, flowers and large tree leaves, fine Maya clays, sisal rubs, marine sponge baths, massage, relaxation, revitalization, hot stones and pampering are the key ingredients used to cleanse your body of toxins, stress and anxiety. At Yaxkin Spa in the Hacienda Chichén you will experience the pampering care of a spa, infused with the wisdom of ancient Maya practices while you revitalize your inner self in this natural jungle setting.
Used in combination, these natural elements invoke the unique source of spiritual and physical energy for which ancient Maya healing rites are known. Today’s spas are accessible to all for day experiences. Take a few hours for yourself, and you, your body and your spirit will be thankful.
I arrived to Hacienda Chichén with the explicit plan of including a spa treatment in my stay. I like massage and partake whenever possible – I love the good, relaxed feeling after a treatment – my computer shoulders loosen up, my back feels relaxed, my feet savor the kneading and I feel in peace. The day of my appointment I walked through the lush gardens to the spa area that is nestled in amongst huge trees and tropical gardens. Upon entering the spa bungalow, the peace, calm and beauty of all the earth-colored tones brought a happy smile to my face. I thought I was going for a massage treatment. My experience turned out to be that and more – a lot more. Beatriz, a lady who reigns peace and tranquility, met me, showed me the spa area then offered me a pareo, or sarong, from the closet where the colorful pareos were hung and awaiting to be chosen. She chose an orange sarong for me. I went into the large, Yucatán stone tiled bathroom adorned with tropical plants and flowers and urns of cenote water filled with crystals and stones and changed out of my street clothes and into the sarong. I also removed my watch, earrings, necklace and rings. And I still thought I was going to get a typical massage. How wrong I was!
The Maya ritual Kukulkan began when Beatriz invited me to stand before a large clay pot of cenote water with colorful stones and rose quartz, and she told me we were about to embark upon a Maya ritual of healing and reparation. She invited the gods to be present, to bring peace and healing, and to guide us in the adventure we were about to begin. It was at this point that I “changed channels and got with the program.” This was not just any massage – this was a Maya ritual I was participating in. The ritual continued when I lay face down on the massage table and Beatriz and her assistant started applying oils to my feet and legs. They worked on my body by sections, covering each area after applying the oils and doing massage. I was then covered in oil and huge green leaves and a towel.
She then added hot stones which were strategically placed on my back, shoulders and legs. At this point, I was so relaxed; I either fell into a very deep relaxation or asleep. Between the relaxing massage, the song of the birds outside and the incense inside, I was in bliss.
Slowly, they began to remove the leaves and wash me while keeping me covered and maintaining the soothing warmth of the stones as they slowly cooled down. I was then asked to turn over when I felt comfortable doing so. I started by slowly flexing my fingers, toes, legs, arms, back and neck, then slowly rolled over. A bit more than an hour had passed, but I was not keeping track of time. I then started to smell chocolate.
Once face up, the ladies again started at my feet – this time one lady washed my feet and lower legs with a washcloth followed by the other lady slowly painting my feet and legs with melted cacao – I was in heaven with the aroma of the chocolate and the tenderness of the washing and application of the cacao with the paint brush. The final touch was once again the application of the huge green leaves. They did this process over and over again till my entire body was covered. They even applied the chocolate to my face and covered my eyes with chamomile tea bags, then once again placed stones (but not hot) on me – this time on my forehead, cheeks, neck and chest. The wonderful head massage was out of this world. Using patchouli and almond oils, the combination of aromas and sensations once again took me into a deep state of relaxation. Bundled up in cacao, leaves, towels and stones, I looked like a mummy on the table – a very happy, relaxed, satisfied mummy.
Then the process of removing everything began – the cleansing, removal of leaves, cacao and toxins. Afterwards a tea was offered for further interior cleansing and relaxation. Not only was I relaxed and the knots in my shoulders gone, I learned that my lymphatic system had been cleansed and drained. 2.5 hours had passed and I was a new person – ready to face the world with a smile on my face, with peace in my mind and body and oh, yes, an added benefit – my skin felt like that of a baby!
Yaxkin Spa offers a menu of rituals and ceremonies in unique environments ranging from inviting private chambers decorated with Maya artistic touches to the couple’s sanctuary, a private tropical garden with a cenote water-pool and open-air massage enclave. Come to Yaxkin Spa for a Maya experience that touches your soul. The ceremonies are all based on ancient Maya culture and rites, and all are designed to reduce stress and restore equilibrium. Check www.yaxkinspa.com for the complete menu and prices. A spa treatment is the perfect gift for the person who has everything.
By Judy Abbott
– Weekend at Hacienda Chichen Resort
– Annual Traditional Party in Chichen Itza on May 15
– Yucatan Peninsula Map