Out Of The Archives:
The Maya Spa At Copal

Path sign in Tulum.

The coolness of the mud spread over me as Claire’s strong hands worked the clay into my skin. Claire, a bright, young French woman with an infectious smile has such strong hands on such a small body. She worked and worked my muscles, from the end of my long hair to every little finger and toe, covering me with the silky limestone colored clay that had been dug out of the Yucatan earth. I lay on my back on the massage table with eyes closed, as she happily worked away. Her hands slipped underneath me to massage my back and the back of my legs, and then over me to massage my belly, face, arms, hands, legs, and feet. I felt relaxed and soothed. She massaged the clay into my hair and scalp. She would let the clay dry, then start all over again. After she was finished, she allowed me to lie still for awhile, to let the clay draw the impurities out of my skin. When it was all over she led me to a shower made from a conch shell, outside under the trees, but not before she led me past a mirror so that we could both enjoy and laugh at my mud covered reflection.

* * *

Alejandra, a beautiful young Mexican woman with a mandala tatoo over her heart, led me down the path through the trees to a tent made out of mosquito netting for my Maya Astrological Reading. Once inside the tent, we sat down across from each other at a small table. She asked me when my birthday was. After I told her she began her calculations, looking at charts and making sense of the symbols that she found there. She opened the reading with the statements “You are a gypsy. Not a tourist, but a gypsy. Someone who is content with where they are in the moment. You are a global person. You feel more at home when you are traveling than when you are actually at home … ” I chuckled. Actually, throughout the reading I cackled like a hen as she began to describe me from a Maya perspective. Everything she said about the current me was true and real, and everything she said about my upcoming year felt intuitively correct. It was wonderful and empowering to hear it from total stranger.

* * *

Maria has a sense of presence as she walks through the jungle to teach her early morning yoga class at Copal. Her petite body belies the strength and balance contained in it. But there is no questioning her alertness. At 7:30 AM each morning she leads a Hatha Yoga class in the Yoga Palapa at Copal. Those who are up for the adventure wander into the palapa sleepy eyed and sometimes still in their pajamas, kicking off their flip-flops and some, ok, me, hiding their empty coffee cups before entering the screened in room. Everyone takes a mat and and spreads out in a circle around the floor. Maria begins by gently leading us through breathing exercises and basic stretches. We went to the mountain (tadasana), created pyramids (parsvottanasana), formed the downward facing dog (adho mukha shvanasana), and the cobra (bhujangasana), stretching and breathing, moving and bending, waking our bodies for the day, then ended the class in a round of chanting and Namastes.

* * *

If any one person on the planet has a direct line to God, it is Maya healer Daniel Pool Pech.

Daniel chatted quietly with me as he led me down the path and into the massage room for my Mayan Healing Massage. I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare, as I had a feeling this wouldn’t be a traditional massage. Daniel left the room as I undressed and I put myself face down on the massage table. As I lay there it occurred to me that this might be an experience through which I may want to meditate, and that is how I approached my first experience of Daniel. I closed my eyes and consciously relaxed my body.

Daniel returned and laid his hands on my back. His quiet chanting put me at ease and I began to breathe slowly and deeply. Breathe in. Breathe out. The only thing I can say about the rest of the massage and my following four days is that it was nothing short of magical. And it doesn’t seem to be ending.

Daniel’s reputation and his hands are known locally from one end of the Yucatan to the other, and after spending an hour with him, it is easy to understand why. As we sit together for a moment after my healing, he speaks quietly about his life experiences and how they have affected his path in life. Daniel has been working for half of his life as a healer, using his hands to positively manipulate and transmute the energy of each person who seeks him out. He has never studied with a teacher or a shaman, but he says that he has always known that he was meant to walk the path of a healer. Daniel gains his knowledge directly from God, through his dreams while he sleeps.

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