Planera din YOGA sommar

Planera din YOGA sommar

Vad är grejen med yoga-festival?

En festival håller vanligen igång under flera dagar (ibland veckor) och man väljer själv hur länge och mycket man vill medverka. Lärare och guider från hela landet och världen samlas för att dela med sig från sitt hjärtas practice. Därmed finns det möjlighet att prova både sådant man känner igen och helt nya arenor. Många gånger hamnar man på en festival just av anledningen ens yogalärare är en av medskaparna och därifrån hittar man sedan ett helt hav av underbara människor och aktiviteter.

Vi yogisar tycker helt enkelt om att vara tillsammans och dela! För ju fler man är- desto roligare blir det ju! Ju fler man är som...

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Journeying the sweat lodge

The sweat lodge or temazcal/temaskalli is a ceremony or ritual that is part of many Native American as well as Latin American traditions. In the north, the indigenous Samii people had/have similar healing and self care rituals, using steams/saunas together with herbal medicines. Traditional medicine men and women have past on this tradition about being in contact with nature, the plants, and the four elements through this purifying ceremony. The healing work aims at working therapeutically on the physical body, spiritually purify, and to meet/heal/cleanse fears and negative aspects of the mind.

 

Some of the therapeutic uses of the sweat lodge/temascal are:

to eliminate toxins through the sweat of the skin

to improve the texture and color of the skin

to de-intoxicate body and mind

to increase vitality

weight loss

improve fertility

treatment with plants’ healing properties (herbal medicine) and the water steam

thermotherapy; viruses and bacteria don’t survive in the heat, the heat also stimulates the endocrine glands and remove impurities in the circulation.

 

(Read more in La Pipa de obsidian Danza de Luna, Anita Carmona Itzpapalotl.)

Sweat lodges can be built in various ways depending on the surrounding environment and tradition. It is, however, always the same with water poured on hot stones to create the healing water steam. According to the Mexica tradition, and others I have been fortunate to come into contact with, it is also important that the participants are co-creators when building and preparing the sweat lodge ceremony, under the lead of a temascalera/abuela/shaman.

Local medicinal plants are used in the ceremony. Usually there would be some aromatics, some calmatives, or maybe some with properties to heal infections and inflammations. The plants may for instance be hung in the roof of the sweat, used as herbal tea drunk before and/or after ceremony, or leaves can be spread out on the floor where they come into contact with the open and receptive skin and, thus, work healing. Herbs are also put directly on the hot stones, which allows for their healing properties to come inside the body through respiration.

Sage

Sage

The temascal has its navel in the middle and this is where we put the rocks or hot stones.  These rocks are our ancestors, coming to share their wisdom to us through the ceremony of the sweat. The stone people have been on earth since creation and carry deep knowledge. It is with great respect that we welcome and listen to them. Inside the temascal, we greet the ancestors with herbs such as copal, cedar or sage and prayers. The sweat lodge is covered in leaves and blankets and when everyone (including the stones) are inside the door is closed. Inside is humid and dark, representing the womb of the Mother as well as the darkness of ignorance we ought to overcome to heal. We enter the womb of Mother Earth to remember where we once came from, to remove the ignorance and, thus, to remember who we truly are. It is a ceremony that is profound, healing and nourishing. 

We share the ceremony in darkness and individual introspection, guided by the temascalera/shaman/medicine person. We conduct and create the ceremony together but as in all spiritual work/ceremonies it is crucial to understand the responsibility of the individual. You are in your journey as much as we are in one journey together- just as life itself and in both you are responsible for your own wellbeing. The temascal gets dark and hot and usually cramped. To honor and listen to the body is key to a good experience. 

Vestido de temascal 15 mil colones o 30 dolares

Vestido de temascal 15 mil colones o 30 dolares

To be able to sit somewhat comfortably, avoid heat on the skin and to wear clothes appropriate for the ceremony, in the Mexica tradition we use long dresses. Preferably, the ceremonial dresses are made of pure cotton and in a beautiful color that doesn’t get transparent when wet. On the pictures you see Abuela Lorena and Abuela Jane in dresses perfect for the temascal (or other ceremonies!). Personally, I prefer having the dress long so that I can curl up inside it if it gets too hot on the legs or feet. An aspect you don’t take into consideration in rituals I’ve encountered in Sweden is the surface underneath the bum. It’s one thing sitting on soft sand, grass or muddy dirt but in Costa Rica the temascal might be in the mountains on hard rocky surface. I like having some fabric between my butt and these sharp rocks! Yet a side of the coin is to create the feeling of ceremony by “dressing up” for the spirits. I know that when I put on my ceremonial dress (may it be for a sweat lodge or other), I am already focusing on doing my spiritual work and I am connected. Some traditions don’t have this policy but (my interpretation is that) focus on the fact that one ought to be comfortable in their nakedness as you are being reborn inside the womb. In the Mexica tradition, we wear clothes and if you’d like to get yourself one of these lovely dresses let me know at Service By Magie or magdalena@bymagie.com! They are 15mil colones or 30 dollars and the money goes to preserving an ancient and very important tradition: Danza de la Luna/the Moon Dance. 

Sweat Lodge dress 30 dollars

Sweat Lodge dress 30 dollars

The temascal helps you with what you need as long as you enter it with faith, humility, respect and determination to do your work. Personally, I always enter ceremony with the intention and prayer that my heart will expand and be open enough for me to be able to fully receive and listen to the messages brought to me by Great Spirit. 

Inside the temascal/sweat lodge we pray through silence, shared words, storytelling, songs and music. The temascalera or medicine person guiding the ceremony intuitively receives messages about the work we need to do and guide us through it as a group as well as individual beings. Remember that you are on your own personal journey inwards towards cleansing and healing the body and mind to find clarity and love.

Please, share your own stories and any questions below!

In love and in harmony 

Ometeotl,

Sofia-Magdalena Chandrakaí

Stories from the North

In the tradition I study and practice, Mexica, the direction North gives teachings about transformation, death, re-birth, ancestral memories and wisdom from our grandfathers and ancestors. The past few years during the peak summer month July in Sweden, I travel to the edge of this direction: our family house in the far north. Situated in Sapmí and the Swedish Lapland, just east of the World Heritage Laponia, this truly is the far north. Reindeers show us the way as the car drives further and further along the empty roads in the forest. The outback and wilderness of Sweden live precisely here.

Every year I go with my sisters and brothers, blood or heart family or both. This year, Hubby and I went on a long road trip to get there. It amazes me that every year I long for the tranquility, the wild rivers and deep forests surrounding the mountains and it seems I have forgotten about the Story of the North. Every year I seem to forget about the hardship of North’s transformational journey. Or, most likely, that is why I go. To remember. To transform.

The trip itself is a long and, in many ways, challenging one of about 1700 kms. Last year, as some might remember, my partner and I hitchhiked and tried to find various cheap options to travel thru Sweden. We crisscrossed the country with free rental cars, local buses and trains to get here. Previous years, I’ve taken the over-night train or driven all the way with only a few bathroom stops. This year was a compromise with driving divided into smaller journeys. Upon arrival, everybody always gives a sigh of relief, happiness and gratitude that we made it. And then we rest. For several days we rest, with some occasional sauna bathing in between. After about four days the restlessness arrives. It takes over the entire body by allowing tiredness to linger while heaviness starts to make room in the emotional, mental and physical body.

remains of a Sami Kåta (tipi), with the fire in the center

remains of a Sami Kåta (tipi), with the fire in the center

One year, I tried to cure this restlessness by going for a run. It was a late summer afternoon, still warm and bright as daylight as I tied my shoes and went off. Outside the house runs one narrow dirt road and I figured it was best to simply follow it for a few kilometers and then turn around or I would get lost. After a couple of minutes, my skin was warm and moist, attracting mosquitos from the nearby village but I decided to keep going. Running the restlessness away. Suddenly, I see a big four-legged mammal some 300 meters in front of me! In the middle of the road, it stood staring at me. I tried to determine weather it was a moose or a reindeer, but it was too far away to tell for sure. My heart started pumping faster as I knew encountering an angry Mama Moose is nothing I wanted to do by myself in the middle of the forest (i.e. their territory!). The mosquitos bit hard, my pulse pumped and I decided to carry on (nothing could stop me in the pursuit for a cure against restlessness!). The four-legged ran into the forest before I got to see it properly but as I neared the place where it had stood I got the feeling of being observed. I slowed down again and started to listen. Nothingness. Slowly, I continued to run and turned my head to look over my shoulder. And there, in the edge of the forest it stood curiously starring at me! I jumped in surprise! Thankfully, it was a beautiful light grey reindeer that wanted to accompany me. But I had reached the point of return and instead started my way back.

Filled with mosquitos and bites by now, I ran faster while looking down at my feet in an attempt to keep them out off my eyes. Luckily, I kept my gaze at my feet as I turned onto the path towards the house and had to jump half a meter up in the air and to the right because of a fat and sun gazed snake that angrily opened its mouth and rose towards me! My instant jump made me avoid its jaws by just an inch. Back home, I went strait to the sauna to contemplate and decided that the mosquitos were reason enough not go running in this environment again.

Nowadays, I do my practice outside every morning and together with the mosquitos (sure, some mornings this might mean lighting all the incense at once) and the occasional reindeers passing by. I’ve learnt how to accept and embrace that they are too part of my practice and part of my story. But the deep and true teachings come from the hidden allegories inside the vast mountain stories; the endless forests filled with berries, the powerful rivers, and reindeer medicine, never ending daylight, the sauna and the stillness of Nature. Here lies the restlessness and all you have to do is to listen. Listen to the stories of the north.

The teachings of North are the stories of the un-imaginable amount of mosquitos and a never setting sun in summer, of the deep, dark, and cold winter, and of the dark energies that rest here. Dark energies coming from the history of the land(s), from our collective ancestral memory, and for me also from my ancestral blood linage memory. Here, in the silence between the mountains, death is always present. Few of the original habitants remain as they one by one grow older and pass on, their kids being long gone to the city. The abandoned villages and houses become more empty each day. Empty with stories that no one cares to listen to. And every here and there, houses and trees hold the souls that refuse to travel on because they never got to tell their story. They linger on until someone listens, giving the whole area a greyish gloom of unwelcoming bitterness and perhaps a protective shield against intruders. In the midst of this, my ancestral stories come to the surface as I climb the mountain or walk the swamps. Ancestral memories from the blood linage that are planted on this land, as well as those from my own personal story that needs to be healed reveal themselves inside the restlessness, darkness and silence. And just as in Costa Rica and the Mexica tradition I turn to the Temazcal (sweat lodge) for purification and to peel of layers to refine my being, here in the North I retreat to the firewood sauna where I can hide away from mosquitos and let my body and soul heal by listening to the stories wanting to be told. Over and over again.  

Highlights of 2014

2014 was not only the year of the Horse but also the year of Love and, WOW! How many great, magical and life altering moments and journeys I got to experience! Here is my attempt to summarise my travels within and without from 2014. Enjoy and please share your stories in the comments below! 

1.     Around Costa Rica and across Worlds

Starting the year off in one of my favourite countries, and one of the two I currently call “home”, by purging and cleansing and working in various traditional shamanic ceremonies such as the Temazcal (sweat lodge) and the meeting with Ayauaska. Many great journeys within oneself and between worlds are made in traditional ritual and ceremony, personally one of my favorite ways of traveling. I also got the chance to travel around Costa Rica together with my best friend and show him the magic of the country before heading on to the next adventure: Yoga Teacher Training in the desert! The adventures, travels and challenges were overlapping each other these first months of 2014! Thank you all – new and old- friends and family that helped make these voyages MAGICAL!  

2.     Space of Love

As I got back to Sweden in the start of summer, I was guided to visit a Yoga Festival on an island outside the east coast. Little did I know how those 2 weeks would continue the flow and journeys that started in Costa Rica and, at the same time be a trigger point for what would come next. It truly is a Space of, for and with Love. I met long lost friends and lovers- new to this lifetime, served the fire, encountered Grandfathers from the North and traditions completely new to me, and I experienced Love in ways I never knew of. Love, Connections and Journeys within and without with guidance from the medicines of song, dance, yoga, ceremony and human beings with big hearts. Thank You ALL! 

3.     Summer Love Tour

I continued the summer by touring Sweden together with my best friend. We had no plans as how to transport ourselves or where to end up on our way to the North and my family house. We packed yoga gear, food, a tent and all the necessities for camping- yes, we carried more than ever before on our backs! – and we hit the road. There is a special beauty and inspiration in traveling only by intuition and bare feet. We found ourselves creating connections on a yoga camp in the forest of Småland, catching up with old friends, and finding Light in the church. I taught yoga in the park and we got on buses and trains not knowing where to end up. We helped a shaman constructing a Shamanic Museum, danced with the drums and walked bare foot around Dalarna in pouring rain. We visited the native people of the North and learnt more about ancient wisdom; we camped with reindeers and created songs. And somewhere on the road we fell in love.  

4.     Skattungbyn

All the meetings and connections that were made during the sunny summer months led me further and towards new adventures. One of them being the Yoga Festival in Dalarna in October where I got to, once again, experience the magic of the deep forest and wild rivers, connect through love and rhythm, and share the wisdom of my drum and the ancient roots. Guiding a Yin and Drum class for about 50 people was incredible beyond words. I am so very grateful. Thank You Thank You.

5.     Liverpool & Wales

What seems to have started in July, with our Summer Love Tour, came to somewhat of a peak in early December. Me and my best friend went to visit the fairytales of northern Wales and my dancing soul sister Anahí. We watched a psychedelic Christmas parade, had a chat with the Hatter, followed the White Rabbit and we got engaged on the hills of the Welsh coast where the seals have their playground. Indeed, 2014 was a year filled with Love and magic, guided by the great Horse. Thank you all for participating in the ride! 

I ended my highlights of 2013 by saying: “My intentions for 2014 are to continue deeper into my spiritual journey, wherever in the world it may take me.” Summarizing 2014 showed me that I really did dive deeper into my spiritual journeys and practices and in ways and places I never could have imagine. I am grateful for everything I experienced through feelings, vision(s), hearing, touch, taste and smell. And I am grateful for being guided by the magic flow of life, always taking me to new challenges and journeys - within and without. I set my intentions for 2015 to be even more profound; deepening my spiritual practices and, thus, share the wisdoms with the world(s) even more! 

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