Tulum–May 2017

A friend of mine (fellow yogi) posted on Facebook about going to visit Tulum. 

Tulum is on the Mayan Riviera–the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula. You can find Google as quick as I can if you want to know more about this area. 

I had been here years ago when visiting Cancun. Well, I’d been to the ruins which are at the north end of the “strip.”

In fact, there are many ruins in this area, including the famous Chichen Itzen.  The Mayan culture flourished here about 800 years ago–they were one of the first Mesoamerican cultures to encounter the Europeans and one of the first to be negatively impacted.

The Tulum area is located about 1 1/2 hours  drive south of Cancun. Cancun and its environs directly south are highly commercialized and house many of the mega hotel chains.

The “hotel zone” in Tulum is free of this commercialization (though this is changing) and seems almost rural, with warm ocean and white sand!

I knew that there was a large yogi community here. But it was more than I thought it would be.

The focus here is health, healing, and spirituality (and hippies).  Yoga practices of many styles are readily available. I practiced Ashtanga, Hatha and Vinyasa styles; others were available.  There are many advertised studios with convenient schedules.

Apart from the physical yoga, the colony exudes yoga spirituality. From the signage on the roads to the abundance of vendors selling healthy food and drink. There are many small, literally road-side stands and secluded enclaves selling smoothies concocted from goodness and vegan/vegetarian dishes made from local ingredients. 

One of the things that we did was a Mayan sweat bath, or temazcal.  This penitent and healing ceremony is led by a trained shaman in a mortar and stone temple heated by rocks which have been in a ritual fire.  Herbs and water are used to heat the space to over 100 degrees (F).

Riding back to the airport, I noticed the gradual return to routine surroundings, at least what we’re accustomed to thinking of as routine surroundings. As we came off of the beach road and neared Highway 307 and turned north towards Cancun, the familiar white and green signs, a convenience store and other vestigaes of “civilization.”  Continuing north, the signs of familiar retailers appeared. Alas, my first sojourn was ending–I will be back!

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