|By Carole Tessier|
When in comes to bathing, there’s something that the Greeks, Mayas, Romans, and Japanese have known for a thousand plus years. And that is, the spirit of soaking goes beyond the act of getting clean.
The Spirit of Soaking
Yes, soaking offers a feeling of physical well-being, relieves physical wounds and calms the mind, but it also nourishes the spirit!
Bathing in Japan is about much more than cleanliness – it’s about cleansing the soul. It’s also about family, community, and contemplation. With Japan being home to thousands of natural hot springs and spas, it is no wonder that it is an integral part of their culture.
Taking time and care with one's bath in Japan is as serious as taking time to prepare a meal. There is also a ritual to taking a Japanese bath – a sequence of rinsing, washing, and soaking that is passed down from one generation to the next.
The Japanese bath lends itself to Zen meditation, as it cleanses the soul and leaves one with a renewed sense of spirit and serenity.
Maya Spiritual Bath
Traditional healing techniques have been used for centuries by many cultures to cure spiritual ailments. The Maya rely on the practice of spiritual bathing to rid the body of spiritual disease.
Combining water, plants, prayer, and incense, the Maya sacred bath works with the body’s life force energy and is easy to do.
Begin by collecting your favorite plants (herbs and flowers), and give thanks to that plant spirit with a simple prayer
before you pick it. This allows the spirit of the plant to permeate your bath. Afterwards, fill up a bucket with water, crush and mash the plants with your hands, and place them into the water-filled bucket.
Setting your intention or wish for this spiritual bath is important. Say a prayer of intention nine times while you are mashing your plants. If sunny, place your bucket in the warm sunlight to allow the natural oils to infuse your bath water (or you can add essential oils). Your bath can be taken outdoors in the warm sun or indoors in a bathtub.
The use of incense helps to disperse any negative energy released during your bath. Sacred to the Maya is copal, frankincense and myrrh.
With the bucket placed in front of you and the burning incense nearby, use a cup and pour the herbal water all over your body.
Repeat the prayers of intention again as you are bathing, this will let the spirits guide you!