When New Age Health Spa opened its doors in 1986, its dedication to relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit was ahead of the times. Now that the times have caught up with New Age, guests at this 280-acre, all inclusive destination spa are thrilled to participate in the unique experience of the Sweat Lodge, which is adapted from Native American tradition. The Sweat Lodge pays homage to the Native American history that is so particular to New Age`s geographic location in the Catskill Mountains.
The intention of the Sweat Lodge ceremony is to purify the body, mind and spirit to enable a new sense of self to emerge. This Native American ritual can be performed only after all participants are smudged with the smoke of sage or cedar. This cleanses the participant of any negativity, jealousy, resentment or hatred that may be harbored.
The Sweat Lodge, a circular structure, is created from willow branches. The circular form represents the circle of humanity and the willow is considered the “Tree of Love,” because of its resiliency and grace, in the Seneca tradition. Originally, animal hides were used to block out all sources of light, but in contemporary times tarpaulins are used to create a womb-like environment inside the Lodge. The door to the Sweat Lodge is built low to the ground, requiring participants to enter humbly on all fours. This reminds us—participants are no greater or lesser than all other living things.
Once inside, stones heated in a fire pit are brought in in a series of four rounds. Each round signifies the four directions: north, south, east and west, allowing participants to view their purification process from different perspectives. Water is poured onto the stones, creating steam and symbolizing the release of ancient knowledge. Participants perspire and nourish themselves and the earth with these lessons. In between rounds, the Lodge door is opened to let the steam rise to meet “Father Sky” with the prayers of the participants.
Mary Ann Kirk, Spiritual/Programs Director, says, “In addition to its spiritual benefits, the Sweat Lodge honors and respects Mother Earth and the Native American Indians who lived on this earth before us. We at the health spa feel very honored to keep these Native American traditions alive, as closely to their original form as possible.”
Participation in the Sweat Lodge is welcomed at no extra charge.
The 2002 Sweat Lodge Calendar at New Age Health Spa will take place at 8 p.m. on each of the following dates:
May 11 ? June 1 ? July 6 ? Aug. 3 ? Sept. 7 ? Oct. 5 ? Nov. 5
For more information on this purification ritual, or to learn more about New Age Health Spa, visit www.newagehealthspa.com or contact 800/682-4348 for reservations.