Soul Searching in Guatemala
Surrounded by impressive volcanoes and the stunning Guatemalan Highlands, and with a handful of Mayan towns and villages welcoming tourists and travelers alike, Lake Atitlan is one of Guatemala’s top destinations.
Yet hidden away on a peaceful part of the lake’s shores, away from the major towns and transport hubs is the little village of San Marcos La Laguna; a place that continues to inspire as a destination for meditation, yoga and alternative therapies more than 20 years after its first spiritual center opened in 1991.
The original center of Las Piramides del Ka has steadily grown in popularity and reputation, now attracting a wide range of international visitors. Drawn by the promise of peace, quiet and reflection, they stay for a few hours, a week or even a month at a time.
Unlike some of the newer retreats in San Marcos, Las Piramides is not a hotel. Visitors can only stay in one of the enticing wooden pyramid-shaped cabins if they take part in the courses that are on offer.
Tucked away among trees at the end of a little footpath with birds twittering, butterflies buzzing past and the sound of the lake’s shores in the distance, it is easy to see why so many people find Las Piramides to be an inspiring and beneficial base for reflection, relaxation and soul searching away from their everyday lives.
The most serious guests join up to the month-long Moon Course, which involves three daily classes that include yoga, meditation and metaphysics teachings. Throughout the month the classes focus on a variety of spiritual topics such as dream interpretation, discovering the sub-conscious and astrology.
At the end of the course, one week is spent in complete silence whilst taking part in detoxifying treatments. For those even more eager to find inner harmony there is the intense Sun Course that lasts for three months at a time.
Of course a month-long spiritual course is not for everyone, so guests are encouraged to stay as little or as long as they require. On top of this the center offers a variety of other classes and alternative therapies for those looking for a first step into spiritual healing. Visitors can drop in to take part in a meditation class or yoga group, or to book a same-day massage, including a relaxing full-body massage from one of the on-site specialists.
Whichever course or class a guest attends, Las Piramides hopes to offer its visitors the chance to find physical and mental balance. It might be a tall order for many, but those who keep an open mind should at least come away feeling refreshed, recharged and relaxed having completely switched off from their normal lives, even if it is just for a short time.
by Cheryl Claxton