"I have attended a couple of Matt’s sweat lodges in Woodstock. I didn’t know what to expect as I had never done one before. Matt puts in a lot of work to create the experience and authenticity of an indigenous sweat lodge ceremony. Through each step of the ceremony, Matt clearly explains what the meaning is and allows you to participate at your comfort level. After the ceremony, I felt very peaceful and my body felt amazingly purified. I would highly recommend trying one!"
- Sue D
For a PDF copy of the flier and a list of sweat lodge protocols, please click on the image to the right.
I have heard from some people that they are worried about sweat lodges and their safety. They saw a video or a documentary on an incident in a lodge. I would like to address that and provide some insight in order to ease their mind.
The sweat is 100% safe and no hotter than a sauna at your gym.
The incidents that happened were extremely rare and they occurred because the person running that lodge did not have the necessary training.
Let's start with some history. Sweat lodges are done globally, throughout many cultures, and throughout all of time. In Finland, they have become so entwined in the national culture that you can still find people who were born in the lodge/sauna. The same goes for the Mayans. Once, while in a lodge in Guatemala a participant asked if kids could come in. “Come in?” Laughed the elder. “They are born in here.” He meant it quite literally.
Statistically, nearly 4 people die every year from riding on roller coasters, yet we still take our kids on the Screaming Eagle. Along those lines, 12,000 injuries annually are experienced by children on school buses but we still send them to school. Finally, every year 13 people die from vending machines falling on them. In the total history of humans doing sweat lodges through all cultures and through all time your odds of anything negative happening to you would be far less than being struck by lightning...twice.
It is unfortunate when anyone dies and I say prayers for the three that passed at the hand of James Arthur Ray and his extremely faulty lodge. The new age retreat hosted by Ray at the Angel Valley Retreat Center was a notorious tragedy. I can assure you there were multiple factors that he did not follow, that no one with any training or common sense would have done.
• In order to heat the stones, he used treated wood from the lumber used to build decks at the resort. This released a cloud of toxicity in the lodge when the water was poured.
• He did not care about people's pre-existing conditions and those that passed should not have been allowed in there.
• He packed too many people in the lodge.
• The water pourer didn't know how to monitor the guests.
• He dehydrated everyone for two days beforehand.
Of course, I would do none of this. My elder used that example as a learning lesson and I have never forgotten it.
• I used only seasoned hardwood.
• I screen my visitors.
• I keep the lodge capacities low.
• Anyone can leave at any time.
• I allow water inside.
• I constantly ask and check on participants as we go.
PERSONAL TRAINING & BACKGROUND
I have had years of training in running lodges. I transmit the knowledge that Lakota and Maya elders have authorized me to teach. I incorporate elements of Buddhism, yoga and the Christian spirituality that I learned while walking the Camino de Santiago with a Shaman. Other learning processes that helped form who I am, include studying sacred plant medicines with the Shipibo in Peru and worked at a healing center in the Amazon Jungle. With my lodges, I have created a safe space for my guests to acquire what they need. Whether it is mindful meditation, visions, healing, or just peace and insight, the sweat lodge is a beautiful space.
I work hard creating a safe space in my lodges. Come experience one with me.