Today’s program: Attending a sweat lodge

building a sweat lodge Image credit:

Those of you who are familiar with the native american tradition will know what a sweat lodge ceremony is. For the others let me put it into simple words.


A sweat lodge is build of branches in the form of the womb – see image on the left. In the middle there is a hole dug into the earth  – this is where the hot stones will go in. The branches are covered with blankets to keep the heat inside during the ceremony and the “entrance” is also covered after everybody went in, so it does give you the feeling of being in the womb – especially that space is very limited in here and you can’t really move.


The ceremony: A huge bonfire is built on the ancient stones carefully chosen for this ceremony so that they become red hot. When the stones are ready people will crawl into the “womb” and sit down. This is a cleansing ceremony – whatever issues you have in your life now your can bring it in here and ask for help with it.


the stones are ready
and this is the perfect set up:
sweat lodge, the altar between the lodge and the fire


During the ceremony usually there are 4 rounds according to the 4 directions in the sky. Each round has its own deep rooted meaning.

I have participated in sweat lodges for the past 10 years and it always is a new experience – never the same. Some were difficult to “endure” while others seemed to be “a piece of cake”. Remember the heat inside can become intolerable if you have serious issues going on. I once felt really bad during the first two rounds when the heat was building up and was sitting up full of joy and happiness in the “toughest” round – the fourth.

So this is what I’m going to do tonight. As preparation I don’t eat anything during the day, we can only drink. You are welcome to eat after the ceremony is over, but most of the time I didn’t even feel hungry afterwards.


Read more on how I became into contact with the ancient tradition of shamanism here:  The life of a “city shaman” – is it a hobby or a profession?  



Have you ever participated in a sweat lodge? What is YOUR experience?



sweat lodge

Building the sweat lodge


About hovirag

I'm a health geek :) I teach chikung (qigong) and am interested in allkinds of natural, organic products.

Posted on October 5, 2013, in fitness, healthy lifestyle, healthy living, shamanic practices, shamanism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Wow! I appreciate that you shared your experience with me! I’ve never participated in a sweat lodge – though I can certainly appreciate having a safe place to explore “whatever issues you have in your life now your can bring it in here and ask for help with it”. I love being exposed to new ideas through the UBC!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I had heard some good and negative things about a sweat lodge. Do you have to take any special health considerations when you use the lodge?

    • yes, people suffering from epylepsy or serious heart disease can’t take it and in most cases women having their period – this latter is an ancient native american belief
      if you have serious health issues you should consult your GP explaining what a sweatlodge is but can ask the person leading it what they recommend

  3. Thanks so much for this post, the description, and the wonderful photographs. I find that I have a much better understanding of the ceremony – and hope that you have a wonderful and opening day tonight. And I was wondering, is it always done in conjunction with the new moon, or is that a coincidence tonight?

  4. The leaders of the sweat lodge usually choose a specific day, but it isn’t always the new moon – new moon helps you to start new things and this sweat lodge was about that topic 🙂
    hope this helps!

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