PREPARATION FOR AN AYAHUASCA RETREAT

Most of the treatments at Yosi Ocha (except those specifically indicated by Maestro Heberto) imply taking part in Ayahuasca ceremonies. If you are planning to participate in a retreat, please read carefully the instructions below and proceed with the indicated physical and spiritual preparation.

It is important to note that Ayahuasca is not suited for everyone – either temporarily, due to the intake of certain medications which may require a cleansing period before the first ceremony; or permanently, because the medicine may be incompatible with a person’s health condition. We have carefully compiled the information below; nevertheless, in case of any doubt, we advise you to consult with your doctor. If Ayahuasca is not suitable for you, Maestro Heberto can indicate special treatments with other natural medicines from the Amazon without psychoactive effects. Please do not hesitate to write to us and we will study your case individually.

Please let us know in advance if you suffer from any of the below mentioned conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Liver problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Schizophrenia

or any health issue that could be aggravated by the use of Ayahuasca. In these cases, it will be necessary to make a personalized assessment and diagnosis, given that certain people can not drink Ayahuasca, but can participate in ceremonies receiving another type of personalized treatment. Any potential participant who suffers from drug abuse, or is under psychiatric treatment, should contact us at least a month in advance, so that we can study the case and provide necessary preparation instructions.

PREPARATION OF THE BODY

Our body is the physical vessel in which we navigate through reality. Everything we consume, all physical activities we engage in leave a trace in our body and impact our wellbeing. Our body absorbs different elements from our surroundings, which affect us on all levels – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and energetically. We are part of a broader energetic system and our bodies receive, absorb, filter and transmit energies. Therefore, they can also get clogged, blocked, or saturated by what we consume. This is why it is so critical to maintain the body as clean as possible to ensure a good flow of energy and better energetic exchange with our environment.

An essential part of every Ayahuasca experience is a process of deep purification and cleansing. Having this in mind, it is clear that the better you prepare for an Ayahuasca ceremony, the less ‘dirty work’ you will leave for the medicine to do. Therefore, we advise you to follow the dietary instructions and start the preparation well in advance. To be physically prepared does not mean that you are completely purified and cleansed, and have no physical ailments. Nevertheless, the ‘cleaner’ you come to the ceremony, the better you will connect with the medicine and the sooner you will begin to enjoy its many benefits.

We also recommend to start observing different aspects of your life: how your relationships are affecting you; the impact of everyday situations on your life; how often you do physical activities in nature and what sports you practice; what brings you joy and what stresses you out; how many hours a day you are hooked to technology…  Try to reduce working hours and avoid arguments. It may be a good time to return to your hobbies, stay longer with the people you love, focus more on things that make you happy, get a massage, go to a sauna, indulge in a salt bath, or even better, if you have a beach nearby, go for a swim in the sea!

MEDICATIONS AND RECREATIONAL DRUGS

Ayahuasca is classified as MAOI (Monoamine oxidase inhibitor), meaning that it has a specific interaction with certain types of medication. Certain medications can even be dangerous in combination with Ayahuasca. Therefore, we advise you to eliminate any medication that is not used for life support prior to the ceremony. It is necessary to eliminate any pharmaceutical products used to suppress symptoms at least 7 days, and even up to 3 weeks (depending on the case), before and after taking Ayahuasca:

THREE WEEKS IN ADVANCE: antidepressants that use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug (SSRI), antidepressants that use Aripiprazole and mood stabilizers, such as: Prozac, Seroxat, Zoloft, Effexor, Paxil, Wellbutrin.

ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE:
– Antibiotics and analgesics
– Any medication that acts as an inhibitor of monoamine oxidase (MAOI)
– Antihypertensive
– Appetite suppressants
– Medications for asthma, bronchitis, colds, sinusitis, fever, allergies (antihistamines), and other respiratory problems
– Neuroleptics or antipsychotics
– Depressants of the central nervous system (anxiolytics, analgesics, sedatives or sleep aids, also alcohol, opioids, barbiturates and benzodiazepines)

The following recreational drugs are VERY DANGEROUS in combination with Ayahuasca:
– Cocaine
– MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA, MDEA, PMA
– Magic mushrooms
– Heroin
– Amphetamines
– Dextromethorphan (DXM)
– Mescaline (any phenethylamine)
– Phenylethylamines
– LSD

Each participant is FULLY RESPONSIBLE for informing Maestro Heberto about past or current drug issues/addictions, any serious physical or psychological disorder, or the use of prescribed medications BEFORE the beginning of the first Ayahuasca ceremony.

ABOUT THE DIET

Your diet plays a particularly important role in the preparation for an Ayahuasca experience. The Ayahuasca diet (or “dieta”) is mainly bland and the general rule is – the lighter, the better. It is advisable to eat organic food, avoid processed ingredients and reduce to a minimum or zero products of animal origin. The only meet allowed (if you really need it), would be fish or white meat prepared in a very light way with no sauces, pepper or chilli, and with minimum salt. The simplest recommendation would be: eat light vegetarian/vegan meals with low levels of salt, sugar and fats; drink lots of water, herbal teas and fresh vegetable/fruit juices.

This type of “food abstinence” is not purely aimed to cleanse your body and improve your health, but it has a more profound spiritual purpose to show your respect for the sacred plant medicines, to demonstrate your commitment to your healing process, and to sensitize your body and spirit to communicate with Ayahuasca and other plant spirits. Fasting from savoury food and sexual stimulation during the dieta is intended to make you more “transparent” to spiritual eyes of the Shaman and more responsive the healing action of Ayahuasca.

Therefore, we advise you to start watching what you eat at least two weeks in advance to lighten the body, lay the groundwork for the healing process and facilitate the purging that will be performed by the medicine. Those who are planning on doing a Shamanic dieta should be mindful of their diet 30 days before and, better yet, orient towards a natural, low-fat diet permanently.

The main NO, NO, NOs at least three days before and after an Ayahuasca ceremony are:
– No hot peppers (considered very antagonistic to Ayahuasca)
– No spices in general, but most of all no hot spices
– No pork meet or products
– No fried foods
– No alcohol
– No drugs
– No sexual stimulation of any kind, including masturbation

Gradually reduce till eliminating at least 3 days before:
– All red meats
– Chilli, heavy sauces and strong spices
– Fermented foods (tofu, miso, soy sauce, tamari, yeasts, etc.)
– Coffee and tea (black or green)
– Cow milk and dairy products
– Fried, stewed or overcooked foods
– Sweets and all types of industrial pastries
– Salt and sugar or honey (consume in moderation)

Recommended foods:
– Raw and boiled vegetables (potatoes, manioc, etc.)
– Cereals (boiled rise)
– Boiled organic free-range chicken or fish prepared without salt and spices
– Vegetable milk
– Legumes (small amount)
– Water and infusions (half an hour before or after meals)
– Fresh fruits and juices

On the day of the ceremony, keep a light vegeterian/vegan diet and fast minimum 5 to 6 hours prior to the ceremony (you can drink water) to decrease the potentially heavy aspects of purging. 

PREPARATION OF THE MIND AND SPIRIT

An Ayahuasca ceremony is the most beneficial when one surrenders to the process with a humble heart, pure intentions and an open mind. The real adventure begins when we are able to look at ourselves in the mirror and allow all the mental structures to collapse, all those armors that were useful at some point in life, but no longer serve us. The right attitude is to open up and allow the medicine to take us where we need to go.

It is recommended to have clear Preparation for an Ayahuasca Retreat – YOSI OCHA – Sunshineintentions and know what we would like to change or resolve in our lives. There are essential questions one can ask, and others are better left to life to respond, whether through words, visions or events. The first and fundamental questions are: Who am I? Who sees through my eyes? Who moves my body? But if asking those questions make you even more confused, then it may not be the right time to receive those answers, and it may be better to trust that a higher force is taking care of that. Remember that we are only unhappy when we insist on getting from life what is not meant to be. We can also address other concerns, such as: What do I expect from life? What am I afraid of? What am I avoiding? What am I hiding deep inside? What am I really looking for?  Keep in mind that our believes shape our reality, therefore, it is important to open our minds to avoid limitations when answering those questions. You can go further by asking: Why do I want to make changes in my life? What do I want to understand about myself? What values do I identify with? How is my relationship with other people? Sometimes, the simplest solution is to serve, love and care, to allow peace and happiness to be the forces that help us achieve what we really want.

When you enter the sacred space of the ceremonial Maloca, like a patient entering the operating room, allow the hands of the shaman to be the hands of a surgeon, and Ayahuasca the force that moves his hands. Do not interfere or resist, trust that the medicine will only teach you what you are prepared to learn and that behind everything there is only peace and deep love. Some people may have a so-called “bad trip” and then regret not having had a liberating experience. Usually, the main reason for that is a profound resistance to change. Remember that no one forces you to change, the decision to participate in such a retreat is already a great predisposition and you should make the most of it.

Once the ceremony begins, as in surgery, surrender to the experience and allow yourself to be healed. Let the past die and together with it, the false identity with which you have lived. Mother Ayahuasca is also known as the “Vine of the Dead” – open yourself to the transformation taking place in your life. Is it possible to prepare to die? How would you like your death to be? It may be useful to prepare your own ritual – connect with some object that represents what you want to release in your life, perhaps a text or a drawing; thank it for everything it has taught you and say goodbye; then you can burn it or give it away. Be aware that it will not return, but a certain part of you is only possible thanks to what you have lived with it.

Open your mind, open your heart, open yourself to life and all possibilities; be humble and trust deeply in the wisdom and love of Mother Ayahuasca.