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PREPARATION FOR AN AYAHUASCA RETREAT

At Yosi Ocha, most treatments (unless otherwise specified by Maestro Heberto) involve participation in Ayahuasca ceremonies. If you intend to join on of our retreats, please carefully review the instructions below and proceed with the recommended physical and spiritual preparation.

It’s crucial to understand that Ayahuasca is not suitable for everyone, either temporarily due to certain medication intake, which may require a cleansing period before the first ceremony; or permanently because of potential incompatibility with one’s health condition. While we’ve meticulously compiled the information provided below, we advise consulting your doctor if you have any doubts. If Ayahuasca isn’t suitable for you, Maestro Heberto can suggest alternative treatments with other natural Amazonian medicines without psychoactive effects. Feel free to reach out to us, and we will assess your case individually.

Please inform us in advance if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • or any health issue that the use of Ayahuasca could exacerbate

In such cases, a personalized assessment is necessary, as some individuals may not be able to consume Ayahuasca but can still participate in ceremonies receiving alternative 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.

PHYSICAL PREPARATION

Our body serves as a vessel through which we navigate and experience reality. Every substance we ingest and all activities we engage in leave an imprint on our bodies influencing our overall well-being. As part of a larger energetic system, our bodies act as conduits, both receiving and transmitting energies from our surroundings, impacting us on multiple levels – physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and energetically. However, there are times when these energies may become stagnant, creating blockages in our energetic channels and leading to saturation on mental, physical, and emotional levels. This is why it is so important to maintain our bodies as clean as possible to ensure optimal energy flow and a harmonious energetic exchange with our environment.

Purification and cleansing are fundamental aspects of the Ayahuasca experience. Therefore, the better you prepare, the less ‘dirty work’ you will leave for the medicine to address. We encourage you to follow our dietary guidelines and begin preparing in advance. Please note that by being physically prepared for an Ayahuasca ceremony we don’t imply that you’re entirely “pure” and free from any physical ailments – such a state does not exist. Nevertheless, the ‘cleaner’ you come to the retreat, the smoother you will go through the purging process and connect with the medicine enjoying its many benefits.

In addition to making dietary adjustments, it is essential to evaluate various aspects of your life. Reflect on how your relationships impact your well-being, the influence of daily situations on your mood and energy, the amount of time you spend hooked to technology each day, your engagement in sports and physical activities, as well as time spent connecting with nature. Identify what brings you joy and what causes stress.

Consider making changes such as reducing work hours, avoiding conflicts, and prioritizing activities that bring joy and fulfilment. Engage in your hobbies, spend quality time with loved ones, immerse yourself in nature, and pamper yourself with activities like massages, saunas, or salt baths. If you’re near a beach, go for a swim in the sea!

MEDICATIONS & RECREATIONAL DRUGS

Ayahuasca is classified as a Monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which means that it has a specific interaction with certain medications. Some medications can even be dangerous when combined with Ayahuasca. Therefore, we strongly advise discontinuing any medication not essential for life support before your retreat. It’s crucial to cease using pharmaceutical products that suppress symptoms at least 7 days before and after taking Ayahuasca, in some cases even up to 3 weeks.

Additionally, it is the responsibility of each participant currently taking medication to educate themselves and consult their doctors about any potential interactions or adverse effects of consuming Ayahuasca in conjunction with their prescribed medication.

THREE WEEKS IN ADVANCE:

  • Antidepressants containing selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (SSRI)
  • Antidepressants featuring Aripiprazole
  • Mood stabilizers such as Prozac, Seroxat, Zoloft, Effexor, Paxil, and 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 can be VERY DANGEROUS in combination with Ayahuasca:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Amphetamines
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM)
  • MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA, MDEA, PMA
  • LSD
  • Magic mushrooms (Psilocybin)
  • Mescaline (any phenethylamine)
  • Phenylethylamines

Each participant is FULLY RESPONSIBLE for informing Maestro Heberto about past or present drug addictions, significant physical or psychological disorders, or the use of pharmaceutical drugs BEFORE the beginning of the first Ayahuasca ceremony.

DO I NEED TO FOLLOW A SPECIAL DIET BEFORE THE RETREAT?

In the context of an Ayahuasca retreat, a “dieta” refers to a prescribed regimen of dietary and lifestyle restrictions during, and sometimes after consuming Ayahuasca and other plant medicines. Your approach to food and beverages plays a particularly important role when preparing for an Ayahuasca experience. The Ayahuasca diet, often called the “dieta”, primarily consists of bland foods, and the general rule can be boiled down to – the lighter the meal, the better. It is recommended to choose organic foods, avoid processed ingredients, and minimize the consumption of animal products. If meat is consumed, it should be fish or white meat prepared without sauces, pepper or chilli, and with minimal salt. Stick to light vegetarian dishes with minimal salt, sugar, and fats, and prioritize hydration with water; you can also drink herbal teas and fresh vegetable and fruit juices

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

Therefore, we recommend beginning to monitor what you consume at least two weeks before the retreat to lighten the body, lay the groundwork for the healing process and ease purging during the ceremonies. Those who are planning to embark on a Shamanic Dieta & Training should be mindful of their diet at least 30 days in advance and, ideally, transition to a natural, low-fat diet permanently.

The main NO, NO, NOs at least ONE WEEK before and after an Ayahuasca ceremony are:

  • Hot peppers (considered very antagonistic to Ayahuasca)
  • Spices in general, but particularly hot ones
  • Pork meat or products
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Sexual stimulation of any kind, including masturbation

Gradually reduce till eliminating ONE WEEK before and after the retreat:

  • 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 include:

  • Raw and boiled vegetables (potatoes, manioc, etc.)
  • Cereals (boiled rice, oats, etc.)
  • Boiled organic free-range chicken or fish prepared without salt and spices
  • Vegetable milk
  • Legumes (in small amounts)
  • Water and infusions (half an hour before or after meals)
  • Fresh fruits and juices

On the day of the ceremony, aim for a light vegetarian meal and fast at least 5 hours before the ceremony to reduce the potentially heavy aspects of purging. You can drink as much water as you want.

PREPARATION OF THE MIND AND SPIRIT

An Ayahuasca ceremony holds the greatest potential when we approach it with humility, pure intentions, and an open mind. The adventure truly begins when we are able to surrender to the process and allow our mental structures to collapse – while these defences may have served us in the past, they now hinder our growth. It is essential to open ourselves up, trust that we are in safe hands and embrace the medicine allowing it to guide us where we need to go.

Having clear intentions and understanding what we seek to change or resolve in our lives can be profoundly beneficial. While some questions are best left for life to answer, fundamental inquiries such as “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” can guide our exploration. However, if asking these questions makes you feel even more confused and uncomfortable, it may indicate it’s not yet the right time for answers, emphasizing the importance of trusting in a higher force. Remember, we are only unhappy when we demand from life what isn’t meant for us.

We can also address other concerns, such as: What do I expect from life? What am I afraid of? What am I avoiding or hiding deep inside? What am I really looking for?  Keep in mind that our beliefs shape our reality, so it is important to open your mind to avoid self-imposed limitations when answering those questions. You can explore 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 others? Sometimes, the simplest path is through service, love, and compassion, allowing peace and joy to guide us in achieving what we truly want.

When you enter the sacred space of the ceremonial Maloca, just like when a patient enters 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 the wisdom of the Medicine knowing it will only teach us what we are prepared to learn. After all, at the end of everything, there is only peace and unconditional love. Sometimes, we 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, no one is forcing you to change; the decision to participate in this retreat is entirely yours – it is already a significant predisposition, and you should make the most of it.

Once the ceremony begins, surrender to the experience like a patient in surgery. Allow the healing to occur. Let the past die and together with it, the false identities that you’ve constructed. Ayahuasca will help you break free from what no longer serves your highest good. You may even consider engaging in a symbolic ritual – connect with an object representing what you wish to release in life, perhaps a text or a drawing. Express gratitude for the lessons it has taught you, say goodbye and then burn it or give it away.

Open yourself to the transformation taking place in your life – trust in the ancient wisdom of Mother Ayahuasca and allow the healing process to unfold.