How to prepare for the Ayahuasca retreat?
Updated: Oct 4
To have the life of a professional athlete means that you have a strict schedule filled with routines that are training your body and mind for victory.
Every athlete knows the dates of their most important competitions. To perform at their best, they have a precise plan on how they are going to prepare. They plan the increase in the intensity of the exercises, the duration of their rest and recovery, the diet, and the mindset.
Now imagine yourself being an athlete and the Ayahuasca retreat is your most competition.
The victory in it could bring you to a new level of fulfillment, happiness, and joy. It can help you get rid of a lot of mental garbage, anxiety, fears, and depression. It can make the Sun shine brighter and your lawn greener.
To win you would need a little bit of preparation. And to prepare there are a number of routines that you can implement. the good news is that this is not a lifelong commitment. After the Ayahuasca retreat, you can keep some of them, or you can drop them all together.
Preparation will make a difference in several ways:
It will make the ride smoother.
The experience will be perceived as less intense and exhausting. You will go through it with less effort and emotional labor. Imagine running a marathon without any preparation versus doing it with a couple of years of consistent training. In both cases, you will most likely do it, but the price will dramatically differ.
You will have more control.
If your mind is steady there can appear moments when you will be able to choose the direction of your trip.
Instead of following the lead of Ayahuasca, you can safely ask questions on your own, analyze the answers, and keep asking more questions.
You will be able to go deeper.
Having better conditioning of the body allows you to lift heavier weights. In the same way, being prepared for the Ayahuasca will help you to face with relative ease deeper and darker issues. Digging them out and digesting them afterward will go faster and more naturally than if you don't have any preparation.
You will be able to implement faster the insights you received.
Preparing for the life after the Ayahuasca is crucial. This aspect of preparation will help you make use of all the lessons you will learn during the Ayahuasca retreat.
The more you prepare before your Ayahuasca retreat, the better.
Since we are indivisible, our mind influences our body and our body has an equal impact on our mind. To make the best use of this principle, an aspiring Ayahyasca champion must pay attention to training both mind and body.
That being said, most of the lifting during the Ayahuasca ceremony is done by the mind, so having it as a priority is a good idea.
Now let's see what and how we can get prepared for Ayahuasca.
Preparation of the Mind :
Intention vs. No Intention
The topic of whether or not to set an intention before attending an Ayahuasca retreat is something people are arguing about.
Some recommend having no intention because it makes you open to whatever the Ayahuasca will show you. Also, it is said that while having no intentions, Ayahuasca cannot disappoint you by not fulfilling your expectations.
This is a pretty solid point because a lot of people are so in love with the illusion of control that they have specific requirements of what Ayahuasca should give them and how that should happen.
But can you really come to such a profound method as Ayahuasca blank slate, without expecting your intentions to be delivered?
It is known that Ayahuasca provokes an intense experience that most likely will change a lot in your life. Knowing this makes you fantasize about what it would be like, and unwillingly you create a lot of unconscious expectations that you barely understand. And all these hidden ideas will most likely influence your Ayahuasca retreat and its results.
The other scenario is that people set unrealistic and uninformed expectations.
We always think that we know what we need. More exactly, we think that what we want is exactly what we need.
But Ayahuasca (and other psychedelics) have their own opinion on our desires and opinions. They usually don't care about our wishes and give us the things we need the most.
In this sense, our intention will only create turbulence in our minds before the Ayahuasca ceremony. After that, we will be disappointed because our intention was betrayed.
The trick here is to create an intention that will assist the Ayahuasca in healing you.
To do this, the intention should be not about the way ayahuasca needs to deliver the healing but about what needs to be healed.
You can do it in many ways. We can develop a more general intention that describes the way we would like our life to become after the Ayahuasca ceremony.
No need to focus on a specific issue that you would like to resolve. Most likely you will get your healing in another way than you imagine. Instead of fixing the current relationship with your husband and digging into that, you can get fixed the relationship with your dad and that will improve your attitude towards men in general including your husband.
Setting an intention will help you to get your mind in order and set the stage for the Ayahuasca healing.
Having no intentions and expectations is literally impossible. Ayahuasca is a very powerful Medicine and knowing this will push you into fantasizing about its effect on your life. Instead of letting the intention compulsively buzz in your head, make conscious efforts to set it in a beneficial way.
If I were asked about one skill that would make a difference in an Ayahuasca ceremony, I would shout “Meditation!” without any doubt.
People define meditation in many unusual ways. They consider to be meditation playing an instrument, dancing, “just being in the moment”, jogging, etc.
Anything that does not give an obvious material gain is considered meditation. But it is not exactly that.
Meditation is an activity that is meant to train and discipline your mind.
Our mind is running around like a mad drunken monkey. It is constantly being distracted by anything. If there are no objects to be distracted by, the mind starts playing with itself, creating a role play inside of our head, digging up memories, and doing anything but shutting up.
So to meditate means to focus your attention on one single thing at a time and try to keep your attention on that thing for as long as possible.
If your attention gets carried away (and it certainly will) your job is to bring it back.
Focusing and being distracted will happen with you every several seconds and the more you practice, the longer you will be able to hold your focus.
What does this have to do with Ayahuasca you will ask?
The thing is that Ayahuasca is working directly with your mind. Your mind is being cleaned and sharpened during the Ayahuasca ceremony. Having a trained and strong mind will give you a number of advantages that will make a difference.
A meditator can just observe any thought regardless of their type. It can be a painful memory or an unpleasant one, it doesn't matter and therefore you don't react to it.
During the Ayahuasca Ceremony, unpleasant thoughts can appear and if you know how not to engage and react to them, you just stay calm till the thought is gone.
It is said that our thoughts are like waves, they come and go. So to skip forward a thought you should just meditate it through.
Meditation gives you a safe zone during the Ayahuasca ceremony.
A lot of intense experiences come from the inability to stay calm and breathe deeply.
Anxiety can be triggered by a simple shallow and fast breath. And to come to a calm state of mind, you should just remind yourself to breathe. This is the moment meditation will serve you well. If during the Ayahuasca ceremony, you feel like the fear is building up, you should simply switch the breathing pattern, and very soon it will become easier.
If you have some meditation practice, you have a pretty high level of confidence. You know how to deal with scary thoughts and other tricks of the mind and this confidence will allow you to inspect some extra parts of yourself that otherwise would be unreachable.
You can get access to some deep fears just by being ready to inspect and live through them.
Having a trained body before performing in a competition will bring you closer to victory. Since during Ayahuasca your mind is the main muscle that is getting stretched, training it with meditation will allow you to handle it much easier the efforts.
Regardless of the choice, be consistent with the preparation.
This is a very subtle skill and doing it daily is crucial. Ideally, you should plan the increase in time of meditation. You can start from 5-6 minutes/day and by the time your Ayahuasca retreat starts, ideally, you would need to have a 30-minute/day practice to be able to feel a difference.
Meditation is the number one skill that will help you on your Ayahuasca journey. A solid meditation routine of 30 minutes per day, will be enough. During the intensive parts of the ceremony, you will remember to breathe deep and slow and not react to your sensations.
Oftentimes we literally feel how the pressure of thoughts in our heads is growing and our skull is about to explode. We become irritable and anxious, and with time this pressure worsens.
There are many techniques meant to relieve this pressure and one of the most common is journaling.
All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil to unload the toxic content of your mind and breathe anew. You simply write down all the thoughts that bother you and they will start a new life on the paper instead of causing you headaches.
For an Ayahuasca retreat preparation, journaling can be used in a way that will give more long-term results than being the here-and-now relief valve for excessive thoughts.
Imagine being lost in the Jungle with a map. The map will be useless unless you figure out where are you on that map. Your relative location on the map is the first thing you should know to escape.
Since Ayahuasca is about changing and improving your life, you will help her (and yourself) by defining the areas that you are not satisfied within your life.
If you want to get to a bright spot you must understand the darkness that surrounds you.
For this, describe as detailed and as vivid as possible all the things you dislike about your life. It can be something about your relationships, your habits, your career, finance, spirituality, or purpose. Any part of your life that you would like should be described as vivid as possible.
This will give you the starting point of your journey. Understanding what you want to change is half of the success.
Many people need Ayahuasca to figure out what their issue is. And even though Ayahuasca can deliver this, you can economize time by figuring this out with Journaling. Ayahuasca will help you with deeper things that are evading your journaling.
Write several minutes every day. Every time your understanding will be clearer and sharper. A lot of issues you wanted to explore with Ayahuasca can be solved with journaling.
Let's come back to getting out of the forest with a map analogy.
Besides knowing where you are on the map, you want to find the spot on the map you want to get. In the mental space, you would need to set your destination point - the state of your life you want to achieve.
Again, try to describe as vividly as possible the ideal image of the parts of your life you are not satisfied. The perfect career, the ultimate health, the exceptional relationship you are in. Be generous and go into all the details you can imagine.
Now you have the initial point A and the desired point B of your journey.
Having these two extremities in your conscious and unconscious mind will make a difference when you drink Ayahuasca.
The brew can sharpen your awareness and you will understand better the roots of your dissatisfaction and you will come up with wise ways of improving your life.
After the retreat, you must act upon the received insights.
Journalling is a routine that will help you organize and clean your thoughts before the Ayahuasca retreat. Doing it for 3-5 minutes a day will give you the necessary mindset to succeed in Ayahuasca
We mirror the people around us. Even our closest friends and relatives load us with an influence that is not always beneficial.
Improving yourself is in itself a heroic journey, and to make it at least easier, we would need temporarily to distance ourselves from our environment.
An Ayahuasca retreat is about digging into oneself and finding things that hold us back. To focus on digging deep, it is a good idea to spend alone more time.
While being alone, we stop getting distracted and running from the uncomfortable parts of ourselves. We face our demons. We start to understand better our enemy and our unconscious mind will slowly send us more and more power to change.
Strategically spending more time alone will be an important route for your Ayahuasca preparation. No need to cut any relations for this, just find excuses and reasons to have long walks and solo time in nature.
Planning of the Integration Time
Long-term planning in your mental evolution is something that needs special attention.
Drinking Ayahuasca is just the beginning, after that starts the process of implementing the insights in day-to-day life. We should make small baby steps towards the life we want and each of those steps should be in the right direction. Otherwise, we would arrive at a different destination.
If taken carelessly, the effect of the Ayahuasca can be considerably diminished,
Before starting your Ayahuasca retreat, it will be wise to know what you will do after the retreat is over.
At the end of the retreat, there will be two things: insights that were successfully received and unpacked and insights that are not ripe yet and need more time.
The trick here is to give yourself a little bit of extra time after the Ayahuasca retreat in order to rationalize all the lessons Ayahuasca gave you.
Traveling is the best when it comes to keeping you away from your comfort zone and giving you mental space for new discoveries.
If you did Ayahuasca in the Rainforest of Peru, go see the South of the Country (Cusco Machupicchu etc.).
It doesn't matter where you go as long as it is something new, fresh, and moderately adventurous.
If you are on a tight schedule and after the retreat, you should go straight back home, it is not a problem. You can find some extra time for the integration after the Ayahuasca.
The idea here is that you don't need to travel for months to exotic countries to enhance the effect after the Ayahuasca retreat.
Y ou can plan some extra weekends spent on hikes, long walks, and exploration of nearby places that you never bothered to visit. All these new impressions will be fuel to give you new ideas about your present and future life.
Think ahead and consider allocating extra time for the integration after the retreat.
Every word we utter has power and is shaping our lives in many ways. We underappreciate this fact and oftentimes we misuse the sounds we produce.
Praying before the Ayahuasca is a good idea because it gives a state of mind that is exactly required for success in the ceremony.
It makes you humble, open, and grateful.
You realize that the methods your Ego used so far, are the reason you now need the help of Ayahuasca. At the same time, praying helps you to accept whatever comes and be grateful for it.
It is not so important whether you pray every day, or only when you start your retreat. The key here is to do it sincerely. When you sincerely ask, the Universe will hear you out.
Mantras are specific Sanskrit words that are used to tune and purify our minds. There is a very wide variety of them and it is said that each mantra has a different impact.
There is research, proving that mantras diminish anxiety, depression, and other mental calamities.
While becoming a champion, any additional tool is priceless. So why not have extra leverage and calm ourselves?
It is a good idea to create a playlist of mantras that you can listen to daily. You can use it whenever you need to calm down and focus. Before each Ayahuasca ceremony, you can listen to your mantras and get the right state of mind.
As stated above, sounds, and specifically music, have a real influence over our state of mind and therefore can induce changes in our lives.
Knowing this, it is generally a good idea to have a refined diet for the music we consume.
What kind of music will be helpful in the preparation for an Ayahuasca retreat?
It is hard to say. It will be easier to say what kind of music will be harmful to it.
Reducing the listening time of the music provoking overexcitement, aggression, and violence will be helpful. Skipping several parties before going to the Ayahuasca is a sacrifice that will be very rewarded in the long run.
The music we listen is inducing our mental state. Consider slowly reducing the amount of aggressive music and replacing it with some relaxing, calming, and meditative.
Preparation is very important but as with all the good things in life, you can overdo it. Especially it concerns the theoretical preparation.
After you book a retreat spot, shift your focus from reading reviews, watching documentaries, and getting more information about Ayahuasca to getting ready mentally for it.
Keeping the research even after you make the decision to join an Ayahuasca Retreat is just fueling your fears and anxiety. Imagine an athlete who decided to become the world champion, researching the types of traumas and any misfortune that can happen to him.
You have a goal and a period of time to get ready to achieve it. It is all you need to remember. Knowing that, you start to take action.
Preparation of the body:
We are what we eat and sometimes our bad mood, depression, and other mental issues are a result of poor diet preferences.
Before starting our Ayahuasca retreat, it would be a good idea to alter our diet and get in a better shape.
This change does not mean you need once and for all give up on your favorite foods. Think about it as a temporal sacrifice for better results after Ayahuasca. As soon as your retreat is over, you can reward yourself with some of the foods you would need to cut.
The traditional Ayahuasca diet is generally a vegan diet.
The Ayahuasca brew alters some of the defence systems of our body and to stay safe it is necessary to avoid a number of products. First of all the food is rich in Tyramine. This concerns the chemical effect of the Ayahuasca.
Also, since Ayahuasca is about altering and sharpening the mind, the Shamans advise to stop foods that alter our mind ( meat, cacao, and refined sugars. drinking alcohol, and consuming any type of drugs).
A clean diet will help you from several perspectives.
First of all the purging effect of Ayahuasca will most likely be reduced by the fact that your body is clean to begin with.
Secondly, if your lifestyle is pretty far away from the clean Ayahuasca diet, you will have an additional source of discomfort. The drop between the lifestyle you are used to and the lifestyle during the Ayahuasca retreat can be pretty big. As a result will have an extra source of stress that can be avoided.
Changing the diet before the start of your retreat will prepare your body for the experience. You will easier handle the difficult parts of the ride and your stomach will be grateful for it.
Want to get deep with Ayahuasca? Try fasting.
Since the Ayahuasca brew is orally active, fasting can enhance its effect. When your belly is empty the only thing absorbed by your stomach is the brew itself. And since there is no competition for absorption, Ayahuasca is kicking pretty strong.
Traditionally a 10-hour fast is required by default before drinking Ayahuasca. But you can do a 24 or 48-hour fast and the intensity is increasing a lot.
To be able to do it, you would need to get used to fasting beforehand. For that, consider fasting several times a month.
If you want to go as deep as possible on Ayahyasca, fasting is your way. If you are not experienced, try fasting before the retreat to get accustomed to the sensations.
During the Ayahuasca ceremonies, our body is literally processing traumas and exhaling them through vomiting, crying, or other ways.
The anecdotal evidence shows that such practices as stretching yoga can help our body digest the mental issues that are being processed.
Doing yoga alone is a huge boost in health and longevity. Combining it with Ayahuasca can give you big results and advantages.
Yoga is calming your mind and is teaching you not to react to unpleasant sensations. These skills are directly related to Ayahuasca because in the ceremony many unpleasant memories or sensations can arise and not reacting to them is the key to success.
Yoga and stretching are great ways to condition your body before the Ayahuasca retreat. Stretching ( especially when you only start this practice) can be challenging because of the uncomfortable sensations. Having experience with observing unpleasant sensations in your body will be very useful during the Ayahuasca.
It is considered that taking control over what we eat and our sexual behavior is the most difficult task in our spiritual growth.
We are getting bombarded with pictures, songs, and messages that are aiming to excite our sexual desire. We are being manipulated and sexuality is the main lever used against us.
Taking into account the amount of stimuli, sexual abstinence is a tough sell.
Many athletes throughout their careers were using sexual abstinence as a method to get sharp and focused. Muhamed Ali, Mike Tyson, and other fighters were abstaining for months to perform at their best.
In most of the spiritual practice systems, sexual desire is considered to be one of the main obstacles to the final accomplishment. Although the science is not so firm about making a conclusion about it, there is definitely something in it.
In Ayahuasca, it is considered that at least two weeks before the start of the retreat, sexual life should be stopped.
It clears the mind and helps to be focused on the important things.
Try and stop your sexual life at least two weeks before the retreat. It will give you increased focus, mental sharpness, and clarity.
At the end of the day, Ayahuasca is considered a powerful drug, and mixing drugs is rarely a good idea.
The way Ayahuasca is works after ingestion involves switching off the defense system of the body for the effects to occur. And since there is no defense, the body becomes vulnerable to many chemical compounds it would normally defend itself against.
The rule of thumb is to consult your doctor about stopping all the medications you are currently taking.
The most important is to cut the medications for mental health issues. Some of them are known to cause serious complications when combined with Ayahuasca use.
As part of your preparation for the Ayahuasca, visit your doctor and find a safe way to stop taking any medications. It can well be that after your Ayahuasca retreat, you won't need your medications anymore.
Ayahuasca by itself is an independent and very powerful healing method. It delivers relief for thousands of years.
Even an unprepared person can jump on a retreat and have a life-altering experience.
But if someone want to have a much deeper dive and more insights, a thorough preparation is highly recommended.
There are many things you can do to get in the best mental and physical shape possible. Each of the methods described above can literally change your life. But combined together and with Ayahuasca added, they can bring deep, bright, and long-lasting improvement.
Our life is too precious to be satisfied with mediocre results and methods leading to them.
If you want to become the champion of your life, there are a lot of things you can do. So don't waste time, it's time to get ready.