Preparation for the Ayahuasca retreat

This post will guide you in preparation for the retreat. In this post we will answer any possible questions you might have, so please read the entire post completely. 

In this post you will find:

  • Getting to the retreat
  • Preparation and diet.
  • Structure of the retreat.
  • Rules.
  • Medical counterindications.
  • What to expect during the ayahuasca ceremony.
  • Miscellaneous notes.

Getting to the retreat

To arrive to the retreat you will need to fly into Medellin International Airport – Jose Maria Cordoba. As of now we provide free pickup from Medellin, but not from the airport. Airport pickup is available extra cost.

Aim to arrive to Medellin airport at least 2-3 hours before the pickup time, to be able to get to pick up spot stress free. Even better if you come day earlier and relax in hotel of your choice while preparing for the retreat.

Pick up time is 2PM on the first day of your retreat.

Here is the pickup spot

https://goo.gl/maps/GUe2uLkDk3dXrhjh6

Getting to the pickup point.

Easiest way is to get a taxi from the airport straight to the pickup point. Best taxies are white.

Other option is to take a white bus to Medellin (there will always be one waiting at the departures) and then take a taxi to pickup spot from the bus drop off (San Diego mall) –  in this case the taxies will be yellow.

We organize a bus that will pick you up from this spot and bring you straight to the retreat. Here is the location of the retreat

https://goo.gl/maps/Z2MdhgBvXcpmrZ7L6

In case if you can’t get flight tickets that allow you to be at the pickup point at the right time we can help you organize a private pickup from the airport straight to the retreat. It costs $75.

Going back. The bus will pick you up at the retreat on the last day of your retreat, and will bring you back to Medellin – El Poblado metro station. Pick up time is 11AM if you come for 1 week retreat or longer and noon if you came for a long weekend retreat. It takes 1.5 hours to get to Medellin.

Don’t book a flight earlier than 4.30PM to be able to be there on time stress free. (there are big lines in the airport sometimes). 

If you have to fly earlier let me know in advance to arrange a transport for you (for extra cost)

Preparation for the Ayahuasca retreat

Thoroughly preparing for the retreat will not only allow you to have a safe experience but will also enhance your experience. It will allow you to connect with the medicine faster, to see more (get more visions and clearer visions) and to get more answers.
 
The best practice is to start preparing for the ceremony 2-4 weeks in advance. The more serious you take it and the more respect you give to the medicine the better will your experience be. But in some cases you can prepare withing just 1 week.

At least 4 weeks before the retreat, but if possible earlier

1 week before the retreat, but if possible earlier

2-3 days before the retreat, but if possible earlier

On the day of the first ceremony.

What to bring with you.

Structure of the retreat

We offer 4 types of retreats as of now

  • 4 day retreats – 2 ceremonies
  • 1 week retreats – 4 ceremonies
  • 11 day retreats – 6 ceremonies
  • 18 day retreats – 10 ceremonies

4 day (Long weekend) retreat

4 day (long weekend) retreat

Thursday. You get picked up in Medellin at 2PM and should be arriving at LaWayra around 3.30-4PM. You will be settled into your rooms and we will talk about basic rules and do our first word circle, getting to know each other and setting intentions. After that we will have a dinner and spend night by the bonfire (if weather allows). 

First night is also the time I like to take care of finances and receive remaining payments (remember to bring cash pesos to pay the outstanding balance).

Friday. We will spend entire day getting to know each other, easing into to the new environment, relaxing and enjoying the nature. We will do a workshop preparing for the ceremony, learning how to navigate your psychedelic experience and how to get most of it. We might do some yoga or meditation or a tobacco ceremony. There be breakfast at 8AM and lunch at 1PM. At 5.30PM we will do a guided meditation session in preparation for the first ceremony. After that we will drink medicine at 6PM. Around 8PM we will offer you the 2nd cup, around 10PM you can ask for a third cup. After that no more medicine will be served. Around midnight everyone will be coming back to normal and you can go to your room and rest. 

Saturday. After breakfast we will do the word circle to start the integration process. Word circles are a crucial part of the healing process. We will spend entire day resting and enjoying the nature and preparing for the 2nd ceremony. There be breakfast at 8AM and lunch at noon. At 5.30PM we will begin with a guided meditation session. We will drink medicine at 6PM. Around 8PM we will offer you the 2nd cup, around 10PM you can ask for a third cup. After that no more medicine will be served. Around midnight everyone will be coming back to normal and you can go to your room and rest. 

Sunday.  First thing in the morning Taita will perform a spiritual cleanse for the group. We will have a breakfast followed by the last word circle of the retreat. The bus will arrive at noon to pick you up and take you to Medellin. You should be in Medellin around 1.30PM.

1 week retreat (monday to sunday)

1 week retreat.

Monday. You get picked up in Medellin at 2PM and should be arriving at LaWayra around 3.30-4PM. You will be settled into your rooms and we will talk about basic rules and do our first word circle, getting to know each other and setting intentions. After that we will have a dinner and spend night by the bonfire (if weather allows). 

First night is also the time I like to take care of finances and receive remaining payments (remember to bring cash pesos to pay the outstanding balance).

Tuesday. We will spend entire day getting to know each other, easing into to the new environment, relaxing and enjoying the nature. We will do a workshop preparing for the ceremony, learning how to navigate your psychedelic experience and how to get most of it. We might do some yoga or meditation or a tobacco ceremony.

We will begin with the breakfast at 8AM. After breakfast we will do the word circle. There will be lunch at 1PM and we might do some yoga at 3PM (if yoga teacher is available). At 5.30PM in preparation for the first ceremony we will do a guided meditation session. After that we will drink medicine at 6PM. Around 8PM we will offer you the 2nd cup. After that no more medicine will be served. Around 1AM everyone will be coming back to normal and you can go to your room and rest.

Wednesday. We will begin with the breakfast at 8AM. After breakfast we will do the word circle. There will be lunch at 1PM and we might do some yoga at 3PM (if yoga teacher is available). At 5.30PM in preparation for the first ceremony we will do a guided meditation session. After that we will drink medicine at 6PM. Around 8PM we will offer you the 2nd cup, after that no more medicine will be served. Around 1AM everyone will be coming back to normal and you can go to your room and rest. 

Thursday. We will begin with the breakfast at 8AM. After breakfast we will do the word circle. There will be lunch at 1PM and we might do some yoga at 3PM (if yoga teacher is available). At 5.30PM in preparation for the first ceremony we will do a guided meditation session. After that we will drink medicine at 6PM. Around 8PM we will offer you the 2nd cup, after that no more medicine will be served. Around 1AM everyone will be coming back to normal and you can go to your room and rest.

Friday is the rest day. We will be able to have 3 meals, do some meditation and yoga, enjoy nature, swim in the swimming pool and integrate by writing in your integration journals and by doing the word circle in the evening. There will also be an option to participate in a massage, cost is 100 thousand pesos (25$US)

We will have a word circle after dinner.

Saturday we will have the day ceremony. We will drink Ayahuasca at 7AM, 2nd cup will be offered at 9AM. By 2PM everyone should be coming back to normal and we will offer lunch. In case if you are not ready to eat you can reheat and eat your lunch later when you are ready. We will do the word circle around 5PM.

Sunday after breakfast the bus will come and pick you up at 11AM you should be back to Medellin around 12.30PM

11 day retreat

11 day retreat is a combination of a 4 day retreat followed by a 1 week retreat, so you can learn the schedule above – It includes 6 ceremonies, 5 night ceremonies and 1 day ceremony.

18 day retreat

18 day retreat is a combination of a 4 day retreat followed by two one week retreats back to back. You can learn the schedule above – It includes 10 ceremonies, 8 night ceremonies and 2 day ceremonies.

Rules - to make sure everyone gets best results while staying safe.

We try and stay as open and as free as possible, but some rules are necessary. Mind that each rule has a story behind it and it is based on 100s of ceremonies of accumulated experience.

No talking and no interaction with other guests is allowed during the ceremonies. I know that sometimes you get realizations so profound that it might hard to resist from sharing, but we have to understand that everyone goes through a different process and you might distract others from their journey.

Rule of a thumb is if you are able to hold it in then hold it in, it applies to laughing screaming or any other noise. However you might be so deep that you can’t help it and then we won’t judge you, but we will be there to help.

Treat the retreat as you would your home, make sure you bring dirty dishes to kitchen after eating, throw the garbage out in the garbage bins, etc.

You will be issued a blanket and a pillow, after the ceremony take your blanket and your pillow and take it to your room, so we can keep ceremony space tidy.

Don’t bring your phone into ceremony, you don’t need to know the time we will always announce cups, phone will only be a distraction. We generally recommend lowering phone time during the retreat, but you might naturally notice that you are using your phone less and less every day.

Close bathroom doors but don’t lock yourself in. There is something about bathrooms, you come in but don’t want to come out. Leave the door unlocked so that facilitators or the Taita can help you if anything. 

Be selfless outside of the ceremony, and selfish during the ceremony. During the ceremony don’t worry about anyone just yourself, even if you came with a friend. Don’t worry we have a trained and experienced team to take care of everyone it is not your job. However outside of the ceremony be kind to everyone listen to other people and care.

If you hear the bell ring come over, something important or cool is happening and you don’t want to miss it. It is either time for food or word circle or some other interesting event.

Bucket is your best friend, bring it with you everywhere you go. Even to bathroom, you never know when you might need it. Purging is an essencial part of the ceremony.

There will be candles everywhere. Please don’t turn on the lights in the bathroom it might affect your experience.

Photos and privacy. We allow to take photos of the retreat but only outside of the ceremony, no photos are allowed during the ceremony.

No leaving protected space during the ceremony. There is a space that is designated for the ceremony which is both spiritually and physically protected. We will show you that space and ask you to not leave it during the ceremony.

No swimming pool during the ceremony.

Piss seated, on ayahuasca you might overestimate your abilities:)

If you need help raise your hand or call us at any time, we will be there to help

 

Miscellaneous

  • Spiritual cleanses. During the retreat Taita will offer you spiritual cleanse most likely one after the last ceremony. I highly recommend you take part in these, it is hard to explain exactly how this works but you will feel amazing afterwards.
  • At the retreat we have a little store where you will be able to buy everything from Gatorades to Ponchos, we sell some very nice indigenous crafts and if you buy a bracelet or a necklace you can ask Taita to conjure if for protection. We practice trust system, so you take anything you want from the store and write it down on an envelope we provide at the end of the retreat you calculate everything you owe, put the money in the envelope and give it to us.
  • Ayahuasca ceremonies are tough, you might feel like taking a break some time during your retreat. It is totally fine just make sure you notify us at least 3 hours before the ceremony starts so we can have a meal ready for you.
  • As a retreat we can’t be responsible for your personal items. We never have any issues but every group of people is new. However we will provide you with a locker to store your valuables, just talk to one of us.
  • We will provide you with drinking water. You will also be able to make herbal teas. 
  • Activities: During your retreat we might offer some of these activities: meditation, breathing exercise, yoga. On your own you will be able to spend some time by the pool, go to the creek and walk around in nature.
  • Our goal is to have you a little bored, because doing nothing will allow you to think and better integrate you experience.
  • If you like our work and want to leave a tip please note our tipping policy. There are 2 departments ceremony and kitchen. Please give your tip directly to me (Sam the retreat founder) so that later on the tip will be divided equally between the members of each department to avoid any friction between team members. 

What to expect during the ayahuasca ceremony

Types of Ayahuasca experiences

What to expect from the medicine itself? The best approach is to expect nothing. Empty your mind and just experience what is happening to you – don’t push it. Ayahuasca will rarely give you what you want, but it will almost always give you what you need.

Medical Contraindications with Ayahuasca

Our priority is your safety and well-being, and to guide you to personal healing and growth. During the booking process, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. Please be as open as possible when answering the questions. If any potential medical contraindications are present, we will inquire further to ensure your safety.

By signing up to our retreat you are declaring that you are in a physical and mental condition appropriate to the activities described in the program, that you agree to participate at your own risk, and that we cannot accept liability for any accident or injury. We will provide the most secure environment to work with ayahuasca as possible and ensure your welfare to the best of our abilities, at all times. In return, we ask that you behave responsibly and do not endanger yourself or others.

Medical contraindications

It is best to run any medication you are taking by us to assess safety. There is very high danger with any psychoactive medicines such as SSRI antidepressants, anti ADHD meditation and some insomnia medication. Blood pressure meditation and thyroid medication can be problematic too. Antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs are also not recommended. Consult with us about any medication you are taking. 

  • MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors): Ayahuasca itself contains natural MAOIs. Combining ayahuasca with pharmaceutical MAOIs or foods/drinks high in tyramine (e.g., aged cheese, wine, certain fermented foods) can lead to a dangerous increase in blood pressure known as a hypertensive crisis.
  • Antidepressants: Avoid using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or other antidepressants in the days leading up to and during an ayahuasca retreat. Combining these medications with ayahuasca can lead to serotonin syndrome, which can be life-threatening.
  • Stimulants: Refrain from using stimulants such as amphetamines, cocaine, or MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) before and during the retreat, as they can increase the risk of adverse reactions, including heart-related issues.
  • Antipsychotic Medications: Avoid combining ayahuasca with antipsychotic medications, as this can lead to unpredictable interactions or exacerbate psychiatric conditions.
  • Antihypertensive Medications: Ayahuasca can affect blood pressure, so it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional and the retreat organizers if you are on antihypertensive medications. Adjustments to your medication regimen may be necessary.
  • Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications: Inform the facilitators of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. Some medications can interact with ayahuasca, and adjustments or cessation may be required, but this should always be done under medical supervision.
  • Herbal Supplements and Substances: Be cautious with herbal supplements, vitamins, and other substances, as they can interact with ayahuasca. It’s advisable to avoid them unless approved by the retreat organizers.

Contraindications: Herbal Medicine and Supplements

Due to high amount of possible interactions between ayahuasca and various herbal medicines or supplements we recommend to discontinue any supplementation 1 week before the retreat (2 weeks if possible)

Note: About interaction with cannabis: Smoking marijuana before the ayahuasca session may stupefy and darken the overall experience, acting as a blockage for the visionary plant to manifest in the fullest way. 

General Medical Precautions

Ayahuasca is safe for most reasonably healthy individuals. However it can be hard on your body so make sure you disclose to us any serious health issue whether diagnosed or if you are just noticing them. It does not always mean you won’t be able to drink the medicine sometimes it will simply mean we will have to start slow with half a cup and carefully observe. It is better to be safe than sorry. 

Ayahuasca is not recommended for people with psychosis, schizophrenia, it might make these conditions worse. 

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