Peru is mostly popular for hiking on the Inca trail or visiting the machu picchu. But there is another set of adventure that is gaining popularity among travelers. And that is the Ayahuasca retreat. The Ayahuasca is a vine found in the jungles of Peru, which is used in an age-old ritual of spiritual healing. It has recently been open to all, making visitors flock over for this unique experience.
Ayahuasca, known as yagé, is a native plant boiled together with the chacruna leaves for 12 hours before its drunk. It’s a psychoactive substance that causes hallucinations and highly altered perception of reality that mess with the time and space of the mind. Its uses are to heal the spirit and help with anger management, agitation, and other serious illness like cancer. Natives have been practicing for centuries. Many believe that after experiencing the unique spiritual ceremony, they are more aware of their psyche. The effects of the drink made from the Ayahuasca vine or the trip can last up to 2-6 hours.
Most of the visitors have reviewed a positive experience, but some have left with a traumatizing one. So it is advised to go prepared mentally, with a light and stress-free mind. Also, the elements of the tea do not mix well with other medicines such as anti-depressants, so make sure you tally your prescription and research thoroughly about it. There are certain side effects of taking Ayahuasca infusion as well. People may experience vomiting, fast heartbeat, and diarrhea.
Now that we know what the Ayahuasca retreat is, its benefits, and its side effects, let us look at the process of the ceremony. It is done with a small group of people, ranging from 5—20 of them. The ceremony mostly takes place at night, but some shamans tend to conduct it early morning. The people sit around the shaman, who starts praying for protection from negativity, and then the tea is distributed among the participants. While and after the tea has been consumed, the shaman begins chanting songs known as icaros. They even blow tobacco or incense to heighten the olfactory senses. People may experience vomiting – which is a good sign of catharsis – where you get released from the negative influence over your body. Volunteers are present to help you with anything during that time.
Even the location of the retreat should be chosen wisely. Many people like to scam tourists and extort money from them. You can check this center for more info and a real experience. The shamans also have a strict diet that the participants have to follow, including no drug intake at least 1-2 weeks prior. No spicy food or heavy protein food like red meat. Food such as fish or organic vegetables is acceptable. Even sugar and carbonated drinks are a no.
The Ayahuasca retreat is not for pregnant women, people with mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar, weak heart, or any blood-related disease. On the day of the ceremony, people have to fast throughout the day except for drinking water. The Ayahuasca centre is very strict about these regulations, and it is better to know them before booking for the ritual. Following these guidelines can help you get the most of this one-of-a-kind experience in the Andean country.