5 Reasons to Attend an Ayahuasca Retreat
(And 5 Reasons Not To)
With ayahuasca becoming more popular in mainstream society, and the medicine itself becoming more accessible, ayahuasca retreats are on the rise. More and more people are traveling, sometimes thousands of miles, to sit with this powerful and sacred brew.
Ayahuasca is an ancient entheogen and plant medicine that has been used for centuries by indigenous healers and shamans throughout the Amazon in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil. Today, these shamanic rituals have been translated into modern practices at ayahuasca retreats across the globe.
Ayahuasca has been used to heal all manner of physical, mental, and psycho-spiritual illnesses, and it’s true that these retreats can lead to meaningful and transformative changes in participants’ lives.
But is it for everyone?
Let’s explore some of the top reasons to attend an ayahuasca retreat, and a few reasons you may not want to attend.
Top Reasons to Attend an Ayahuasca Retreat:
Ayahuasca can provide a safe space to sit with and process trauma and its accompanying emotions – rebalancing the psyche and creating room for growth and conscious connection. It also has a profound ability to illuminate underlying issues that result in depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD. By bringing awareness to the source, new realizations can arise and deep healing can occur.
A multitude of findings show that users of ayahuasca often report increased self-awareness and a deep state of self-reflection.
In an ayahuasca ceremony, you deep dive into your inner world and subconscious mind – the first step towards improved self-awareness. This subconscious excavation can result in a better understanding of your own triggers, fears, pain, and unconscious wounding. It can help you discover your purpose and gain clarity around what really matters – your values, goals, and what you truly want in life and your relationships.
Furthermore, it can assist you in becoming aware of and releasing all that is holding you back – the fears, limiting beliefs, patterns and behaviors that are keeping you from your full potential.
Connection is essential to our healing and happiness. The majority of human suffering stems from the egoic separation we experience. At an ayahuasca retreat, each ceremony is a reunion with ourselves, Mother Nature, and the sacredness of all life. Those who have undergone a ceremony often report a deeper spiritual connection, and many participants also experience a sense of universal love, belonging and oneness.
Ayahuasca retreats can also be incredibly supportive because of the connections formed during the retreat itself. Participants often form lasting friendships with their fellow guests, resulting in ongoing community and support.
By processing deeply rooted trauma and increasing your capacity for self-love, awareness, empathy, and forgiveness, ayahuasca can serve as a powerful tool for healing and improving relationships.
The majority of people reevaluate their relationships in some way after a plant medicine journey. They spend more time with people who are in alignment with their path, and less with those that are not. After experiencing ayahuasca, many people report reconciliations in fractured relationships. Others may end unhealthy or toxic relationships with romantic partners, family or friends.
One of the greatest gifts ayahuasca can provide is an enhanced sense of gratitude and appreciation for life. For many people, ayahuasca reconnects them with a childlike sense of wonder and awe…an awareness that life is a beautiful gift, meant to be enjoyed. This results in profound feelings of joy, and the realization that all is right with the world.
“Ayahuasca. She is the mother of all medicine.
A tool to help you find yourself. To know yourself, by destroying the image of who you think you are, and illuminating the truth.”
– Don Juanito
Now, Let’s Cover a Few Reasons NOT to Attend an Ayahuasca Retreat:
Many ayahuasca retreats have been vetted and thoroughly explored. However, there are still many shamans who claim to be experts but lack the proper skills and training. This can create a negative experience, completely missing the point of an ayahuasca retreat.
Always do your research before deciding where you want to go. Choose a retreat that offers preparation and integration support and experienced shamans who lead the way.
The decision to participate in a retreat should always be one taken by the individual, not by their relative or friend. Due to the powerful nature of ayahuasca, it’s important that you sit with the medicine when the time is right, and it feels in alignment.
Sometimes people come to a retreat because their parents or friends have encouraged them to do so, and not because they truly want to. Avoid outside pressure and trust yourself. You will know if and when the time is right.
A huge part of the ayahuasca experience involves surrender. If you aren't willing to let go of control or be vulnerable, it can be challenging to receive the benefits ayahuasca often provides. Furthermore, it’s important to know that ayahuasca often shows us what circumstances, situations, and even people in our lives are no longer serving us. So, if you aren’t willing to release a toxic relationship, job, or even mindset, this may not be the medicine for you.
It is possible that in an ayahuasca ceremony, we may remember or reflect on past trauma, disturbing memories, or challenging emotions. If the time is right and you feel emotionally and psychologically stable, this can serve as a powerful form of healing and release. That being said, if you do not feel ready to face potentially traumatic experiences from the past, consider waiting or even working with a therapist in order to feel safe enough to dive into your inner world.
Although ayahuasca is normally safe, there are certain medical conditions that are contraindicated with this plant medicine, including (but not limited to) schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and psychosis. Additionally, certain medications are contraindicated and should be discussed with your doctor to determine if an ayahuasca retreat is right for you and if it is possible to change or taper any medications.
At the end of the day, the decision to work with ayahuasca is a big one, and should be carefully considered. If you’re feeling the call to attend a retreat and want to know more, contact us for a free consultation with one of our plant medicine experts.