10 Daily Routines to Prepare for Ayahuasca Ceremonies
Implementing these daily practices in the weeks leading up to your Ayahuasca ceremony or Ayahuasca retreat will make it more probable that you receive the healing that you are seeking. Getting into these positive routines will also help you integrate your Ayahuasca experience into your daily life after ceremony.
Connect with Nature: Ayahuasca comes directly from Mother Earth, allowing drinkers to experience her full power and majesty. This reconnection to nature is a blessing and is a major element of the healing that the plant provides. However, as it is not uncommon for many ceremony participants coming from Westernized urban environments to live in isolation from nature, the healing that comes from this reconnection during ceremony can be diluted, delayed in arriving and at times, difficult to integrate into daily life after ceremony. In order to speed and enhance this reconnection, we can: Go camping, work in a garden, go hiking, swim in rivers, lakes or the sea, go for a daily walk or a longer hike, or otherwise touch the earth in calming natural settings.
Sit by Yourself in Silence or Meditate: The importance of sitting with yourself on a daily basis cannot be understated as you prepare for your Ayahuasca ceremony or retreat. Ayahuasca is a tool for recognizing, understanding, and healing the root causes of our physical ailments, mental anxieties and insecurities, emotional imbalances, and spiritual bodies. During ceremony you will be forced to look deeply at your thought patterns, your habitual behaviors, and nearly every other aspect of your life. By sitting with yourself in silence for between 10 minutes to an hour a day, you can start to feel what aspects of your internal, familial, and social lives need realignment and healing. This intuitive knowledge will greatly enhance your experience with the medicine and will allow the healing that you receive from the Ayahuasca to be much more comprehensive and easy to integrate after your ceremony.
Limit Screen Time: We all use technology to some degree in our daily lives. Depending on our professional vocation, our level of addiction to Whatsapp and Facebook, or the number of shows that we binge watch, that use can distract us from our internal worlds by allowing our minds to process stimulating external inputs. When the mind is occupied online or with our cellphones or televisions, there is no space for us to feel how we are doing in the depths of our beings. As Ayahuasca is a tool for gaining self-knowledge, healing the roots of past traumas, and reconnecting to Mother Earth, we need to be very aware of the inputs that we are absorbing in the weeks leading us to our Ayahuasca ceremony or retreat. If you must use technology, use it consciously and avoid violent, sexual, or otherwise disturbing content.
Abstain from Sexual Activity and Limit Physical Contact with Others: Shamanism and shamanic ceremonies are dedicated to the study, cleansing, and balancing of subtle energies. These energies are stored at all levels of our beings, and are present in each of us whether we recognize them or not. When we experience physical contact or sexual activity with other people, we absorb their energies. During the buildup to your Ayahuasca ceremony you should be focused on harmonizing your own energies and understanding them more profoundly. It is recommendable to avoid dancing at a club, bar, or concert, doing acroyoga with a partner, petting other people´s pets, getting massages or bodywork, and having sex. Having sex can be especially detrimental not only because of the level of absorption of the other´s energies, but also because release during orgasm may also greatly deplete the first and second chakra strength needed to work well with Ayahuasca.
Dream Journal: Keeping a dream journal can help us understand deeper parts of our subconscious that we normally do not have access to. This practice reaps the greatest benefits when is done for a month or more before ceremony.
Connect with Fire: If you have a fireplace or the opportunity to build a fire outside, take advantage of it. Ayahuasca ceremonies in Colombia include a ceremonial fire, and many ceremony participants who are able to work with the energy and warmth of the fire claim that it calms them, allows them to study more profoundly with the medicine, makes them feel more secure when the medicine is very active, and teaches them directly about themselves. When you light the fire, do so with an intention or prayer. What you say and think in front of those fires will be carried to the Great Spirit or greater consciousness or God through the medium of the smoke. Give thanks for your life and your blessings, and ask for what you and your loved ones envision to be manifested in your lives.
Smudge your House: If you have access to white sage, copal, cedar, sweetgrass, or other cleansing herbs, use them in your house. These plants refresh the energy of the spaces where they are used, which leaves us protected and with a calm and clear space to eat, work, socialize, and meditate. Smudging our bedrooms can also help us fall asleep more easily and can even give us more pleasant dreams. This practice is especially useful if we have a number of different people entering our homes.
Cook Your Own (Healthy) Food: We are what we eat, and in the buildup to an Ayahuasca ceremony this becomes a major point of emphasis. When we make our own food, we are able to put love, joy, and care into what we make. Moreover, we can choose our ingredients and ensure that we are eating the freshest and healthiest foods and that the preparation is clean and done in the way we desire. Cooking our own food is a way to promote self-love and awaken our internal healer. In addition, but cooking our own food in the buildup to our ceremony or retreat we can avoid ingesting the potentially unbalanced and unhealthy energies that other chefs, cooks, or waitresses might inadvertently pass on to us. Lastly, cooking also gives us a greater appreciation for what we are ingesting and we can understand and feel that our food comes from our mother, the earth, and that it is a gift.
Do Exercise and Yoga: Exercising in the weeks before an Ayahuasca ceremony or retreat is another important form of self-love and care that aids our healing process with the plant. Depending on the strength of the brew, it can be extremely physically demanding. We need to be able to sit and work with the medicine all night and activating our physical bodies in the weeks leading up to the medicine will help us have stamina and strength.
Creative Expression: If you are a writer, write. If you are a painter, paint. Any form of creative expression that you choose to practice or explore will be a therapy for you and begin to put you in touch with the joy, vision, clarity, and love that you have within. These are the same elements that Ayahuasca will enhance, so why not jumpstart the process?
We have found that participants who are able to integrate these practices before retreats naturally continue these processes after the retreat. That continuity is extremely helpful to us physically, emotionally, and psychologically as we integrate the teachings from our experience with the medicines into our daily lives at home.
The ECA Family