Once you have decided that the time is right for you to take the shamanic plant medicine and experience a traditional ayahuasca ceremony, it is essential to prepare yourself well. A lot has been written about the so-called “ayahuasca diet” and many dietary guidelines can be found online. Even though it is important to adjust your diet and prepare your body physically for the ayahuasca experience (we will get back to this topic at the end of this text), there are 3 other essential customs that we would like to share with you from our experience. These customs will help you prepare your body, mind and soul for the experience and through them we show our willingness and commitment to truly dive into this process and to receive the healing we need.

1.      Reconnect to your inner world

It is important to also prepare your mind and soul for your ayahuasca journey. Drinking the ayahuasca tea will launch you into your own subconscious and can be experienced as very overwhelming. In order to get the most benefits out of the ayahuasca effects, it is essential that you set the time aside before your ceremony or ayahuasca retreat to reconnect to your inner world. Reconnecting to our inner world is something that we tend to forget in today’s fast-paced, external information-overloaded world. Our ever fast moving pace makes us easily caught up in the day-to-day. This reconnection can be done using many different practices. We will give you a few examples, but only you know best which practice helps you to go inside of yourself.

Meditate

The essence of meditation in our opinion is to set time aside to be with “what is”. To observe yourself, your body, your thoughts. Not to try to change anything, but to simply observe what is happening inside of you, without judgement. There are tons of different meditation techniques and guided meditations/visualizations available online if this is something that you feel you could use some guidance with. Simply set time aside to sit, lay or walk and connect to everything that is happening inside of you.

Write

Writing in a diary (for example) helps us to organize our thoughts and make them apprehensible. Simply letting the words flow from your hands (whether in writing by pen on paper or on a keyboard, do what works for you), helps you connect to what is happening inside of you. Remember: there is no right or wrong, it is not a task; simply let your thoughts and words flow.

Make art or music

What better way is there to connect to your inner world than to unleash your creativity. Even if you think you are not creative; we are all creative beings. Everyone has the potential to be creative, sometimes we have just forgotten how to. Just give it a try. Stepping aside from the day-to-day and immersing in a creative process might bring you to places (or insights!) that you haven’t had for a while.

Do NOTHING

When was the last time you allowed yourself to simply do NOTHING? If you are like most of us, you probably can’t even remember that time..! The art of doing nothing works in the same way as the practices above: stepping aside from the day-to-day and reducing our daily distractions, enables us to become more aware of our inner world.

2.      Tune in with your intention

Reconnecting to your inner world is an essential first step in order to prepare yourself for tuning in with your intention. Aside from setting time aside for that, you want to make sure that you get enough sleep and limit the intake of stimulants (which we will talk about in the dietary guidelines). These practices will help you “clear the way” for your intention to get to you. This can happen in the most subtle ways, through thoughts or feelings, but you can also guide this more directly. Sit down and ask yourself the question: “What is it that I want to learn, heal, release and explore with ayahuasca?”

3.      Let Go of Expectations!

We know how tempting it can be to keep on watching YouTube videos and reading blogs about other people’s experiences. And even though it is important to prepare yourself well for your ayahuasca experience, at some point it is important to let go of all of this! For most people, their first ceremony is an experience that they have been living towards for months, sometimes even years. If you keep immersing yourself in other people’s experiences you might subconsciously set expectations of what you will experience. However, you really want to come with an open and humble mindset, surrendering to the experience and letting whatever happens happen. You will get exactly what you need, even though this might be different from what you want.

Dietary Guidelines – What (not) to Eat Before Ayahuasca

A good preparation is essential for a good ayahuasca experience. The 3 essential customs outlined before will help you preparing your mind and soul for the ceremony. In addition, you want to prepare your body by considering what to consume and what not. The following dietary guidelines describe the most important recommendations.

What to eat?

Fresh and healthy foods are the way to go about this diet. Eat fresh food as much as possible, such as potatoes, legumes, vegetables and fruits as well as grains, such as bread, rice, cereals and pasta and try to avoid food from a box. In terms of meat, if you are not a vegetarian, it is best to limit yourself to (minimal amounts of) chicken, turkey and (fresh) fish. Drink lots of water!

What not to eat?

  • Red meat and pork
  • Alcohol (incl. non-alcoholic beer/wine)
  • Cannabis or street drugs
  • (Most) Medications and supplements (incl. nose spray!)
  • Junk foods (incl. ice cream)
  • Sparkling drinks (incl. diet sodas and energy drinks)
  • Limit stimulants, like refined sugar or caffeine
  • Limit the intake of salt and too much spices (spicy food)
  • Foods that contain the amino acid “tyramine”, such as fermented products, old cheeses or overripe bananas/avocados (under normal circumstances this is not a problem, but when we have a MAO inhibitor active in our system, tyramine can cause a release of adrenaline, leading to headaches, sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure)
A more specific list of substances you can’t consume when preparing for an ayahuasca ceremony, can be found on our website acsauhaya.org.