Team2019-10-29T13:21:36+00:00

The Team

Book my Retreat >
“30 years of experience as ayahuasquera …”

Maestra Doña Asencia Sánchez Canayo

Born on the 20th October of 1948, in the native community of Puerto Nuevo, within the ethnic group Shipibo-Conibo , in the Amazon region of Ucayali, Peru. She has 30 years of experience carrying out Ayahuasca ceremonias, and currently she is 70 years old. Her speciality is Ayahuasca. Doña Asencia leads Ayahuasca ceremonies at her own center located in the jungle few hours away from the city of Pucallpa, in Ucayali: the Healing Center Wasan Yaka.

She has the ability to immerse us in the spiritual world, with diets, the Master Plant Ayahuasca and the wonderful initiation into the world of the jungle and the Shipibo-Conibo culture, where she comes from, where she belongs. Doña Asencia is named in different ways, Shaman, Chamana, Naturalist doctor, wise senior lady of the Amazon jungle, grandmother Asencia, and so on. She doesn’t speak Spanish, she speaks the language from where she comes from: Shipibo-Conibo.
Her companion and translator who helps with the Spanish is Santos Muñoz Sánchez.

Since she was a little girl she was instructed to be a Shaman, “like the original ones” says Doña Asencia. She is also a midwife (doula), and since her early years she used to combine her skills in crafts-making with midwifery.
In the jungle where she was born and she grew, from the age of 8 years she was prepared to do what she does. In those times there were no roads, neither hospitals nor health centers – so what could we do, says Doña Asencia? “We had to learn. From generation to generation. Learn all the “secrets” of the plants that the spirit gives us as a gift for all that we need.”

Doña Asencia works with Medicinal Plants, she has infinities of healing methods both acting in the physical and spiritual levels, and her knowledge was acquired from Generation to Generation.
When she was a baby she suffered from a severe illness, and was miraculously healed. the Spirits of the Jungle where the ones that healed her, Doña Asencia says.

Her Godmather´s name was Wasanyaka – and she gave her name to Asencia. Asencia´s current name in the language of Shipibo is Wasanyaka (means “Bird of fire”.)
Her father and mother were doctors, and used to work with the medicine Ayahuasca, as well as Her grandfather and grandmother. As a little girl, Asencia was watching carefully how they would cook and prepare the Ayahuasca.
At the age of 15 years old, she started to prepare the medicine herself, and after that started to participate in ceremonies of healing with Ayahuasca.

in all of her practices, Doña Asencia sings and invokes the power of the jungle to heal, the power of Mother Earth (Pachamama) to embrace, and to deliver infinite, unconditional love. In the Ayahuasca ceremonies her songs, her Icaros, bring us closer to the divine. She makes us feel like children with her Icaros, and brings us back to the innocence of our inner child.
Doña Asencia is widely known in Peru for her wisdom and knowledge. She has participated and participates actively in women gatherings, women circles, festivals and events of medicine-music in Lima and Cusco, and has traveled abroad within South America, to Argentina, for events and women gatherings in 2010 and 2014.
FB page of Asencia – CENTER OF ASENCIA: Centro de Sanacion Wasan Yaka

Maestro Elias Rengifo Pizango

Elias Rengifo Pizango, Maestro Ayahuasquero from Peru belongs to the ethnic group Shipibo Conibo and lives in Pucallpa. He comes from a strong lineage of maestros. He followed the footsteps of his father, maestro Don Nicanor Rengifo Bautista. His name in Shipibo is PANSHIN SHEKA.

He has over 23 years of experience, as an ayahuasca maestro, leading ayahuasca ceremonies throughout Peru. When doing ceremonies in the Imperial City of Cusco,he received the energy of his ancestors, the powerful Incas, and where he received the flag of 7 colors of the powerful Kingdom of Tawantinsuyo.

His father, Don Nicanor Rengifo Bautista was his teacher, who worked very hard and gained much respect for his work as a healer among the Shipibo Conibo community.
Elias has a lot of of experience with participants coming from abroad. Spiritual seekers are coming from all over the world to Peru to do deep inner work with him. To date he receives his particpants in Pucallpa and Cusco.

Elias receives his Icaros during the ceremonies, when he is in “mareacion” thanks to the connection with the medicinal sacred plants.
Elias is a Maestro Ayahuasquero that loves his work, and dedicates his life to this important work, with respect and humility. He is thankful to receive the gift of life, and feel honored that the spirit of ayahuasca is channeled through him, healing people from all over the world.

Ronald Rivera

Ronald Rivera Cachique, born on 27 October 1967, is a well-known Ayahuasca Maestro from Pucallpa, the capital of the Amazon region of Ucayali, Peru. He is highly experienced, gentle, caring, and deeply dedicated to healing. He leads ayahuasca and tobacco ceremonies at his own center, “Ayahuasca Sabiduria”, in the Amazonian rainforest in Pucallpa (Peru), as well as in several other countries in South America.

Ronald studied philosophy at La Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marco (a State University in Lima, Peru). These roots in philosophy, turned out to be a great foundation for his work as an Ayahuasca Maestro. He eventually decided to fully dedicate his life to working with this sacred plant medicine. He has now 23 years of experience as ayahuasquero.

Play

Ronald grows his own organic ayahuasca plants and harvests them in a sustainable manner. His brew is prepared only from the Chacruna bush and the Ayahuasca vine (Banasteriopsis Caapi). There are no additives in his brew. During the ceremony, he sings his own icaros, which he receives from the plants.

Ronald was featured by the documentary maker Seti Gershberg (thepathofthesun.com) and has been interviewed in several other occasions about Ayahuasca throughout the years.

Ronald is also active as a traditional Maestro Ayahuasquero in the “Instituto Nimairama”, an institute of transcultural health and traditional medicines, dedicated to integrating healthcare, sacred plant medicine and the knowledge and wisdom of native and indigenous shamanism.

He also wrote two books about Ayahuasca: “Ayahuasca de la Selva su Espíritu” and “Arte con Ayahuasca” and he is now writing the third one!

Interview with Ronald2019-05-02T13:46:58+00:00
Why do you dedicate your life to ayahuasca?

“I am a person who is full time devoted to ayahuasca. I have a center 30 kilometers from Pucallpa, where I receive people to do sessions. The meaning of my existence is to be ayahuasquero. Moreover, and that differentiates me from other ayahuasqueros, because of my education in philosophy, I have this call to share something, to inform and explain what we are talking about. And I chose this specialty: art, that’s why I work on this project called “Art with Ayahuasca”, but the truth is that I feel so energetic that I will open myself to other areas later.”

What is the power of Ayahuasca?

“Ayahuasca has the virtue of making you think things that you would never think of in an ordinary state of consciousness. Ayahuasca, allows you an extraordinary state of consciousness that is unparalleled with the ordinary state of being. They are two qualitatively different levels of consciousness.”

What is required to benefit the most out of an Ayahuasca ceremony?

“A session with ayahuasca is something, it requires a lot of dedication, it is not something that can be done one day and is something else the next day. The people who come to my center are not tourists, they are people from abroad who come exclusively to the jungle to die with the plant. The purpose of the trip is not fun, but healing.

Ayahuasca helps us to be authentic people. The ayahuasca, makes us clear what the meaning of our existence is.

There are many people who pretend to be healthy, but deep down their lives have no meaning. Initiation in the spiritual world with ayahuasca promotes a way of life that people realize in all areas of their lives. Ayahuasca, forms a new type of person. An evolved and superior man.”

Therapeutical ayahuasca facilitator
René van der Zouwen

René is definitely not your average ayahuasca facilitator! His devotion to helping people heal and acquiring a life of higher possibility is just as remarkable as the journey that got him there…

René was born in the east of Holland, which is known for its down-to-earth country wisdom. He has always been the linking pin between people and what people need. His playful curiosity and vigorous energy led him to start a business, in which he invested all of his time and energy. Sadly, when the global financial crisis hit in 2008, the business he loved so dearly was affected as well.

While his business came crashing down, it felt like his personal life came down with it and he saw everything he had worked for in his whole life slowly slipping through his fingers… Feeling completely devastated and dissatisfied with how life treated him, this period led him into a negative spiral, and ultimately into depression.

His search for healing led him astray on many paths, until he finally came to ayahuasca. What happened completely blew his (conscious) mind: after just one ceremony, René was no longer plagued by his anxiety, overly negative thinking and his depression. He even shed off his fear of death. It was in this amazingly profound and deep first ceremony, that he felt spiritually awakened and came to understand that the business life he lived before was completely hollow.

René was instantly triggered and became determined to know everything possible about this sacred medicine! He spent many hours passionately researching all there was written about ayahuasca and her miraculous transformational power and quickly became knowledgeable. Of course, he didn’t just do desk research, he attended all kinds of different ayahuasca ceremonies, expanding his knowledge and experience to work with the medicine.

René noticed by then that there were basically three types of ceremonies; shamanic, religious (Santo Daime) and New Age type of ceremonies. He found beauty in each type of setting and noticed the mother will always work her ways (regardless of setting)… But at the same time, he felt like a big group was being left out of the healing experience of ayahuasca. These were people that didn’t feel attracted to these more ritualistic settings, but who wanted to experience ayahuasca in a down-to-earth type of setting, not dominated by rules nor ritual. Simply a loving place and a safe space, where anyone in need could come home to, to be truly accepted as they are.

Before long, René created his own setting: first just for friends, but quickly for friends of friends, and so on. Along the lines of his experience, the audience grew steadily as well, resulting in the by now well-known European ayahuasca center Om-Mij. Om-Mij has proven to be an exemplary reputation for stringent safety protocols and compassionate care.

Together with a team of more than 45 people, working with therapists, psychologists, and even doctors, the Om-Mij center has successfully guided thousands of participants from all over the globe. On top of that, René has proudly witnessed over 20 new ayahuasca centers being established by people who started at Om-Mij, either as a participant or a guide, spreading a wave of love, healing and higher consciousness across Europe.

It was in the beginning of 2018 that Rene felt that his task at Om-Mij was fulfilled. His strong intuition led him to a new path: to connect people not just with the plant, but with the authentic shamanic ceremony that thus far can only be found in the Amazon. For many people a traditional Amazonian ceremony isn’t accessible, not only because of high cost and long travel times, but also because of the language gap and untrustworthiness of shamans. Last but not least, uncomfortable accommodation conditions scare off many Westerners, as they don’t feel comfortable to take on a sacred journey in the midst of the jungle, accompanied by snakes and big insects…

This is where René started the Acsauhaya organization: a place where he can bring the Amazonian healers and their ancient wisdom to modern day Europe, seamlessly merging the best of both worlds. Something you could consider a reflection the journey René made himself: combining his down-to-earth, practical approach with a big heart, true compassion and profound spiritual depth.

During ceremonies, René is known for his strong presence, calmness and confidence. He intuitively knows just when to hold space to let the medicine do her work and when to offer some extra guidance or care. He seems to have never lost his playful curiosity and energy, but he is combining it with sincere (com)passion for all, and he is for many people a true friend and healer on the spiritual path.

Support Team/Guides

Our support team has three main goals: to make sure you are physically safe and comfortable, to make sure you feel emotionally safe and welcomed to surrender to the medicine, and to support the integration of your journeys. All our staff members have personal experience with ayahuasca healing and are deeply committed to self-awakening. They have been through the challenges and difficulties of many years of deep healing. From this experience they can hold space for you and offer you authentic compassion, loving kindness, empathy and a genuine willingness to help you.

Our support team members regard it as a privilege to guide and support you when you do your deep inner work with us and treat you how they (would have) liked to be treated during their own healing process.

Attending an ayahuasca ceremony is an extremely exciting event for most people. You set out on the path to meet unknown people in an unfamiliar environment, and so it is extremely important that you feel heard, welcomed and accepted.

Besides, working with ayahuasca can be very confronting and requires the willingness to live through emotional and physical pain when needed, for the higher cause of releasing your internal blockages. Acsauhaya’s support team is there to remind you of your courage and determination in these vulnerable, difficult moments. We will remind you of your inner strength, wisdom, and ability to let go and trust the medicine.

Acsauhaya’s commitment stretches beyond the dates of the retreat; it begins with medical and psychological screening during the booking procedure and continues after the retreat through our integration support. Your well-being and safety are paramount to us! We are constantly working on providing a safe and comfortable environment for you to get the most out of your ayahuasca healing experience with us.

Besides the support team and the integration guidance that will be present at the retreat, behind the scenes there’s a network of affiliated therapists (psychologists, psychotherapists, doctors, facilitators of breath work and body work, etc.) that are there for you as well.

Acsauhaya’s support team is there to help you finetune and focus your intentions before the ceremonies, to hold safe space that will allow you to surrender completely to the medicine during the ceremonies, and to support the integration of your “newly upgraded self” after the ceremony. If you want to read more about the Retreat Support Program, click here.

Volunteers

There is a dedicated team of volunteers active behind the scenes of Acsauhaya. Without them, we would never be able to manifest such a big “movement”/community. We are eternally grateful for everyone that contributes to this project in any way possible.

If you possess useful skills and would like to contribute as well in any form or shape, we would like to hear from you.

I want to volunteer at Acsauhaya