Ayahuasca is a powerful medicinal plant brew that boosts physical and spiritual healing properties.
It can be drunk to help overcome addictions, manage depression, and relieve chronic pain.
If you’re interested in participating in an ayahuasca session, there are 22 things you should do beforehand to prep your body and mind for the experience.
1) Do your research on the plant you will be drinking
Before your ayahuasca ceremony, you should do your research on the plant you will be drinking, known as ayahuasca.
There are many plants that can produce ayahuasca; the two most common are the plants Banisteriopsis caapi and Chagropanga.
The two plants combine to produce a brew that is used in ayahuasca ceremonies.
Some people have reported that other plants produce similar effects.
For example, the leaves of the plants Mitragyna, Diplopterys cabrerana, and Cedrus atlantica have been used to make ayahuasca.
However, the most common plant used in ayahuasca ceremonies is Banisteriopsis caapi.
2) Find a shaman
It is important to find a shaman who will guide your journey before attending an ayahuasca ceremony.
Because ayahuasca can awaken ancient and unresolved issues, the shaman who guides your journey is crucial to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.
There are many resources online where people go to find shamans
However, there are also many shamans in different parts of the world who don’t advertise their services online.
A good way to find a shaman is by asking around.
If you know someone who’s been through an ayahuasca session before, let them know about your intentions.
If no one knows where to get one or you want to become a shaman yourself, read about the historical origins of this practice and how it can be acquired.
Some indigenous cultures will even teach you how to prepare and use the plant in ceremonies after a period of apprenticeship.
3) Have faith – know that the spirit world is supporting you
There are many aspects of this practice that can be interpreted differently.
Some people believe that the spirit world is good and supportive and will help them (often in the form of seeing visions), while for others, the world is full of negativity.
The point is to be open to all possibilities.
But what if the result is that you end up achieving the opposite of what you’re searching for. You do more to harm yourself than to heal.
You may even hurt those around you.
In this eye-opening video, the shaman Rudá Iandé explains how so many of us fall into the toxic spirituality trap. He himself went through a similar experience at the start of his journey.
As he mentions in the video, spirituality should be about empowering yourself. Not suppressing emotions, not judging others, but forming a pure connection with who you are at your core.
If this is what you’d like to achieve, click here to watch the free video.
Even if you’re well into your spiritual journey, it’s never too late to unlearn the myths you’ve bought for truth!
4) Determine who you’ll be drinking with
Are you adventurous?
Will you be the one leading the ceremony?
Or perhaps you’ll want to sit back and watch while others weave their story.
Some people prefer a quiet ceremony, while others want to be in the leaders’ seats and experience visions.
In any case, you need to feel comfortable with who you’ll be drinking with.
And of course, there is a big difference between having fun with your friends and getting ripped off by an unscrupulous shaman!
So it all adds up to this:
Before your ayahuasca ceremony, make sure you understand how each person drinks.
And try to find people who have a reputable reputation for their work.
See if you can participate in other ceremonies with them, too. To make sure you’re on the same wavelength.
5) Practice gratitude and understand that you are giving back to the universe
Many people feel that the ceremony is a healing process.
So they come with negative emotions, and sometimes even add to their burden of karma by being impatient and blaming others.
It’s one thing not to judge others; it’s another to judge yourself.
So before you can heal yourself, first you need to heal your relationship with the universe.
It’s also worth practicing gratitude from time to time because this will make you appreciate the ayahuasca experience more, and give you better communication with your guides and spirit allies.
Worry about what doesn’t work for you first, then work out how to adjust it for a smooth ceremony experience!
By practicing gratitude, we allow ourselves to enjoy the ceremony more fully and truly connect with our guides so we can understand what is happening in our journey on earth right now.
6) Make a habit out of writing all your experiences during the experience
Here’s an interesting fact:
It’s normal to forget stuff.
Even if you write a full account of your experience afterward, chances are you won’t remember everything you say.
So even if your ceremony is a hit and you really loved it, there’s no point in writing down every little detail.
The more you practice this habit in advance, the easier it will be to keep up while drinking!
You can do this by writing several paragraphs after the ceremony, or keeping a journal with notes on what happens during each session.
Keep track of any experiences you had afterward that weren’t quite in the “spiritual experience” category as well.
- When did I get scared?
- Why did we drink that medicine?
- What did I feel?
- Do I think I’ve said something stupid?
And so on… Write down all that stuff!
You might end up with a very unique and interesting account of your journey on ayahuasca
7) Take the right precautions for a smooth ceremony and safety during the experience
Some people believe that ayahuasca is some kind of magic potion that can cure everything and make you feel like a million dollars.
But the truth is, it’s not.
Even if you drink a session of ayahuasca without any health problems, the next time may bring different results.
So take some precautions in advance to ensure you don’t have any nasty surprises during your experience:
- Get a good night’s sleep before.
- Use an antihistamine if you have allergies or sensitive skin, or if you’ve had a reaction to other plants in the past.
- Bring some plastic gloves to wear for your hands, and eat lightly the day before.
- Check with your friend if they’re prepared for any risks of vomiting or diarrhea.
- Consider some simple relaxation techniques to prepare your mind and body for the experience.
You will remember most of what happens during the ceremony, but you may need to set down a few notes in case stuff is still playing on your mind.
The most important thing is to be healthy. And keeping yourself well physically will benefit your healing more than anything else.
8) Find a ceremonial space
The space where you drink can make a big difference in your experience.
For example, a sacred place, such as a church or temple with lit candles and incense, is more likely to bring the divine into your ceremony.
A messy living room with a TV in the background may sound relaxing but it’s not spiritual enough for an ayahuasca experience.
A traditional house may be perfect if you want to meditate and listen to music in serene harmony.
But it’s not ideal if you will be trying to participate in a ceremony for the first time.
So depend on yourself to define how the space you use to drink should be.
Try to picture a place where you feel connected with the universe and where you want to be comfortable.
It can be a hotel room, a forest, or even your own house! Just find out what works for you!
9) Be open to new experiences
Some people want to drink with their friends and have a nice relaxing day in the woods.
Others want to be shown a whole new lifestyle, heal old emotional wounds, or find out the meaning of life.
Each person has their own expectations.
But you should remember that you may not get exactly what you dream of. And you will have to adjust to the visions and messages that come through your guides.
So be prepared.
Sometimes people go through a lot of physical discomforts during their experience; they may vomit, get diarrhea, make loud noises or even go mad.
It’s easy to lose your cool during the ceremony. And you may even need to take it easy next time.
But don’t be afraid to take your guides seriously and to try new things.
It’s okay if you don’t get everything right the first time, so long as you gain a lot of wisdom and experience.
The more you practice, the better job you will do next time.
10) Set boundaries before the ceremony
Remember, ayahuasca isn’t just a drink like tea. It’s a powerful medicine that may change your life forever.
So be aware that you need to set boundaries to protect yourself.
You need to establish what you can and cannot cope with during the experience, depending on your personality and experience.
Here are some examples:
You might want to try a few sessions of ayahuasca with your friends, but after one or two sessions, you might be uncomfortable and want to stop.
You may have that feeling when the medicine has taken over all your senses and you are no longer in control.
Or when you have lost consciousness and have no ability to communicate anymore. Or if your fear goes too far or is unmanageable.
So you need to know how much and when to stop in advance. A good way to set your limits is to write them down.
You’ll be able to see what’s happening in the session and know that you are not doing anything you can’t handle.
It will also give you a chance to take care of yourself and have a break before or after the ceremony if that’s necessary.
11) Put on some good music, meditate, and prepare yourself mentally
If you are new to ayahuasca, there will be a lot to take in.
The first time is overwhelming and can give you both physical and mental challenges.
So try these tips (or even combine them) to get the most out of the experience:
Prepare your body and mind with some of the following like a good diet, exercise, yoga, or meditation.
But I get it, you may be busy and can’t find the time for these things.
If that’s the case, I highly recommend watching this free breathwork video, created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê.
Rudá isn’t another self-professed life coach. Through shamanism and his own life journey, he’s created a modern-day twist to ancient healing techniques.
The exercises in his invigorating video combine years of breathwork experience and ancient shamanic beliefs, designed to help you relax and check in with your body and soul.
After many years of suppressing my emotions, Rudá’s dynamic breathwork flow quite literally revived that connection.
And that’s what you need:
A spark to reconnect you with your feelings so that you can begin focusing on the most important relationship of all – the one you have with yourself.
So if you’re ready to say goodbye to anxiety and stress, check out his genuine advice below.
12) Eat a well-balanced diet a few days before your ceremony
A good diet is essential for anyone embarking on a new experience.
You may try ayahuasca with friends on the same day, but it’s not recommended.
It takes time to take effect, and you’re much more likely to get inebriated if you’ve abstained from alcohol or marijuana.
So I recommend that you do your best to prepare before your ceremony.
Start by eating a healthy diet with some fruit and vegetables, but don’t overdo it.
If you are going to a sacred space, I also suggest avoiding meat and alcohol.
If you are going to a modern location, you can probably eat normally.
So I recommend that you eat something before the ceremony, or bring some with you. This way, your body will be ready for the ayahuasca experience.
13) Set intentions before your ceremony
As important as it is to set boundaries, it’s also important to set intentions.
Your intentions are the most important part of any ceremony.
It’s your goals and desires, and what you want to get out of the experience.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what exactly you want or need. That will always come together with time and experience.
All that matters is that your top priority is clear in your mind before you start drinking ayahuasca.
So write down your intentions and try to visualize them while you are in the ceremony.
But do also remember to tune out any thoughts that don’t serve you or take you toward your intentions.
You might imagine that a friend is talking to you, but that person may not still be around by the end of the ceremony.
And if you can’t tune out negative thoughts, it’s safer to keep them in mind during your journey.
It’s important to know that your intentions may change during the ceremony.
They will be easier to read and communicate with your team of guides.
So set your intentions, visualize them more than once, and go into the ceremony with an open mind.
14) Get in contact with the people who will be part of your Ayahuasca Ceremony
Think about this for a moment:
How many people do you know who are going to be drinking ayahuasca on the same day as you?
Not many, right? That’s because a simple drink like ayahuasca is not so easy to get.
It takes a lot of coordination between different people, and it can be difficult to find other people who are willing to drink with you.
Ayahuasca is also highly illegal in most countries. So it’s more of an underground spiritual practice than a popular drink.
So you’ll probably be drinking with a group of strangers.
And I suggest finding people who, like you, are serious about healing.
Make sure that they know what they’re getting themselves into and don’t expect them to take care of you either.
And if needed, you can make clear agreements with them before the ceremony regarding what’s allowed and what’s not.
15) Get to know your plant supplier
Getting the correct ayahuasca, or admixture is essential to your ceremony.
It takes time and effort to find a reputable vendor who is dedicated to the quality of their admixture, and who carries out all necessary safety checks.
As a rule of thumb, try to avoid the really cheap options as quality is more important than price.
You can also find some local suppliers online who will ship across the country.
Or you can ask your shaman for advice. They might even be able to point you to a reliable local supplier.
You can also ask them about their own experience with different suppliers and the taste of the brews they have tried.
16) Drink responsibly
People often decide to drink ayahuasca because they have a problem that they want to fix.
That can range from eating disorders to drug and alcohol problems, or just the stress of modern life.
And if you’re like me, you may be exhausted from the fast pace of urban life and looking for something more meaningful.
But there is one thing we all share:
A tendency to overdo things and neglect our bodies by focusing too much on our problems.
So drink ayahuasca responsibly, in a good environment, and with people you respect.
Ayahuasca will help you find answers and make decisions, but it won’t do the work for you.
You are the one who has to change for the better, and use your experience as a compass in that journey.
Also, consider keeping a journal before and after your ceremony to monitor any significant changes in your behavior or habits.
17) Respect your guides
You’re not going to be able to do everything on your own, even if you’re an experienced shaman.
So it’s important to respect the people who will help you navigate the other world.
You’re going to be with them for some time, so it’s better to get along and have a relaxed day.
Also, keep in mind that they might help you with the medicine when you need it.
So before your ceremony, you might want to talk to your team of guides.
Pay attention to who is being nice and helpful. And don’t forget to thank them after the ceremony.
18) Prepare a map of the ceremony
It’s important to know where to go and how to get there, especially in a sacred space.
So make sure that you have a map of your ceremony with all the important locations marked on it.
You can even put little notes on it to remind you of the important steps you might want to follow.
And don’t forget to ask for directions!
You might get distracted by sounds and visions, but that just means that your inner guidance system is picking up on things.
And if you do get lost, remember that everybody is around you, and the guides will help you find your way back home.
19) Know what kind of guides you need
Guides can be anything.
They can appear as animals, people, plants, or elements.
And they should always be seen as helpers and friends.
But not everyone needs the same guides. You might need a spirit of nature to help you with your relationship with it or the spirits of plants that you work with on a regular basis.
Some people also like to talk with their ancestors in ceremonies because they see them as role models.
And there are people who believe that they need to make contact with their own animal spirit to get the most out of their medication.
So if you aren’t sure, ask your shaman what kind of guides they use in their ceremonies.
And also keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to empower the plants and spirits of nature through the ceremony.
20) Prepare a list of the things you want to say in the ceremony
Sometimes the most powerful change comes from simply saying things out loud.
You can also use ayahuasca for self-expression and venting emotions.
And that’s fine, as long as you don’t hurt other people.
If you want to talk about your problems, do it to the team of guides and don’t forget to thank them afterward for their support.
But try not to think about the things you want to say, as it’s more personal than that.
It’s not really about you, but about healing and forgiveness.
And don’t forget that you might not be able to speak at all during the ceremony.
So if that happens, don’t worry. You can always talk to your guides when it’s over.
21) Don’t try to be the hero
You might have the best intentions in the world, and you might feel ready to help people.
But that doesn’t mean that your ceremony is going to be guided by a higher purpose than your own ego.
So if you expect ayahuasca to give you an opportunity to be a hero on a mission, prepare for disappointment.
The medicine is powerful, yes.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to be in control of it all the time.
It doesn’t even have to be about you, and learning to live with less control is an important part of the experience for many people.
Ayahuasca will show you the way. Just trust it and enjoy the ride.
22) Have fun!
Many people go to an ayahuasca ceremony because they are tired of their life or they want to change.
But there is no reason why you can’t travel the path with a smile!
Ayahuasca is healing medicine, so it’s always nice to take something positive home with you.
So enjoy the ceremony and have fun, and don’t forget that even if you can’t see the spirit animals, it’s not all your imagination.
And remember that it’s okay if you see a bad spirit and you don’t like it. You can always ask them to leave or look away.
But also remember that every spirit animal always has a purpose to help you, even if it doesn’t look like it at first sight.
We have covered 22 steps to plan a successful ayahuasca ceremony.
Some of the steps are important, and others are just fun ideas to make your ceremony even more meaningful.
But no matter what you choose, remember that ayahuasca is not a journey for everybody.
And it’s important to respect the plants and spirits of nature.
Because ayahuasca is not just a substance that you can use on a whim.
It’s medicine with a purpose that you have to understand before using it or you’ll never really benefit from it.
So if you are interested in exploring medicine, take it easy, and don’t forget to ask your shaman or curandera a lot of questions.
They will guide you through the process and make sure that you have an amazing time with the ayahuasca plant.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into place
It may sound conceited or narcissistic to focus on loving yourself first. But it’s not.
The point isn’t to believe you’re better than others or to accept things about yourself that you really do need to change.
It’s about developing a healthy and nurturing relationship with… you!
Loving yourself is about committing to who you are, understanding the many different nuances to your identity, and showing yourself a level of care and intimacy that we usually reserve for other people.
Unfortunately, we’re not taught how to love ourselves from an early age. And we end up caring about what others think of us rather than focusing on what we need at a more fundamental level.
This is why we partnered with Rudá Iandê to produce a free masterclass on transforming our relationships through the practice of self-love.
It’s currently playing on The Vessel (one of our partners) but only for a limited time.
Thousands have attended and told us that the masterclass has completely transformed their relationships for the better.
It’s a must-watch and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.