Generally speaking, the biggest challenge isn’t achieving a transformative experience, its implementing the lessons learned after the retreat ends.
Following a retreat its common to feel increased joy, gratitude and purpose; however, maintaining these states when returning to the world is not easy. It requires tremendous faith and commitment.
When leaving the protected space of the jungle, we typically return to the same stresses and responsibilities as before. Our lifestyle habits and maladaptive coping mechanisms remain deeply ingrained into our neurological and biochemical makeup. These tendencies won’t simply go away following a retreat, but will likely remain for the rest of our lives.
Consequently, there is a very real risk of regressing to previous patterns of being, and the related thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. However, with renewed awareness, individuals can now respond to life differently than previously — this is the essence of integration.
Perhaps the most important element in integration is to have infinite patience and compassion with ourselves.
The habits we’re working to change often have their origin in childhood, and have been deeply ingrained and reinforced throughout our lives. The reality is that regressions and relapses happen. After the retreat, we may again find ourselves overwhelmed and act out in self-destructive ways. It’s especially imperative in these moments to extend kindness and patience to ourselves. We must recommit to learning from the experience and doing better next time.
At Pisatahua, we are committed to supporting your post-retreat integration. Our staff is here to assist you throughout this transitional period. During a retreat, we provide specific integration techniques and hold optional group discussions. After a retreat, we continue to stay in touch and encourage you to contact our staff anytime.
Post Dieta: A Traditional Ayahuasca Integration Practice
The duration of the ‘post-dieta’ depends on the length of the retreat and the plant(s) dieted. Generally speaking, guests should avoid heavily processed foods and consume a high ratio of fresh fruits and vegetables. A light vegetarian diet is recommended. Individuals should consume lots of water and avoid non-natural cosmetic products.
Following a 9-day retreat, we recommend avoiding the following for a minimum of one week:
- Alcohol or Drugs
- Pork or Red Meat
- Fermented or Fried Foods
- Processed Sugars
- Coffee/ Stimulants
- Non-natural Cosmetics
- Intense Physical Exercise
Plant medicines can expand your consciousness and teach you profound lessons. To navigate this new terrain, its important to give yourself time to anchor your expanded awareness. Time to discover and process the insights received during the retreat.
Further Ayahuasca Integration Suggestions and Techniques:
- Rest and allow time for contemplation of the insights obtained during the retreat.
- Pay attention to nutrition. Follow the post-dieta guidelines and hydrate.
- Wait a few weeks before implementing any major life changes/decisions.
- Don’t overshare your experience or try and make rational sense of it too early.
- Journal to recover lost aspects and help process emotions.
- Spend time in nature.
- Review your experience with regards to your original intention.
- Identify which aspects of your experience seem necessary to incorporate into your life.
- Practice yoga, meditation or other embodied spiritual practice.
- Contact Pisatahua staff for additional support.
The work carried out at Pisatahua is part of a process. Participants must also continue to integrate the experience into ‘real-life’. Without proper integration, the experience can become a fading memory.
More Information on Integration:
○ Intention Setting and Integration: How to Make the Most of a Psychedelic Experience by Wesley Thoricatha
○ Integrating a Psychedelic Experience Through Personal and Spiritual Practices by Psychedelic Times Staff
○ Integration: How To Get The Most Benefit From Your Ayahuasca Experience by Ocean Malandra
○ Integration of Ayahuasca Experiences by Susana Bustos, Ph.D.
○ Psychospiritual Integration of an Ayahuasca Retreat Experience (Video) by Deborah Quevedo
○ Entheogenic Research Integration & Education – A list of trained integration consultants