South American people have believed for a long time that the path to healing begins with ayahuasca, a sacred South American tea.
The Western World is starting to catch on. As people share their stories about transformation, it’s created a trend for others to look to ayahuasca retreats as a path to improve their lives.
Silvia Polivoy, a licensed psychotherapist, is founder of the Spirit Vine-Ayahuasca Retreat in South America, and points out that, “Success isn’t just about drinking the tea. It’s also about the workshops where people learn the tools to integrate the lessons long after their return.”
Polivoy continued, adding that an ayahuasca retreat is “therapy for the spirit,” a place where one can confront the demons causing repetitive behaviors. The tea, a South American brew created from plants, allows for a profound experience.
SPIRIT VINE-THE HOME OF AYAHUASCA
The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat is the “home of ayahuasca.” It is a seven-day, fully immersive program that includes yoga, meditation, and workshops, such as regressions, visionary art, soul release, group shares and more. An important aspect of the program is the “Spirit Vine Diet,” a gluten-free diet that includes organic produce and eliminates all salt, sugar, and fermented foods.
Polivoy, says, “Every month the nonprofit center receives people from all over the world who feel the call of the jungle and are interested in spiritual development and aligning with their essence. Every aspect of our program is designed to balance and harmonize the body.”
THE AYAHUASCA CEREMONY
At the center of the program is the “Ayahuasca Ceremony.” a spiritual journey led by Shamans. It is also here where people drink ayahuasca tea. The South American brew is created from two plants and modifies consciousness to stimulate the senses so people can experience a deeper spiritual journey.
“Ayahuasca is trendy now, but there is a lot of speculation about the plant, with people buying ayahuasca on the Internet, or drinking it without supervision and with people who are not prepared. This can put their lives at risk,” says Polivoy, “ Some foods, even healthy ones like nuts and avocados are contraindicated to ayahuasca. We also know that most traumatized people tend to self-medicate, either with unhealthy diets, alcohol or chemical substances.”
She continues: “Give at least one week of your life to drink ayahuasca in the proper setting and to take the time to understand the important spiritual messages you’ll be receiving, with the techniques to apply them to life after the retreat.”
Polivoy also adds that it is still possible to experience an ayahuasca retreat without drinking the tea.
“Many people come to our retreats and they don’t drink ayahuasca, but they come anyway to participate in our powerful workshops,” she said, “because they bring key information needed to start the process of transformation and spiritual healing.
TAKING A VACATION INTO THE SPIRIT WORLD
Spirit Vine Founder Silvia Polivoy, Ph.D, is a psychologist who was in private practice for 20 years, specializing in modified states of consciousness.
She conducted extensive field research in Mexico and studied with Maztelec shamans. She also worked extensively with ayahuasca.
Gradually, she transformed completely and began hosting ayahuasca spiritual retreats in Peru and the Brazilian Amazon. In 2004 she opened The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat, one of many retreats of this nature popping up in South America.
THE ROLE OF THE SHAMAN
Polivoy started traveling for work with Shamans, who were actually considered to be the first physicians, manipulating energy to enter the invisible world at will through altered states while maintaining self-control as they move within and without them.
Shamans draw from the relationship that exists between the invisible realms and the realm of ordinary life as we know it and, although they employ a variety of techniques, they deliberately alter their state of consciousness to find knowledge obtained from the hidden spirit world.
THE SPIRIT VINE DIET
The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca diet is an important component, because it supports the idea of harmony. It cleanses and detoxes the person, helping them to prepare for the profound experience given with the tea. “You will need to be ready to confront your demons,” she says.
It includes vegetarian and vegan eating and pairs these practices with strict restrictions on certain foods that are contraindicated to ayahuasca. That includes: heavy spices, fermented foods, sugar, salt and all additives and flavorings.
The diet is really the ultimate in clean eating- -a practice that has been linked to better emotional well-being, longevity and overall health.
The diet features local foods, explaining that local growers and farmers benefit from the purchase of their products, plus the vegetables and fruits were less likely to be grown or cultivated with harmful chemicals.
Water served in the diet is very clean and free of harmful chemicals, like fluoride.
These non-tainted fruits and vegetables and sparkling water set the stage for a complete and effective spiritual experience and a cleanse of the body.
The diet does not contain meat in any form, nor does it endorse the use of alcohol or tobacco. As such, tobacco products and alcohol are strictly forbidden at many facilities.
The experience is focused on cleansing the body and attaining a greater understanding of the world through ancient practices and customs, such as the ritual of fasting, designed to bring focus and balance to one’s life and embraced not only by Indian yogis, but also Socrates, Aristotle and Founder of Modern Medicine, Hippocrates.
As the Western world is starting to see these retreats as being places of deep meditation and realization, more and more people are flocking to the facilities for an experience that will change their lives.
IN SUMMARY–FINDING BALANCE WITHIN
Just as modern-day yoga is based on five basic principles created by Swami Sivananda, so is the program at the Spirit Vine Ayahuasca Retreat Center. The five principles include: relaxation, exercise, diet, thinking and meditation. The idea is that all work together to create a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit.
“We are a non profit, non denominational organization so our profile is not commercial,” said Polivoy, “ and safety is our first priority; therefore, it is an alcohol-tobacco-drug free zone.”
She continued: “We only accept participants who understand the value of a right set and setting, we don’t sell ayahuasca nor give just ceremonies.”