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High Impact Ayahuasca?!?! What is it? A deep dive on our unique approach to Ayahuasca -Part I

The following is an edited transcript of a video/ podcast we made describing our very unique Ayahuasca retreat format wherein we have 3 master shaman facilitating retreats with only 5 guests. In addition we are bringing in several other healing modalities. This approach is unlike any other in the Ayahuasca world right now. The outline of our retreats looks like this:

  • 5 Guests Maximum

  • 3 Master Shaman facilitating each ceremony

  • Boutique luxury lodging and food

  • Pre retreat coaching and post retreat integration by Michael

  • One on one Holographic Sound Healing sessions by Jess, Zach, Michael and Krista

  • 3 Illumination sessions by Zach

  • Daily practice exploration by Jess, Zach, Michael and Krista

  • Daily movement practices with individualized coaching by Krista

If you are curious to learn more about this unique retreat format, please read on….

Zach- Hi everyone. I'm Zach with LaFamilia Ayahuasca and I'm sitting with the other master shamans of LaFamilia Ayahuasca and this is…

Jess- Jess.

Michael- Hey everyone. I'm Michael.

Zach- So thanks for taking the time to watch this, this video in this video, we're going to do a couple of things. This is kind of a big video in the first 10 minutes or so we're going to give you an overview of our approach in working with Ayahuasca and how our retreats are formatted.

Our retreats are exceptionally unique, and so we'll, we'll do an overview of this new retreat format and kind of hit the high points. And then after that overview, we're going to dive deeper into each of the “special sauces”, so to speak.

Again, this is a very unique approach to working with Ayahuasca and, and we're really, really excited about it.

With that said let's, let's start with the most basic, most obvious difference that we have at LaFamilia Ayahuasca in our retreats compared to what you might find out in the broader Ayahuasca community. Michael, would you like to take that one?

Michael - Yeah. So in the broader Ayahuasca community, you know, on average, you're going to have a retreat with about 15 to 80 people.

In contrast, at La Familia Ayahuasca, we take five guests, max, and we have the three of us plus a senior student as the shaman/facilitators. This of course leads to far more personal attention and care for each guest on our retreats.

Zach- Yeah. And it's, it's also allows much more direct access to us, the shaman by the guests.

So if I'm a guest and I have questions about why is the medicine acting a certain way, or why am I experiencing medicine in XYZ way I can go to Zach, Jess or Michael and, and get that information directly from the master shamans.

When you are in a group of 15 to 80 people, the chances of you actually getting much one-on-one time with the shaman is pretty low.

Let's be clear. Most Ayahuasca retreats are running with about 15 to 30 guests. The 80 person retreat being somewhat of an outlier. At retreats like those, you're just not going to have direct access to the shaman like you would with us at La Familia Ayahuasca.

Jess- In addition, at a lot of retreats the shaman aren't necessarily around before or after ceremony ends each night. Often times, the shaman comes in for ceremony and then they leave immediately after ceremony. That is not how we operate. We are with the guests for the entire retreat. At least one of us is available 24hrs/ 7days.

This means there is always a shaman available to help, even outside of the official ceremony time frames.

We hang out with the guests, answer questions and talk about the really, really interesting and mysterious things that happen in the medicine space.

Zach- Yeah, absolutely. And this small group format also helps with the integration process. Again, this is because you can get your answers to questions directly from the shaman.

The other really obvious, straightforward thing is that we are going to have very luxury… boutique luxury accommodations and food.

What that means is there's a certain amount of, customization in terms of the food. The quality of the food is, going to be quite high. The food will be organic, locally sourced and we can accommodate different diets such as “Keto". That said, “raw vegan” diets might be a challenge in Mexico.

So we can do a lot of things with the menu that we just would not be able to do on larger retreats of 15 or more.

We also are going to bring in other healing modalities as part of the retreat. And again, this is something that in a larger group setting, you just can't offer as there are far too many people on the retreat.

In this small five-person retreat setting, we can really focus in on the individual and provide these other powerful healing modalities.

Speaking of these other healing modalities, let’s start off by touching on the coaching sessions included in the retreat. We will start with coaching because the sessions are going to happen prior to the retreat starting. Then, post retreat there is an integration coaching call as well.

Michael is our Alchemical Coach.

Michael, if you can kind of go through what the coaching schedule looks like in terms of pre-post retreat and then describe what your coaching approach is all about?

Michael- Yeah, so the scheduling around the coaching sessions is to set the first of two pre retreat Zoom video calls about 1.5 months prior to the retreat start date. This ensures both coaching calls are relatively fresh as the guests enter retreat.

The first coaching call is just what I call a “visioning session”. What we're doing during this call is really dialing in “how do you want to be in the world and in life”. It's not about finding a “what do you want to do”.

The idea is to envision what is your ideal “be-ing” state. What does that look like and what does that feel like. It's very much a “how do you want to feel in your body” exploration?

This work is about personal transformation and personal transformation is all about changing one’s way of being in the world. It is not about what one wants to do in the world.

Then the second coaching call is utilizing that “being state” goal as the compass, the north star. Then, using that compass, we dial in the intentions we want to bring to retreat. We tease out the negative patterns that are frustrating us in life. We can bring awareness around those frustrating patterns and then bring them into retreat for release and resolution.

We get very very specific as to what would be the most productive negative patterns to work on during retreat.

Now, as the retreat progresses, other patterns might arise in awareness and one can pivot mid retreat to work on those newly uncovered patterns if it is appropriate. That said, the coaching pre-retreat gives the guest a solid starting point to work with.

Zach- Being able to identify negative patterns is really key with this type of work. There is often a misunderstanding as to what a “pattern” is and Michael is extremely skilled at helping guests discover what those patterns are.

Many times, in my experience, I have come across people wherein there's some confusion and difficulty in figuring out, well, what, what do I need to work on?? They know something is definitely off, but they have a very hard time putting their finger on the specifics.

I have also had people come in to retreat or for a healing sessions with the intention of “I want to work on anger.” Well, anger, that is a bit broad. Let’s parse that down just a…A LOT.

A more productive course would be to parse it down to “how does that anger manifest in life that is irrational and detrimental to one’s relationships or work?” “Anger “ is super broad and is part of the human experience. We really can't get rid of that completely, but we can help one release specific anger patterns that show up in an irrational way over and over again.

Michael- Exactly. And, you know, sometimes there's surface level patterns that people tend to start off talking about, but in reality there's actually a more significant pattern underlying it. That is the deeper core pattern that would be most effective to release. That deeper pattern manifests as all these more superficial surface patterns, but the deeper current underneath it is that single deep pattern.

The deeper patterns are what we are going for during that second coaching call.

So, at the end of retreat or after retreat is completely over, there's an integration coaching session.

After the retreat is over the question is, “How do you want to integrate that experience?” “How do you want to approach stabilizing this new higher way of being?” So we'll work together during that last coaching session to customize your approach to integration.

We will make sure that you have the resources, support, and approach that is going to help you integrate and embody those lessons from the retreat in the most fruitful way possible.

Zach - Cool. So that is a great overview of the the coaching component. Again, that's two sessions prior to, and then one integration coaching session post retreat. This last coaching session could also be in person at the end of the retreat. It depends on where a guest is at once the last ceremony is over.

Once again, this is a highly individualized and customized approach.

Now let's move onto the more esoteric healing modalities. Let’s start off by talking about Holographic Sound Healing.

We’re going to be offering each individual a holographic sound healing session. And then throughout the Ayahuasca ceremonies there will be Holographic Sound Healing sessions during the Ayahuasca ceremonies.

The question is, what is Holographic Sound healing? At this point we are being very quick and dirty in this preliminary description here. Then, we're going to dive into a deeper dive on each modality after this first 10 to 15 minutes of the podcast.

Jess- So once you've gone through your coaching calls with Miguel or Michael and you've identified these patterns which can be mental patterns, emotional patterns, or even physical ailments we have an intention to work on.

Then, what we do in the sound healing session is we create a very specific energetic container. In that energetic container we infuse these identified negative patterns with intention via sound. In, so doing, we infuse your entire physical and energetic body with a higher vibration via sound. This then causes your whole system to resonate at a higher frequency, such that these negative patterns can be released. We're really pushing in that healing intention that you hold, which is based on that felt sense of who or how you want to be. And we're calling that in with frequency of sound.

Zach- Again, this is somewhat esoteric for some.

I do want to point out as we move on, that with all of these more esoteric practices or protocols, we've done them to each other and have received them ourselves. We wouldn't offer them if we didn't find them to be incredibly effective ourselves through our own direct experiences.

So that's it on Holographic Sound Healing for now and I guess it's back to me because during the retreat each guest will receive three Illumination sessions from me.

So,what is an illumination?

This is a protocol brought forth from the Andes of Peru by Dr. Alberto Villoldo of The Four Winds Society. It's it's from the Quero tribe in, in the Andes.

Essentially what we do is we take those negative patterns identified via the coaching calls with Michael and through the Illumination process we are able to remove or release those negative patterns.

These patterns are often frustrating patterns that has been very difficult for one to release via therapy, spiritual work, or even other plant medicine retreats.

As an aside, this point is exactly what drew me to the Illumination protocol to begin with. I had gone through thousands of Ayahuasca ceremonies and other plant medicine protocols, and yet I still had frustrating negative patterns that I just could not seem to release.

Further, all three of us have gone through similar experiences and recognized that we still had recurring negative patterns after a significant amount of personal work.

So I studied/trained with the Illumination process such that I became a Master Energy Medicine Practitioner through The Four Winds Society. Now, obviously I practice it. Subsequently we've found it to be amazing in terms of releasing these patterns that were not released through other modalities such as plant medicine, therapy and spiritual work.

So, again through the Illumination process we're able to release the pattern. We're also able to release any of the energy associated with the pattern. The energy associated with the pattern is that which kind of overtakes the mind so that we kind of lose control, and we do something irrational over and over again. Then we also, this is really important, we released the affinity for that negative pattern.

This last point is important because what can happen in therapy and plant medicine and with spiritual work like meditation is we can temporarily release a pattern. It goes away for a couple of weeks, couple of months. But then the pattern comes back. The reason it comes back is there's still an affinity left in our energetic system.

So if the affinity for the pattern is not released, we’re actually calling that same pattern to come back over and over again. This is even though we have these long breaks without the pattern. Obviously it can be quite frustrating to, to think “I'm already done with that issue.” And then the issue just keeps coming back over and over again.

So again, the illumination allows one to release the pattern itself, the energy associated with the pattern, and then any affinities associated with the pattern. It's truly shocking how effective the Illumination process is.

It's usually done outside of Ayahuasca ceremonies, but I've started to do them, with great success, in Ayahuasca ceremonies. It just turbocharges the whole healing experience.

Michael- Yeah. And what gets me excited is that all of these modalities are effective by themselves, right? Ayahuasca it is effective in and of itself. Coaching is effective in and of itself sound healing effective in and of itself. Illuminations are effective in and of themselves.

Yet when you combine them all together, the amount of depth to that healing is absolutely amazing.

Zach- Yeah and I'm not seeing this type of work in Ayahuasca anywhere else in the broader community.

In fact, we, at the beginning of this video, we forgot to mention that we've come up a name for the way we do this Ayahuasca work. We have called it “High Impact Ayahuasca”. While it's a very descriptive name and it's, exactly what we're doing, we feel like it's a bit of a cheesy name.

So if anyone has a better name for it please comment below and we'd love to hear your ideas. Any good ideas will definitely be considered.

Moving forward, the other thing that we're going to be doing is dialing an appropriate daily practice for each individual.

What does this mean?

It's essentially addressing an idea that you might have seen out in the spiritual/transformation world where someone's like “meditation and mindfulness, they’re the way to go. It's going to solve all your problems!”

This is not always true for everyone. Some people just aren't wired to do a meditation practice, or aren't willing to put in the time and effort. This is because it's a significant endeavor to take on a meditation practice.

Now to be clear we love meditation and for some people it's awesome. We are meditators ourselves.

Also you have people who will be like, “oh, well, prayer, you know, prayers the way to go, just pray and everything will be great.” Again, it's not for everyone.

So what we'll do during the retreat, for example, is we'll do 20 minutes of meditation, just focusing on breath. Then we will do 20 minutes of prayer. That's the first round of practices for the first day.

Then, the next day The guest will pick one of those two initial practices to continue to work with, and we're going to add another practice to consider/play with, let's say mantra. Then the guest can split test those two practices, seeing which one works best for them that day.

Now going to the third session, the guest keeps the favorite practice thus far, which in this case it might be mantra. And then we're going to bring in the contemplation practice. Then through that experience the guest can continue to determine which practice resonates with them.

So by the end of the retreat the guest will have split tested daily practices on four to five occasions. This is such that when a retreat guest leaves, they walk away with a practice that they enjoy, is sustainable and is appropriate for them. This will be a practice that they can take home and work with for the rest of their life.

Jess- Yeah. We're also, well versed in many different kinds of meditation. So just because the simple focusing on the breath isn't, isn't jiving with you doesn't mean there aren't a whole lot of other kinds of meditation that we can try. Also we can offer in different positions to meditate in. I know a lot of people are kind of resistant to the sitting meditation. There, there are other ways to meditate such as lying or walking meditation.

Zach- Through this process we will have conversations with you as the guests. Like, how's this particular practice working for you, how's that practice working? Then we will be inspired and directed by your feedback as to what your next practice to try out might be.

So again, a highly customized and individualized approach to each guest.

Finally, we are going to have a movement practice led by Krista who is our movement master. She's also a senior student with us and will be helping facilitate our retreats.

Krista is not here on the podcast right now, but will join us later in the podcast to do a deep dive on movement.

Michael- As the retreat progresses along, it's nice to keep the physical body moving along with it.

This can be just a daily gentle practice to stay embodied, and to keep the energy flowing or it can be dialing in a movement practice that you want to take home with you after the retreat.

Krista is phenomenal at dialing that in what movement practice is appropriate for each group and each individual. In addition, movement can be very important to the integration process because movement brings us into our body. A big portion of the integration process is embodying these lessons that we have received during ceremony and throughout the retreat. So Krista is very artful with communicating how one can best listen to their body and how to work with that information.

Zach- So, Krista will have the entire small group doing the basic movement stuff together and she's also going to be spending some time with each individual. This individual time will be to figure out what does this individual need, what's appropriate for them and what’s a sustainable movement practices for them to take home.

Once again, this is something that I don't think anyone else is doing at any other Ayahuasca retreat.

I do believe that covers everything for the general overview of our retreats. Stay tuned for a more detailed description on each practice or protocol.

Subsequent posts we will be going deeper into each non-Ayahuasca healing modalities.

If you want to listen to the full podcast you can find it by clicking here:

You can find out more about our retreats by clicking here:

Reach out to us with any questions at

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