A Warm Welcome
Oka Wasi is a spiritual center in Peru, 10 km from the city of Tarapoto, between the Andean foothills and the Amazon rain forest. Embracing authentic Amazonian traditional medicine, our mission is to protect this knowledge through making it accessible to people from all over the world looking for healing, self-development and spiritual awareness.
The Retreats at Oka Wasi are an opportunity to find guidance in understanding more about the self, answers to your quest of existence, as well as receiving tools necessary for your lifelong progress of healing and growth, set in a small, family-like atmosphere.
Through our programs, many people have found healing, overcoming different types of blockages, whether mental, emotional or physical, where the Western medicine lacked proper solution. Our approach in working with people is entirely holistic, based on traditional Amazonian medicine and alternative healing practices such as yoga, meditation and art therapy, supporting the process on each dimension of the self.
Integrating these different paths of ancient knowledge reflects our commitment to their preservation as a synergy of sacred tools that are alive and contemporary, so that they continue evolving and helping us evolve, together with the world that surrounds us.
Our Retreats are meant to establish a trusting connection, guiding you through an immersive journey while providing you with life tools to integrate the experiences into your daily existence with refined awareness and deep spiritual understanding.
Through our Retreats we propose to create a bridge between different paths of ancestral wisdom, with the aim of bringing transformation, healing and a deeper understanding of the self. These traditions are all about reconnecting the soul, the mind and the body, and aligning their interactions with the invisible world.
The traditional Shipibo medicine with its master plant diets, ayahuasca ceremonies, as well as the sacred use of tobacco, perfumes and flower baths help us find healing and a different overlook on life in general. It is a sophisticated medicine that purifies and balances the being and dissolves any blockages that may limit our evolution. Through yoga and meditation we support the conscious expansion of the self by cultivating awareness, acceptance and tranquility. Regular group discussions and individual counseling will be helpful in sharing the details of the process, from insights, dreams to any difficulties that may arise, as well as discussing the various aspects of traditional medicine.
All the shamans and facilitators we work with are responsible, experienced and qualified professionals ensuring ethical practices, making Oka Wasi a safe and nurturing place. In addition to our shamans, a psychologist is at the center, offering emotional support throughout your stay. During ceremonies, an assistant is present just outside the maloka (the ceremony space) to help you to the bathroom and back to your place if necessary.
Ayahuasca is a brew from the Amazon, actually a mix of two plants: Chacruna leaves, also known as Psychotria viridis and the strain of the plant Banisteriopsis caapi. Chacruna contains a substance called dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a substance very similar to the structure of serotonin. DMT, the compound that is responsible for the psychoactive effects of ayahuasca, is also a compound our brain produces while sleeping and dreaming. Consumed as such, the substance does not have psychedelic effect because monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes in the intestine decompose DMT before it reaches the bloodstream.
Ayahuasca has beta-carboline alkaloids including harmine, harmaline and tetrahydroharmine that block the action of monoamine oxidase enzymes and allow DMT to remain active. Once ingested, the substance passes the blood-brain barrier and it is only a matter of time until DMT reaches the receptors in the brain, triggering the reaction of the neurons. The drink’s effect occurs approximately half an hour after consumption and persists for about six hours.
For centuries, the indigenous communities of the Amazon basin have been using ayahuasca in their ceremonies. The uniqueness of the Amazonian shamans is that they gained their wisdom from their environment regarding the properties of plants, as well as how to use the plants in order to heal certain illnesses, with the help of the ayahuasca and the diets of master plants.
Through traditional way of practicing shamanism, people often reported that they gained profound insights for solving problems and resentments of the past and reaching a new level of inner peace. However, the ayahuasca in itself is less effective without the diet. It could be said that the diet is the key in understanding of the visions of the plant world thus gaining their wisdom.
The Diet With Master Plant
The diet is a system of nutritional and behavioural restrictions, a discipline that has a lot in common with numerous spiritual paths. What makes it different from the others is that during the diet we ingest a master plant that guides us through our quest of finding knowledge about the self and solutions to our problems.
The essence of the diet process is to make space for it in the self by refraining from certain desires. As a result of this commitment and discipline, all the being changes and it reacts physically and emotionally in order to find a more efficient direction in life.
Our desires and the daily stress, when they dominate us, they don’t allow us the time to pursue fundamental questions like who am I, where am I going, what is the meaning of life, what is my purpose on Earth? And so on and so forth. Because man has this need in himself, even if he’s not fully aware of spirituality, to bring sense to his life, to feel connected to his soul and to the universe that surrounds him.
Through the diet we create time and space to discover ourselves, and to reconnect with our soul and aspects of our life that used to be left aside due to traumas in life or simply due to the impact of daily stress.
We can compare the diet to receiving guests. When we receive guests, we tidy up the house, so that the space is clean, we prepare ourselves to be presentable and we prepare food and drinks to offer. The house is our body that needs to purify and the master plants are the guests; the food and drinks are the attitude one should manifest towards the guests. Hence, we have to put everything in order so that this meeting would go well.
The master plants are also meant to re-equilibrate the aspects of our personality and help us find missing pieces of our soul. Everyone reacts differently to the diet as we are all unique; some might experience the diet manifesting in their dreams and visions, while others in their world of thinking and emotions that come up.
Sticking to the same metaphor, a guest that is not well received would never return. Therefore, in order to find the missing pieces of ourselves, we need to create space in our lives to receive and integrate them. We used to say that actually, the diet starts after dieting, as we start making the necessary changes in ourselves, day by day, bringing us the blossoming and fruitfulness we have worked for.
As a conclusion, ayahuasca and the master plants are gates towards higher consciousness, they are meaningful tools when we become too stuck in our minds, in our beliefs, when our thoughts, our mechanisms and our habits have become an armor through which the answers to our fundamental existence can’t be accessed.
Please be aware that ayahuasca and the master plants are not, in themselves, a spiritual path; they do not provide the changes we need in our lives and they do nothing in our place. Through making space in ourselves with the discipline of the diet, we gain understanding of our own fears, of the true causes of our illnesses, and of the transformations we should undertake.
At Oka Wasi, the core value of all the Retreats consists in the diet, and we select our participants according to their intention, their willingness to face themselves and their motivation to take action afterwards. We provide a safe and nurturing setting for introspection, supporting responsible attitudes towards this traditional medicine, while the accent is never on the consumption of plants, rather, on a profound journey.
We have developed our Integrative Approach during all these years working in Amazonia with traditional healers. This approach was born from the need to create a bridge between our cultures that are in the same time very different, yet complementary.
The main idea is that in order to benefit fully from discovering Amazonian shamanism – the ayahuasca and the diet – we need guidance to make us accessible the entire process we engage in. Equally, to provide us certain tools that can help integrate the experience, to have a long-term positive impact on our lives. Thus, through shared and individual discussions, we will find the appropriate approach to discuss different topics that would help you in your personal processes.
Depending on the program of the Retreat, some of them include yoga, meditation and other activities beyond the ceremonies, while others have a more foundational program, focusing solely on the work with a traditional approach of the diet.
Therefore, our Retreats are intended to directly support the processes of inner transformation. You will acquire the ability to better manage the inherently inconvenient inner states of transformation, to gain clarity on these processes, and the ability to continue the process of transformation in your every day life.
Work Ethics and Values
Oka Wasi is an integrative project, with its main objective to protect the ancestral wisdom of the Shipibo shamanism and to share it with the world, as more and more people turn towards the unique knowledge of this tradition.
Our focus is providing a place for fair trade, thus our activities are not intended for financial gains. Our employees are well paid, and we offer discounts for participants struggling with social, financial or physiological barriers.
Protecting nature and having a positive impact on our environment is among our core values, therefore part of our income is invested in procuring lands for reforestation and protecting the rare plants and trees of the Amazonian rain forest.
As we are still a young project, our plans for the upcoming years consist in developing more social and cultural projects, so we could contribute to the protection of this unique environment and its communities.
Yann Rivière – The White Shaman
Meeting Yann Rivière, a young Frenchman introduced several years ago to the Amazonian shamanism. From the Parisian suburb to the forest, this is the story of his path between shadow and light.