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Ayahuasca and 1heart:
Frequently Asked Questions. 

Safety, Integrity, and Excellence are our Top Priorities.

This work takes a lot of trust, and we aim to answer frequently asked questions so you feel absolutely safe and in great hands.

How does 1heart differ from other retreats or plant medicine containers?


1heart Alumni speak to 3 main things that differentiate a 1heart Journey from other ayahuasca or plant medicine containers.

1) The comprehensive 8-week program that is offered vs. most other offerings that just focus on the medicine ceremonies without significant support prior/during/after. The 1heart program begins as soon as you sign up with our 25-page guide that allows you to begin preparation with readings/exercises and content that will support you in getting the most out of your Journey. Post Journey, you have a 5-week integration program which is absolutely critical for this deeply transformative work yet rarely offered. Our integration program will help you take the big insights and breakthroughs you experience on Journey and support you in integrating them into your life when you return how so that you can create lasting change. In addition, this program is key to creating a lasting community and support network for you beyond this program which will also support you through the breakdowns and breakthroughs along the way.


2) The integrated 1heart Journey experience is far more than an ayahuasca retreat. We call all our Journeys Human Life Accelerators as they are amongst the most comprehensive personal growth retreats in the world. The additional content that 1heart has curated and combined into a deeply intentional schedule provides many more opportunities for breakthroughs outside of the medicine ceremonies and ways to integrate the wisdom that you and your fellow 1hearters are uncovering on Journey. Our experience includes many modern and ancient modalities, including yoga, breathwork, temazcal (ancient sweat lodge), custom 1heart workshops, integration sessions, elevation groups, and excursions into nature. Our 150+ 5-star reviews speak for themselves. Many of the people who attend a 1heart Journey have attended many personal growth retreats. And time and time again, we see the 1heart experience at the top of their lists for lasting change, transformation, and a connection to a lifelong community.


3) The 1heart community is the magic behind it all. Everything from the moment you apply to well beyond your Journey is designed to welcome you into a family, the 1heart Tribe. There are many places to do retreats, there are few that almost guarantee you lifelong connections that will be amongst the most treasured in your life. Though you will do deep personal work on your Journey, the 1heart Journey experience is designed as a collective group one. The community is as much the medicine as the plants themselves. You will learn deeply from each other and have the opportunity to feel supported and support others to a level you may never have known possible. And beyond your 8-week experience, you will carry forward relationships with those on your Journey and connect with hundreds of 1hearters globally. You will have so many homes opened to you, you may never need to stay at a hotel again. After five years, all of our Journey communities are still active, and nothing makes us happier than seeing all the beautiful gatherings happening worldwide.



How do you support guests in preparing for the experience?


At 1heart, we believe strongly that the investment you make in yourself before the Journey will pay off tenfold beyond. We, therefore, invest in you beforehand with our 25-page elevation and preparation guides as well as a two-week virtual preparation program. In these guides include further guidance on the diet, journaling prompts, and more. You will connect with your entire Journey as well as your elevation group (smaller group) and elevation leader (1heart alum) before embarking on your flight to Costa Rica.


When you arrive at the 1heart ayahuasca retreat, you will already feel connected to much of the group. You will have the comfort and safety of being well prepared before even getting on the plane. And you already feel the 1heart staff’s love and care for you as well as that of your fellow Journey tribe.



What does 1heart’s integration look like? And how long does it last?


1heart has the most comprehensive and structured integration program that we or any of our guests have experienced. We decided early on that we would not bring people to this medicine without providing them with the critical guidance and tools that help them utilize the major breakthroughs and insights that come with a 1heart ayahuasca retreat.


The full 1heart program is 8-weeks long, beginning with 2-weeks of virtual preparation, a 1-week retreat in Costa Rica, and followed by our 5-week integration program. During integration, we meet twice a week, once with the full group and once with your elevation group, which is a smaller, more intimate group that you will be divided into at the start of the preparation program. You will also be assigned a buddy on the Journey and stay in close touch with them throughout this program (and often beyond).


Our past 1heart Alumni swear by the importance of this integration program in creating sustained transformation in their lives as well as continuing to build their strong connections with fellow Journey members. The integration program centers around creating a 10-year Vision and all the tools and practices that support you in living your best life in full alignment with your highest self. We will also hold space for the bumps and struggles that come along the way as you integrate all that you’ve learned, as well as celebrate you for all the progress and breakthroughs. The 1heart integration program makes a 1heart Journey one of the most complete and powerful personal growth programs anywhere.



Why is integration so important and how do you support guests in this?


Integration is absolutely critical after ayahuasca ceremonies and, unfortunately not offered by most retreats/containers. Around 90% of the life changes will occur after your Journey during the integration period. The Journey will bring unbelievably powerful insights and breakthroughs, and the transformation comes from your ability to integrate them into your life when you return home. When you return home and your default life, the world and those around you have not changed even though you have.


We offer a comprehensive 5 weeks integration program that includes daily rituals to adopt, modules to sustain the wisdom you received, resources to remember our time together, virtual calls to connect and process with community, and so much more.


Do you curate all guests who attend a 1heart Journey?


Yes, every guest who attends a 1heart ayahuasca Journey has been interviewed and vetted with one of 1hearts’ partners. In addition, nearly 80% of guests are referred by 1heart alumni, so our community already does a great job pre-qualifying other amazing souls.


Through this curation process, we are able to bring together a group of perceived strangers who quickly become family in a matter of a week (or really less). The formula has worked every single Journey, and the people you meet and the connections you have with them will be amongst the biggest gifts you receive on your 1heart Journey.



Why do you focus so strongly on the community and collective experience at 1heart?


We truly believe and see over and over again that the community is the medicine. While you will go on your own personal growth journey, we all need an aligned support system to really live into this higher vision for our life, to witness us and keep us accountable. One thing the Ayahuasca medicine teaches us all is that we are all One. The ability to actually live and breathe that with your fellow 1hearters on Journey amplifies this universal truth to levels most never knew possible.


How do you select your retreat location(s) and how do they support my experience?


The retreat locations we partner with are in Costa Rica, a country that is always amongst the happiest in the world (and include a blue zone where there are most centurions). With no army, no war, and a people that live by the motto Pura Vida (pure life), the energy around brings peace and beauty. A deep connection to nature is also important, having lots of green and wildlife around supports the medicine of the plants and your re-connection to the nature all around.


Lastly, the retreat centers we choose also embody the love and care that we share with guests on each Journey are natural wonderlands that evoke a feeling of awe throughout your week.


How do you select the medicine team and how do they contribute to the experience?


Our medicine team is truly our family. We have known them for years before joining our 1heart Journeys, been in our weddings, and are people we know deeply. They carry a lineage and commitment to the medicine and their service to others. Their mission and hearts align deeply with ours and the bonus is that they are also highly talented musicians. Our team is truly world-class. And this sentiment is echoed by all those who attend a 1heart Journey.


I see you have well over 100 all five-star reviews; why are your ratings so high?


1heart is not just another plant medicine or ayahuasca retreat. There is so much that goes into creating and holding the 8-week container which includes the 2 weeks of virtual preparation, a 1-week Journey in Costa Rica and a 5-week integration program.


What is clear to all who join is the unconditional love, care, and service that every member of our team puts into the Journey. Everything is done intentionally to create the most transformative experience possible. With very few exceptions over 5 years of operating these Journeys, people have transformations far beyond what they ever imagined and they form lifelong connections with soul family they didn’t know to be possible.


How do most people find you who come on a Journey?


About 80% of those who have joined a 1heart ayahuasca journey are referred by alumni. Our alumni have such profound and beautiful experiences that they often want their friends and family to experience it for themselves.

In addition, several trusted organizations in the personal growth, plant medicine, and entrepreneurial spaces recommend us to their members. And, a select few find us through their searches for the best personal growth or plant medicine retreats via some of the content we create.


Do I need to be an entrepreneur to join 1heart?


No, you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to join a 1heart ayahuasca Journey, though we have many people join who are. 1heart attracts leaders, creators, and change-makers in a variety of roles and industries. What defines the large majority of our guests is their desire and ability to make an oversized impact in the world. Whether through a non-profit, medical career, large tech startup, or film production, our guests have a calling that they are here for something greater, a purpose beyond themselves to contribute towards. They feel called to create a fulfilling and joy-filled life, often one that will serve many others. Our attendees are heart-led and looking to be a part of a community of loving souls.



What is Ayahuasca?


Ayahuasca is a sacred plant medicine used by indigenous cultures in the Amazon for thousands of years. Ayahuasca is made from two plants, the ayahuasca vine and the leaf of the chacruna. Both plants are collected from the jungle to create the potent brew that offers us access to dimensions of our own being and reality at large that aren’t typically perceivable in our ordinary states of consciousness.


Ayahuasca is known as The Medicine, or La Medicina, and the spirit of this medicine encourages healing on all levels unique to each individual. This medicine unveils perspectives on our life by inducing visionary states of mind, physical cleansing, and emotional releasing. Ayahuasca allows someone to see obstacles, fears, judgments, insecurities, and other mechanisms to keep oneself small and gives us the empowerment and teachings to transcend these limiting beliefs so that we can step back into our highest potential, inner happiness, immense gratitude, and deepest love.


Not only does The Medicine provide a visionary means of working through specific ailments, but Ayahuasca also purges negativity and toxicity on deep physical, psychological, and spiritual levels.


Is Ayahuasca safe?


The pure Ayahuasca brew we offer is safe. It consists of the combination of two plants, so it is fully natural. However, Ayahuasca is an MAO-i mixture that doesn’t mix well with certain pharmaceuticals (called contraindications). Those with a history of psychosis or serious mental illness may also have complications and should seek expert consultation before considering.


The set and setting are very important to the ayahuasca experience, so it is important to ensure that the medicine facilitators and group leaders are highly reputable and operate with strong integrity. Recommendations from others with experience with the facilitators and group is key to ensuring a safe and powerful experience.


Intense physical effects may come from drinking Ayahuasca, most commonly known as purging. Purging is often called ‘getting well’ in indigineous traditions for its ability to support you in releasing stored emotions, energy, and toxins. While not everyone purges, it is often a part of the experience.


We at 1heart carefully screen each potential guest on our Ayahuasca retreats to identify any areas of concern, like medications or mental illness, that may impede safety. If guests have any concerns, we advise them to speak to their own doctors before stopping any medications or if they have a history of mental illness.


How long does it take to feel the effects of Ayahuasca?


Usually, people begin to feel the effects of Ayahuasca 30-60 minutes after ingesting the sacred psychoactive brew/tea. This will vary from person to person (size, weight, medications, etc.) and ceremony to ceremony. Some may feel the medicine immediately, while others won’t until several hours later.


How long does Ayahuasca last?


The effects of Ayahuasca typically last 3-7 hours. The duration a person feels the effects of Ayahuasca varies from person to person and ceremony to ceremony. There truly is no ‘norm’ to the length of an Ayahuasca experience and you can rest assured trusting that our healers and support team will stay with you and closely monitor you until the effects have diminished.


What does Ayahuasca mean?


Ayahuasca is known by many names. Ayahuasca’s meaning in English may translate to “the vine of the soul.” Aya means “spirit, soul” while waska means “rope” or “woody vine” in the Quechua language. Some define Ayahuasca as the Spirit of Earth, the rope of the dead, La Purga, and La Madre, among others.


What is an Icaro during Ayahuasca Ceremonies?


An icaro is a healing song sung during Ayahuasca ceremonies by the healers. Icaros are songs that carry intentions and deliver healing. During ceremonies, healers access the geometric patterns of energy from plants which transform through the vessel of the maestro or maestra as this specific song or chant.


In the Shipibo tradition, icaros are considered the main conduit of the healing work done in ceremony. These healing songs can permeate a person’s body, bringing energetic harmony that penetrates the deeper layers of their system, releasing energetic blockages and their emotional companions.


How is Ayahuasca made?


Ayahuasca is a psychoactive tea, drink, or brew made from the Ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaf of the chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis). However, other plants and ingredients can be added to Ayahuasca tea.


The leafy chacruna plant contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is not orally active because it is metabolized by the stomach enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO). However, the Ayahuasca vine contains MAO inhibitors as harmine compounds, resulting in a psychoactive compound with an identical chemical makeup as endogenous tryptamines in our brains.


Because of the MAO inhibitor, this sacred psychedelic brew disperses through the bloodstream into the brain, where it triggers powerful visionary experiences and enables us to access otherworldly realms and our hidden, inner subconscious landscapes for up to 3-7 hours.


What is Ayahuasca purging? And why do people purge on Ayahuasca?


Ayahuasca is also known as La Purga (the Purge). The purge is an important part of Ayahuasca experiences. Not everyone will experience physical purging in their first ceremonies. Physical purges usually result in vomiting, pooping, yawning, crying, shaking, laughing, hot/cold sweats, or feeling very lazy.


Ayahuasca purging is powerful because the medicine is causing the movement and processing of negative energy on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. Purging is an energetic cleansing that will help clear vibrational imprints, emotional blockages, and physical toxins. Once someone purges, they typically move deeper into their experience as these blockages and obstacles have been removed from their path. In indigineous traditions, they view purging as ‘getting well’ from the negative energy, emotions, and toxins stored in our bodies from past traumas.


What are the benefits of Ayahuasca?


The benefits of Ayahuasca are unique to everyone. Ayahuasca works uniquely with every person depending on the healing that they need to have done. This healing can be physical, emotional, or spiritual, and the medicine addresses any energetic blockages we have in our bodies to resolve these.


We’ve seen the benefits of Ayahuasca take form as reconnecting with loved ones, both present and since passed, realizing unshakable self-love, a deeper connection and appreciation for Mother Nature, crystal clear business plans that extend far into the future, and other beneficial consequences that come to fruition months or years after their 1heart Ayahuasca experience.


Scientifically speaking, Ayahuasca has been shown to benefit brain health and psychological well-being, and alleviate addictions, anxiety, treat-resistant depression, and PTSD, though we make no medical claims.


What is an Ayahuasca diet?


An Ayahuasca diet, also known as a dieta, is a set of dietary restrictions/recommendations that paves the way for your Ayahuasca experience. We ask that our guests begin their dieta at least 2 weeks (or up to 4 weeks prior) before our first ceremony.


And while we commonly associate the dieta with removing certain foods like red meat, dairy, alcohol, processed sugars and oils, and specific nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables, an Ayahuasca dieta also asks us to remove certain habits and activities from our lives. These activities include sexual activity, excessive social media or screen time, and other recreational drug usage.


As you strip away certain foods and activities, you’ll notice the subtle or strong emotional stories tied to these things and the self-limiting beliefs accompanying the emotions. This is normal! So give yourself extra compassion and space to process these emotions and allow them to move through your body and being. Allow yourself extra kindness, and know that the healing is already beginning. 1heart provides a comprehensive dieta guide that also includes multiple dieta friendly recipes as you prepare for your journey.


How to prepare for Ayahuasca?


Ayahuasca preparation is not something to be taken lightly. The effects of Ayahuasca will mirror how disciplined and honest your psychological and physical Ayahuasca prep was.


The big one is the dieta, or diet. These dietary restrictions lay the groundwork for the medicine, demonstrate respect for the process and commitment to your healing, and prepare your body to receive Ayahuasca. It can also reduce the amount of cleansing needed in the ceremony, allowing the healing work to unfold more easily.


Another way to prepare for Ayahuasca is to have a relationship to self-awareness. For some, it could be a reflective walk in the woods, writing a few times a week, a meditation or yoga practice, breathwork, or many other healthy habits.


Preparing for what you encounter can go a long way if something surprising arises during a ceremony. Additionally, by engaging in the process of setting intentions, we can prime our subconscious mind to reveal certain insights to us.


It’s unfortunate that as important as preparation is, few if any, providers spend significant time and energy providing the preparation tools and virtual meetings that can make huge differences in your experience.


1heart provides a 2-week virtual preparation program, which includes virtual calls and group connection as well as our 25-page guide Elevation and Preparation guides, which many of our alumni have commented how comprehensive and powerful it was for their preparation.


Where can I find stories from someone’s Ayahuasca experience?


You can find people’s Ayahuasca experience stories on Youtube, podcasts, blog posts, social media, and wherever else you might find alternative health stories.


If you’re looking for 1heart specific Ayahuasca experiences, you can check out our blog or podcast to hear our alums’ transformational stories from their experience with 1heart’s Ayahuasca retreat.


What should I or can I bring to an Ayahuasca ceremony?


Other than your own water bottle and a smile, what to bring to an Ayahuasca ceremony is up to you. People enjoy creating a small altar with a handful of meaningful items such as crystals, rocks, feathers, essential oils (it’s best to get permission for these), photos, letters, small gifts, or other influential objects.


The venues we partner with will provide a mattress, blanket, pillow, and other important items that will provide comfort and safety for you. 1heart will provide you a guide on other items you may want to consider to bring in your preparation guide.


What do you do after an Ayahuasca ceremony?


Once each ceremony has closed, we offer our guests fresh fruits, nourishing snacks, and other wholesome delicacies. We typically find people sharing their experiences over an easy-to-eat meal as they recount the profundity of the Ayahuasca ceremony together.


We also provide integration sharing sessions the day after, as well as a comprehensive 5-week integration program to support you in weaving your learnings into your daily life.


Can I drink Ayahuasca if I’m on anti-depressants?


Ayahuasca is not compatible with various pharmaceutical medications, including anti-depressants and SSRIs. Ayahuasca is an MAO-I (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) which is pharmacologically contraindicated with several types of medication. Plus, the energies of many pharmaceutical drugs can potentially block the effectiveness of Ayahuasca in ceremony. We will provide you a list of contraindications to review so you have adequate time to ween off any medications prior to our ceremonies.


Is Ayahuasca addictive?


Ayahuasca is not addictive. However, Ayahuasca has been used for addiction as a medicine to help some resolve the roots of addictive tendencies.


Is Ayahuasca legal?


Ayahuasca is unscheduled in Costa Rica, where we host our ceremonies. This means it’s neither legal nor illegal, and that are no laws regulating the use of Ayahuasca in Costa Rica.


Ayahuasca is still illegal in the US, Canada, and other European countries.


Ayahuasca is legal in Peru, Colombia, Italy, Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia. And Ayahuasca is decriminalized or controlled in Chile, Portugal, Spain, and Romania.


Where is the best place to work with Ayahuasca?


Ayahuasca retreat centers are popping up rapidly. There are even underground ceremonies happening worldwide. With the popularity of Ayahuasca comes more people wanting to offer this medicine to the world. The natural consequence is a dilution in the quality and intention behind those serving Ayahuasca.


1heart has been creating a safe, legitimate, sustainable space for healing with Ayahuasca since 2018. Our medicine facilitators carry years of their own experience and generations’ worth of indigenous wisdom. Our staff has done their own healing work and continues their own commitment of their self-work. At 1heart, we are committed to providing a safe space for our guests to journey into their hearts.


Our primary concern is safety and effectiveness. We aim to provide a container where everyone who comes to us feels completely safe and can surrender and connect with Ayahuasca at a deep level. In our experience, feeling safe and supported is essential to any ceremonial medicine offering. We have a track record of delivering this to over 500+ alums and look forward to continuing to enhance and transcend our benchmarks in the years to come for the benefit of all.


How do medicine men & medicine women help me heal within an Ayahuasca ceremony? What are their roles?


The medicine team is essential to an ayahuasca ceremony. It is important that they have undergone deep training in a respected lineage that has held this medicine for hundreds of years and receive explicit permission to carry this medicine work onwards. Often this training is in the form of “master plant dietas” in the depth of the Amazon where they are removed from all aspects of our material world and work closely with a master plant in addition to ayahuasca. Through these dietas, the medicine man or woman receives Icaros (energetic song frequencies) as well as wisdom that supports them in holding the space for ceremony and leading others through their Journeys.


In ayahuasca ceremonies, the medicine team will lead throughout. The music and vibrations they share creates the energetic container for the ceremony and helps each guest move through their healing journey. When necessary, the medicine team along with the 1heart helpers will be there to support guests and remind them that they are here for them as they navigate their own journeys. The medicine team has many energetic, spiritual and physical tools they have learned through their training to support individuals and the group through the ceremony.


The 1heart medicine team are also very gifted musicians and their music will provide an uplifting experience that allows people to connect with the beautiful vibrations even when they go home to remember their experience.


What does it mean to feel called or have the call to sit with Ayahuasca?


Often when people come to ayahuasca they are “called.” This can happen in a variety of ways. It can be as simple as one person telling you about it and it hitting a chord (in your heart) and feeling ‘a knowing’ that this is for you.


Or for many, it may start to pop up around you in several places after never having heard of or considered it in the past (ie. books, shows, overhearing in conversations). And for some, it can be ‘a knowing’ that now is the time. Perhaps you’ve heard about it years ago and something has shifted in your life in a way where you have a new curiosity that wasn’t there before.


Some sort of calling is important before your ayahuasca experience. It means you have at least some openness to the experience. Often callings may come in transitional or difficult times in our life when we are most in need of change and transformation. We may notice our old beliefs, relationships, or careers breaking down and begin to have a deeper call towards something new and greater. This call can often be met with a call to ayahuasca or other deep personal growth practices as we are more open to the transformation that will follow.