Nihue Rao: Our Guide to Working with Ayahuasca Plant Medicine


Nihue Rao: Our Guide to Working with Ayahuasca Plant Medicine

At Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual, Maestro Ricardo Amaringo emphasizes the importance of learning and understanding how to work with Ayahuasca medicine to engage in one’s healing work. Working with Ayahuasca in ceremony is a deeply personal and unique experience to each individual. There are insights that have been gathered over the years through experience and lessons from the Shipibo-Conibo Maestros, which might bring some greater understanding to what you experience. At Nihue Rao, the Maestros teach that there are generally three stages to the Ayahuasca experience that may show up individually, or all within the same experience. These stages are not linear, and may connect with different people in different ways, and at different times. These stages are:

Stage 1. The World of Ayahuasca: This refers to witnessing the way in which the Ayahuasca works, her medicine, and the power she holds. This might be experienced as colorful visions, or felt energetically within the body. 

Stage 2. One’s Own Story: This refers to when the experience is more reflective of the timeline of a person’s life; any experiences you might have gone through, good or bad, and generally things that relate to who you are. This can be challenging, though deeply meaningful, as it navigates towards and through blockages and traumas.

Stage 3. External Energies: This refers to benevolent and malevolent energies. On the positive side, we can connect to the cosmos and to higher levels of consciousness. On the negative side, we can connect to what is called “Ocha,” a Shipibo word that refers to the dark energies/sins of the world.

When experiencing these different aspects of the medicine space, it is important to discern what is your own energy and what is external, with awareness that it’s not the visions that heal us, it is through our bodies, our connection with the medicine, and the insights that we receive, that we heal. 

How to Work With the Medicine

Teachings from the Maestros, experience with the medicine, and witnessing the journeys of our guests have established ways in which we suggest working with the medicine to optimize the experience:

  • Sit up: Having a straight spine supports the medicine moving through your system. Sitting up supports commitment, focus, concentration and centeredness.

  • Connect to the breath and a higher power: Visualize yourself connected to the light of a higher spiritual force like God or The Divine. Work to center your mind and connect to your breath regularly.

  • Forgiveness: Maestro Ricardo shares that the fastest and most effective way to clean oneself and to work with the medicine is through forgiveness. Try to harness the power of forgiveness to release the energies of times when you have been wronged and the times when you have wronged yourself or others. If it feels right, ask for connection to God/the source to aid in this process.

  • Trust and surrender: Being in a state of trust and surrender can be challenging, though when working with the medicine it is an ideal state to strive for; aiming to not control or dictate the process but allowing her to do her work.
    • The more you resist whatever process you may find yourself in, the more intense it will be. 
    • This process may be very challenging at times, it is important to trust the medicine. Trust the process and continue to come back to this belief even if it doesn’t feel true at the moment.
    • Find practices that will help your body and mind relax; i.e. conscious breathing, presence, mantras or affirmations of trust, surrender, loving kindness etc. 
  • Humility and Respect
    • If it is your first time meeting Ayahuasca, you can introduce yourself respectfully and over time, she may reveal herself to you. 
    • Try to come into this process with an open mind and refrain from comparing yourself to others. This is sacred, individual work and what you experience will be yours alone. Try to minimize or manage expectations of what you think you will or should feel, see, and experience during the ceremony.
  • Protection
    • Visualize yourself surrounded with light, love, and good energy. Ask God for his light so you may protect yourself and your space with it.
    • Imagine an impassable barrier or bubble to protect yourself from external energies. 
    • Don’t pay attention to what’s going on around the maloka. Just pay attention to your own process. If you look over at someone else, you can connect with their energy. Stay on your own mat focused on your own work.
  • Personal intentions/inquiry 
    • State your personal intentions and/or questions to the medicine while in the effect.
    • Ask her for help to understand the root of the problem you are facing, to show you what your blocks are and how to overcome them. 

Common Effects of the Medicine

When under the influence of the medicine it is very common/expected to experience hot/cold chills, nausea, tiredness, dizziness, shaking of the body, pain in various parts of the body, and yawning. If you feel nauseous, yawning or farting can help. Ayahuasca and Chacruna have a lot of air that can get trapped in the body. Yawning and farting bring relief but be aware when farting… never trust a fart! It is further expected to experience energetic purging when in the effect of the medicine. This can come in many forms, including vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, crying/tears, laughter, sweating, and more.


Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual is a traditional Shipibo-Conibo Ayahuasca and Master Plant healing center near Iquitos, Peru. To find out more about Ayahuasca healing, ceremonies, and retreats at Nihue Rao please contact nihuerao@gmail.com or +51 918 293 372.

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