paula friis's Reviews
Via a Llayzhatan Bajo, Ecuador
I attended a 12 day retreat at Gaia one month ago and am still feeling the effects of the transformative experiences that took place there. You are told on the first days that it will be life-changing and believe me it is – and only in positive ways. I came to the retreat to explore my consciousness, as far as I knew I didn’t have any major healing to be done, my life was pretty good before Gaia. However my life is immensely better now – not in the Snow White singing songs to the woodland creatures of the forest type of way, but in the way that my perspective on things in life that I deemed difficult or a burden are now welcomed as a chance to grow and to give back. So many teachings that I had learned mentally before Gaia were experienced and ‘felt’ when under the influence of Ayahuasca and San Pedro and I am now able to remember and return to those feelings when challenges come up.
These changes were only possible due to the safe and loving environment that Gaia provides. From the moment I got out of the taxi to see the happy welcoming faces of the work exchangers I felt completely comfortable.
Jerry, the main admin guy is a rock who preps you with loads of info for the ceremonies so you feel a lot less nervous and much more at ease with what may or may not happen. The shaman are incredible. Their wisdom and humility guide you through the ceremonies through music. Experiencing the power their music (voice and instruments) had over my experience was mind-blowing. I realised how important it was to trust the shaman with your journey and I 100% trusted Salvador, Omelia, Sophia and Christine. I cannot even put into words how powerful and generous these four are, I just feel so completely blessed to have met them and so honored to have sat in ceremony with them.
The fact that it was an English speaking retreat was a huge bonus as well.
The facilities were beautiful, so much care has been taken and continues to be taken to make sure the grounds and buildings are kept to a very high standard. I had a room in Tranquillo – a private room with shared bathrooms. It was perfect, the bed was super comfy and it was always serene and quiet. There are hot tubs with a gorgeous natural outlook that is perfect for the days after ceremonies.
The food is exceptional and at Gaia they make the most of the abundance of fresh organic fruit and veg that Ecuador excells in growing.
One of the best things about the retreat is the connection you make with your ‘Gaia family’. I was with the most amazing group of people from all over the world. I was slightly apprehensive before I got there that I may not fit in due to my age – a very ancient 44 🙂 – I assumed most other attendees would be very young – nope, this was not the case, there were younger people but thre were also olders ones and age was not a factor, just being human was. Everyone was accepted and appreciated for who they were and what they needed to go through. I witnessed so much healing taking place and people becoming more confident, relaxed and happier in the 12 days I was there. We are all still all in touch on a daily basis while we help each other integrate back into post-Gaia life. We have shared an experience that has bonded us forever and many of us are already planning to regroup at Gaia next year.
I could go on for pages about how much I loved my time at Gaia and truly cannot recommend this place enough. Oh and if you are wondering about the medicine – it was magical, strong and plenty was offered. The combination of both San Pedro and Ayahuasca creates a perfect duality of masculine and feminine, with the San Pedro often helping to clarify the messages received in the Ayahuasca ceremonies. Add in a sweatlodge and as they say… you will be reborn 🙂