The Ayahuasca Foundation has an incredible team of assistant healers who work with the Shipibo curanderos on the retreats and courses. Much more than facilitators, the assistant healers listed below have all completed rigorous training in the Shipibo tradition and are most definitely healers in their own right. They essentially lead the programs, working together with the curanderos to determine the optimal itinerary for each program according to the flow and energy of each group. They translate from Spanish (or sometimes Shipibo) to English and combine their own practices of meditation, yoga, massage, ayurveda, breathwork, epigenetics, sound healing, dream interpretation, herbology, aromatherapy, and counseling with the Shipibo practices to enhance the healing potential of the tradition. They are bridge builders and leaders in a movement to return ancestral wisdom to the countless cultures who have lost their way without it.
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Ari was born in the Mishana community near Iquitos, Peru, in 1993 and has a degree in tourism from the National University of Peru. He is a resident of the Mishana community and has been training with Shipibo curanderos since 2012. He was born and raised in the jungle and his knowledge of the plants and ability to identify plants in the wild is at the highest level. Ari is simply solid gold. His humility and honesty and dedication to his work is at the highest standard. While his English is still a work in progress, his assistance is incredibly important and beneficial to the retreat programs and their participants. It is truly an honor to have this incredible soul on the AF team. Thanks to his training with the Ayahuasca Foundation, Ari is helping to bring the ancestral tradition of plant medicine back to his own community, as well.
Brian grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Canada where he cultivated a close connection to nature. His own struggles with depression and anxiety led him to explore meditation and psychedelics, which eventually led him to Ayahuasca. Brian completed the Initiation Course in April of 2015, where his relationship with Noya Rao transformed not only his mental health, but also his sense of meaning and purpose in life. Quickly connecting to the Shipibo tradition, he continued to deepen his studies in the years that followed. His knowledge of the healing lexicon within the Shipibo language is a unique gift he offers to participants to help them adopt the tradition as their own. He is continuously filled with gratitude when helping people deepen their own healing and understanding and feels called to contribute everything he can to the program participants.
Carlos is from the United States and has degrees in both art and philosophy. He moved to Iquitos in 2004 and lived with his first teacher for four years before creating the Ayahuasca Foundation in 2008. He led every retreat and course until 2012, when he hired the first two assistant healers to accommodate the opening of the Inkan Kena school. In 2013, he stepped back from leading the programs to dedicate more time to the administration of the retreats and courses, and to raise his daughter. He currently manages the Ayahuasca Foundation website, handles the bookings and client communications, and organizes the various aspects of each program like management and maintenance. Recently, he has become a voice for the ayahuasca movement and works to spread awareness about the healing potential of plant medicine.
Pansho was born and raised in the Mishana community. His grandfather was a vegatalista from a long lineage of plant doctors, but that familial tradition had come to an end due to the influence of missionaries. With the help of the Ayahuasca Foundation, Pansho has been able to revive the healing traditions of his ancestors and is a true plant doctor. Working and studying closely with Ari, he directly assists the Shipibo maestro, don Ronor, with all the treatments and in ceremonies. His contribution to the programs and the AF team is invaluable and we feel so fortunate to have him on our team. Both he and Ari are married with children and their wives work with them at the Riosbo Retreat & Research Center, making for a true family vibe that permeates the dynamics of the other participant and facilitator relationships. We are all one big family.
Born and raised in Denmark, Emil loves to grow organic fruits and vegetables and prepare healthy and delicious meals. He began working with plant medicines in 2014 but has viewed food as medicine since a very young age, leading him to veganism and a deeper understanding of self healing through the cultivation of one’s ‘internal garden.’ Emil uses his experience with bodywork and massage, as well as his unique connection with the Shipibo healing tradition to guide course participants to deepen their own roots to strengthen the quality of understanding and ability taught during the training. His passion for permaculture and regenerative agriculture provide a special perspective to the healing work, starting with the growth of the medicinal plants, through the preparation, to the ingestion.
Born in Scotland, Heather has degrees in psychology and art. She has been studying and practicing healing arts since 2003, immersing herself since 2015 in service to various ayahuasca traditions. In January of 2019 she felt called to work with Noya Rao and to deepen her connection to the plant medicine path. She stayed for an extended period at the Inkan Kena plant medicine school, participating in the initiation course and continuing with dietas and volunteering for additional courses. A talented ceremonial tattoo artist, yoga instructor, and integrative body worker, Heather draws from her training in Thai and Ayurvedic massage, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, sound and energy healing, and essential oils, to help course participants more deeply connect with themselves, the Shipibo tradition, to the plants, and to nature.
Hailing from Denmark, Kaya’s journey into healing began with her own diagnosis of psoriasis when she was thirteen. This led her to a lifelong focus on healing, studying alternative methods, spirituality, and plants as healers, working for and managing naturopathic pharmacies, and offering health and lifestyle counseling. An avid traveler, Kaya enjoys exploring different traditions, and has gained experience in plant medicine, nutrition, and women’s cycles and is certified in Nature Therapy and Tao Tantric energy work. After embarking on her journey with Ayahuasca in Brazil of 2013, she visited Peru in 2015 and in January of 2019 she completed the AF initiation course. She is dedicated to making the wisdom and medicine of plants and the Shipibo tradition accessible, creating while honoring tradition and supporting people on their journeys of growth and integration.
Born in the the US and raised in Canada, Nick started playing guitar at age seven. He found solace in music and has discovered a great deal of healing from it. This lifelong practice has evolved into using his guitar and voice and other instruments in ceremony to help guide program participants in their own processes and experiences. Nick attended a retreat at the Ayahuasca Foundation in 2011 and has been consistently working with Ayahuasca ever since, doing plant dietas with plants like Noya Rao, and gaining more and more experience in the Shipibo tradition. He has spent several years living in Peru and works as the manager of the Riosbo Retreat & Research Center. Nick cares deeply for everyone in his care. Through his compassion for others who are struggling with the challenges of their healing process, he finds joy and fulfillment in being of service.
Sonia grew up in France until 2013 when she began travelling the world . She has lived in many countries. She is a natural linguist and speaks 3 languages and is currently immersing herself in the study of the Shipibo language. She holds a Masters degree in Business and Humanitarian projects. Sonia is a certified Shamanic Reiki practitioner, has studied yoga and meditation since 2015 and has a long standing interest in spirituality. She first drank Ayahuasca in Sri Lanka in 2018 and felt soon after that she had found what she had been waiting for her whole life then signed up the next day for the 4 week empowerment course at Riosbo in 2018. She has since done many plant diets and completed the 8 week initiation program in 2019. Sonia is a natural counselor and is passionate about holding loving and safe space to help people to empower themselves.