Originally from Italy, and now living in Melbourne Australia, Elio Geusa is the founder of AYA Healing Retreats. Elio is a qualified Social Worker and has over thirteen years experience working both on national and international humanitarian projects. He has worked with people living with intellectual disabilities and mental health conditions. He has also had the privilege of supporting refugee populations to overcome the trauma of displacement throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia. Elio believes that compassionate and inspired action can create meaningful change in the world.
Elio’s grandfather was a highly-respected healer in a small village in southern Italy. From a young age, Elio was drawn to healing as a profession after witnessing the profound differences his grandfather made in the lives of members of their community.
In 2009, Elio encountered the plant medicine, Ayahuasca for the first time. Convinced of its power to cure the incurable, Elio began an apprenticeship under the guidance of Maestro, Vegetalista Manaco Manain. Since 2009 he has continued to deepen his knowledge, experience, and understanding of the workings of the sacred plant medicines, studying the Shipibo traditions under the revered Mahua family and has undertaken numerous Master Plant Dietas with well-respected curanderos in the Peruvian Amazon.
This immersion in the sacred plant medicines of the indigenous peoples of Peru enabled Elio to experience deep and profound healing. He has overcome crippling anxiety and anger as a result of traumatic childhood experiences, healing that was not possible through the Western medical paradigm. His renewed sense of self-worth, love, compassion, and empathy for himself enables him to extend those same qualities to others.
Elio founded AYA Healing Retreats because he is convinced of the healing potentialities of sacred plant medicines. Not only does he hope to share the indigenous wisdom of the ancient traditions of the tribe’s peoples of the Amazon, but he also intends to invest part of AYA Healing Retreats profits into humanitarian projects that are creating a more compassionate world.
Elio is committed to creating a safe, enjoyable, transformative experience for every participant, whilst on retreat please don’t hesitate to approach Elio for help and support as you navigate the complexities of your healing journey.
Anna was born in the United States and is currently based in the Andes of Southern Peru. She is an alternative health advocate, healing is her passion. Anna has devoted her life to healing and continued health education. She offers her clients tools of self-realization and personal empowerment. Anna’s primary focus is on plant-based medicine, yoga, qigong, and music. From an early age, Anna gravitated toward the healing arts. She knew through her own healing and self-discovery that her life’s work and personal fulfillment would be helping others.In 2010 her eight-year path of holistic healing and alternative medicine began at the Ashland Institute of Massage. Soon after she began working with Native American teachers learning Shamanistic rituals; she built on her newfound knowledge through the study of the healing practices across the world; earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and Native American Studies from Southern Oregon University in 2014. In late 2014 Anna felt the pull to focus on the ancient rituals of the Amazon. Traveling to Peru in August she had her first introduction to the profound healing capabilities of Ayahuasca. While Peru would eventually become her home; Anna continued to travel extensively through North, Central, and South America on a journey to connect with as many ancient rituals and practices as possible. Along the way, she discovered a natural ability to bridge culture, backgrounds, and unique personalities with the healing powers of the Amazon. By maintaining a strong personal practice of daily meditation and yoga that she learned in India; Anna has also been fortunate enough to share her knowledge of yoga and qigong with others for the last seven years. The foundation of Anna’s life is love, joy, and balance. She has enjoyed the opportunity to collect many ancient healing songs from around the world and is looking forward to releasing her first healing album in the near future.
“The healing plants of the Amazon have opened up my life and expanded my mind to amazing possibilities and opportunities. It’s a joy that this path opened to me, and an honor that I can share this healing with others”
Hailing from her native Singapore Atira Tan, now based in Melbourne Australia, has over 15 years experience healing trauma through yoga, mindfulness, art, and counseling. Atira has a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy from Latrobe University, Melbourne, she was featured on TED X, is the founder of Art to Healing and the annual international Yogathon event, Yoga for Freedom. Atira works extensively throughout Asia and Australia in various projects that are centered around healing and empowering women and girls who have been sexually abused and violated through the sex trafficking industry.
From 2004 onwards, Atira established numerous clinical art therapy and trauma recovery programs and has partnered with international organizations to bring art therapy, somatic therapies, yoga, mindfulness to the refugee camps of Burma, the war zones of Cambodia, the brothels of Kathmandu, regions devastated by earthquakes in Nepal and to remote Aboriginal communities in Australia. In addition to her not-for-profit work, Art to Healing, Atira works as a clinician and clinical supervisor in Australia and the Asia Pacific region and as an educator in Transpersonal Art Therapy. Like Elio, Atira is dedicated to creating the space for transformative experiences to occur for each participant. She is the head of our integration team and as well as teaching yoga on selected retreats, she will facilitate your post-retreat integration sessions via Skype.
More about Atira Tan: atiratan.com
Marta is a gifted, passionate, and highly experienced teacher and student of Yoga and the teachings of Advaita Vedanta. She has first discovered Yoga when 14 years old, and right away felt the mysterious familiarity of the practice. She began her professional training with a Jivamukti Yoga immersion, under the guidance of Yogeswari – one of the most senior teachers of the method. Marta was certified as an Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow instructor in a traditional school in Goa, India. In India, she also had the privilege to meet her Spiritual teacher Rishi Sudhir of Tiruvannamalai, with decades of experience in pranayama, meditation, and a depth of Vedic knowledge. Aside from the studies of Vedanta, she has also spent time at the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi, set at the foot of the sacred mountain Arunachala.
Marta’s love for the practice of being, Yin Yoga, comes as a result of her training with Joshua Summers, an experienced teacher and TCM practitioner. Her studies with Joshua initiated her into the system of meridians and Traditional Chinese Medicine, helping to establish a deep understanding of the subtle body and its many pathways, and their interrelationship with the Yoga practice and shamanic energy healing.
The power of the breath experienced in the active meditation practice of Breath-work has opened Marta to a whole new way of working with energy medicine. She adores her teacher, David Elliott, and continues to hold regular breathing circles – in person and online.
Marta lives in Peru, sharing her practice with the guests of a variety of plant medicine healing centers, teaching occasional workshops and classes in the Sacred Valley, working with private students, and leading personal Yoga retreats internationally. She has a passion for culture and tradition, and often travels in her mission to experience, grow, and develop a platform to share with others, spreading the message of love and compassion.
Over the last years, Marta has been studying with the plant medicines and shamanic traditions of Central and South America. She has had the opportunity to learn under the guidance of shamans and medicine people from various communities and traditions, including communities like the Shipibo and Mestizo in the Amazon, Q’eros in the Andes, Kogi in Colombia, and the wonderful cultures of Mexica and Lakota. Her studies across diverse traditions devoted to understanding both our human physicality and the pathways to Spirit have led her to understand that all paths are complementary, and ultimately lead to the very same realization of Unity.
For more about Marta: www.martawanderlust.com
Born in the United States, Adelina began her healing path at the young age of 5 with deep initiations through the womb. Modern-day medicine saved her life and would later unfold her dharma. Rooted in her Native American and Italian heritage, she began communing with the dreamworld and spirits in her early teens. She has always felt deeply guided by her ancestors. In 2011, Adelina graduated from university with a Bachelor’s in Human Behavior and Health Education, intending to attend medical school. She instead enrolled in Massage School and now specializes in modalities such as Polarity, Neuromuscular Therapy, and Trauma Bodywork. Shortly after, she was then guided to Peru and received her 200 RYT in the Sacred Valley in 2015. On this trip, she met the Ancient Mother, Ayahuasca, which changed the course of her life path.
She received many instructions from this plant teacher and shared deep prayers of gratitude. Following the call, Adelina traveled to the sacred lands of Mount Shasta to complete her facilitation certification in Clarity Breathwork. The sacred medicine continued to speak with her in dreams until she met with her again and full trust of this path was born. She has spent the past 3 years assisting in circles and helping in ceremonies. After holding space for so many, she began to realize the importance of grounded integration while working with such intelligent plant allies. This led to an in-depth focus on somatic studies, attachment theory, non-violent communication, and mind-body practices. Coming from a bloodline of addiction and sexual trauma, a lot came to surface while studying. She returned to the amazon to sit with Maestra Juanita and the Master Plant Noya Rao at AYA Healing Retreat Center in 2019 – where her respect for this path deepened even more.
Adelina is now focused on supporting people as they move through their traumas, addictions, ancestral conditions, and unaligned habits. She travels creating sacred spaces through sound healing, dance, breath-work, and somatic body awareness to help reprogram the subconscious. She is fully committed to helping people prepare and integrate their experiences with these ancient plants. Forever a student, she bows in deep gratitude to these sacred medicines and the lineages that hold them in protection.
For more about Adelina: www.adelinavaughn.com
A nomadic Canadian raised and educated in Switzerland, Simone is a passionate coach and teacher of holistic health and spiritual practices, supported by a degree in social work and decades of service around the world.
Founder of Somah Journeys & the School of Sacred Arts, she offers advanced yoga teacher trainings, plant medicine immersions and other nature-based programs with a trauma-informed, compassion-centered approach. In addition to her training and experience as an Integration Practitioner and Crisis Counselor, Yoga Nidra, Medicine Wheel studies, Aromatherapy and The Way of Council are among her areas of focus.
While not traveling the globe, Simone spends intensive periods, often in solitude, working in ceremony with various contemplative practices and plant teachers, deepening her connection to Spirit and nature. Offering one-on-one coaching sessions as a mentor and Soul Guide, she holds space with a gentle grace so that one’s inner wisdom emerges and deep transformation occurs.
Maia, with more than 1000 hours of Certifications in Hatha, Vinyasa, Nidra, Kundalini, Yin Yoga, meditation and mindfulness that have led her to offer a practice in order to connect body and mind. “Yoga changed my life, improved my perspective, changed my relationship with myself and with others, allowing me to live in the present and be my best version.” My practice aims to connect body and mind, create awareness and surrender to the present.
Lindsey has spent the last decade gathering people from all over the world to sing healing medicine songs and mantras. She’s the founder of Global Sisters Song Circle and Global Song Circle that gathers on new and full moons. She uses music and movement to break down the emotional and energetic barriers that keep women stifled.
Following the birth of her first child, Lindsey Wise bled to death. During this Near-Death Experience, she found herself surrounded by multitudes of light beings, who initiated her into the world of subtle energies and healing vibrations. At that moment, she realized that all beings create their own unique vibration—their soul song. Each person’s soul song makes up the great Choir of Life.
Lindsey’s work is to awaken humanity to the healing power of the voice. She has traveled the world and the astral realms, cultivating healing techniques to help people awaken to the power of their own voice and to the healer within. Lindsey is an E-RYT 500 certified yoga teacher. She blends yoga, breathwork, guided journeys, energetic healing, and community song to help people overcome fear and anxiety and to clear the energetic blocks that limit expression.
For more about Lindsey: www.lindseywise.com
Kara has spent her life expanding her healing gifts, offering counsel to many, and building her career around the pillars of healing while offering services in many areas such as art and art therapy, music and sound healing, hands-on healing through Reiki and deep integrative trauma release bodywork and studying what draws her into deeper realms of healing through plant medicine, healing the body with food, and daily practices to keep the body and mind centered. Growing up with parents in the US that loved to travel, Kara realized at an early age that she loved traveling. Now spending the majority of her time in South and Central America, Peru and Guatemala have become her new homes.
In 2005 Kara met Ayahuasca and the introduction was life-changing for her. After moving into the work slowly – about 4 years only sitting once every two years – it wasn’t until she met her first teacher that she heard the calling to the medicine in a deeper way. After that calling, she began a serious 7-year study of this sacred plant medicine and found herself in Peru. Studying and learning from some of the most revered Shipibo’s curanderos in South America. Today she focuses most of her learning time with the Mahua family and the Gomez family in the Peruvian Amazon.
Her work with the Amazonian plants has deepened her own journey into facilitating retreats with her teacher(s), hosting her own retreats, and offering ceremonies. One of her main focuses in these spaces is integration. Kara believes the most important work comes during the time after the retreat – how we integrate the plants and their knowledge into our own daily lives is the key to successful plant medicine healing.
Kara offers facilitation and ceremonies that are built with the participants and their own intention. Holding a light to their goals and journey, Kara brings seven (+) years of study and practice to the circle, holding you with love, healing and humor, and with creative solutions and paradigms to help allow new information to integrate into your soul. Kara believes this is the best work we can offer to our own development. You can find more information about Kara’s offerings at www.karacura.com.
She’s the one who has the answers to all your questions. But please allow at least 24 hours.
Graduated in Linguistic Mediation, she speaks English, Spanish and Italian.
Beautiful on the inside as much as on the outside, she radiates a loving feminine presence. She puts love and magic in everything she does. Old-soul piscean, compassionate, open-hearted, rock-n-roll mom. Lulu is the proud mother of the cutest red haired little girl named Ginni.
She’s spiritually aware and a kindness advocate. Interested in Yogic and Tantric studies, Human Psychology and Astrology. She believes in the naturally ecstatic and blissful essence of humanity.
Dee is originally from the plains of Pawnee, Oklahoma and has lived and traveled to over 40 countries since her Humble, rural upbringing. Dee is a transgender woman who has worked with Ayahuasca for several years, is a plant medicine facilitator for gender and sexual diverse people, song healer, and seeks to teach people about intersections of spirituality, gender, sexuality, and plant medicines. You can read more about her experiences with Ayahuasca and her transgender journey here. and listen to her experience on the Psychedologist podcast here.
Dee created the organization Aya Gender ¬ Sexual diversity (AyaGSD) – www.ayagsd.com – whose mission is to support and promote safer spaces for GSD people to integrate and experience Ayahuasca through retreats and ceremonies, research, and education and support. She is partners with AYA Healing Retreats to create a retreat specifically for gender and sexually diverse people. Dee leads the retreat design and implementation, provides training for staff on gender and sexual diversity, and links with local organizations further support gender and sexually diverse people in Pucallpa.
One of Dee’s favorite thing is to sing in ceremony in a variety of languages – Spanish, Sesotho (an African ‘click’ language), Shipibo, and English. She has received and written many songs in and for ceremony, and hopes to one day share them with you in ceremony!
Until then, these songs of ceremony can be heard at https://journeyswithdee.bandcamp.com.
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Don Miguel was born into a Shipibo community called Roaboya on the River Ucayali. When Don Miguel was a child, Angel Sanchez Vargas, his grandfather was the community’s curandero. Vargas was an expert in sacred plant medicines and was frequently called upon to heal and share his spiritual wisdom with members of Roaboya. The school built some years later was named after Vargas and Roaboya went on to be recognised as the first indigenous community 114 years ago. Don Miguel grew up surrounded by the Shipibo wisdom and possess intimate knowledge of the sacred plant medicines. At a very young age he began his apprenticeship as a curandero through plant dietas under the supportive guidance of his grandfather. Miguel is also a trained literature professor and thoroughly enjoys teaching the Shipibo language and culture. Since 2012, Don Miguel has spent the bulk of his time leading lectures, workshops, initiation courses and retreats. Don Miguel will lead our Ayahuasca ceremonies, circle discussions and be available for personal consultations whilst on retreat.
Our comprehensive screening questionnaire has been developed in partnership with the International Centre for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service (ICEERS). Please take your time to answer it as honestly and with as much detail as possible. This information will remain strictly confidential and will only be used to assess your suitability for a place on retreat with AYA Healing Retreats and keep you safe
Please remember that the purpose of this screening questionnaire is to determine whether plant medicine healing is suitable for you…not whether you are suitable for plant medicine healing. Plant medicines are tools, like any other healing modality and like other tools for healing experiencing them entails certain risks. We need to make sure that our plant medicines will not compromise your wellbeing or harm you in any way before we allow you to begin your healing journey with us. In short, we care about your safety and we need to do what we can to ensure that during your time with us you are not at risk of harm. Plant medicines can be dangerous if the plants are not the right fit for the individual. Your answers to this questionnaire will help us to determine whether the plants we intend to use are going to help, rather than harm you