For all of you wayfaring itinerants who are looking for an adventure, but more importantly, are interested in doing some heavy introspection, I can’t imagine a better site for your first time than with Jeanae and Matt at New Life Ayahuasca.
About an hour west of San Jose, NLA is located in the mountains of San Ramon. J&M do an excellent job of handling the logistics of getting you from the international airport to their site, so if you have any questions about how you’ll arrive to San Ramon, don’t even worry. Just follow the detailed email instructions Jeanae sends you prior to your trip.
My wife and I opted for the 5-day retreat (our first time with this excursion), but in retrospect, we wish we had signed up for the 7-day retreat (to take advantage of the third ceremony) because we were blown away by our experiences with the two that were offered with the 5-day. While you’re going to have an experience irrespective of where you pursue your journey, my wife and I attribute our life-altering experiences to Matt, Jeanae, and Drew.
Matt participates and leads the ceremony and possesses commanding presence to the extent that you cannot help but admire the strength it takes for him to be able to lead such an intense journey all these years. I just don’t understand how someone can simultaneously go deep within himself while also performing the icaros. And no doubt Jeanae and Drew also play an equally important role in ensuring that everyone is safe and supported during this process.
Meals were prepared by Jeanae, all of which were delicious. The location is private and allows for hiking (there’s 20 acres of land for you to wander around) and swimming (there’s an Olympic sized pool and spa steps away from the retreat center). I can certainly vouch for all of the reviews on this site sharing the details of how the retreat is run (yoga, massages, waterfall, etc). The four other guests who arrived at the retreat were all wonderful people. We’re glad that everyone was able to develop a rapport and trust each other especially given how vulnerable you expose yourself to the experience and the days after going deep with introspection.
What I really appreciate about NLA is their laid-back approach to the experience. J&M are two of the most unassuming, down to earth people you will meet and I could not have imagined a better couple (along with Drew) to have been our guides. They don’t force you to participate in the activities offered at the retreat nor do they expect you to share your thoughts and feelings about your experience, but they are certainly open and receptive should you need someone to talk to.
I remember after the first ceremony, my wife and I spent some time outside by the firepit with Drew. Let me just say that I was happy and relieved that an individual like Drew was at NLA. Gregarious, knowledgeable, and a willingness to be vulnerable around complete strangers, I could not have imagined a better individual to decompress to. His presence put me at ease and gave me the space to be able to synthesize what could only be described as ineffable. It meant a lot.
I’m digressing. I’ll just conclude with if you’re looking for a safe, clean, relaxing atmosphere, look no further than NLA. The retreat center is beautiful, private, and spacious. Jeanae, Matt, and Drew are absolutely wonderful hosts.
One last note: they've got 3 cats on the property, but one of them, Chopper, will help you on your journey. He's a protector of sorts. ;-)
Number of Participants in ceremony: 6
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