Shipibo name: Neten Yaca, which means Bright World
Tania comes from a remote Shipibo village of Roaboya on Ucayali river. She has been working with medicines for her whole life, and comes from a lineage of traditional healers. She has ten years of experience working with ayahuasca. Her main Maestro was her grandfather Jose Lopez, who was the community healer at the time. Later, her uncle Americo Lopez and his partner Olga Urquia became her teachers, as well as her cousin Gabriel Lopez. Thanks to all of them, we are now a strong family group of healers, she says. Her favorite plants are marosa, piñon colorado, y shiwahuaco.
Maestro Gabriel López Cumapa
Shipibo name “niwe” which translates to wind or air.
Gabriel started training with master plants from an early age of 11. His first dieta his dad gave him was with mucura. This first dieta opened the world of the medicine to him and he decided to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. He feels very honored and proud to follow this path of ancestral wisdom. He is grateful to be given the opportunity to share the grandeur infinite love of this medicine, and the infinite happiness and tranquility that working with the master plants brings into one’s life. With great humility he gives thanks to his parents and to God for guiding him to the light of the medicine.
In order to expand his knowledge of the world and the medicine, he has dieted many plants. His favorite is Noya Rao, which he says is a very powerful teacher filled with lots of light, healing, curing, and protection. Its icaros help one move closer to the source of All. Hence, he says, with our experience in healing with the medicine of ayahuasca, we are here to help the people that are most in need of healing and to share ourselves with much love and care.
Maestra Sulmira Vela Hidalgo
Shipibo Name: Siniveri, which translates to All Equal
Sulmira started to diet at the age of 13 with her father Melchiade Vela Lomas, who was a well-known healer in the region. Her first dieta was with piñon colorado, and she kept dieting with her father for years, sometimes for months at a time. She started to treat people with medicinal plants and ayahuasca in her late twenties, and now has over 20 years of experience in the field. She has always been working with people of all ages, children, adults, and seniors, as from her childhood she had always known that helping people to heal from all sorts of conditions is her calling in life. Sulmira has dieted lots of plants and her favourite ones are piñon colorado, albahaca, bobinsana, and waira caspi.
Maestro Jorge Lopez
Shipibo name is Iscumeni, which loosely translates into Beautiful World
Jorge started his journey with the medicine in his late twenties and started dieting at the age of 31. He first dieted tobacco for a very long time and became trained as tobaquero first before embarking on his journey to work with ayahuasca. He worked for 8 years as a tobaquero, helping to heal people in his community. While on this task, he kept dieting more plants and learning from ayahuasca. By the age of 38, he was prepared to incorporate ayahuasca into his healing service and has been working with the medicine ever since, while still using tobacco frequently. His favourite trees are Huacapurana, Icoja, Chuchuhuasi, Tamamuri, and Murure. He has always been called to help people.
Steward of Amazon Healing Center and Facilitator
Vlad was born and raised in the Czech Republic. He left Europe in 1996 to study in the United States and has lived in various countries around the world since then. Peru has been his home since 2011. Vlad came into contact with ayahuasca for the first time in 2004. In 2011 he moved to Peru to work directly with Shipibo healers in the Amazon jungle. After spending five years working in one of the largest ayahuasca healing centers in the world, he embarked on his second journey with Tobacco in 2016, this time studying under a mestizo healer in Iquitos, Peru for several years. In 2021, Vlad came to facilitate the retreats at Soltara in Costa Rica, and the journey of bringing Soltara to Peru began. Vlad has a deep love for all plants and natural medicines as well as direct experience with many master plants and indigenous traditions.
He is looking forward to supporting these intimate retreat groups in Peru, close to the medicines and with an exemplary team. Vlad is a man of many interests and the best way to get to know him is by meeting him in person.
Dr James Di Pasquale, PhD
James grew up in Australia and has lived in Singapore and Europe. His family origin is Italian and English, and he spent most of his adulthood living in London. When James is not in Peru, he enjoys spending time in the city and at his rural property in subtropical South-East Queensland.
James’ professional interests focus on wellness, relieving suffering, and optimising human performance. His career began in sleep medicine over 20 years ago and includes extensive clinical and research work with adults and children. He completed a clinical research doctorate in sleep medicine at Imperial College London, where he remains an honorary lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine.
James’ first plant medicine experience was in 2017. Since then, his exploration of various plant medicine traditions has deepened his expertise through witnessing these modalities’ profound healing and life-optimising potential. These experiences also afford him a personal appreciation for the importance of intentional integration work.
In recent years, James’ professional interests have expanded to include counselling support for couples, families, and young individuals from diverse backgrounds in their growth and development journeys. As a counsellor, James takes a trauma-informed approach to his work with human behaviours and healing. He has extensive experience working compassionately with people who suffer from depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, suicidal ideation, and self-harming behaviours. He also works with war veterans suffering from PTSD.
James is an empathic listener and a skilful communicator who enjoys holding space for people from all walks of life. Living with passion and purpose, he devotes his time and energy to serving others and sharing his intuitive wisdom. His unique background blends the realms of spirituality and evidence-based science and, in this way, beautifully compliments the Soltara Peru team.
Retreat Director & Facilitator
Kasey has been studying, teaching, practicing, and offering workshops in the sacred healing and esoteric arts for over 20 years. She has trained and been certified in several modalities, with teachers of multiple disciplinary studies, including indigenous cultural traditions of both North and South America, which allows for deep and comprehensive offerings, teachings and personal sessions.
Kasey has a deep connection with the plant kingdom. In the late 90’s, western medicine was falling short of helping with chronic health issues, in turn, alternative methods for health and well being became her main focus. After several years of diving deep into the studies of herbalism and earth-based practices, she started her intentional journey and studies with Huachuma (San Pedro) and Ayahuasca in 2010. This has lead to a continuation of a lifelong journey with the plants and their amazing abilities to assist in the health of humanity. She has studied with many mestizo lineages of Peru, Columbia, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and North America. She also works with several Shipibo families in the Amazon to continue to dive deeper into her diet work and traditions of this beautiful culture.
For the last 12 years Kasey has focused on a small healing practice and herbal product line, while living remotely in the mountains and coast line of Oregon, USA. Her practice and teachings utilise the energy of sound, songs, plants, flower essences, medical and traditional astrology and crystals. Many of the plants used for her product line have been grown in her own gardens, or wildcrafted on lands she stewarded. Kasey is a master gardener with a focus on bio-dynamic gardening, permaculture and Korean Natural Farming and regenerative techniques.
Sound and music are also an important component to all of her work. She is a multi-instrumentalist and holds an Associates Degree in Sound Therapy. She teaches workshops in drum and rattle making, along with weaving, sewing and leather crafts. Kasey also has a Masters in Art education, has taught in public and private school settings, as well as Non-profit organisations, with a focus in arts, music, gardening and social justice.
As a sacred energy and whole body wellness practitioner and teacher, she strives to Empower Others to Empower Themselves through understanding how to connect to the Source that connects us all.
Kajsa was born in Sweden into a family who spent many years traveling and living abroad. At age 17 she embarked upon a 15-year long journey of contemporary dance, ballet and improvisation. After studying with the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria and receiving a masters degree at a ballet conservatoire in the UK, she went from stage to stage performing with leading companies around the world. In her early 30’s it came to an abrupt end when Kajsa had an accident which took several years to recover from.
During this challenging time she developed a yoga-based training program specifically designed for strength and recovery – BoxingYoga. Soon the success of her method had spread from boxing clubs and gyms to elite sports teams and military units. As BoxingYoga grew, Kajsa developed a certified Teacher Training Course and trained over 200 instructors internationally.
In 2017, Kajsa began her journey with plant medicine. Her mother, a nurse who had lived and worked in the Amazon with Shipibo in the 1970’s, would say; “Go and experience for yourself, but if you do, you probably won’t come back”. Indeed, there was no going back. After her first encounter with Ayahuasca, Kajsa left her business, sold her belongings and bought a one-way ticket to Peru.
Plant medicine has since been central to Kajsa’s personal practice and continues calling her to dive deeper into herself and the world around. Now, leading a life close to nature, dedicated to self-awareness and serving others – Kajsa is in her essence here at Soltara where she can share the power of yoga and support others on the beautiful journey as a bridge from the physical limitations to one’ infinite inner space.
Born and raised in the United States, Jonathan had his first life-changing encounter with psychedelic medicine twenty years ago at quite a young age. After almost a decade of seeking out more experiences and stumbling down an unseen path, he met Grandmother Ayahuasca in Brazil in 2012 and it became his point of no return. He dedicated his life to walking a path of awareness and awakening, a path of medicine and self-inquiry.
For the last seven years, Jonathan has been living in Peru and working primarily as a facilitator of Ayahuasca, San Pedro (Huachuma) and Sweat Lodge (Temazcal) ceremonies. He identifies mostly as a student and a servant and loves to read and write and play his guitar, harmonicas, flutes, and drums. He says exercise, yoga and breathwork keep him going and speaks openly about his incompleteness and his imperfections and how grateful he is for the blessings he has received so far in this life.
His greatest source of joy is being in the right place at the right time to smooth someone else’s path. His greatest source of inspiration is the never-ending, always interesting, beautiful struggle for personal liberation. These days, he is grateful to be working at Soltara in Peru alongside a very talented team and finds himself constantly humbled and surprised by the magic occurring here every week between the guests, the exquisite Shipibo maestros, the medicine and the Great Spirit.
Emilie grew up in the countryside in the south of France surrounded by rivers, forests and plants. She spent her childhood in an environment of freedom, nature and simplicity. At a young age, Emilie’s passion for discovering the natural world led her to Paris where she studied photography. This was an opportunity for her to explore and learn how to see the world from a different perspective.
In 2011 Emilie was sent to Peru to do a photographic report on medicinal plants and shamanism. Having never studied anything like this before, she knew she had to try the plants in order to make the report justice. Little had she expected that this was about to change her life. Shortly after Emilie sold her camera to finance her new path in Peru and live and learn from a Shipibo family near the Ucayali River in the Amazon.
Two years later Emilie helped to develop a project “Amrita”, a center which blended traditional Shipibo healing methods with live music from India. With this experience she moved on to Nihue Rao where she joined the team of Master healer Ricardo Amaringo and managed his centre for three years. In 2017 Emilie moved on to coordinate and facilitate at Arkana, another healing centre of Ayahuasca, Bufo Alvarius and Kambo medicine.
Today, Emilie has guided individuals and groups for over a decade and facilitated hundreds of ceremonies in the Amazonian rainforest.
Recently Emilie got certified in Shamanic Energy Medicine combined with cutting-edge practices in nutrition, biology and neuroscience, a program founded by Dr. Alberto Villoldo.
Her passion for traveling and studying other ancestral medicine around the world continues to this day. Grateful to have found her calling in life – to serve and fly in the beautiful and magical space of mother earth, excited to share her experiences with THE medicine with you…
Pepe, originally from Lima, Peru, chose to make Cusco his home for the last 20 years. Living in the mountains and running his outdoor yoga studio, he feels closer to nature. Pepe’s yoga experience centers mostly around Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Yin yoga, and he loves using yoga as a tool to transmit calm and focus to his students.
Pepe particularly works on the connection between the mind, body, and heart to enable each person to find what they are looking for. Pepe’s other passions are hiking, rock climbing, and trail running which he combines with his yoga teaching. Pepe also loves to explore the world, traveling to discover new cultures, people, and more about himself.
Pepe holds a beautiful space in his classes and is honored to support the medicine work with this healing and embodied modality.
Claire Beiersdorf enjoys yoga for the immersive experience. The movement of the body in sync with breath and music, the exploration of asanas, the self-education, the building of physical strength and internal calm. Claire has always been sporty and competitive and the discovery of yoga was a brand new experience: a way to train her body to move in ways she couldn’t even as a preteen gymnast, and an athletic pursuit where there was no competition, only a constant striving for self-improvement. Claire’s love for the practice of yoga led her to Cusco, Peru, where she completed her 200-hour certification at the InBound School of Yoga in 2013. As the practice of yoga has increased her physical strength and flexibility, the experience of teaching has increased her comfort in front of groups and made her a more confident leader, all of which she has carried with her into her personal and professional lives. In December of 2015, she returned to South America to complete her 500-hour certification at the InBound School of Yoga. As an instructor, Claire strives to bring energy and to encourage her students to experiment with their own practices. She wants her students to feel safe, inspired and to have individually rewarding experiences. Claire is truly thankful for what she has gained from the community, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to it.
Inma has 20 years of experience working with Humanistic Psychology and Gestalt therapy. In 2008, she began learning the Shipibo medicine through master plant diets with Shipibo Maestros in the “vegetalismo amazónico” tradition. In 2016 she moved to live in the Amazonian jungle in Peru with several Shipibo curandero families in order to have more practice, understanding, and delve deeper into this discipline from within. She has a deep and long experience with the Shipibo culture and their medicine world, and also assisting Shipibo curanderos’ work, facilitating seminars and supporting people’s healing and personal growth processes over many retreats and years.
Her love for this work and the medicine shows in the compassion and skill she brings to facilitation, and she looks forward to supporting guests with such a deeply connected and experienced team.
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