Purging is an important part of Ayahuasca ceremonies, which — at the moment it happens — is experienced as an unpleasant phenomenon, but afterwards feels as lightness, emotional release, and relief. It’s not for nothing that one of the nicknames of Ayahuasca is La Purga (a Spanish phrase), that is, The Purge.
Most people will purge during a ceremony, which traditionally is seen as a cleansing and purifying process of the energetic body and mind. Sometimes it happens just once, often in the beginning of a ceremony, but it can also repeat itself several times in the hours after drinking Ayahuasca. And sometimes it doesn’t happen at all.
Purging in an Ayahuasca ceremony is associated with negative or excess emotional or mental energy that needs to leave the body in the context of healing. It’s not seen as something negative, but rather interpreted as a necessary healing process. In traditional Shamanic settings, purging (and its healing capacity) is seen as one of the most important aspects of drinking Ayahuasca, if not the most important.
The actual purge can come in different forms, such as sweating, vomiting, yawning, coughing, peeing, and diarrhea. This typically goes together with feeling sick, nausea, retching, convulsions, and abdominal pains.
In general, purging becomes less after having participated in more Ayahuasca ceremonies, because the energetic body has become cleaner, clearer, and stronger.
In many retreats, you may be able to additionally work on detoxifying, cleansing and purifying yourself during the retreat by following a dietary regime, the Dieta, which may or can include purgative plants.
You may also find a range other indigenous cleansing, purifying, and energizing practices, but it depends largely on the retreat, Shaman, region, and/or country what is offered. Think of treatments like Kambo Frog Medicine, Floral baths, Mapacho rituals, Sweat Lodges, Icaros Medicine Songs, and Cacao ceremonies, among others.