Serva (Service Work)

For the last ten years I have provided “serva” or service work in Peru, offering trauma sensitive yoga classes to women in my neighborhood. These women have survived violence of all kinds and are very grateful to have access to free of charge yoga classes while I am there. In addition to this group I also offer yoga to a group of women and men with mental disabilities (Asumen).

The first couple of years I use to go from house to house to recruit them and their response was “yoga?” “what is yoga?” “I do not want to change my religion.” Once I told them they did not have to change their religion, they reluctantly came to my house to check it out. These last few years as soon as they find out I am there they come knocking on my door and eagerly ask when I will start teaching. I think is because there are not other safe spaces for them to rest, to relax or to be; spaces where they have choices, where for an hour they forget their roles and responsibilities; where no one is judging them or where there are expectations; where they can be how they are. For most of them, these classes are all they have as part of their healing process. Access to psychotherapy or counseling of any kind are not existent. My dream is to someday offer a teacher training right in my neighborhood and have them learn to teach to other women in our community and also to reach out to other neighborhoods.

This year I am planning to offer warm water yoga, which will be the very first time they will experience this type of healing practice. I am grateful that people already have donated yoga pants and bathing suit for the students.

If you would like to support this work, donations will provide the students with drinking water, snacks, transportation for trip to a yoga studio in Lima. In addition, we do a day trip to the beach: transportation, entrances fees, umbrella rentals, bathroom rentals, snacks, beverages and lunch, and weekly rental of a swimming pool for water yoga. I hope you would consider to support this worthwhile effort. No amount is too small. If you wish to donate, you can send your donation to Maria Sanchez (email me for my address) or via Venmo: Maria-Sanchez-391

How to Register for this Spiritual Journey

15 Day Spiritual Journey fee: $3,200 (does not include airfare to Peru)
Please note the fee includes a nonrefundable deposit of $1,000

Three days in Lima (Add On): $900

Space is limited. To reserve your space:

Download and complete this registration form (click here to download).

Send registration form and the nonrefundable $1,000 deposit to Maria. (Call her at 207-272-2071 to get the mailing address or with any questions you might have.) If you prefer, you may use paypal for your deposit: or Venmo: Maria-Sanchez-391

After receiving confirmation of your registration, e-mail a copy of your passport to Maria at

The cost of this 15 Day Journey will include: Pick-up/drop-off from Cusco airport, all land transportation, entrance fees for sites visits, double occupancy accommodations, breakfast, ceremonies, and all yoga sessions.

The cost of the 15 Day Journey (and the optional days in Lima) does not include: Airfare to Peru, lunch, dinner, gratuities, personal expenses, massage, or additional/individual shamanic healing treatments.

For more information contact Maria at 207-272-2071 or

Add On Visit to Lima: March 16-19, 2020

March 16-19, 2020

After leaving the mountains, we will embark on a culinary and cultural adventure in the lively city of Lima. Lima, the capital of Peru, lies on the country’s arid Pacific coast. Though its colonial center is preserved, it’s a bustling modern metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities. We will explore the city as well as visit the Museo Larco which holds a collection of pre-Columbian art.

We will also enjoy Peru’s gastronomic offerings with its unique blend of influences. We will explore urban agriculture, visit markets, and experience the criollo or “mixed heritage” of Peru, which draws from indigenous, European, African, and Asian roots. At a typical market you’ll find nutritionally dense native crops such as quinoa, maca, legumes, and kiwicha, as well as a bounty of tropical fruits like chirimoya, lúcuma, aguaymanto, along with some of the thousands of native potatoes, and seafood from the Pacific Ocean.  

What to Expect in Lima:

  • Daily Kundalini practice in the morning and restorative yoga in the evening.
  • Experience Peruvian Cuisine
  • Visit a typical market in Lima
  • Visit the Pre-Colombian Art Museum

Total Cost of Add on to Lima: $900

The cost of these three days in Lima will include: Pick-up from Arequipa, drop-off at Lima airport, all land transportation, entrance fees for sites visits, double occupancy accommodations, breakfast, visits to markets, and all yoga sessions.

The cost of the three days in Lima does not include: Airfare, lunch, dinner, or personal expenses.

What to Expect in Cuzco & Puno

  • Daily Kundalini practice in the morning and restorative yoga in the evening.
  • All Levels of yoga skills are welcome. No previous experience is necessary. This event is perfect for both the beginner, as well as the experienced yogi.
  • The Kundalini Yoga is taught in a way that is non-intimidating, easy to understand, simple to modify.
  • If you practice from another school of yoga, we encourage you to come. You will take away tools that will benefit you in ways that go well beyond any one style of practice.
  • You will be surrounded by a phenomenal group of like-minded people and a welcoming community.
  • We will work with Silvia Callisaya, an Aymara medicine woman.
  • Day trips to Macchu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, the majestic Andean Mountains as well as visit Incan sites such as Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Moray and Aguas Calientes. You will have the opportunity to visit the colorful markets.
  • All meals are are sourced-locally, nourishing and delicious; breakfast is included in the fee, all other meals are self-pay.
  • You will experience the energy and the power of the Apus (Andean mountains) and the magical Peruvian scenery.

15 Day Spiritual Journey to Peru: March 2-16, 2020

The Land of the Quero & Aymara Shamans: Cuzco & Puno

Total Cost of the 15 Day Journey: $3,200 (does not include airfare to Peru, see below for details)

Join Maria and Silvia Calisaya, an Aymara Medicine Woman, on an epic 15-day journey takes you directly into the center of the world, Cuzco (literally means belly button) and the heart of Peruvian shamanism offering you the opportunity to participate in Incan ceremonies lead by Quero Shamans and Aymara Shamans of the Altiplano and Lake Titicaca area of Puno.

Naupa Iglesia
Naupa Iglesia

In Cuzco we will visit the Naupa iglesia where we will do a permission ceremony lead by Quero Shamans. Silvia Calisaya, Aymaran Shaman will lead us to a vision quest in Macchu Picchu. We will explore the Sacred Valley and the majestic Andean Mountains; we will also visit Incan sites such Sacsayhuaman where we will we l do a cleanse ceremony to release past lives and karmas. We will visit Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Moray and Aguas Calientes.

Pachamama Temple

We will travel to Puno and Lake Titicaca; we will do water ceremonies and visit the Aymara’s sacred sites of the Amantani to Taquile Island to the Pachamama Temple in Arama Muru. We will visit an Aymara community of elders where we will share a meal of foods prepared in the style of the ancient Aymaras. Following the meal, we will perform an Ayni Ceremony. Next, we will visit the Colca Cayon in Arequipa to the home of the Peruvian Majestic Condors. There we will perform our last ceremony.

We will practice daily yoga in the foot of the sacred Andean Mountains. We will have the opportunity to visit the colorful markets, as well as eating local organic and delicious food from the rich mountains of Peru.

Our home base, Munay Tika

Our home base for 5 days will be in Ollantaytambo at a beautiful spiritual center nestled in the Andes Mountains. Maria will lead a daily Kundalini practice in the morning and restorative yoga in the evening. These practices will strengthen your nervous system, balance your glands, purify your blood, and clean out subconscious thought patterns. This practice will bring balance to your body, mind, and soul.

In this spiritual journey you will experience the depth of your soul and true identity. This direct experience of your higher self will build a platform of strength, radiance, and security on which to build your life, and create a state of total relaxation where healing and transformation can take place.

The cost of this 15 Day Journey will include: Pick-up/drop-off from Lima airport, all land transportation, entrance fees for sites visits, double occupancy accommodations, breakfast, ceremonies, and all yoga sessions.

The cost of the 15 Day Journey does not include: Airfare to Peru, lunch, dinner, gratuities, personal expenses, massage, or additional/individual shamanic healing treatments.

To register, here.

Images from previous spiritual journeys to Peru:

Trauma Sensitive Yoga

A gentle class in a safe environment of compassion and acceptance. This specialized class will help you regulate emotions of fear, grief, and anger through breathing and movement.

Trauma Sensitive Yoga is:

  • Safe, supportive and non-judgmental
  • Learning how to breathe to regulate emotions
  • Feeling empowered by choosing what’s right for you and your body
  • Releasing past trauma gracefully
  • Calming your mind
  • Not a religion
  • No prior experience necessary

Class Description: Each participant may choose to be on a mat or chair, depending on your comfort-level. The class will begin with breathing exercises and warm-up movements. Once the class is ready, Maria will guide you through a program to stretch, strengthen and balance your body. Students are guided to listen to their body and are given choices to modified any movement. Class will end with a deep relaxation.

About Maria


Maria Sanchez Herrera is originally from Lima, Peru. For over 20 years she has been helping people empower themselves through befriending their bodies and living their lives with compassion. She teaches yoga, mindfulness, and breathing techniques to women who are survivors of trauma.

Maria is a Kripalu certified yoga instructor with over 200 intensive hours of instruction. Maria is a certified LifeForce Practitioner, which is a yoga practice designed to alleviate depression and anxiety. She has completed an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction training.  Maria has also taken a Trauma Sensitive training with the Boston Trauma Center. She has also completed a 200-hour Kundalini teacher training.

Maria also teaches South American cooking workshops that nourish the mind, body and soul. She is passionate about reestablishing the connection between food and health as a tool to empower others. Growing up with a strong relationship with food, cooking, and community, Maria sees how people can achieve self-sufficiency through growing and cooking their own food. Her students learn that eating healthy does not have to be expensive or complicated, and that it can be both fun and delicious. She believes that a healthy and rich diet is the most powerful medicine and that it can cure almost any ailment. For Maria, cooking is another way she shows her love. She shared that love with Portland as the owner of Inca Roots restaurant for several years and now shares it with the Greater Portland community through cooking classes. She had collaborated with Spiral Arts, Cancer Community Center, Biddeford Adult Education, Cultivating Community, MacAuley Residence, Skillins Greenhouses and The Portland Food Coop.

Maria lives in Portland, Maine with her two daughters. She travels to Peru every year and teaches trauma sensitive yoga in San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru, where she grew up. She is a cofounder of Friends of Nuestras Raices, an after-school art program for at-risk children and youth.

Maria is available to teach cooking and/or yoga classes for individuals or groups. She can be reached at or 207-272-2071.

Plant-based Latin American Cooking

Learn about preparing South American cuisine that nourishes the mind, body and soul. This class will introduce you to some of the foods from Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, with dishes using legumes, quinoa, corn, squash and leafy greens. We will learn to prepare salsa fresca, arepas (corn meal tortillas) and more. Maria will share the history of South American foods and healing properties will be explored.

Empanadas Making Class

Appetizers to dessert: a real meal made of empanadas. The word “empanadas” comes from Spanish for “breaded” and means “in dough” or that which is covered with bread. These tasty turnovers, dubbed the great food passion of South America, are filled with seafood, meat, poultry, cheese, vegetables or fruit. Maria will teach you how to make the dough and the fillings. Come and have fun making and eating them! Spaces are limited.

Ancient Peruvian Cooking

Learn about the foods that come from Peru’s three distinct regions – the coast, the mountains and the forest. The class will learn to cook some of the foods of the Incas, including dishes using fish, quinoa, potatoes, squash, yucas, healing herbs and more. The history of Peruvian foods and their nutritional value will also be explored.