Powerful 15 Min Morning Routine that will CHANGE your LIFE

Quantum morning routine creates the ideal energetic vibration for your entire day. You will be in God-mode (technically, you are God, but that’s a different topic!).  Charge up your Earthship with this epic morning workout routine.

 

Humans are Quantum

In both massive universal phenomena and tiny quantum interactions alike, the initial conditions are of tantamount importance. 

For example, the initial conditions at the Big Bang set the tone for the rest of the universe’s evolution. What if the first hydrogen and helium atoms had formed 10 minutes after the big bang (instead of after about 5 minutes)?

Image: Evolution of universe, the Big Bang is quite the morning routine!

Well, in all likelihood, the first stars, galaxies and planets would have formed much later. Earth would probably not exist (at least, not in any recognisable form). Let’s say Earth somehow did come into existence despite this 5 minute delay, then certainly life on Earth would look completely different. All this because of a 5-minute difference in initial conditions.

This butterfly effect is even more relevant on the very small quantum scale (and a lot stranger!). In fact, in the context of quantum uncertainty, particle-wave duality, tunnelling and reversal of cause and effect (just to name a few of the weirder ones), one could almost argue that the initial conditions are all that matter. 

Image: Computer simulation of quantum fluctuations; various constellations dependent on initial conditions

In high school, I found it incredibly odd when my teachers would admit that Newtonian physics is a false theory and yet ask us to use it for practical purposes because “quantum theory is only for atoms and stuff”. “But, aren’t we made of a bunch of atoms? Why wouldn’t it also apply to us?” I would ask – often to the annoyance of my teachers.

We are made of atoms, atoms are composed of subatomic particles which abide by the laws of quantum mechanics. Thus, we as humans are just extremely complex quantum mechanical systems. Even at our enormous scale, each human being actually has a wavelength – albeit a minuscule one – but a wavelength, nonetheless. 

Although we do not yet possess the technology to accurately model and understand all the interactions happening within us at the quantum level, we are inescapably quantum – because we are composed of subatomic particles.

Going the route of my high school teachers and coddling Newtonian physics because the quantum is too complex to be useful mass level is inauthentic at best. It’s equivalent to saying “I know the Earth must be round in theory, but since I can’t see the curvature from this scale, let’s just assume it’s flat”. Yes, I said it, assuming we are Newtonian objects of mass is equivalent to being a flat-earther!

Rant over 🙂

The point is that humans beings are part of the universe. We are also complex quantum systems. Therefore, setting our initial conditions each day are just as important to our well-being as the big bang was to the evolution of the universe. 

So what is the Quantum Morning Routine? Keep reading.

Quantum Morning Routine

This 15-minute, 3-part morning routine is designed to cultivate the optimal internal vibration at the start of our day. I mean that literally and figuratively. Since we lack the technology to measure the quantum interactions inside the human body, this morning routine must be valued experientially.

So try it out yourself, start your day the quantum way:

Part I: Get High 🌞 – 3 Rounds of DMT Breathing

Amazingly, we homo sapiens create DMT effects through only breathing. There are several guides online on how to do this – they all work. My version is motivated by my background in yoga and kundalini tantra. I place focus on the internal landscape of breathing as well as the external mechanics. It takes a bit more focus, but I believe the superior potential for personal growth, awareness and expansion merit the effort. Check out my detailed guide on how to product DMT through meditation here

Part II: Get Pumped 💪 – 3 Rounds of Pushup Pranayama

Pushup pranayama is a practice that combines a classic strength-building exercise with deep, full breathing and breath retention. Similar to my philosophy on DMT breathing, I focus on internal awareness as well an external alignment. Check out full instructions on pushup pranayama here

Part III: Get Cold 🥶 – 3 Minutes Cold Shower

Popularised by Wim Hof, cold showers and cold therapy have increasingly gained mainstream traction – and rightfully so! The health benefits are manifold. I’ve learned to love cold showers. Yes, love. I love cold therapy because it’s the real ego killer. Think about it – proper form pushups and correct breathing technique take time and practice to master. In contrast literally anyone can do a 3-minute cold shower, so where does the resistance come from? It’s all from the ego. The ego seeks to maintain the status quo (in this case, your skin temperature) and craves comfort. For this reason, a cold shower is one of the most efficient ways to remind the ego that it’s full of it – and naturally release tons of feel-good chemicals as well.

General Breathing Tips:

Breathing is something all of us do, yet few do well. We must actively teach ourselves how to breathe properly. Check out some great tips on general breathing mechanics, technique and intention here

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DMT Breathing: How to produce DMT through Meditation

Fascinatingly, we humans actually produce DMT naturally in our body. There are many theories as to why we do this – however, I’m going to delve into the “how”. How can you use breathing to tap into your own reservoir of DMT?

Breathing Tips

First, a refresher on breathing.

There are several instructional videos online on the topic of releasing DMT through breathing. What they all have in common is the philosophy of “I don’t care how you breathe, just get the air in there!”. 

This is actually true. The human body is so amazing that if you just breathe long, hard, and fast enough, you will get high. 

My argument is that the self-induced psychedelic trip you get from practicing the right breathing techniques as opposed to “just getting the air in there” is analogous to the difference between a premium crystal-packed strain of marijuana versus sub-par street weed with lots of seeds.

So, let’s get high on the good stuff by following these breathing guidelines:

  • Breathe fully and deeply into the belly, chest and head (in that order).

  • Experience yourself as breath. Close your eyes and use your intuition to follow the flow of your breath from the inside. Become absorbed into that rhythmic flow.

  • When you sit to breathe – you are no longer human. You are a cylindrical container that can pump breath in and out – that’s all. Forget everything else

  • Minimise the pauses between exhale and inhale and between inhale and exhale. There is just one constant stream of breath – let your consciousness become enthralled in this homogenous, directionally-agnostic flow.

I go into a lot more detail on the mechanics of breathing here.

Warm Up

Next, warm up the Earthship. 

The Earthship is this mind-body carrier vessel that transports our consciousness through the human journey.

Although our consciousness is clearly hyper-dimensional – our mind, body and ego that bind us to this physical reality is not.

Indeed, it’s the conundrum of housing a God-like consciousness in a monkey ego-body that makes the human experience so unique. I like to think of it like this:

You see, the problem with pushups is that they work.  No matter who you are, if you do enough pushups you will undeniably build muscle.

The question is – are those new muscles built around and supporting a properly aligned spine thus improving your life or are they re-enforcing and even exacerbating poor posture and alignment leading to massive prana blockage?

That is why we must place a deliberate focus on alignment. Even if you only do one proper pushup you will get the health benefits, and over time you will build up the strength required to increase the number of these perfect-form pushups.

Without further ado, here are some proper pushup guidelines:

Why is my consciousness tied my body? What’s the nature of that relationship? I wondered 🤔 well, it’s like a sea-bird🕊 and a ship🚢 traveling deep at sea. The bird (consciousness) comes to the ship (body/ego) to land and rest sometimes and then takes off again. The bird and the ship have an open relationship. The bird follows the ship until it reaches land and then becomes independent again (death). The danger is when the bird spends so long on the ship that it mis-identifies itself as a ship, loses its wings and becomes a chicken 🐓  #fuckchickens

The dual nature of our human experience has been addressed by philosophers, yogis, mystics and intellectuals for millennia. For the purpose of getting high on our own supply of DMT, it suffices to understand that we need to grease up the Earthship (or warm up the body, if you prefer) beforehand to achieve the best results.

Here are some of my favourite ways to prepare for DMT breathing:

  • 30 – 60 minutes of Hatha Yoga

  • A few rounds of Pushup Pranayama

  • 2-5 minutes of shaking – just plant your feet on the ground and shake. Breathe and shake. (Very simple, but powerful. See Below)

How to produce DMT through Meditation

Ok, great – the Earthship is warmed up and now we are ready to produce some DMT and have a psychedelic experience purely through breathing.

Before I get to the method, a quick point on safety: be safe. 

Don’t do this if:

  • You are driving or operating heavy machinery

  • You are pregnant

  • You have epilepsy

  • You are in or near water

Your best bet would be to do this lying down in bed or sitting comfortably in a safe environment.

So, here’s how to do it:

    1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable, safe environment
    2. Close your eyes and breathe calmly through the nose for a few minutes. Using the breathing guidelines, become anchored to your breath and ultimately into the moment.
    3. Take 25 deep breaths through your nose. Watch the air fill your belly, expand into your chest, upper chest, neck and head. Contract your abs to exhale.
    4. After the 25th breath, accelerate your pace of breathing for another 25 breaths
    5. After 25 accelerated breaths (50 breaths in total), exhale fully and retain the breath out for as long as feels comfortable. Do not strain. Try to sense equilibrium in your body. Advanced practitioners can pull the abs inwards and upwards (uddiyana bandha) in this step.
    6. When you are ready to inhale, first relax the abs, then inhale deeply and fully, filling the belly, chest, neck and head. Advanced practitioners can tilt the chin up about 20 degrees (this can get you even more high, but be careful, I have passed out doing this).
    7. Once your lungs are as full of air as possible – hold the breath in and squeeze the air upwards. Contract your abs inwards and upwards. Simultaneously pull your shoulder blades back and down the spine – this opens up more space in the upper chest and neck. Hold the breath in with this muscular engagement for 20-30 seconds. Exhale
    8. Sit and feel the after effects of DMT breathing. Enjoy 🙂

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Pushup Pranayama – Supercharge Your Energy in 3 Minutes

Hello Earth-People,

Pushup Pranayama is an active breathwork exercise that combines Muay Thai conditioning training with selected techniques from Kundalini Tantra

As Wim Hof and shamanic breathing practitioners already know, repeated deep breathing can often feel like a psychedelic experience.

Pushup Pranayama combines conscious, full breathing with a classic strength-building exercise. The result is an absolutely prana-popping sequence that will reset your day.

I like to practice this technique:

  1. Right before meditation 🧘🏽 (a bit of pre-meditation pranic plumbing, it ain’t much, but it’s honest work)
  2. A few rounds as a morning routine before coffee ☕
  3. As a warm-up before strength training 🏋️‍♂️ or martial arts 🥋

Health Benefits

Pushup Pranayama has a plethora of health benefits as it combines the best of both worlds: a classic strength-building exercise with deep full breathing and breath retention. Here are a few proven benefits of this practice (this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • Increases lung capacity 
  • Improves posture
  • Increases functional strength (full body activation)
  • Enhances cardiovascular system
  • Boosts immune system
  • Increases willpower
  • Improves concentration
  • Boosts energy level / reduces fatigue
  • Rapidly increases muscle definition
  • Stimulates blood circulation in the abdomen and blood flow to the brain

Requirements

  • Human body containing lungs (if you do not have one, please DM @amargi.life)
  • Mango 🥭 (optional, but highly recommended)

How to do a Proper Pushup

Pushup Pranayama emphasises alignment over number of reps – form is of tantamount importance. It is preferable to do less reps with a focus on perfect internal and external body position than many reps with lackadaisical form.

You see, the problem with pushups is that they work.  No matter who you are, if you do enough pushups you will undeniably build muscle.

The question is – are those new muscles built around and supporting a properly aligned spine thus improving your life or are they re-enforcing and even exacerbating poor posture and alignment leading to massive prana blockage?

That is why we must place a deliberate focus on alignment. Even if you only do one proper pushup you will get the health benefits, and over time you will build up the strength required to increase the number of these perfect-form pushups.

Without further ado, here are some proper pushup guidelines:

  • Imagine a line of energy connecting your heels to your crown. Either end of this line is pulling away from each other. Maintain this engagement throughout the entire pushup motion.
  • Suck your belly inward and upward (aka Uddiyana Bandha). Try to maintain this as best you can throughout the pushup motion. Performing Uddiyana Bandha while doing a pushup is very challenging, so be patient with yourself. The ability will improve with practice.
  • Spread your fingers and engage them by pushing them individually into the ground throughout the pushup motion
  • When you ascend in the pushup, push into the ground and inflect the              shoulders at the top of the motion. Feel the space open up in our upper back and rib cage before descending again. 
  • When you descend in the pushup keep the arms tight into the torso and hinge the elbows backwards. Maintain spinal alignment as much as possible. This is challenging and will improve with time and practice.

How to Breathe

1) Breathe Fully into the Belly, Chest and Head (in that order)

Body shapes breathe and breathe shapes mind. Breathing is something that all of us do, yet few of us do properly.

Indeed, widespread use of smartphones has only exacerbated the issue on a species-wide level, as we spend more time hunched over. Bad posture restricts airflow in the lungs, leading to prana blockage. When our prana is stuck, we feel sad, slow, tired, irritated and small.

Typical post-2007 Homo Sapien posture promotes prana blockage

Pushups with a focus on form builds musculature that promotes a healthy, aligned spine and naturally you will be able to breathe better over time.

Now we are going to address the internal mechanics of breathing itself. The correct way to breathe in Pushup Pranayama is fully and deeply through the nostrils observing the air filling the belly, chest then head. Exhale, also through the nostrils, by forcefully contracting the abs inwards towards the straight and relaxed spine.

This breathing style likely feels unnatural at first – this is deep conscious breathing, not the short shallow breaths and keep us enslaved ;-).

Still, the breathing style is understandably foreign at first, so let’s consider a balloon on a faucet:

When you turn on the water the balloon starts to fill at the bottom first (belly) then the middle (chest) and finally the top (head). The balloon is constantly filling in all parts at all times. Even as the water starts to expand the mid and top parts of the balloon, the bottom is also continually expanding.

Analogously, when we inhale in the Pushup Pranayama, fluid (air or even prana) is filling up the belly first, then your awareness moves to the chest, as the breath fills the chest your awareness moves to the head as you mentally draw the breath up. However, even as your awareness moves from belly to chest to head feel that the belly is continually expanding as you inhale.

The exhale is easy – just contract the abs forcefully towards the straight and relaxed spine. Observe that the better you exhale is the better you can inhale on the next round – and vice versa.

2) Experience Yourself as Breath

What kind of hippie shit is that, amirite? Hear me out, it’s not as far out as it may initially seem. 

One of our primary evolutionary advantages as a species is the ability to role play and create imagined realities. We do this all the time collectively – this is how cultures, religions, nations and states are formed.

Individually we do this too. When we go to a dinner party and sit at a table, we play the role of a bi-pedal mammal sitting in a chair. We eat in a certain way and only say certain things appropriate to that social setting. The version of ourselves at a dinner party is simply a role we play – one of many ways we can experience our sense of self.

Similarly, in a MMA cage fight, the two fighters are playing a role. Their bodily form changes into a defensive position protecting their chin and vital spots. Their breathing changes as well. Certainly, it is not sustainable to maintain this tense combative stance all the time, but for the purpose of the cage fight it is the optimal mind-body state. Again, just another experience of self. 

Finally in sex, we experience ourselves blissfully conjoined with our partner, often in the horizontal position. Again, our breathing changes. We can not walk through life all the time in the horizontal position or delightfully physically fused to another person. Therefore sex is also clearly yet another role we play – one of many possible experiences of the self.

You could argue that in fact all of existence is simply a collection of layered experiences of self (but that is another story).

That feeling when you realise self does not objectively exist

The point is, we humans are excellent actors. The role I want you to play when breathing in Pushup Pranayama is that you are not a physical body anymore – you are only awareness of breath. You are not past memories or future expectations. You do not even have arms or legs. You are just breath and awareness. It’s actually much much simpler than a dinner party, fighting or sex. Comparatively, in each of these roles there is so much to think about – so many moving parts to manage. For example, should I make that joke right now? Should I throw an uppercut or a low kick? Is she enjoying this?

In contrast, to become breath there is only awareness of the flow of breath – and only this – perhaps that is what makes it challenging.

To achieve oneness with breath simply practice sitting still and breathing. As you inhale into the belly, chest and head allow your consciousness to become absorbed in the flow of breath. As you exhale, your awareness shifts to the rapid exit of breathe from your body as you contract the abs. Become absorbed in this rhythm and after some time the awareness of physical body falls away

 3) Your Spine is a Highway, Breath is the Cars – No Traffic Jams!

Final breathing tip. I like to think of my spine as a super highway and my breath as cars travelling along this highway. I want this to be the most boring, peaceful highway ever. I want no traffic jams, no acceleration and no deceleration. I just want cars moving at a constant speed along the entire length of the highway.

Inhale imagining a car cruising up your spine with no stops, acceleration or deceleration. Just cruisin

Analogously, I want my breath to travel up my spine without tension or deliberation. If I find an area of tension that makes breathing difficult, I ask myself “what do I need to release physically or psychologically that will remove this breath traffic jam?”. If I notice my ego trying to fight and gasp for more breath I ask myself “instead of accelerating my breath to get in more air – what do I need to relax in my body or mind so the breath can flow at a constant speed without me forcing it?”.

As best as possible watch your breath and become sensitive to any aberrations in flow. The process of releasing tension, whether physical or energetic, enabling constant, smooth flow of breath will develop a deeper relationship with yourself and heal traumas.

Method 

1. Sit on your heels in vajrasana and close the eyes. Take a few moments to settle the body and mind in this position.

2. Take 10 deep breaths. Inhale deeply and watch the breath fill the belly, flow and fill the chest and all the way up to the head. Exhale by strongly contracting the abs inwards and upwards

3. After the 10th exhalation, fully empty the lungs and retain the breath out. 

4. Lean forward and get into the pushup position with the air held out. Pause in high plank and bring attention to your alignment.

5. Without inhaling, do 10 pushups – again focussing on maintaining proper alignment.

6. After the 10th pushup, inhale deeply into balasana (child’s pose) and hold the breath in for 10-15 seconds.

7. Exhale as you return to vajrasana

8. This is one round. Do as many as you like

Eat Mango (Optional)

Optional, but highly recommended. It is important to reward the monkey mind after such an intense exercise. I enjoy eating the mango with my bare hands on a beach, getting the mango juices and pulp all over my skin and beard, then cleansing post-feast in the ocean.

If you are doing this exercises at home, office, or generally western civilisation, you can replace the ocean with a shower or simply eat the mango like a “normal” person.

Contra-Indications

Important! Do not do it if you:

  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have heart disease
  • Have acute peptic or duodenal ulcers
  • Are pregnant
  • Had abdominal surgery in the last 6-9 months

Practice Notes

Here are some tips to help you go deeper in this powerful practice:

  • Do Pushup Pranayama on an empty stomach
  • The hardest part of Pushup Pranayama is not the pushups, but the concentration on alignment. This can be overwhelming at first. Therefore, each time you practice, fully place attention on a single aspect of perfect alignment (as described in the How to Do a Pushup section). For example, you can first focus on straightening the spine from base to crown. After several sessions with this singular alignment focus, muscle memory will take over and it will become easier. When this happens, shift focus to the next alignment point and repeat the process. Eventually you will be able to put it all together and do a perfect pushup without much thinking.
  • When your form is good and you have been practising for some time, advanced practitioners can start engaging the bandhas. Actually, if you are following the alignment instructions, you already have uddiyana bandha engaged by pulling your abs upwards and inwards. You can also carefully add moolhabandha when you are ready to go deeper in this pranayama. Do this with care and without strain.

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The Ayahuasca Experiment

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea that has been consumed by indigenous tribes in South America for many centuries. More recently, it has gained popularity and mainstream appeal evidenced by increased ayahuasca tourism in countries such as Peru and Brazil. Sometimes fondly referred to as “Mother Ayahuasca”, the active hallucinogenic compound is DMT (N, N-dimethyltryptamine) which causes vivid visualisations.

Intense visuals aside, it is often claimed that ayahuasca has the power to heal psychological ailments such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, almost everyone who consumes ayahuasca claims it was a life-changing experience (myself included).

Finally and most relevant in our case, it is believed by many that taking ayahuasca can catalyse an enlightenment experience or “kundalini awakening”. As far as I know, no one has tested this notion and this case study attempts to do exactly that.

Can ayahuasca catalyse higher levels of consciousness? 

To even ask this question and have a hope of finding an answer, we must first introduce two concepts:
1) What is Consciousness?

I do not know. Fortunately, we do not need to know what it is to measure its change. For this, I propose the concept of a “Consciousness Fingerprint”.

I define the consciousness fingerprint as a set of pre-defined metrics recorded at a regular frequency that represents the brain state for that period of measurement. In other words, it is a snapshot of the brain. This set of measurements does not address the nature of consciousness itself, but rather provides us a way to track its change over time.

Theoretically, the metrics that compose the consciousness fingerprint are completely arbitrary. For example, you could decide that your emotional state ranging from 1 (very sad) to 10 (very happy) is the consciousness fingerprint for the day. Indeed for some purposes and with sufficient data, this could even be an effective consciousness fingerprint (if the subjectivity of rating one’s own emotional state can be ignored).  However, for this case study I have the hardware and software to create a much more rigorous consciousness fingerprint and have chosen the following set of metrics to be recorded daily:

a) Average power spectral density (read more about this here) of the brain waves produced during Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
b) Average power spectral density (PSD) of the brain waves produced during Ajapa Japa meditation
c) Left/Right Brain hemisphere correlation during Anuloma Vilomna Pranayama
d) Left/Right Brain hemisphere correlation during Ajapa Japa meditation
e) Average breath retention time over 5 rounds of Wim Hof Breathing

These five measurements were recorded daily over the 30-day experiment and enable us to track changes in the brain. The more dissimilar our metrics are, the better resolution lens we have into the state of consciousness on that day.

Measurements (a)-(d) were all taken with the Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband, however, they are capturing different types of meditations and at different times of the day.

Furthermore, measurements (c) and (d) were not concerned with the PSD, rather the correlation of the raw electrical data coming from each brain hemisphere. Wim Hof breath retention (e) was an intelligent addition to the mix as it does not even use the Muse2 and thereby further reduces the correlation between the metrics themselves and the risk of systemic hardware/software error. 

BTW, WTF is Power Spectral Density?

For our purposes, it suffices to think of it as a heuristic for the power or amplitude of a particular type of brain wave. Another way to think of power spectral density is through the following analogy from James Clutterbuck, founder of MindMonitor:

“To understand what this does, think about colour. Any specific colour can be made by mixing red, green and blue. So if you see purple paint, you know it was made by mixing Red and Blue. How much red and how much blue is the relative power density. Now imagine you have thousands of colours and you’re getting closer to what the FFT math does with the RAW EEG signal”

2) How do you measure “higher consciousness”?

Again, I do not know. However, there is a popular theory that gamma waves are associated with states of enlightenment, expanded intelligence, and interconnectedness. Since the Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband can detect gamma waves, we can choose to define “higher states of consciousness” as an increased power spectral density (PSD) in the gamma spectrum of the brain waves.

Another way to measure higher consciousness would be left/right brain hemisphere coherence. Thanks to the placement of the nodes on the Muse2, we can analyse the raw electrical data coming from each sensor on each side of the head and calculate hemispheric correlation.

Now that we have a way to track changes in consciousness over time and we have defined what is meant by “higher consciousness” we can proceed.

Experimental Design

Every day, for 30 days, I made 5 distinct brain measurements. The data from the following 5 measurements comprised my “Consciousness Fingerprint” for that day:
  1. Average power spectral density (PSD) of the brain waves produced during Anuloma Viloma Pranayama 
  2. Average power spectral density (PSD) of the brain waves produced during Ajapa Japa meditation
  3. Left/Right Brain hemisphere correlation during Anuloma Vilomna Pranayama
  4. Left/Right Brain hemisphere correlation during Ajapa Japa meditation
  5. *Average breath retention time over 5 rounds of Wim Hof

*Unfortunately, after a software update, all the data I recorded in the Wim Hof app during the 30-day case study has been deleted. I have contacted support and will update this case study with the Wim Hof breath retention data as soon as the issue is resolved.

The case study was divided into three phases:

Day 1-10 Control phase Set Baseline (no ayahuasca)
Day 11-20 Test phase Take Ayahuasca
Day 21-30 Integration phase Continue daily measurements (no ayahuasca)

As the only bodily organ that studies itself, the brain is notoriously biased and often paradoxical. Here is one of my favourite books on the subject.

One great example of a potential bias and how I circumvented it: during course of the case study I only collected data, I never analysed or processed it in any way. I never knew if the experiment was “going my way” or not until after. That is because even the act of knowing how know well the experiment was going while taking measurements would have influenced my brain waves! The brain is indeed a wily beast.

To collect clean and reliable brain data was quite challenging. The brain is a very noisy place and is affected by absolutely everything. Identifying a repeatable brain signal-response is often akin to finding a needle in an electromagnetic haystack.

Furthermore, I collected this data in the jungle which made it even more challenging and prone to experimental error. Empirically however, ingesting ayahuasca has an extremely profound effect on the brain-state. Therefore, I hoped that the significance of this factor would outweigh the noise and produce some detectable signal.

Nonetheless, I followed very austere rules for the duration of the 30-day case study in order to de-noise the retrieved data and produce more statistically valid results:

  • Vegetarian/Vegan Diet
  • No smoking
  • No sex
  • No alcohol
  • No Coffee / Stimulants
  • 16/8 Intermittent fasting
  • No Media (Netflix, Youtube, etc.)
  • Binduasana (I will expound on this in future content)
  • No artificial sugar
  • No fluoride
  • No vitamins/supplements

In a further effort to regulate the data, I followed a very strict daily schedule; standardising both the time of day I took the measurements and (as much as possible) the physical state of my body. The daily schedule was as follows:

  1. Wake up no later than 8 am
  2. First thing after waking → 40 minutes of Hatha Yoga (same sequence every day). Pushup Pranayama would be an excellent (and more time efficient) option for future experiments.
  3. Immediately following Hatha yoga, 1st measurement→ 5 rounds of Wim Hof, record average breath retention
  4. Immediately preceding breaking my fast (between 1 pm – 2 pm), 2nd measurement session → Anuloma Viloma pranayama measurement with the Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband paired with MindMonitor software
  5. Immediately preceding sleep (latest 11 pm), 3rd measurement session → Ajapa Japa meditation again with the Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband combined with MindMonitor software

Hypothesis

The power spectral density (PSD) of the gamma wave segment of the brain wave spectrum and the brain hemispheric coherence will increase during the Test phase (Day 11-20) compared to the Control (Day 1-10). It will subsequently decrease in the Integration phase (Day 21-30) but remain elevated compared to the Control. 

Hardware

The hardware used for this experiment was the Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband. The Muse2 is a 4-node EEG device with nodes located at AF7, AF8, TP9, and TP10 according to the 10-20 international node placement system. While the hardware is fairly robust, the associated software is not as it is tailored to a retail meditation market and not scientific inquiry. For that reason, I paired the Muse2 hardware with more advanced software, described next.

Sensor placement on the Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband

Software

The software used in this experiment is from MindMonitor. MindMonitor allows the user to pair the Muse2 and collect raw brain electrical data from each of the nodes. Furthermore, via the Fast Fourier transform, it decomposes the overlapped frequencies entering each node into its constituent parts thereby capturing the power spectral density (PSD) of each brain wave type.

Screenshot of MindMonitor’s real-time EEG software in action #allwavesmatter

Video Diary: A bit of unhinged psychedelic fun

In addition to all the quantitative measurements, I thought it would be fun and informative to make a short video on each day of the experiment. All videos were created in one attempt with no re-takes to, as authentically as possible, demonstrate my psychological state and insights for that day (which certainly do noticeably change over the 30-day period). Check it out here

Results

The data collected over the 30-day experiment was rich, providing potential insights on the full spectrum on brain waves (#allwavesmatter) and more. Check out the full raw data set here. For this case study, I will only focus on the data that concerns the hypothesis, specifically the gamma wave PSD and the left/right brain hemisphere coherence. 

Below is the average PSD of the gamma waves produced by my brain during each phase of the case study. Recall that my hypothesis was that the PSD of the gamma waves in the Test phase would exceed the Control baseline. However, here we observe a different story:

In fact the PSD of the gamma waves throughout the Control and Test periods were almost exactly the same. Furthermore, the standard deviations of these averages, 0.09 and 0.08 respectively, were very close. Therefore, the PSD of the gamma waves throughout the Control and Test phases had essentially the same statistical distribution – the act of taking ayahuasca did not catalyse any change. 

Interestingly however, the PSD of the gamma waves did seem increase in the Integration phase in a statistically significant way (see Conclusion).

A quick note about negative PSD values: don’t worry about. It is simply how the folks at MindMonitor decided the scale the raw data and is totally arbitrary. 

Next, let’s take a look at how brain coherence behaved during the course of the case study. Brain coherence was measured by calculating the correlation between the raw electrical data from the left side of the brain (nodes TP9 and AF7) and the right side of the brain (nodes TP10 and AF8).

My hypothesis seems at least partially correct. Brain coherence increased in the Test phase compared to the Control. However, to my surprise, it apparently continued increasing in the Integration phase as well! A seemingly repeating theme across both the PSD and the coherence results is not to underestimate the importance of the Integration phase. However, we will re-visit this in the next section where we test for statistical significance and determine how well the hypothesis held up.

Conclusion

In order to draw conclusions from the collected data, averages are not sufficient – we must test for statistical significance.

I will now revisit the hypothesis using the data collected and use the one-tailed two-sample t-test to investigate the statistical significance of the difference in means of the gamma wave PSD and the brain coherence during the Control, Test and Integration phases of the case study.

Although the 0.05 significance level is standard in most experiments, I have chosen to use the 0.1 significance level to account for the fact that I am collecting the data in the jungle (this ain’t yo momma’s lab). Despite my best efforts, there is much that could have added variance to the data (mosquitoes, power outages, snakes, giant beetles flying into my face, etc.), so I think p-value = 0.1 is reasonable.

Starting with the gamma brain wave power spectral density, we can ask:

Did the PSD of the gamma waves increase while taking ayahuasca (Test phase) compared to the Control? Short Answer: No Long answer:
 Null Hypothesis There is no difference between the means of the gamma wave PSD in the Control and Test Phases
Alternative Hypothesis The gamma wave PSD in the Test Phase is higher than the gamma wave PSD in the Control Phase
Significance Level 0.1
Control Phase Sample Size 10 days
Test Phase Sample Size 10 days
Control Phase Sample Mean -0.05563540256
Test Phase Sample Mean -0.05583854617
Control Phase Sample Standard Deviation 0.09107687979
Test Phase Sample Standard Deviation 0.08410346376
Standard Error 0.03920253901
Degrees of Freedom 17
t-stat -0.00518189931
p-value 0.502
Conclusion We can not reject the null hypothesis 
As expected after visual inspection of the charts in the Results section, there is no statistically significant difference between the power spectral densities of the gamma waves in the Control and Test phases. Let’s consider the last 10 days of the case study, the Integration phase. Did the PSD of the gamma waves increase immediately after taking ayahuasca (Integration phase) compared to the Control? Short Answer: Yes Long answer:
Null Hypothesis There is no difference between the means of the gamma wave PSD in the Control and Integration Phases
Alternative Hypothesis The gamma wave PSD in the Integration Phase is higher than the gamma wave PSD in the Control Phase
Significance Level 0.1
Control Phase Sample Size 10 Days
Integration Phase Sample Size 10 Days
Control Phase Sample Mean -0.05563540256
Integration Phase Sample Mean 0.04764017146
Control Phase Sample Standard Deviation 0.09107687979
Integration Sample Standard Deviation 0.1184136483
Standard Error 0.04724065002
Degrees of Freedom 16
t-stat 2.186159039
p-value 0.022
Conclusion We can not accept the null hypothesis
Shifting now to the left/right brain hemisphere coherence portion of the hypothesis, I utilise the same process as above to test for statistical significance. Did brain hemispheric coherence increase while taking ayahuasca (Test phase) compared to the Control phase? Short answer: Yes Long answer:
Null HypothesisThere is no difference between the mean brain hemispheric coherence in the Test and Control phases
Alternative HypothesisThe mean brain hemispheric coherence is higher during the Test phase compared to the Control
Significance Level0.1
Control Phase Sample Size10 days
Test Phase Sample Size10 days
Control Phase Sample Mean3.32%
Test Phase Sample Mean8.13%
Control Phase Sample Standard Deviation6.32%
Test Phase Sample Standard Deviation5.40%
Standard Error2.63%
Degrees of Freedom17
t-stat1.8303
p-value0.0424
ConclusionWe can not accept the null hypothesis

The brain coherence during the Integration phase is quite surprising. I had hypothesised that brain coherence should increase while taking ayahuasca (which it did), but would decrease during the integration phase (although remaining elevated compared to the Control). Instead, left-right brain hemisphere coherence continued to increase materially during the Integration phase. Astoundingly, my brain coherence increased by about 462% over the course of the 30-day case study.

Did left-right brain hemisphere coherence increase during the Integration phase compared to the Test phase (while taking ayahuasca)?

Short answer: Yes

Long answer:

Null Hypothesis There was no difference between mean brain hemispheric coherences in the Test and Integration phases
Alternative Hypothesis Mean brain coherence increased during the Integration phase compared to the Test phase
Significance Level 0.1
Test Phase Sample Size 10 days
Integration Phase Sample Size 10 days
Test Phase Sample Mean 8.13%
Integration Phase Sample Mean 15.34%
Test Phase Sample Standard Deviation 5.40%
Integration Phase Sample Standard Deviation 13.05%
Standard Error 4.47%
Degrees of Freedom 11
t-stat 1.6141
p-value 0.0674
Conclusion We can not accept the null hypothesis

Sources of Error

As mentioned earlier, this is jungle science baby (this ain’t yo momma’s lab, think this is game? This the jungle). Although I took extensive steps to de-noise the data (see Experimental Design), there are many factors that could have introduced error into the dataset. Here are some of them that immediately come to mind:

  • Due to internet or power outages, on some days I was only able to capture data from one meditation session. On these days the average of PSD or brain coherence was actually just from one reading (Anuloma or Ajapa Japa, but not both)
  • Moon cycles. From past experience, I strongly suspect that the phase of the moon has a statistically significant effect on brain wave behaviour. It’s common knowledge that the gravitational pull of the moon regulates tides in the ocean. Since our brain is mostly water, it would make sense that the moon’s gravity affects it – I will investigate this further in a future case study.
  • Mosquitoes. So many mosquitoes. In one session, a mosquito bit me on my penis. Although I finished the meditation, I am sure this caused anomalous brain wave patterns (i.e., it really hurt). In general, bugs were quite vicious and their effect must be considered. Check out this video on a mosquito that climbed the kundalini corporate ladder:

Further Research

Thus far, I focussed only on the data subset relevant to the hypothesis, namely, gamma wave PSD and brain hemispheric correlation. However, the full dataset is quite rich. Much further research can be done. 

The Muse2 Brain Sensing Headband together with MindMonitor can capture the full spectrum of brain wave activity ranging from low-frequency delta waves to high-frequency gamma waves. I am very confident that there were statistically notable changes in the other parts of the brain wave spectrum. For example, I observed that that PSD of the delta waves decreased significantly over the course of the case study. I am not sure what this means, but it’s certainly interesting. 

Furthermore, lest we forget – this case study covered 3 different measurements: Wim Hof, Anuloma Viloma and Ajapa Japa meditation. Unfortunately, due to a buggy Wim Hof app software update, I was not able to include the breath retention results. However, I am in contact with the Wim Hof technical team to retrieve that data and will update this case study when it becomes available.

Anuloma Viloma and Ajapa Japa are traditional tantric meditations focussed on the ajna (3rd eye) and anahata (heart) chakras, respectively. It would be interesting to investigate if the brain behaved differently during each type of meditation.

Raw Data

The data collected during this case study is freely available here. If you have any questions, or better yet new discoveries shoot us a message on Instagram here

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