June 21, 2021

Breathwork and Non-Ordinary States with Niraj Naik

We're joined by Niraj Naik, CEO of SOMA Breath and The Renegade Pharmacist Ltd, to discuss altered states of consciousness.

Breathwork and Non-Ordinary States with Niraj Naik

Niraj Naik - 0:00:04
Sit comfortably in an upright position. Bring your awareness to the sound. And the sound of my voice will be your guide along with the rhythm and groove with the music. Out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in, out, in.

Sherry Walling - 0:00:47
You just experienced part of a guided meditation from Niraj Naik, creator of SOMA Breath. Maybe it moved you to close your eyes and follow the rhythm of your breath. Maybe you let go of some tension and relaxed into the music. Meditations like these have the power to transport us outside of our day-to-day realities and put us on a path toward healing and growth. Deep within us are alternative states of consciousness, often referred to as non-ordinary states. Some non-ordinary states may be invoked by an experience with psychedelic medication, dance, music or breathwork. Today we're going to explore what those states are, how we could reach them, and the sense of hope they both demand and provide.

Sherry Walling - 0:01:31
Welcome to MIND CURIOUS, a podcast for those looking to explore the potential of psychedelic compounds. In this show, we'll dive deep and test our understanding of what consciousness is while talking to experts in the field who are no strangers to tapping into the curiosities of the mind. I am your host, psychologist Dr. Sherry Walling. Let's dive in. I want to add one more common sense reminder that this podcast does not constitute medical advice.

Sherry Walling - 0:02:02
The perspectives of the guests are theirs alone, and they do not represent me, my opinions or those of our sponsor, Mind Cure Health. Niraj Naik's guided practices with SOMA Breath are meant for people who are curious about meditating but don't have a committed practice yet. Entering an alternative state can take a lot of time, patience and discipline. We've probably all been there, sitting down to meditate and feeling like, "Wow, I'm doing my shopping list. I'm writing that email. I'm thinking about everything but the thing I'm supposed to be doing." According to Niraj, when you do break the barrier and enter that non-ordinary state, the results can completely change your life.

Sherry Walling - 0:02:49
So, Niraj, one of the things that I wanted to chat with you about is this framing of non-ordinary states because it seems like a lot of parts of your work touch on what I would call non-ordinary states. Is that a framing of your work that lands for you?

Niraj Naik - 0:03:12
That's correct, yeah. So, let's just define what that really means. So, when you say going into non-ordinary states, so that basically means altered states of consciousness. Non-ordinary meaning our waking state basically transitioning into a state of mind that is where you're tapping into other areas of the brain. And those areas becoming more active and the conscious mind becoming less active, so that can actually be explained as brainwave frequencies. And the first thing I really got into myself when I was trying to heal myself from a chronic illness years ago was using altered states of consciousness to get into states where you can actually reprogram the unconscious mind. So, this is like how hypnotherapists actually plant suggestions into their subjects.

Niraj Naik - 0:04:10
They would take people into an altered brainwave state through suggestion and guided hypnotic journeys. So, there are different ways you can enhance that process. So, in the ancient parts from the traditions of tantric yoga, they would use different types of breathing patterns or doing shaking, which shakes up the whole nervous system. Or like you may have  seen the whirling dervishes, Sufi traditions. So, there are many different ways of getting into altered states. And just simply go into a concert, watching your favorite band play and just getting lost in the music; that's another form of doing it.

Niraj Naik - 0:04:58
But when we're looking at it as a therapeutic tool, even that I would say is therapy. Like when I used to go out to see DJs and go to raves and stuff with all the lights and the amazing music and all that emotional music and just all those people together dancing, that was like going to church and the church in itself is a place where you're getting into an altered state of mind, where you're shutting off the conscious activity for a while. And what that allows you to do then is to actually speak to your unconscious mind, the other than conscious mind. And that's really where the magic of transformation lies. So, I got really into this when I discovered  the ego mind, the ego of the brain. It's also called the default mode network. It's the area of the brain that's most affected by substances like psychoactive substances, and so do all of these techniques from religion and shamanic practices.

Niraj Naik - 0:06:01
They also...

Sherry Walling - 0:06:08
Dance, prayer, breathwork.

Niraj Naik - 0:06:09
Yeah, all works on that area of the brain, and it tends to quieten that area and allow you to step out of it. So, rather than being in your ego mind, it allows you to rise above it for a moment and look at your life with a different perception, right? And that's the fascinating thing about things like, we'll say, hypnosis and how you in just one session change somebody, somebody who may have suicidal tendencies, having a whole new outlook on life or somebody who's an addict for years being dependent on a substance can let go of that. And so I was very much experimenting with this with myself because I had a chronic illness. So, actually it was incredible that I came up with my own method of doing so quite quickly, combining brainwave entrainment music which changes your brainwave state combined with visualization tools and suggestion.

Niraj Naik - 0:07:01
So, basically I devised my own kind of hypnotic process and then...

Sherry Walling - 0:07:16
Your own combination of elements.

Niraj Naik - 0:07:18
And then I found that the breath amplifies all of that, like it makes it much more effective. And going back to pranayama, pranayama literally means energy control. So, it's a system of breathing techniques and also different movement techniques to move energy in the body in different ways, to manipulate energy in the body. And through pranayama, you can change, alter brain waves, say, very quickly. So, yeah, that's what led me to really go down.

Niraj Naik - 0:07:45
I mean I was always this bit of a psychonaut.

Sherry Walling - 0:07:53
Like deeply curious.

Niraj Naik - 0:07:53
Yeah, I was always into that. But then using it therapeutically was really, really interesting.

Sherry Walling - 0:08:00
In your experience, what are you observing in people as they go through these experiences? Where are they moving from, to? So, if they go from state A to state B, they're moving from one place of stuckness to a new state. What have you seen shift? How are they different on the other side?

Niraj Naik - 0:08:21
I believe there are a few very simple mantras in the ayurvedic system that determines whether you're well, right, or healthy. One of the most simple ones, but I think most profound is every time you wake up in the morning, are you waking up with enthusiasm for life and ready to go and do a hard day's work, or you feel like you can't get out of bed, right? You just can't face the day. The moment you start answering that question with, "I can't be asked to get there to my job or I don't want to get out of bed," which was me for quite a few...

Sherry Walling - 0:09:00
I'm tired. I don't want to.

Niraj Naik - 0:09:02
Yeah, I don't want to do it.

Sherry Walling - 0:09:02
Lethargy.

Niraj Naik - 0:09:03
Yeah, like where it's a real drag. When that starts happening, that's the moment you've got to wake up. You've got to go to shift because that's the first sign of chronic stress. And humans are quite like we can take a lot of abuse. But over time, that emotional stress can lead to chronic stress, which then causes disease. And a lot of people who are depressed or needing some kind of therapy have ignored that question for too long, and those warning signs, right?

Niraj Naik - 0:09:36
So, what we do is we help people shift that perception about reality like the universe is actually on your side, that there are things in life that you can fall back in love with, where you change your mantra to "I love my life" and things like that. And we give people a process to do that which has been very effective and it's incredible. So many diseases that are chronic even things, like autoimmune. So, we have one one guy, it's a classic story, who had a very rare genetic illness which started from a very young age and doctors said was incurable and they had no idea what it was. They thought it was polio, but actually it turned out to be some form of MS.

Niraj Naik - 0:10:20
And they basically said, "You're going to be in a wheelchair" and he couldn't even pick up his grandkid, he couldn't even lift his hand up to throw a ball over his head, and after six months of doing our techniques, he actually was able to pick his grandkid up, he was able to throw a ball over his head, and when he went for a check-up with the doctor, doctor said, "Your muscle tissue is actually growing back." It has completely shocked him. And a lot of that magic behind that is changing your perception around your illness from incurable to actually this can be fixed. And giving people the hope for life back is key. You take away a person's hope, that's when they die.

Niraj Naik - 0:11:01
So, we're all about that for changing, repairing consciousness.

Sherry Walling - 0:11:10
And so when I hear you describe just that story, I think about thoughts, right? You're changing the way that people are thinking or seeing the reality because you're giving them a different mantra,  a different language instead of waking up feeling like, "Oh, I'm dreading the day," giving them an infusion of a new thought to say, "No, there's something to love here. There's something to love in my life." But I also get the sense that you're going much deeper than thinking.

Niraj Naik - 0:11:37
Yes, it's much, much deeper. So, where do your thoughts come from? They come from your emotions, your feelings, how you feel. And where do your feelings and emotions come from? Well, emotion is like energy in motion. It comes from your energy, the movement of energy in your body which is your physiology.

Niraj Naik - 0:11:54
So, actually breath pranayama is the most inferential way of tapping into your physiology instantly. The breath is the instant hack.

Sherry Walling - 0:12:11
Breath is an instant hack. That is so true. I've seen the benefits of breathwork, specifically pranayama, in my own clinical work. One of the most interesting things that I've done in my work as a clinical psychologist is to supplement therapy work with yoga. I got really interested in this in my own yoga practice and recognizing how the breath part of yoga and the asanas or the poses really help to settle my central nervous system. I thought that this would be so incredibly helpful, especially to my patients who were struggling with significant anxiety or with trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder is essentially a body that can't re-regulate itself, a body that is on hyper-alert, hyperarousal all the time.

Sherry Walling - 0:13:00
And so, yoga seemed to offer these really clear tools to help people settle into their body in a different way. So, thankfully, I had really supportive folks around me and the clinic that I was working at was absolutely on board with me bringing yoga into the therapy setting. So, we started with breath, with helping people figure out how to move their breath from up high in their chest to being way down low into their diaphragm or into their belly, as we say. And then we would play with how to match breath and movement, how to make breath slower. And so, this ability to make breath low and slow was often one of the most transformative experiences for people who both literally and figuratively were walking through life without being able to breathe. The last few years has yielded abundant research about the benefits of yoga breath for treatment of anxiety of trauma-related issues.

Sherry Walling - 0:14:01
And I love that it feels like we're coming back around to old knowledge that the body, the breath, the sense of being able to settle into the body is healing in and of itself. And we've maybe lost some of that wisdom or gotten detached from it with our highly medicalized approach to healing. I'm grateful for the freedom and opportunity within my own work to pair the best of cutting edge science and therapeutic technique with older traditions, with traditions that honor breath, that honor position of the body, things that are scientifically helpful but also just intuitively wise. Most of us spend the day unconsciously breathing. We don't often think about the mechanics of how we breathe.

Sherry Walling - 0:15:13
Niraj breaks down how breathwork and music influence our mind, leading us into different states of consciousness.

Niraj Naik - 0:15:25
Breath is respiration and the formula of respiration is oxygen plus glucose equals carbon dioxide, water and ATP. ATP is the energy that drives life, right? So, oxygen and your ability to utilize oxygen efficiently determines your efficiency and quality of producing energy in the body, and if you don't have optimum energy production, you're going to feel like crap. And that's going to lead to bad habits, bad thoughts, and you can also get an unhealthy nervous system which has a vicious cycle of effect. So, in order to change things, we've got to work on our breathing.

Niraj Naik - 0:16:07
The breathing is the most important way. And it can be as simple as telling somebody to stop breathing from their mouth. You'll be amazed at how many people's actual life issues are result of not breathing through their nose. It's as simple as that because when you breathe through your nose, you actually produce energy much more efficiently. The reason why? Your nose was designed to breathe as a filter for the air. It prepares the air for absorption, but it also produces nitric oxide.

Niraj Naik - 0:16:39
Nitric oxide is a magic ingredient that gets oxygen to where it needs to go. It also has antiviral, antibacterial properties. It's also a vasodilator, a bronchodilator, so it makes you expand rather than contract. And if you over-breathe, which is a problem with mouth breathing, too much air, too much oxygen, okay, going in because it's not the oxygen that's the problem actually. It's the lack of CO2 and nitric oxide that's the problem.

Niraj Naik - 0:17:07
And that's a whole conversation itself. But when you breathe through your mouth, you over-breathe. You breathe too fast and with too big volumes of air, and this disrupts the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Carbon dioxide is necessary, also nitric oxide. They are necessary to get oxygen absorbed by the cells.

Niraj Naik - 0:17:25
Otherwise, the oxygen stays in your red blood cells. That's what causes problems in your arteries. You get inflammation. It's what causes contraction and high blood pressure. And when you have high blood pressure and you have contraction, you get tension, you get chronic pain, you move towards life with stiffness rather than fluidity and expansion.

Niraj Naik - 0:17:47
So, just that one shift alone, breathe through your nose, could actually transform somebody. It's incredible. We've seen that a lot. But what I found with SOMA and what we came to was with rhythmic breathing, dance and music, right, where you're breathing in time to a rhythm, a perfect rhythm, so music has a beat to it, right? Dum-do, dum-do. So, a lot of our music revolves around 60 beats per minute music, so music one beat per second.

Niraj Naik - 0:18:21
And in pranayama, you'd breathe two time signatures that revolve around seconds. So, in for 4, out for 8, in for 2, out for 4, things like that. So, when you breathe in a perfect rhythm, in for 4, out for 4, for example, right, then you actually harmonize the nervous system because when you breathe in, your sympathetic switches on. When you breathe out, the parasympathetic switches on. So, when you breathe in a perfect rhythm, you actually balance the nervous system.

Niraj Naik - 0:18:51
And that has amazing benefits of its own, the state of coherence. And then there's the rhythmic breathing where you double your exhalation  time. 

Sherry Walling - 0:19:03
So, in for 4, out for 8, for example. 

Niraj Naik - 0:19:06
Yeah. 

Sherry Walling - 0:19:07
Okay. 

Niraj Naik - 0:19:08
That creates the optimum rhythm for oxygenation of your body tissue. So, we've created techniques where different rhythms, like different patterns, followed by--  because you will be breathing faster than you normally would. You would actually prepare yourself to be able to then hold your breath for extended periods of time. And when you do that, when you hold your breath after the exhalation, okay, it's like pressing pause on life. So, imagine you're breathing 4 in, 4 out for  about 5-6 minutes, okay? What happens is you're breathing out more carbon dioxide than you breathe in. Carbon dioxide is what tells your brain to breathe again.

Niraj Naik - 0:19:40
So, what that allows you to do then is to hold your breath for longer periods of time than you normally can. So, when you can do that after you exhale, it's literally like pressing pause on your life. Your life then stop, right? Because exhalation, expiration, expire basically. What happens when you die?

Niraj Naik - 0:20:04
You draw your last breath. You basically breathe out. You don't breathe in and die. You breathe out. 

Sherry Walling - 0:20:14
Imagine this as sort of suspended animation where you're in hold, hold in place.

Niraj Naik - 0:20:20
Yeah. So, when you're holding that pause, you actually are like ceasing life for a moment. Okay? And you're shutting down the thought activity down to nothing and you go into the most deepest, profoundest states of meditation, right? And yogis who are very well trained, they will be able to hold their breath for several minutes at a time. With our techniques, you'll be ought to enhance that pretty quickly, and even if you don't, just the first time you ever do it, the benefits you'll get from just even holding your breath for one minute will be astonishing because it's literally like a defrag for your brain, for your thoughts, and it allows your thoughts to reassemble and give you more clarity and you  suddenly wake up for a moment because you get out of that constant habitual programming and patterning that goes around in your waking state, and then you alter your state by going into that deep meditative state and boom, that alone can wake people up. And actually we did a study comparing our technique with treatments like psilocybin and MDMA using brain maps. There's a neuroscientist (inaudible) and he was amazed that we just saw a 22-minute session, just sequence of rhythmic breathing which harmonizes nervous system followed by breath retention.

Niraj Naik - 0:21:36
We were observing exactly the same brain states as these techniques like using psilocybin and MDMA. However, the questionnaires that they gave to participants afterwards, the kinds of things they were reporting like feeling of connection, oneness, feeling like spiritual presence, and things like that was very comparable to when people do psilocybin and MDMA. And I've seen this all day long in our workshops when we do the feedback at the end. People will be like, "Whoa! I felt like I just did ayahuasca.

Niraj Naik - 0:22:14
So, that's with longer sessions, but even with just a 22-minute session, we were getting really good results. 

Sherry Walling - 0:22:23
Do people need to be in person to have that kind of experiential results?

Niraj Naik - 0:22:30
No. Not at all. But we now do everything online because of the COVID situation and we get just as profound results. People can do it on their own, in the comfort of their own home. And we have instructors. We have breath therapists  who are trained to deliver these through Zoom. We don't do the very intense higher yogic practices through Zoom.

Niraj Naik - 0:22:48
We don't do that. We make that rule that you have to do that in person because that requires a different level of care and attention. But the shorter techniques which are also very powerful, you can do it just through an audio track. We have some tracks on YouTube which had over 150,000 views now and the result in the comments is incredible. So, yeah.

Sherry Walling - 0:23:18
What's fascinating is you've taken this very, very old wisdom and made it accessible in the very newest technological advances. So, whether that's including it in a digital therapeutics platform like iSTRYM, which is MINDCURE's platform, or whether it's YouTube, right, making accessible these really old traditions to the digital worldwide community is pretty amazing.

Niraj Naik - 0:23:42
Yeah, with MINDCURE where it's different to what we would have on YouTube. There's a more deeper practice. The YouTube stuff is a great way to test it out. 

Sherry Walling - 0:23:52
Sort of an entry point for the curious. 

Niraj Naik - 0:23:54
An entry point. Yeah, but you go much deeper with MINDCURE itself. Exhale and inhale.

Sherry Walling - 0:24:04
I want to dive a little bit further into the music behind Niraj's meditations at SOMA. It isn't just electronic dance music. The sounds he uses can help transport people into that altered state of consciousness. Niraj knows a lot about music's potential to impact our brain waves. In fact, he was a musician and psychonaut long before he started SOMA Breath.

Niraj Naik - 0:24:28
In, out, in, out, in...

Sherry Walling - 0:24:31
How does your life as a musician play into this because it sounds like in some ways what has really captured this possibility for people is the pairing of rhythm and music and breath that kind of gives people a metronome.

Niraj Naik - 0:24:51
Yes. So, my mantra has always been from a young age, I used to run big music events back in the day, is that music is the language of the soul, right? And I've always been a passionate musician producer. And when I first discovered brainwave entrainment music, I was just blown away. I was very much into electronic music before but when I heard meditation tracks and there were lots of stuff on YouTube at that time. This was like 2010. It just turned me onto a whole new potential for music, but I found a lot of the music that was out there was like very outdated sounding, like panpipe, moods and things like that, right? Just didn't sound very edgy or that cool.

Niraj Naik - 0:25:34
It wasn't that palatable to the new generation. So, I wanted to make it sound more modern and cutting edge and then so I decided to add my flavor to it and it got very popular. And actually my first business was a music therapy site and then with breathing techniques embedded into it. And actually some therapists, Marisa Peer started using it, a lot of clinics started to use it around the world. Loads of therapists were licensing and stuff.

Niraj Naik - 0:26:01
And then I met Wim Hof who is very famous in  this whole world and he became a very good friend of mine. We made lots of music together and I ended up producing the soundtrack to the Wim Hof method. But I wanted to go and do my own thing because with pranayama it's not just one technique. It's a bunch of different techniques. And so I started adding soundtracks to all these different techniques and that turned into SOMA Breath and now we've got over 1,000 instructors around the world trained in delivery techniques.

Niraj Naik - 0:26:33
Music is the core (inaudible) very unique thing that we provide which makes the whole process more enjoyable and fun. As a pharmacist, I'm all about compliance. Well, we're trained to get people to take things.

Sherry Walling - 0:26:46
Take it at the same time every day, just the same way, very sort of rhythmic, if you will.

Niraj Naik - 0:26:52
Yeah, otherwise, it doesn't work, right? But I'm not into medical drugs compliance anymore. I'm more into how do we get people to practice as they enhance their way of life regularly, right? How do we make that fun? So, I'm actually good friends with the founders of Zumba and they made fitness fun through dance and they've been mentoring us a bit and they said, "Look, it seems like you've made meditation fun through music. You've made transformational techniques fun through music." 

Sherry Walling - 0:27:24
Is there a movement component? Because I think about music and breath and dance is such a sort of obvious addition. And I know that maybe that's been part of your life in various ways, but as you think about how these techniques roll out, whether it's with MINDCURE or in other capacities, are you also inviting people to move with their breath?

Niraj Naik - 0:27:47
Indeed. So, the movement part is, I think, very, very important, and we have different techniques that revolve around different forms of movement. So, we have the SOMA yoga, which is the traditional yoga practices and asanas that were from thousands of years ago, not the new versions that we see today on Instagram, but the original traditional practices which use the breath a lot with each pose. So, we have that component. Then we have the dance, ecstatic dance. So, where I live in Koh Phangan, it's the ecstatic dance capital, there's so many of these events going on all the time.

Niraj Naik - 0:28:24
I've been known as doing some of the most legendary events around the world for ecstatic dance, so there's a big part of that. So, when you become a SOMA Breath instructor, you actually learn how to DJ. We provide laser music for it. And so that's a great warm-up to our routine. So, in the morning we have like-- we call it an energized meditation routine, which is-- starts with some form of movement practice followed by chanting mantras, then the breath. And that sequence is becoming really popular for people.

Niraj Naik - 0:28:54
So, yeah, the dance is key when you bring your body into it. Remember your somatic intelligence. Soma basically means body  in Greek. The somatic intelligence is paramount to your overall intelligence. And what happened is that we've become disconnected so much from our body with so much in our heads that we've forgotten about how intelligent and instinctive our body is, and that our body is in the mind, right? and not separate from the mind.

Niraj Naik - 0:29:26
So, we teach people to get back into their feeling, in touch with their body, in touch with their selves. And that can be very profound.

Sherry Walling - 0:29:50
Non-ordinary states, moments where we are kind of outside of our thinking mind where we shift into another part of ourselves. Maybe it's a flow state. Maybe it's a psychedelic experience. But one of the long practiced strategies for reaching a non-ordinary state that's been part of every culture that I can think of is dance, is the movement of the body to music. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a workshop for people who were experiencing grief, who had recently lost someone that they loved. And in the workshop, we used a model of dance called the Five Rhythms model of dance to dance through the different elements that we were experiencing of grief.

Sherry Walling - 0:30:43
So, the still heavy sadness of grief has a certain kind of motion, movement in the body. The angst ridden, maybe angry, tearing, fierce, painful part of grief has a different movement in the body, a different motion, a different sort of sense. The love that is poured out in missing someone also has a different kind of motion or feel in the body. And so to give grief a shape within the physical body and then a movement to traditional drumming, different kinds of sound, was really quite transformative for the people that were participating. It was transformative for me.

Sherry Walling - 0:31:32
When we segment ourselves, when we say this lives in my head, this feeling of grief lives in my heart and my body is separate, we really limit, I think, our ability to move through painful emotional experiences or to access delightful ones because we're cutting off the flow between the different parts of us. But whether it's breathwork or a dance workshop that's targeted to integrating the different parts of our world, our relational self, our cognitive self, our emotional self, we're really drawing on the fullness of our whole experience in a way that I think is tremendously healing and helpful and also can bring deep delight. Even when meditation and healing practices are fun and enjoyable, it can still be hard for us to make time and space to actually do them. It's important to Niraj that breathwork is accessible to everyone, whether they're fitting it into a busy schedule or just beginning their healing journey. What makes it hard for people to do this work? 

Niraj Naik - 0:32:57
I think it's sometimes hard for people to do anything other than drink a cup of coffee and...

Sherry Walling - 0:33:03
Watch Netflix and...

Niraj Naik - 0:33:04
Watching Netflix. Yeah, we're so in this everything has to be easy mindset, especially in the further west you go. People tend to wanting quick fixes and that's now spread all over the world actually. People are looking for a quick fix, quick fix, that instant dopamine hit. And usually any kind of physical activity requires some kind of instant results for it to be done by lots of people.

Sherry Walling - 0:33:40
For it to have the feedback loop.

Niraj Naik - 0:33:42
Yeah, like people are looking for an instant hit and I think one of the reasons why our stuff is so popular is because within a couple of minutes you start to feel an effect because it's your breath. So, a lot of other transformative practices, there may not be an instant effect that you get from it, even like just changing your diet, right? People are reluctantly to do that.

Sherry Walling - 0:34:09
It takes weeks, months to see results if you're able to stick with it.

Niraj Naik - 0:34:13
But with the breath, you can tap in very quickly. But then with pranayama, it's difficult to know what you're supposed to do like it's hard to find a good teacher who knows what they're talking about. And then even when you do get taught how to do it, you might find it's a little bit boring. Count in 2, 3, 4, and then you're counting and get confused and  then there's all these postures you're going to do, and so it can become confusing. But with us, with the music component, it makes it easier to get into it and enjoy it.

Niraj Naik - 0:34:45
And then we simplify everything. We demystify it and bring you the stuff that really works.

Sherry Walling - 0:34:54
So, you really make it easy and accessible in the shortest effective amount of time. But it also sounds like it's still hard, right? There's still a sense of you giving yourself over to it.

Niraj Naik - 0:35:06
I think one of the reasons why people don't do things is because they're scared of losing time, right? So, you have to devote maybe 20 minutes a day at a minimum to doing our practice, right? And it really comes down to priorities, like what is it that you really want out of your life? And I think what it is is you need to have to hope first.

Sherry Walling - 0:35:40
I agree with Niraj. In order to make space for healing, we need to believe that our healing is possible. Twenty minutes a day is worth the time if you have hope. Music, dance, yoga, psychedelics, breathwork, all of these practices are tools that can help you access non-ordinary states, dedicating the energy to this pursuit of healing and even finding the right voices to guide you along the way. It will be worth it. If you want to learn more about iSTRYM, make sure you go back and listen to my conversation with MINDCURE  CTO Geoff Belair on Episode 1 of this podcast.

Sherry Walling - 0:36:13
I think we called it, "Hacking Into You." Another episode, "Episode 2, Music and Healing" is also a very important continuation of the conversation that I had with Niraj today. I want to thank Niraj so much for coming on the show and letting us share some of his music and meditations. To find out more about his work, go to somabreathwork.com or search SOMA Breath on YouTube for great resources and community. We'll also have those links in the show notes.

Sherry Walling - 0:36:46
And to follow all of the innovation and the ways that we are integrating programs like SOMA Breath into healing practices, check out MINDCURE at mindcure.com. Thanks so much for listening and we'll be back with another episode of MIND CURIOUS in one week.