Categories
Alternative Living Spirituality

“Breatharian” Claims He Hasn’t Eaten In 4 Years…

A “breatharian” is someone who claims to not eat food. These rare humans remain in a perpetual fast and say they get their energy from other sources, such as sunlight and ancient breathwork techniques.

Being well-versed in whacky wellness and spiritual topics, I’ve heard of breatharians before, but have always been highly skeptical of them. Is this actually possible… or is it all a big scam with a lot of smoke and mirrors? I decided to find out.

I knew the only way to get some answers was to spend time with a real breatharian. Luckily, my good friend Jeff Shub told me he knew a breatharian who lived in Miami named Devon, aka the Black Air Bender.

So I headed to Miami to spend the day with the Black Air Bender to try and get some answers.

Immersing myself in Breatharianism

To get the full breatharian experience, I decided to become a breatharian for a day and immerse myself in the Black Air Bender’s lifestyle. That meant I would also be fasting for the day. Since I have completed a 5-day water fast before, this wouldn’t be a problem for me.

But not drinking any coffee would be another story. I had become addicted to caffeine throughout the past few months and going without it for a day would turn out to be quite a painful challenge.

Meeting the Breatharian
meeting a breatharian!
Meet Devon, aka The Black Air Bender!

Upon meeting Devon, he revealed to me that he has been fasting for the past four years! I was shocked by this. He said that it took him two years to integrate into the breatharian lifestyle, by having one meal per week. After two years, he transitioned to 100 percent breatharianism. This was hard for me to believe.

“How is this possible?” I asked him.

Devon explained that breatharians can reach a certain state of “energy cultivation” where they no longer need to rely on dense foods. This involves a disciplined practice of certain breathwork and meditation techniques.

Was this for real? As skeptical as I was, I wanted to stay as open-minded as possible.

Breatharian roots in Daoism

He told me that he got into breatharianism through an ancient Daoist fasting practice called Bigu. He trained for months with a mentor called a Sifu to learn all of the meditation and breathwork techniques that he says allow him to transcend the body and sustain this lifestyle.

The Breatharian diet

Devon explained that although he doesn’t eat, he does consume a few key things. He said he drinks coconut water, fresh-pressed juice every once in a while, and… his own urine. 

breatharian drinking urine
Devon doesn’t eat, but he does consume coconut water and his own urine.

His reasoning for this? He claims urine contains 103 healthy minerals and is more sterile than distilled water. (I would fact-check that one.)

Having already spent a day with a urine drinker for a previous video, this was not a new concept to me. Personally, I don’t subscribe to urine therapy and recommend people do their research before trying it. 

The Breatharian loves pyramids

I noticed that Devon’s room was full of pyramids, including a solid canopy-like pyramid over his bed and he is always wearing a pyramid-shaped hat. He explained that he uses the pyramid as a symbol for his meditative practice.

breatharian natural habitat
I immediately noticed the breatharian’s obsession with pyramids and wondered why.

Devon said he envisions pyramids “expanding and contracting” in his mind. He also compares pyramids to the shape of the human face, describing it as the “window to the soul.” I didn’t totally understand this, but Devon had me do some mirror-gazing to grasp the idea.

breatharian shows me mirror gazing
One reason Devon loves pyramids is that they symbolize the face, which is said to be the “window to the Soul.”
My day as a Breatharian

We started our morning with one of Devon’s daily rituals: squat breathing. This practice involved an inhale through the nose on the way up, and an exhale through the nose on the way down… with a smile. This was actually quite fun and I felt unable to control my giggle response.

breatharian shows me squat breathing
The Black Air Bender starts his day with “squat breathing.”
More breathwork techniques

After showing me more of his breathwork practices at home, we headed to a local park for more techniques that Devon does every day. We started with a walking breathwork practice. The hardest thing about this was how hot the ground was.

Devon encouraged me to stay focused on my breath until I could no longer feel the heat on my feet. After overcoming the pain of the hot cement, I actually found this practice to be quite relaxing.

breatharian shows me walking breathwork
Devon showed me a very relaxing walking breathwork technique.

After that, we tried a “flame breathing” practice. I had a hard time sticking with this one. I was painfully hungry and had a pounding headache at this point. Devon reassured me that this was part of the detox, which made sense considering I was detoxing from caffeine.

breatharian shows me flame breathing
I was in pain detoxing from caffeine with a pounding headache and no energy.
Embracing pain

We finished off the day by putting my pain tolerance to the test with one of Devon’s more extreme practices… standing on nails. 

breatharian teaches me how to stand on nails
Devon introduced me to one of his more extreme practices… standing on nails!

My challenge was to stand on the nails for one minute. With the timer set, I put each foot on the nails until I had my full weight on them. I breathed my way through each passing second with Devon encouraging me to slow down my exhales, hum, and let it all out.

When the minute was over, I couldn’t believe I did it. That’s when Devon said it was time to try push-ups.

breatharian doing push-ups on nails
Devon also enjoys doing push-ups on nails!

It was at this moment that I thought about how my relationship to pain had completely changed since I started doing things that are painful with intention like cold therapy and even intense exercise.

We often think of pain as being “wrong” or “bad,” but the truth is that pain is an inevitable part of the human experience and it’s only our perception of pain that gives it meaning.

I kept that in mind as I felt the nails pierce through the skin on my hands.

hands after doing push-ups on nails
My hands after doing a push-up on nails.
My honest opinion about the breatharian

Although I learned a lot from spending the day with Devon and engaging in his unconventional practices, I still have many questions about breatharianism and am not totally sure what to make of the whole experience.

As skeptical as I still am, I do feel like Devon gave me an honest peek into his breatharian lifestyle. It also helped to meet Devon’s partner Gen who confirmed that she has never seen him eat in the two years they’ve lived together.

I want to believe Devon. I think he’s a genuine and kind person and it meant a lot to me that he welcomed me into his world for a day. It didn’t feel like he was lying, but my logical brain has a hard time wrapping my head around some of the big claims he made.

Even if I am still puzzled by the Black Air Bender and may never know the truth, it doesn’t take away from how much I learned during our day together.

The meaning of it all
meeting the breatharian girlfriend
Devon’s girlfriend Gen has been living with him for two years and said she has never seen him eat!

The Black Air Bender may remain a mystery to me, but I respect his mission to share breath consciousness with the world. One major awakening I had during our day together is how addicted to caffeine I truly was.

Something in me woke up that day and I decided to quit caffeine immediately. It’s been almost a month since this experience and I haven’t had caffeine and don’t plan to. My energy levels are back and I’m not dealing with crazy mood swings like I was.

When it comes to learning about new ways of life, being open-minded is crucial if we want to shift from judgment to curiosity. That one small shift can create infinite potential and completely expand our realities.

That’s why spending time with interesting humans like The Black Air Bender, is my favorite way to live.

Watch the full video here!
Categories
Health & Nutrition Popular

5 Health Trends That Actually Work

With so many new health and wellness trends popping up everyday, it’s hard to know what actually works and what is complete BS! Luckily, I’ve made it my job (literally) to try all of these trends and report back to you what I learn along the way.

I’ve been at this now for more than two years! So don’t worry, I got you covered.

In this post, I am going to share my top five health trends I’ve tried, that I believe are actually worth it! 

But before I reveal my top five wellness picks, I need to make something clear:

If we truly want to be healthy, it is super important to be prioritizing the fundamentals and basics of wellbeing first and foremost. It’s the simple stuff we hear all the time: eating real, whole foods, exercising, stretching, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, meditating, and spending time with the people you love. Basic stuff, but super important for overall health. 

Now on the flip side, sometimes it can be really overwhelming to feel like you need to get all of these things right all the time. It’s nearly impossible! So in no way am I suggesting that we all need to be perfect in every single part of our health. But, if we can try to make better choices every day in all of these different areas, we are on the right track.

A lot of people hate on health “trends” or “fads,” and I would agree there is a danger in just hopping on the bandwagon of the latest diet or health trend and always searching for a “magic pill.” Because it does not exist. We even know through plenty of research now, that most diets fail and are not sustainable. However, from my experience trying out a lot of these different “trends,” some are actually quite useful and are a trend for a reason.

If something is “trending,” usually that means it’s working for a lot of people and gaining hype because of it. So if something is working for so many people, then maybe it could be of use to us. If anything, getting people to think more about their wellbeing and get excited about it, is a major win for the world! 

So here ya go! These are my top five favorite wellness trends I’ve tried so far: 

  1. Intermittent Fasting

When I first tried this out, I had a hard time adjusting to it, but I noticed so many benefits from doing it consistently and it’s become way easier over time.

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you fast for a prolonged period of time each day and shorten the window of time you are actually eating. Intermittent fasting is a great way to manage blood sugar levels, increase energy, and overall it’s a huge benefit for your body to take a break from digesting food so your cells can focus on clearing out toxic waste and rebuild themselves.

I generally fast every day for about 12-14 hours, and as an active female with a delicate hormonal system, this is perfect for me. I am not strict or rigid about it and the times that I start and stop eating generally fluctuate, but now it’s sort of just part of my lifestyle and works really well for me. It’s actually allowed me to feel a lot of freedom with food, which is something I struggled with for a while. 

All of our bodies are so different and respond differently to various ways of eating, but I truly think intermittent fasting is universally beneficial for most humans, and it’s not that hard to implement. 

  1. Celery Juice

People have all sorts of opinions about this trend, but from my experience I absolutely love it! I noticed a lot of benefits from drinking it consistently, especially for my skin and digestion. Celery juice also seems to be helping people with all sorts of issues, everything from eczema to gut problems, and autoimmune disorders.

I don’t drink celery juice every single day anymore because it’s a bit expensive to do that and it’s a little tedious juicing it, but I have it about 3-4 times per week. One really cool thing it does is help me curb cravings. I notice when I drink it that I tend to reduce my cravings for sugar.

  1.  The Wim Hof Method

Ever since I trained with Wim Hof this past winter, people ask me all the time if I still practice the Wim Hof Method… and the answer is overwhelming YES! This method has truly changed my life in so many ways and completely changed my relationship with both the cold and my own inner power and mental strength. Before this experience, I honestly hated the cold so much.

But after overcoming it, I actually sort of crave it now. I still take cold showers every day and get in an ice bath whenever I can. Luckily I have some friends in LA who have ice bath setups in their backyard and we will have little breathwork and ice bath parties with friends and this is one of my favorite things to do. Both the breathing and the ice baths allow me to release a lot of stress and anxiety and it brings me right back to my own strength and inner power. It’s a total endorphin rush and I love it. 

  1. Digital Detoxes 

I’ve made a lot of videos about digital wellness and how we can develop a healthier relationship with our phones and social media. One way that I do this, is by taking a digital detox at least every 3-6 months. During this time, I turn my phone off, put it away, and usually I go without any technology at all, not even my camera.

I’ll go somewhere in nature and spend anywhere from 24 to 72 hours or more disconnecting with the digital world to reconnect with my inner world. The amount of presence that I feel when doing this is so beautiful and taking these digital detoxes has become a game-changer for my mental and spiritual well being. 

  1.  Cacao

In its purest form, ceremonial grade cacao is one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet. Cacao is extremely high in hundreds of nutrients including iron, magnesium, and calcium. It’s been amazing for my gut health and has helped me eliminate pretty much all stomach issues and sensitivities I was having. It’s also fantastic for the brain, so it allows me to feel calm but energized while I’m working. 

Preparing and drinking cacao involves a very meditative, mindful practice that comes from thousands of years of Mayan tradition, so implementing this ritual in my life every morning changes my entire day. Cacao is also considered a “heart-opening” plant medicine, which sounds a bit spiritual, but actually it contains a chemical called anandamide, which is the “bliss molecule,” named after the Sanskrit word “Ananda”, which means “bliss.” This molecule binds to the same receptors in the brain as THC and creates a blissful, joyful feeling. 

The one thing to be aware of when it comes to cacao is making sure you are getting a really high quality one. Many on the market are non pure-grade or ceremonial. My absolute favorite is Legacy Cacao, which comes from an indigienocus tribe in Guatemala who use an ancient Mayan recipe. The cacao is sustainably farmed, stone ground, and blessed by the priestess of the tribe. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s so worth it! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak7MtYVFHKQ&t=80s

So there you have it! Those are my five favorite wellness trends so far. Again, always remember to prioritize the basics of wellbeing before going overboard with all the trendy stuff, but if you feel called to try any of these trends, I urge you to go for it! You never know what might have a huge impact on your life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_QjJ6ZfFEY&t=135s

Categories
Mindfulness

5 Days of Meditation Apps

Meditation is something I have been practicing for several years now. I began practicing yoga about 10 years ago, which is how I discovered meditation, and it’s truly changed my life.

Even though I love meditation, I am very sporadic with my practice. I go through periods where I meditate every day and then I will fall off the wagon when life gets “busy.” And usually it’s the moments when we “don’t have time” to meditate, that we need it most. 

Recently I was going through a little bit of a slump. I had low energy, my mindset was off, and I wasn’t feeling like myself. I decided I wanted to do something that could help me get back on track. Since there are so many cool meditation apps out there that I’ve been wanting to try, I decided that I would spend one week trying them all and meditating every single day.

The scientific research on meditation 

Meditation is an ancient practice that’s been around for thousands of years, and is now finally validated by scientific research. We see the benefits of meditation across multiple studies.

A 2008 study published in the academic journal PLOS ONE, found that just 15 minutes of meditation each day can actually influence gene expression. This study showed a change in the expression of 172 genes that regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms, and glucose metabolism. The researchers also found that consistent meditation resulted in a statistically significant decrease in the participants’ blood pressure.

We see again and again in the research that meditation positively impacts both our brains and our bodies and how they work together. 

My 5-day experiment

My goal with this challenge was to meditate for just 10 minutes per day using a different app each day. Hopefully I would find one that I could use to continue with a more consistent meditation practice. 

Headspace 

The first app I tried was Headspace. Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps out there. I absolutely loved the design and user interface of the Headspace app. It’s very well designed and organized, making it easy to find exactly what kind of meditation you’re looking for. I also loved the animations that it includes, which offer educational information about meditation and different techniques, in an easy-to-understand way.

I think that Headspace is particularly helpful for beginners or anyone looking for a way to easily add meditation to their life. You can even choose meditations that are just three minutes long, which surprisingly can have a huge impact on your day. 

Calm

The next meditation app I tried was Calm, another popular app on the market. Calm is particularly helpful for sleep, with an entire library dedicated to meditation for sleep.

Calm also had a whole section for mindfulness at work. I loved that Calm has 7-day programs such as “7 days of gratitude” and “7 days of self-esteem.” 

Insight Timer

Insight Timer was so cool because of the community-oriented nature of the app. As soon as you open it you can see how many people around the world are using the app and meditating alongside you. This made me feel really connected to a larger global community of meditators.

Another great feature of Insight Timer is that meditation teachers that can upload their own meditations for users around the world to follow. They have so many categories as well, everything from meditation for depression, anxiety, confidence, and motivation. 

Unplug 

What I loved most about the Unplug app is how connected I felt to the teachers on the app who are guiding the meditations. It was also organized really well with a wide variety of topics. I liked that you could sort by the length of time of the meditation.

I did feel that their design could use some work. The app was definitely not built for mobile viewing and could definitely use a tech update and better user interface. But the meditations themselves were really nice.

10% Happier

Even since hearing the story of how this app was created, I’ve been excited to try it out. 10% Happier was created by this guy named Dan Harris who is an ABC news anchor. He actually had a panic attack on live television during Good Morning America and was motivated to find a way to address the build-up of anxiety he was feeling.

After this experience, he tried meditation and found that it helped him immensely. He has now made it part of his mission to spread meditation with others. He wrote a book called 10% Happier and later created an app as well. 

The app is not only providing guided meditations, but also educational interviews with different experts, so you can actually learn about meditation and apply it to your practice.

10% Happier says it’s a meditation app for “fidgety skeptics.” So if you’re someone who feels like you can’t meditate because you’re too “fidgety” or skeptical whether or not it will actually work, this is definitely the app for you!

My Favorite App 

I enjoyed all five of these meditation apps for different reasons and would definitely recommend any of them to try. 

However, I’d have to say that Headspace was definitely my favorite. When it comes to design, user interface, the meditations themselves, and overall effectiveness, I think Headspace is the clear winner. Also, you really can’t beat the guy’s voice who guides the Headspace meditations. It’s one of the most calming voices I’ve ever heard! 

If you are looking to try meditation for the first time, or you want to make it a more consistent practice in your life, I definitely recommend trying out Headspace. It makes it super easy to learn how to meditate and it’s perfect for all levels of meditators.