Niraj Naik, known internationally as The Renegade Pharmacist, joins me on today’s show. Niraj is a qualified pharmacist but after witnessing the side effects his patients experienced for pharmaceuticals, not to mention his own health challenges, Niraj embarked on a journey of profound self-healing and education. Our conversation covers a broad range of topics, but there are two questions that he asks everyone that I think is incredibly powerful. The question of having to do something or wanting to do something.
Selected Links from the Episode
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Hello and welcome to “Unstress”. My name is Dr. Ron Ehrlich. If you are a regular listener of this podcast you must know breathing well is important. I identify breathe as one of the five pillars: sleep, breathe, nourish, movement and thought. As a framework for building resilience. The secret to living a longer life is to keep breathing for as long as you can. Okay, no big deal. But the secret to living a healthier life physically, mentally, emotionally is to breathe well and to use the breath consciously which can really improve a lot.
My guest today is Niraj Naik, known internationally as the renegade pharmacist. I’m going to let him tell that story. But my conversation with him covered a broad range of questions and listen out for two questions he asks of everybody which I think are quite powerful about having to do something or about wanting to do something. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this conversation I had with Niraj Naik.
Welcome to the show, Niraj.
Niraj Naik: Hi, Ron, I’m glad to be here.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Now, Niraj, you’ve embarked on a journey of profound self-healing. I mean education and yoga and holistic health. You face some health challenges yourself. You’re a pharmacist, you’re a musician. Can you share with our listener what got you to this point where you are now described as a renegade pharmacist? You’ll have to define that one for us. And who worldwide have been key drivers on that journey?
Niraj Naik: Certainly, well, that’s right, I’m now kind of known around the world as the renegade pharmacist but I was actually a real qualified community pharmacist working in the community in the UK and that’s where I got my big insight into the health care system in the UK and how it’s not really serving the public anymore in a way it was maybe originally intended to. So, what happened was I was really on a search to help my patients get better and I just witnessed so many people going away with shopping bags full of drugs every month and it was just incredibly depressing.
So, what happened was I had what I call I had if you ever saw the movie The Shawshank Redemption where the guy escapes from jail right and he’s I have falsely imprisoned and all that stuff and it has got a dramatic ending. Well, I wrote actually, I remember I wrote this article that summed up how I managed to escape the corporate world which I was in which was I call it the Walmart Redemption because it was really – that’s where I really just witnessed what was going on in the corporate world. I happened to climb all the way up the top of Walmart as during the UK. I was working in the head office, the corporate head office. And I came up with this novel concept of giving shopping lists for patients who are on various health conditions.
I mean now we know so much about diet and nutrition and things all that but back then we’re talking 2010 it was still quite an underground kind of knowledge. people really in the mainstream still didn’t really understand how the impact of food and things on diabetes and things that. And by simply changing people’s diet by giving them healthy shopping list I had amazing results with getting people off long-term medications. Even for things high blood pressure, even people who had inflammatory issues as well arthritis. So, that really opened my mind to the power of diet and nutrition and things that. But what happened was I was about to launch this product this this this service and they all called this meeting and it seemed they’re done some kind of research on whether what if the stuff that I say and teach, if he becomes too popular what it’ll do to their potential sales the things that are incredibly high profit.
So, that basically meant that the whole idea got shelved and I became incredibly disillusioned with a whole system. And I was a pharmacist and I did my best to try and get out of that situation of being in a pharmacy because I just felt I wasn’t in the right place for health care.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: You were going to do this shopping list within the corporate structure to revolutionize help Walmart, are they the same?
Niraj Naik: They’re the same.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And you would have revolutionized all of as doing Walmart’s patient’s clients health, go on.
Niraj Naik: Yeah, it could have been amazing but then it didn’t work out that way. And I actually at this point got hit a lightning bolt with a chronic illness and left me house bound for nearly a year and I literally went into my depression and I lost three stone.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: We use kilograms but three stone yeah well that’s 14 times 3 is anyway 42 pounds, it’s about 20 kilos, just quick maths.
Niraj Naik: So, I was really sick. I was really sick. And I literally gave two options by the doctor so you either take this new drug that hasn’t been tested yet or you can have your colon removed by surgery because I had a condition called ulcerative colitis where you get ulcers in your colon, and I was basically crapping blood 40 times a day. It was horrible. And yeah and that was it and then luckily a very close friend of the family now saw me on the [inaudible 00:06:26] she came to the rescue. She’s a yoga teacher in the UK and she basically said to me that you’ve got a gift but if you can heal yourself now without the drugs because all the drugs have stopped working, I was getting side effects, and she said you’d be an amazing example to other people and now’s time for you, a chance to put the advice you’ve been giving to other people back onto yourself. And that really got me out of this mindset, depression because I was very depressed, and I was also very alone, being a renegade pharmacist that was actually one of the words, they said that your idea was too renegade, that was kind of where the renegade pharmacist name started to appear.
Basically, I was alone, I left my friends, left my family, they all thought I was nuts, they thought I was mad talking about health and curing people and all the stuff. And a lot of friends of our family and [inaudible 00:07:30] doctors in India. Indian parents, they tend to encourage kissed again to medical professions and so there’s a lot of medical people in my own extended family and they all just thought I was crazy. And they all told me just shut up and take the pills. But I really, really, really couldn’t lie anymore, they just weren’t working. And luckily, I chose the third path which was going into his ancient protocols of yoga, meditation, breath, pranayama, Ayurveda and boom within a few months actually within a few weeks I was really that much better and within a few months, I was I literally back to normal again.
So, that that’s when I put all my knowledge into a system and a website or the running a file system I when really deep back into music I found a whole new community the community really became the cure for me finding people who are like-minded and praying a whole new friends circle, extended family that was initially liked people where I felt safe and comfortable. It’s amazing how many people get sick because of the environment they surround themselves with.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, I’m sure you’re aware of the Harvard study which was going over 75 years and looking at what’s the biggest driver of what’s the biggest predictor of health and longevity and they found relationships were the key. But listen let’s just back up because you’ve mentioned a few things there and I wanted to ask you about a few of those things. On this show, we’ve talked a lot about and, in my book, also about breathing. It’s a theme I like to share and that there is a big difference between just breathing and breathing well or even using breaths constructively. It’s also part of what you do. What are some of the benefits of and the science behind breath work?
Niraj Naik: Okay. Yeah, so, part of my cure was discovering pranayama. And pranayama is an ancient Indian science of breath work. Nobody even really knows that how old – where it comes from. This is around the time of yoga, but yoga as well everybody knows its true origins but there is an ancient book called the Rigveda which is actually one of the most-oldest manuscripts, religious manuscripts and in there is a legend, a story of soma. Soma is this psychedelic ritual that the Rishi’s, the ancient Indian… I mean nobody even knows where they’re really from but around the Indus Valley region. They were living in the Golden Age of the palace. The people lived for much longer periods of time. They’re living in abundance and harmony of nature and they love the soma. The soma gave him the ultimate bliss and it would allow them to communicate with the Gods.
But however, what happened was over time these populations grow, people started to explore different parts of the world and in doing so they start moving into lands where the soma runs out. So, everyone starts freaking out because they’re so hooked on the soma for their bliss and the happiness that one of the god’s Indra, he – so everyone was considered a god at this time, where god Indra orders everyone to go inwards to discover how to create the soma within and this becomes the origins of Tantra. Tantra, yoga, pranayama, Ayurveda, meditation. All of these things come from the man’s quest to create the soma within and what they discovered was that it was the breath. The breath was the direct way for the for us to consciously control the autonomic nervous system okay? Because breath is the one thing that runs on autopilot, okay but it’s also the thing that we can control consciously.
So, having conscious control over the breath allows us to tap in alter the physiology, okay? And this is where we start looking at the science of what breath does in the body. So, what they discovered was that the in the [inaudible 00:11:56] soma is the DMT, the tryptamines, serotonin, dopamine will release feel-good hormones and psychedelic hormones associated with the whole ecstatic experience which is what people were looking for. In order to create that same effect, it requires a certain process which you can get through the breath and actually if you have looked at things, hylotropic breathwork and rebirthing, that process actually, the idea of it, is to get you into these ecstatic states where you literally create almost a near-death experience and you create the DMT spirit kind of molecule within.
And originally, what happened was because they were so hooked on the soma, they’ve just gone into the breath. And breath work became very connected part of this ancient kind of tribes and cultures and they then started to combine breath with other things like rhythmic music and other guided meditations and things to enhance the process. And then they would use certain psychedelic precautions with it and that was the early shamanic traditions using breath to reach the ecstatic states. Okay. In doing that so, well, they discovered was actually we already contain every single substance and drug, the medicine that we need already in the body.
So, through the same process if you alter and change it you can actually change the different molecules and hormones that are created by the endocrine system. So, the endocrine system you can say is the chakra system.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: The chakra system.
Niraj Naik: Yeah. Yeah, it is a map of the endocrine system. The endocrine system creates hormones which affect our feelings emotions and processes in the body.
So, what they discovered was actually we have an inner pharmacy and just through breath and the understanding different breathing techniques we can actually alter and wake up the inner pharmacy. And then what happened was then they discovered as well that breath can be used as a way to really strengthen the whole physical body. So, if you imagine what happened was people started to migrate out to go into extremely harsh climates. So, you could imagine Russia, Tibet, all these areas are outside of the Indus Valley as you go further north, you’re going into extremely harsh terrain. And up there you’ll see that in the pool there are up until today one of the strongest armies in the world. It’s probably the strongest army in the world is the Nepalese Gurkha army and they actually trained at very high altitudes where oxygen is very low.
So, actually, if you imagine religion evolved through breath work, through psychedelic experiences and ecstatic experiences and it was a system of knowledge being passed down of how to live your life. So, what they would do is they would study and they look at things they were going out in nature and other people who had moved to certain areas and what they were doing, what was it about them and they really studying as we do now, like biohacking as we know, self-inquiry and self-study. These were the first early biohackers and the Nepalese have really preserved some of these traditions of training at high altitude and this Himalayan ancient yoga is tantric yoga. The Himalayas really preserves this almost superhuman ability they can create through learning the breath and training at high altitude. So, do you want to know about the science of…?
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, because it is intriguing isn’t it? I mean we look at people living in these extreme climates and the fact that humans have migrated to them is a tribute to our resilience. This was all before heating and I’m not even sure they have heating up there at the moment so you kind of think to yourself how do they do it? And we in our cities kind of think I’m always so protected, we’re so coddled. They are superhuman. Okay, let’s hear a bit a bit about the science.
Niraj Naik: Okay. Awesome. So, what’s going on the further you go up north and up into these mountains is the oxygen levels rapidly go down. So, you go really the higher altitude has the top of Mont Everest is 10% of the oxygen there’s a normal atmosphere. So, what they discovered was actually the oxygen when it’s reduced in the body for brief periods of time, it would create a positive adaptive response in the body to having less oxygen. Now, why is this important? There’s a reason for this. So, oxygen okay is part of the respiratory process producing energy. So, oxygen goes into the mitochondria which are like the furnaces, the energy packs of the cell which is either furnace imagine fire where you blow air onto it, right. You need a certain amount of air for the fire to burn. Too much air—okay so much oxygen the fire burns too bright and it actually will spread too far and cause damage. That’s like the Californian wildfires, right.
Too little oxygen the fire doesn’t burn at all, so you need the right balance of oxygen, that’s pranayama. Now here’s the thing. The chemical reactions that go on during metabolism in the mitochondria result in some by-products. These are free radicals’ oxidative reactive species. Now what that does is if too much of that actually causes damage to the DNA at the cells and causes the cell to prematurely aged and die shortly as the tenant is. What they were trying to do when they realized was if you can become very, very efficient using as little oxygen as possible right so using oxygen see if it becomes super-efficient oxygen burner. I mean you produce less damage in the body, you become more efficient with energy, you run more efficiently, you live longer.
The whole goal of yoga and pranayama was to breathe less and the less you need to breathe the longer you. They say you only live a number of breaths and that’s now it makes sense why they say that all right. And what happened was so Russian scientists actually more recent times and seventies. They were trying to they’re very competitive they’re trying to make their athletes that the strongest, the best. So, well they realize they observed the people who went up to high altitudes for short periods as highly came back down, they would actually have more strength more endurance more fitness more stamina. And some people who had certain disease conditions would report feeling better when they came back from the mountain going up to the mountain. So, they created this therapy called intermittent hypoxic training and that involves using machines where you have a peer, a short amount of two or three minutes of normal air followed by two or three minutes of very low oxygen air.
So, you’re basically it’s you’re going up to the mountain for a short period of time and then coming back down I think you’re going up and then going back down. So, it’s you’re walking up and down the mountain. So, simulates that and they found that this had amazing health benefits. the body made a positive adaptive response to having less oxygen for a short period of time. So, the body would get everything in action into gear and it would create more red blood cells, you would dilate blood vessels around the body you get more blood flow to the heart to the brain. You’d wake up dormant parts in the brain as well and it would create higher states of consciousness, it would make a stronger physical body. And this was all using machines and stuff. But well, they then realize was there actually you can do this already with you just hold your breath a few minutes a day. So, that’s literally what the Yogi’s were doing. The Yogi’s and pranayama one of the most revered techniques of all is breath retention kombucha. And this actually means holding your breath lychee breath retention.
So, they create as a process of using it’s called richaku kombucha where you can hold your breath in a certain way for the same period of time and it lowers the oxygen in your body. The low blood saturation around 85 percent and this triggers this positive stress response on the body. And this actually can create all the magical effects of these superhuman Yogi’s and all these things that we have heard about the legend is actually very, very real and something they use for yourself.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yes, look if there’s music to our years here Niraj because we’ve spoken about this kind of thing and interesting to hear you reference mitochondria because we’ve also done many shows on of cancer as a metabolic disease and this is very much about energy production and all of that. But this segues into another question I wanted to ask you because we’ve talked about Wim Hof on this show and this whole idea of hormesis intentional dress and extreme wellness and he’s performed some extreme endurance feats or in the cold controlling his nervous system. And in fact, I think he has rewritten the textbook on the basis and you’ve done workshops with him you’ve worked with him. I mean you’ve mentioned a bit about that. What have you learned from this? Because pranayama and the holding of the breath and switching on a parasympathetic is something we’ve discussed before, but he has his own breathing technique. What are some of the things you’ve learned from him?
Niraj Naik: Yes, Wim is a friend of mine we done lots of music together. I produced all of the soundtrack to the Wim Hof method and did a lot of the music that’s on the site and I’ve even hosted his events as well. So, he’s a good buddy of mine he’s also completely one of the craziest out their guys I’ve ever met in my life as well. he’s extreme all-round. He really embodies the practice, so he is a full-on superhuman yogi in the whole sense of the word. But there’s also certain things so his method yeah, he has a creative method is really useful to some cases, but it doesn’t work for everyone. It can cause actually stress and some people are over stress. So, I’ve got more back personally into the traditional ways of doing this with my warmest Swami told me. And then I was the traded wish Turkish with a doctor who uses these techniques to heal patients. And I wanted to be able to create system for not just for health and fitness but actually for reaching these ecstatic states of bliss. And I believe that actually this is the true purpose or original approach the yoga was liberation. So, free yourself from attachment from the past so and from the future so enlightenment. This was the real all of our grits and I believe actually now that I’ve really got to understand the science of yoga, actually we can use this, and the science actually really backs up confirms what they were trying to tell you before. And that is we are a product for our first seven years of our life. The S scenes actually, Jesus has said you give me a child – he’s seven I’ll show you the man. Because they knew that you get conditioned the most in those first seven years of your life. And if you understand the true that science of yoga and how it works, it actually clears all of the imprinting from what’s attached to your physical ingrained imprinted into you from a very, very young age.
It basically upgrades the hard disk and it also upgrades your point system. And when you combine it with all of the various practices that I’ve got in this programmable soma then you really actually have a system of awakening. So, awakening you up to your true self by it’s a form of self-therapy of getting rid of a lot of the old imprinting. And a lot of that actually if you unless you shake that first imprinting. Your life doesn’t change very often. So, I was to reach a Lowell big spectrum of people, who are not just people looking for peak performance and climbing up mountains and that kind of stuff. I wanted to go for people who were just me who has stuck in the corporate world really lost confused with the system, they’re depressed. And I wanted to build a community of people very like-minded who were into that stuff because I know that communities that cure the so must really become a big movement.
I was definitely obviously spending a lot of time or women we share a lot of the same ideas. And the music for me is integral to this so it’s not for me it does not just focus on the health and fitness side it’s more about now what is it really that what does it really mean to be healthy? That’s really what you’ve got to ask yourself. What it really means? I believe it comes down to asking two questions to yourself. The first one every morning if you ask yourself am, I truly wanted to get up and do a hard day’s work or am I doing this because I have to do it? If your answer is, I have to do it that’s never going to lead to a life of stress chronic stress and you’re going to get sick. And then the other question going to ask is am I truly wanting to be compassionate to other people or am I doing it just because I have to be compassionate? And what my job is now is I’ve really realized this is the source of most people’s problems is not being able to clearly answer these questions. And so, what I do is I help people answer those questions in the right way.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: I love that. I love that, that question between having to and wanting to I mean that’s really very, very neat way of thinking about it. Can we just take a step back here because we’ve also over the period of this show this year spoken to one of my all-time heroes, I’m sure you know him, Bruce Lipton.
Niraj Naik: He is amazing.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: And he talks also about this important first seven years and you say show me the boy and I’ll show you the man. And when we think about it, I look at my grandchildren who are three to four months old and we become we remember things I think about my first memory and it probably goes back to 3 maybe 4 just scant memories but there are those if we’re talking about the first seven years of life and we’re needing to explore those first seven years of life to understand, what do we do about those first 1 2 3 4 years where we have no conscious memory?
Niraj Naik: Yes. So, this is where the higher yoga rituals were created. So, the first imprint it actually happens actually is when you’re in the womb where we have no control whatsoever. We are completely at the mercy of the environment outside of the womb and your mother’s hormonal system in her state of emotion. So, this is where a lot of conditioning happens actually. So, it’s really important for if you’re if you have a wife who’s pregnant is to do your best to make sure that she is really comfortable and safe, feeling safe and fear secure and happy and things that because the stress that goes in here, it will it will shape the child in and it’s hard to know which way it’s going to shake. That’s where it first comes in and then the second imprinting happens is the moment you’re born. So, the moment you’re born you can come out and they cut the umbilical cord you what happens as you take your first breath. So, you take a breath in and you gasp for air because it’s the last, it’s the first breath you’ve ever taken but because you’re so used to having everything is given to you it’s the first time you also dependent on somebody else right support through survival. The first imprinting now survival comes into your reptilian brain. So, as you take a gas you just and you just let go and you cry and cry and cry and it’s the exhale which people really find hard to do even now.
Because when your chronically stress you hold on to your air. You basically breathe in and you gasp, and you hold your breath in. And when you hold your breath in certain things happen. And this is actually part I was win-win what he focusses a lot is the retention in holding in dry the breath and when you hold a breath in and squeeze what happens is you create a surge of adrenaline. So, actually the mullah bandha is what the Yogi’s thought about is out there’s another way to tap into the autonomic nervous system. So, the mullah bandha is this part of the anatomy it’s located in the pelvic floor muscles and when you see, if you just therefore muscles okay and when you say if you just squeeze your mullah under squeeze it pull it up imagine you’re holding onto the urine if you’re really desperate for a pee right so you pull that you draw those muscles up squeeze there’s no you’re sucking something up into your ass okay and then you hold your breath right if you do that and just squeeze as hard as you can your heart rate starts to go up dramatically fast. You create a short burst of adrenaline. This short burst of adrenaline it has this anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It’s almost a reset switch to the body. So, this is a kombucha is that another type of kind of kombucha when we hold your breath in and squeeze a mula bandha okay so actually one of the process they used to wake up the Kundalini the sexual energy life force but that’s another whole other subject in itself. But this this imprinting okay actually can cause chronic stress we can use also in a positive way. You can know you can actually get over these first in printings by meditation techniques.
So, what happens is those two imprints the survival that the urgencies are breathe and hold on to your breath is actually your grain in the reptilian brain which is the most primitive part of the brain. The next imprinting after that which also occurs in the reptilian brain is when you are getting breastfed by your mother. So, the first imprint of your mother and that interaction actually can really have a big effect on things you seek for conflict you’re very much somebody needs a lock on so cigarettes actually get imprinted the habit of cigarettes gets imprinted at this point as well. So, there’s mother-child relationships super important if you’re not comforted enough as a baby it can lead to all of these feelings of not enough not worthy abandonment a fear of rejection. All this stuff that plays out there only life. So, what they discovered was these higher yoga rituals of clearing these out. So, one of them actually is to go into I did this was going to darkness, so I went into darkness for seven days seven nights. It was the most insane thing I’ve ever done in my life. We’d have very powerful tantric rituals meditation practices of yoga it’s kind of shamanic go because it comes from a Tibetan tradition. And what happened was actually just before I was going in to the darkness, the old suits of colitis came back. The first time ever. I literally sat myself okay with fear I was literally going to the toilet again 10-20 times and I had to go into the dark where you can’t even find the toilet. you have to use rope and padded papers try fly the toilet now suddenly I’m going to the toilet 20 times a day in pitch blackness. It was insane.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Were sharing this room with other people in the region?
Niraj Naik: Yeah.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Okay, yeah, but go on.
Niraj Naik: So, what happened was why discovered was in doing this because then I surrender to the darkness and a lot of my magical stuff happened was, I realized actually the darkness when it symbolizes is you’re going back into the womb. So, whatever big fears and traumas occurred in the womb, period darkness actually comes up to surface. And it’s your chance then to karmically re-frame that trauma into something positive. So, what happened was I did a little order of special formal release exercises and do a lot of breath work there. The soma techniques that I do now I teach now we’re all about getting into these states in the darkness to just go so deep on this early imprint in the womb. Because my mum was incredibly depressed and stressed and under a loft fear when I was in the womb. Her life was shit and in prayer imprinted a lot on me and I had this crazy fear of the dark. Until I was 7 years old or so no I major fear of the dark. I can’t sleep on my own and all of these things that now make sense because of the imprints of the Apple in the womb and it also makes sense why I went to when thought that the disease came up because most of collates is associated fear so because it came when I was under a lot of fear of going back to being a pharmacist losing this thing that I worked on for so long. And then it came back again in the womb.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: How long into this seven-day program you said you surrendered to the darkness? How long into the seven-day program did you surrender?
Niraj Naik: I think it was day three.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: That’s a long, long two or three days. I thought I’ll look after an hour or two I just surrendered to it but…
Niraj Naik: Yeah, because it was really and then when I surrendered a lot of the feeling of the illness, I had that came back subside and then literally you came out and within a day or two I was back to normal again. Disease disappeared. So, the most bizarre thing ever. It was astonishing, it was ghosts had appeared manifested inside me revealed itself in the dark and then allowed me to forgive and reframe the past. Because a lot of this comes down to forgiveness and creating compassion and states of compassion and making peace with your situation, your past, your present and whatever are up in the future and that’s when you become liberated when you have acceptance. This is what I to teach this is what I’m about what my stuff’s.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, what’s fascinating and there’s a lot of themes that we’ve kind of touched on before that you are bringing together here which is nice. I think you’ve kind of I was going to ask you about this idea of the inner pharmacy. Can you explain that one? I know you use this term using discovering your inner pharmacy. I think you’ve touched on some of that already but yes give it to our listener have I explained that one to our listener?
Niraj Naik: Sure. Okay, so, we’ll just go back to a little bit of science again. So, what is a pharmacy? Pharmacy by definition there’s where you’re using medicine which is a drug which is a concentration of an active ingredient that is something that goes into the body and it changes the biochemical processes that lead to a change in a disease state. That’s the point of medicine is to reduce the symptoms diseases through chemicals. So, now this is deeply flawed okay because medicines drugs they’re not intelligent. They don’t have an innate intelligence because they’re taken away from their natural environment which is the plant and they’re concentrated and isolated. So, they lead to crazy side effects if you take a long term. They should be used in emergencies.
Now the way drugs work they usually work on one or two sides of the nervous system so they either work on the parasympathetic side or the sympathetic side. Okay, the sympathetic side deals with a fight. The parasympathetic side there is a rest and digest. The sympathetic side is actually where we need it, we need a balance of the two however it’s the one that’s switched on too much in people. The olden days the sympathetic side is really, really, really useful so we’re talking that ancestral times under a caveman living in the jungle right surrounded by lions, tigers and bears and other warring tribes. So, what happened was then when anything came at you any source of danger a lion or something you need to have spring quickly into instinctive action to defend yourself or this thing is going to kill you. So, you need to either fight or run away. And the similar nervous system would kick into gear super-fast so that you didn’t have to even think about it you just did it. So, that’s how fast it reacts.
However, when you ran away or whatever if you killed the animal sooner way after the dangers gone everything will be okay and you come back you calm down, you go back to normal. Where is now fast forward into our time, we don’t live in the jungle anymore however we haven’t really evolved much out of the jungle. We still live in a jungle we live in the concrete jungle of the cities. And now the lion songs and bears are actually our boss our relationships our bills deadlines things that really, really, really trigger us okay and make us feel stressed. However, this time we can’t just kill them we can’t run away from them we have to deal with it. So, we’re constantly triggered by stress that’s the problem and that means that we’re wallowing in a sea of hormones of stress cortisol adrenaline which causes vasoconstriction, causes all the blood pressure problems that lead to heart disease and all this stuff.
Now the Yogi’s understood this. So, they understood actually that we can actually switch on the power centre of a nervous system if we know how to do it. We’re not born with a manual instruction how to do it and we’re told now by all scientists and doctors we have no control over you also not a nervous system they’re just running on autopilot. So, they thought that the only way we can influence the vague nerve and the power sympathy nervous system is through drugs and that’s what we’ve been educated to believe in, is that we have to use machines or drugs or surgery to make us feel calm.
Therefore, there’s a trillion-dollar business the pharmaceutical business that works on the power centre their nervous system, so they use sleeping pills to get you to sleep. They use anti-anxiety pills huge blockbuster drugs to help you feel calmer and more relaxed and then they use blood pressure medication to bring your heart rate down. Now the Yogi’s have known all along that actually we have conscious control over our involuntary functions. And it’s the burette that does i. The breath is our tool to tap in and switch on the power set of the nervous system at will by doing so we can change our brain wave state, we can change the heart rate we can lower blood pressure, we can enhance the immune system. All of these things are possible. At the same time, we can also stimulate the sympathetic nervous system at will as I just told you if you just squeeze your ass up and hold on to your breath, you’ll get a raise your heart rate and you’re going to raise your blood pressure, going to crash or burst of adrenaline.
If you do this in a moment where you’re really positive and not stress and you’re super ecstatic by doing that using the mula bandha in the right way you create the same stay of passion, the same state of people for flows as you would if you’re about to win a competition or game where your sympathetic nervous system switched on adrenaline’s pumping but instead of course so you release DHEA. DHEA is a chemical they’re actually crates dilation. You’re getting better blood flow knees associated with living longer. So, they knew that using various breath techniques and music and meditation and things that in ritual forms we can reach these ecstatic states by working with both the parasympathetic sympathy system that just the way psychedelic plants do. So, psychedelic plants they have been used traumatically and by ancient traditions cultures for thousands of years and not many people know that the religion of India or the Hindu religion it all comes back down to psychedelics exploration. And now we can actually emulate that through breath. And actually, the word spiritual actually means to breathe in Latin spiritual actually means to breathe. Espírito means breath and life. So, our root of the word spiritual is to breathe, and a lot of stuff happens a lot of magic happens when we do things breathe together. So, breathing together actually in Latin means conspire. The conspire actually was a thing that people used to do is to conspire those two get together breathe together because when you breathe together what happens and heart math-amazing scientists have shown this is that you create the stakeholder, you are breathing the same rhythm together. Exactly the same rhythm.
And actually, instinctively if you sit spend enough time with somebody even if you just look in someone’s eyes in conversation your breath will match their breath very quickly. You’ll model that you’ll see baby same model the mother’s breath very, very fast. So, actually breathing’s together where it does it creates this harmony and bond and communion between the triad to a group and when he breathes together the way it also happens if you breathe in a rhythm, rhythmic breathing it creates this optimum blood flow from your heart to your brain. This harmonization effect so if you when you breathe in you actually stimulate your sympathetic nervous system. When you breathe out you stimulate your power centre where no system. So, breathing in perfect rhythm to a beat, this rhythmic breathing. I call it breathing beats. What it does is it creates this incredible magnetic expansion of your electromagnetic field, the resonates and it connects with other people and war your feeling starts to rub off on other people around you. It’s really amazing. And these are ways of praying altered states of consciousness.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I love that the spiritual breath conspiring to breathe together coherence and it’s great. And listen this kind of segues into another thing that I want to ask you about because I know you’ve been a professional musician and you use the power of music to heal, how does that work?
Niraj Naik: That’s right. So, one of the things I really, really got deep back into was music. Because music was something, I was passionate about very, very young and it was something actually they gave me a lot of joy a lot of pleasure, a lot of way of escaping the bullying that was happening at school. I actually went and skips games in rugby… In Australia you got rugby, right?
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: We do.
Niraj Naik: So, I was never into it. I was really small, and I just get well the head kicks and every time I played it. And then go to the music room and just jam on keyboards and suddenly I actually became quite the cool kid in the class and from being there, the one that got picked on because I figured out how to make music. That was the cool music, the rave music of the time. And so, then I started to run big events and gigs in my town, so I actually became a known kind of DJ at my local community around one of the biggest waves actually in the UK for three years before I was a pharmacist. Then I became a pharmacist.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Sometimes those two go very nicely hand-in-hand.
Niraj Naik: Well, yes.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: That’s another topic for another… Okay.
Niraj Naik: I actually then suppressed a lot of my passion for music when I became the pharmacist I kind of gave up on air because I became depressed and what happened was, I felt that I wasn’t exercising, and this is one of the reasons I got sick. I wasn’t exercising and white side of the brain and one of the things I really teach now and really encourage people to do who go to any kind of healing issue is to start exercising the part of the brain that you’re not used to stimulating. So, it doesn’t always mean that it’s the left brain that you’ve only been exercising. Some people they’re too floaty they’re too away with the fairies they’re not spending enough time being grounded and getting stuff done. So, actually, the system of Ayurveda is all about regaining balance over your whole energy body, your whole psyche, your whole spiritual outlook on life. And for me, one of the big things was to go back into music because that was what my rights are the very love, but I had become to left-brain about it. And when I started just made music, I loved by emulating music actually that actually had helped me a lot so I got really deep into meditation through doing that I understood how the brain waves are altered by music and how you can use certain brainwave technologies binaural beats and isochrony tones actually to enhance the meditative process. And I use this as a hypnotherapeutic tool to go in there in my past life and reengineer and reframe a lot of the stuff that caused me a lot of stress growing up as a child and past conflicts and all these forms there actually we all go through at some point and some people are worse than others and has a negative effect on the body.
The music I found suddenly had a deep meaningful purpose suddenly because before that I was really the solution of the music industry actually. I actually became very close friends with the guy who managed a band called Muse or Musa one of the biggest bands rock bands in the UK and his company managed a lot of producers. He produced bands Coldplay and Radiohead and stuff that. And he had become very disillusion of the music industry as well because it became McDonald’s music. It was just all just the same old drivel churn now and there were no bands that represented music that had a message and a purpose of spiritual purpose except for those early bands things I read ahead and Muse. They had a message, they had something to say, they stood for something the Beatles obviously. Stuff that. Pink Floyd.
But a lot of that was missing and it was when I really discovered how music can be used therapeutically that I became obsessed with making music again. And then I realized I actually rhythmic music, music that has a rhythm to it, especially the music that’s around 120 beats per minute or the actual the same groove of that 60 beats per minute because there’s half the tempo is that the same as your resting heart rate, beats per minute. So, 60 beats per minute so usually you’re resting kind of average healthy heart. And actually what they found was that they did a study colouring exactly who was rich University but they did a study where they chart, they took all of the top hits popular music songs from pop songs of the eighties and nineties and stuff and they worked out what was the average tempo and they found those around 120 pieces from it was the average tempo. The most popular song, the biggest hits. So, that’s weird 120 beats per minute. You can also count as 60 beats per minute because it’s half the tempo so still play in the same rhythm is the same as your resting heart rate and this also corresponds perfectly to alpha brainwaves, low alpha brainwaves. And it’s almost this is that the rhythm of life. This BPM this tempos rhythm of life.
So, I started to experiment a lot with Cray music of these tempos and using breath to mirror that and to work in synch with that. That’s how I came up with this breathe and beats concepts of breathing of the rhythm. When you breathe in a rhythm, this in this heart rate it’s way over rhythmic music of this tempo absolute magic happens. That’s what we’ve a query with soma and we have this really powerful musical process where you use breath work with rhythmic music combined with certain ways of doing breathe retention and meditation and affirmation and visuals as well. You use special visuals, you can get into these profound ecstatic states of mind where you get into such an altered state of consciousness, you can go in reprogram the past and create a new reality.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Well, you know that meditation and we all know that meditation is a powerful tool we should all explore and I’m sure it’s on almost everybody’s to-do list. But tell me is this part of what you’re using the term brainwave entrainment?
Niraj Naik: Yeah, yeah. So, brainwave entrainment music. The meditation really what it means is the art of single focus focusing on doing one thing without any distractions. So, you can be playing the guitar and get lost in the just the playing the guitar where you’re so present with every single note that you’re playing there you cease to be tuned into any other source of information and awareness or anything else except for that thing you’re doing. That’s the meditation. But then the meditation we’re more used to is where you just try and still your thoughts and mind.
The third things that actually can help that which is music. So, brainwave music can actually also the brainwave frequencies and actually these tiny pulses of science sound they’re rhythmic pulses that entrain your brain. It kind of tunes your brain to certain frequency states and that actually can help get you into even deeper meditative states where you just go so into altered states of conscious awareness that you go into very deep meditations but forget about all that stuff. That actually the one thing that makes meditation the easiest of all is just breath. Just by following your breath and then knowing how to go into breath retention of which I could come back and holding your breath of narrow in the lungs and drop into the absolute stillness where you relax every muscle in your body. That is the most profound meditation orienting because life is just a series of inhales and exhales. So, when you press pause at your breath, you press pause on life and that’s when you drop into the stillness meditation and that’s where the magic happens.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Listen, if you wanted to, we’re coming to the end, this has been terrific, we have so much territory here. If a person just met you and you wanted to give them some advice about how to get started on their own on their health journey, what would be the first couple of things you’d give us a couple of tips that would get people started?
Niraj Naik: Okay, great. Yeah, so, obviously we talked about the first one which the answer to those questions is because actually everything depends on your answers to these questions. Because once you start working on praying more compassion in your life and looking towards changing that answer to, I want to do this 100% with absolute conviction that’s when everything changes. But beyond that, the greatest thing that has an effect of your physiology is your breath. So, understanding that by becoming super-efficient using oxygen will make you stronger healthier and happier. That’s the goal.
So, you then would do everything. You would look at what were the things that work that makes you more efficient use oxygen that is breathing through your nose rather than your mouth. So, you’ll become more conscious at breathing into your nose. It’s one of them the certain types of exercises and aerobic exercise which is what you find in yoke true Himalayan yoga from the Himalayas which has a lot in common with the Shamanic, Tibetan yoga traditions and the Russian traditions is an aerobic exercise. It means you’re exercising to the point of exhaustion and you controlling your breath into each pose, each posture that you make and it’s all about becoming really efficient using oxygen. And then you’ll start looking at things that you eat the influence is how you breathe.
So, certain foods actually cause you to want to consume more oxygen. So, you’d start to change that so you start to change your diet things sugar upsets your oxygen balance in your body, your physiology in your bollocks so you start to eliminate processed foods because most natural healthy foods that are cooked by real human beings and are made in their factory they’re actually what we’re supposed to eat and you’ll live a lot longer if you just switch to that.
And you can go even deeper, but the Indians discovered a whole system of doing this. So, everything in, if you do it from a proper understanding of these subjects, I’ve had a yoga tantra pranayama, all sciences of making super-efficient using oxygen so that you control your energy because energy is life. We’re all energy, everything is energy. Equals N. Actually, that’s the new quantum world that we’re going into. It’s a profound understanding that everything is energy and that we’re all connected by that same universal film of energy. So, once you start having this understanding of togetherness of oneness and connectivity everything changes.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Yeah, listen just to finish up and you may have actually already covered this but taking a step back from your role as a renegade pharmacist, of course, we’re all on our own health journey, what do you think the biggest challenge is for people today on their health journey through life in our modern world?
Niraj Naik: The biggest challenge today I call it scram… Such a good question.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Thank you.
Niraj Naik: I call it FOFO – The fear of feeling out. I think this is the biggest epidemic spreading around the world today. It’s actually something that’s tied in the ancestral types. So, imagine the olden days were all in tribes, it’s fear of feeling out FOFO. Back then you were excluded from the tribe, you were dead, you would not have any food, you’d have no supplies you’d have no resources, you wouldn’t pass on your genes. The only thing your reptilian brain cares about is survival and reproduction. That’s all it cares about and that is what we’re all the fear begins in your body. The fear of feeling out is the strongest fear of all.
So, what happens is we do a lot of things instinctively habitually to fit into our environment. Now if the environment doesn’t serve you if you’re surrounded by people who go to the pub every night and drink loads of beer smoke loads of cigarettes, it’s pretty likely you’re going to end up doing that and repeating that habits and you’re going to die younger then somebody who isn’t exposed to that environment. So, what you need to do is have a look at what are all of the things you do to try and fit into an environment and whether that environment really is serving your best interests. And then the fear of actually moving out of that is going to hopefully become less than the fear of spitting in that’s society because you will start to wake up and realize that actually you are your environment and that’s it.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: Thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been terrific to talk to you. We’ll have links to your web page of course and they’ve got so many good resources on there. So, again thank you for joining us.
Niraj Naik: Thank you so much, Ron.
Dr. Ron Ehrlich: This idea of intentional stress is an interesting one. I’m often asked is all stress bad? No, it’s not. Intentional beneficial stress also called hormesis is in that zone that the stress actually has a positive effect on health. Now breath-holding is a good example. Done properly some very positive effects. Do it for too long and we call that suffocation not such a good thing. Exercise is another example of getting the balance right. That’s good for your health but too much and we start to cause damage. The same can be said about the use of heat, the use of cold, of fasting all can be powerfully harnessed to improve health. And that’s where putting the body under stress is within that hermetic zone within that beneficial zone is actually a good thing.
Niraj has some very interesting resources on his website which we will have links to. Now if you’re enjoying the podcast jump onto iTunes and leave a review and we might even put a link to that in the show notes just to make it a lot easier. It makes a very big difference in getting this message out. We’ve also got some great resources on my website so have a look at that, two new eBooks, webinars and even an online course. So, until next time this is Dr. Ron Ehrlich. Be well.
This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences and conclusions.