Lessons Learned from Biocybernaut's Neurofeedback Training
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
We are both life-long learners and just returned from a neurological training that just has us glowing and wanting to share what we learned.
If you are someone who is all “go, go, go” this episode is definitely for you.
You’ll learn how you can use your brainwaves to help break this cycle and build in where you take care of yourself so you can increase your daily performance.
We’ll share how increasing on our Alpha brainwaves (something you can do and will learn all about in this episode!) helps us develop more ease and grace in our lives and how it can affect you positively.
We’ll also explain how it relates to your work and performance.
We really just want to share all we learned with you and hope you benefit from it as much as we have!
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CrisMarie: Welcome to the Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home, and everywhere else in your life. I'm CrisMarie.
Susan: And I'm Susan. We run a company called Thrive and we specialize in conflict resolution, communication, and building strong thriving teams and relationships. Conflict shows up in our lives in so many ways. Most people unfortunately are not very good at handling conflict. Most people have never been taught the right tools for dealing with conflict and then it leads to unnecessary friction, arguments, passive aggressive emails, tears, hurtful comments, stuckness, all kinds of things we don't want. We're on a mission to change all of that.
CrisMarie: We've spent the last 20 years teaching our clients how to handle conflict in a whole new way. We're here to show you that conflict doesn't have to be scary and overwhelming. With the right tools, you can turn a moment of conflict into a moment of reinvention. Conflict can pave the way into a beautiful new system at work, a new way of leading your team, a new way of parenting, a new chapter of your marriage where you feel more connected than ever before. Conflict can lead to beautiful things.
Hey there, you may not know this about Susan and me, but we are lifelong learners and we are fresh off of our last training, which was a neurofeedback training, and it's the second time we've done this. And so today's podcast is going to be about neurofeedback, how you can develop more ease and grace in your life, increase your performance. We're going to give you the details, how it affected us. And, yeah.
Susan: And also tell you how we weave that into the work that we do. So I mean, CrisMarie, we're talking about neurofeedback, but the other thing we want to talk about is really what we were doing was it's called alpha two because we've already done alpha one, and so we were an alpha two training and that's a very distinctive brainwave that we all have that has to do with heart opening, compassion, forgiveness. And if you don't really understand what I'm talking about, I'm going to turn it over to CrisMarie to talk a little bit about the various brainwaves.
CrisMarie: So we all have these different frequency of brainwaves. We've got delta, theta, beta, alpha, gamma. And what it is is when we're in our day today, we're mostly in beta brainwaves, which means we're focused on getting things done, moving, we might have stress and we spend a lot of time there. And the other brainwave that we were cultivating in this training is alpha. And alpha is really about more experiencing peace and calm. It also though accesses your creativity, you feel better in it. And it is linked to when you open your heart. And I can imagine new business people out there thinking, "Why should I open my heart?" And it really does though, relax you. And sometimes we're so uncomfortable with shifting that we think, "Oh no, no, no, I'm just going to focus and get this one more thing done." Thinking that's the best way to increase our performance and it's actually counterproductive.
Susan: I mean, I don't know how many times ... and you may think of this, those of you that are business people who are under a lot of stress to produce and various things. Sometimes when you're in that mode, and you may even be thinking of a time on your team where you were like, "Wait, just give me a minute." And maybe you did just for a second, close your eyes and all of a sudden you got a great idea and that would be you have an ability to ... and we all do really, we may not have cultivated it, the ability to just close our eyes and open to more alpha. So likely that you've got that great idea was your ability to actually allow for that. And all too often people don't, they just keep trying to solve the problem. It's that Einstein quote you were talking about.
CrisMarie: Yeah, no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. But we continually try to press on, figure it out, try hard. And all of that does is repress your alpha. It basically limits your brain power. So this is the second time we've done this training. We go to a place called Biocybernaut, which has done tons of scientific reports and case studies. And what they have done is looked at, when zen meditators have meditated for 40 years, what they're doing is they've developed the ability to raise their alpha. They can train you to do that in seven days through their process that they go through.
Susan: Now what's cool about this? And I see this out in the world of the internet quite frequently. There's bio tap, there's brain tap, there's the other alpha training things you can do. And I'm not saying those aren't good. However, what is unique about, I think what Biocybernaut has to offer and what Jim Hardt was sort of fascinating, he was the guy who created this, was he really wanted you to be able to hear your own brain. Why that's significant is that we all have different alpha amplitudes for one thing, and high amplitude doesn't necessarily equate to being able to access and have coherence at that level. So coherence is a big part of this. And so what Jim Hardt does is he's actually found a way through hooking you up with little brain eat like an EG.
Susan: Yeah, and you've got it on different areas of your brain, your occipitals, your temporals, your frontals, and your centrals. And then you also have one for coherence. And each one he's equated to a particular sound. And so you begin the training. Oh, actually only hearing a couple of those circuitries. You don't even hear the coherence yet, just to begin to hear what it sounds like. And he's put that into a sound like an oboe, or a horn, or an organ sound. And so you begin to actually hear your own brain. You're getting feedback and you know how we love feedback because that is such a thing, the breakfast of champions. It's the thing that really helps you accelerate any type of learning. And it's the same way with the brain.
CrisMarie: And your brain is getting constant feedback, so it's learning whether you're trying or not. And really that coherence that Susan is talking about is your left and right sides of your brain actually finally hearing each other and learning to work together. So literally through this training, you raise your IQ. He did scientific studies, you raise your IQ 10 to 12 points in a week of training.
Susan: So we're talking to you now because we think we're smarter because we've been there and hopefully those 10 points are sticking.
CrisMarie: We went a couple of years ago and one of the places that was ... I'm just going to share what happened for me after that week of training is many of you know I was in the Olympics in 1988, and I was a rower, and we lost. And because of that loss, I had really disassociated myself from the Olympics for at least a decade. And I brought it more mainstream, talked about my training, but I still really hadn't owned it. And so I did a lot of work on that process of what I went through during the Olympics on my first training.
And I have to tell you, three months later I got my Olympic tattoo. Nine months later, we were inducted into the Husky Hall of fame and I was asked to be the speaker. I actually made up with my coach who I had been estranged with for 30 years. So it was an amazing impact with this week of training that really helped me feel more fulfilled and really own that I am an Olympic rower and it has launched into a whole bunch of other things that I've done.
Susan: And for me, I think I have always had a certain level of reactivity that I deal with on a regular basis. And any of you that know me know it's been over the years. I think it has improved just with all the different work I've done and especially with the horses. But what I have noticed with the alpha training from the time I did it the first time to this time was a very distinct way in which I've just sort of relaxed. I haven't been as hypervigilant. I have been able to deal more effectively in the moment with my reactivity.
I'll say, I went into this experience of Biocybernaut totally differently. I'm always a little skeptical of stuff like this and of course, I was a little skeptical the first time, but this time I just went in full on, "I'm ready to do this. I'm ready to figure out how I can do this." And I really discovered some key ways that I can work with this residual pieces of my reactivity that I was truly excited about.
CrisMarie: And this is for me ... because a lot of our patterns are where we get stuck in our lives. We think we should be going forward and we're not. We do a lot of coaching with people around that, whether it's business coaching or personal coaching. And a lot of it has to do with situations that happened to us that we weren't able to control. We felt marginalized in. And a lot of this work helps work through those pains so that you have more access. And some of the people that come to a training like Biocybernaut are often ... whether you're a speaker, an actor, an elite athlete, a business person who are looking for ways to increase your performance, it's a great way to maximize that level of performance.
Susan: This would be CrisMarie, an elite athlete working to maximize-
CrisMarie: A speaker.
Susan: A speaker.
CrisMarie: And I do all those things.
Susan: You didn't notice that? I noticed it. Now, on the other hand, there's also those of you out there that may at times feel stuck or that you're dealing with a significant loss or health issue. Maybe it's a divorce, maybe it's a financial crisis, maybe you have reactivity like me, or anxiety, or depression. These are equally valuable ways and places to turn to and what's kind of cool about the Biocybernaut process is similar to things that we do, it's similar to things that they do, is you're with a group of people and the people are doing very different things, like in our first training we had a very different collection of people than we have this time. And that makes it really interesting as well because not only are you doing the work with the feedback on your brain, but you have that resonance with other people who are facing the challenges in things in their own lives.
CrisMarie: Now, one of the things I was working on this last week over US Thanksgiving was my own workaholism because I can be quite driven and I've even convinced myself that that drivenness, it's the source of my success and I have gotten really before I went to this training, it's really not the source of my success. It's the source of my stress and there's a lot easier way to do work and still get a lot done, but enjoy the process and have more ease. And that was very powerful for me to work on and recognize the ways that I am constantly scaring myself, which I don't really need to be scaring myself. I'm far enough in my career, I know how to do this. And so I'm excited to see how that unravels because it's not instantaneous. I didn't find instantaneous impacts for me. It was more over the course of a few months as my brain integrated all this work that I really found the shifts happen for myself.
Susan: Yes. And we want to make it clear. I believe the same thing happens if you leave a come alive and decide that you're going to breathe regularly.
Susan: And it was really interesting, a person who had with us this time who had actually been to Haven before, she had this moment where she really got the value of breathing because she actually got feedback on how helpful it was for alpha.
CrisMarie: It raises your alpha ways to breathe.
Susan: It raises your alpha. And I always laugh and joke because I'm surprised. I mean, I don't know how many people over my 35 years of being a Haven have walked away knowing that breathing was really valuable. But actually to get someone to breathe 14 minutes a day, not just mindfulness breathing, but breathe where they actually feel the deep emotions, that hasn't been the easiest sell. And yet it's a very vital, real resource. And so yes, breathing can bring you that. I think the work, I love the work with the horses, that brings it into it. A lot of things we do in our program like Get Unstuck and also our Relationship Mojo are equally vital to helping you do this same piece.
CrisMarie: Yeah, we certainly support anyone who wants to go to the Haven or Biocybernaut. We're not getting paid to advertise and we just really are in our glow about it today. And there are simple things are that you can do right now that will help raise your alpha. Anytime you just simply take a break and close your eyes, your alpha goes up. And that's what Susan was saying. If you're in a meeting and it's really hectic, you can actually just put your hand on your forehead, dip your head, and close your eyes and you'll get a rush of your own alpha brainwaves. You can take a break and walk around, especially out in nature. That regularly raises your alpha.
Susan: And one of the best ways is just to think of someone you love or maybe one of your pets. Just even for that moment really flood that image into your mind's eye and that will raise your alpha.
CrisMarie: Even the whole work around gratitudes. That's a way to raise your alpha. So there's lots of things that you could do. Slowing down and taking some breath in the moment raises your alpha. So we really want to encourage you to break the cycle of go, go, go. I've got to get it done. Believing that lie because it is a lie and building in little places that you take care of yourself and raise your alpha so that you actually increase your daily performance.
Susan: I was thinking too, one of the things that I enjoyed most about the alpha training was because as you begin to kind of discover ... I mean one of the things you do first is figuring out how to suppress alpha, which means you actually get feedback on what works to suppress, which is basically demonstrates to you and gives you feedback that when you really concentrate on something in that beta brain, you really are suppressing your alpha. And the idea is that when you can suppress it and you know how, you can learn how to let it go and let it rise.
CrisMarie: A friend of mine, just last night, we were at an event and she was saying, "Yeah, when I'm on my computer all day and I'm focusing on ... " Her project that she's working on and then she goes and tries to play her flute. She goes, "Oh my God, I can't play my flute." And I said, "Well, you're probably still in beta." Because beta comes when we're focused, we're trying really hard, and we're into a detail piece. Now, it's not like you never want to do those things, but just know you are in a beta brain and you need to help your brain transition to alpha to be more creative, and fluid, and heart opening in that place.
Susan: And we really are big believers. I mean, yes, there might be value to going to a seven day silent meditation retreat or going up to the mountain for 40 years to learn to be a monk. I don't want to take anything away from that, but we are also big believers that hey, we need to be here on this planet and out in the world doing our thing. And hopefully, we can learn how to do that while also accessing and being able to tap into our alpha state, which gives us more room for compassion, and forgiveness, and self acceptance. Those are big things.
CrisMarie: I was thinking about just how I grew up and what I focused on and really in my environment. And I think what I did was focus on my own survival. I thought, "I've got to get ahead. It's got to be about me. Nobody else really cares about me. So I've got to get everything I can." And that's carried on into my adulthood and I really get in that. That's a real beta brain state, survival of the fittest, trying to get as much as you can versus actually opening my heart and taking those breaks. It's a very manifesting brain, so I can still get things, but I feel more connected and I'm in a place of service wanting to serve people. It doesn't make me any less of a business person, but that's what I have believed. Like, "No, no, I've got to be hardcore." So it's a real shift to include for me, and this isn't true for everybody, but for me to realize it's okay to open my heart. It Actually is helpful to open my heart and slow down.
Susan: Really much more fun to work with her when, no I'm teasing. But it is. I notice a difference when ... like we have had situations over the years where some of our finances have been challenged or whatever else. And the thing that I have seen as a pattern, and I'm a pattern person, so I do notice these things is when CrisMarie would kind of try out for a play and she'd get a part, all of a sudden we'd be getting all these new clients or if she decided that she wanted to do hip hop dancing, all of a sudden we'd get clients. In her mind, I don't know if you always put them together like that.
CrisMarie: I didn't, no.
Susan: But it was pretty clear to me when she actually relaxed and enjoyed the connections and it opened her heart, you could say, or got into that place of joy and play. It naturally supported our business and these things are not separate. I mean, when we're working with teams, we are constantly suggesting to them, "Don't just do the smart stuff. Don't just get into your beta brain in these meetings. Do things that allow you to connect to each other. That may open you to a place of vulnerability, of curiosity."
CrisMarie: Yeah. Vulnerability and curiosity come from that open-hearted alpha state or they generate it in the other person, which is why it creates. So when people really drop in, it creates magical connections. And I really get that in a whole new way after this last week of training.
Susan: Yeah. So we wanted to share with you freshly from just coming back from this some of our takeaways. And CrisMarie is giving me signals so that means she has something.
CrisMarie: Well, I really want you to talk about how it links with the horses because that's another powerful link.
Susan: Oh yeah. I mean I know for me, and I think I've shared this on our podcast, so you can go back and look for it. I think there's one called Why Horses? And a few other times in our blogs, but with the horses, sources have a huge torsion field, which is sort of, we have mirror neurons, which give us how- Yeah, I think I stumbled on my words there so I may not have sounded as crystal clear.
CrisMarie: Well, you went to torsion and then mirror neurons. So maybe break ... Torsion
Susan: Well, not everyone understands what a torsion field is because it's kind of like shoppers, not everyone gets the energetic aspect of who we are.
CrisMarie: But they've scientifically measured it.
Susan: They have measured it and horses have at least 10 times the radius of what we have from our heart field. And then also the other thing about horses is they are herd animals, so they are in resonance with each other. So when you're out in a pasture with horses or around a few horses, that field is really big. And when you come into relationship to that, that actually supports your torsion field increasing. So that's one thing. Plus horses have way more mirror neurons than us. That big belly of theirs is just full of them. And so they are constantly reading that feedback and giving you that feedback.
CrisMarie: Mirror neurons are the thing that like if somebody yawns, you yawn. It's that mirroring of what you're feeling. That's all I wanted to say. Sorry.
Susan: Yes. And it has a lot to do with your ability to be empathetic, deal with emotions. All of that comes from that. So the horses naturally when being around them, when being supported by them, outside of their more domestic role of just being ridden, but when they're just being them and you're being you and you're in relations, you have that opportunity to get a vast amount of feedback about your own ability to be in your body and how those same things work, which is very similar. Again, a horse is a 1200 pound biofeedback machine for you. Alpha ways are your own internal biofeedback.
Susan: Neurofeedback loop. If you can find a way to work with them, and this is one way to do that.
CrisMarie: We're using horses more and more in our corporate work and we're doing the leadership development piece in Seattle around leaders coming, and so they can get that felt sense of how ... when you're in your beta brain trying to influence people, it comes across as pushy, controlling, dominant and try to do that with a horse and it doesn't happen. If you are in more of your body and relaxed and congruent, you can move a horse and you can move a whole organization of people.
Susan: And just to be clear, we're talking about beta bringing that detailed, "I got to get things done," stress. It's also fear. So let's just face it. If you're in your fear around either your ability to lead or because you have some difficulty with some of the people you're working with, all of that is going to make it really difficult for you to communicate. And that is actually the same thing that horses will give you, regular feedback, because the likelihood of you actually being in your body and fully embodied and present, very slim when that beta brain is going full force.
CrisMarie: And even with the Biocybernaut, they go it for overtraining. So you retain a lot. With the horses, it's experiential learning. So it is cognitive, but you're actually getting it in your nervous system. So it's a whole different level of learning that you wind up taking back to wherever you are in your relationships and you'll see a different experience with you showing up in that interchange.
Susan: It's sort of interesting because what I've noticed in doing a lot of Equis work either with individuals or in our groups is that often it's not until maybe three or four months later that someone says, "Oh man, I really got it. I didn't get it when I was there, but now I remember." And that's I think what you're talking about. It doesn't always come into its full fruition until later.
CrisMarie: And even the coaching I do with people while it's focused on moving you forward in your career or your relationship, a lot of it is about how to actually regulate your own nervous system so that you feel more relaxed and whole. Because I do think with the clients that we work with and especially in corporate environments, it's all this stress to go, go, go, make it happen, and that really is counterproductive for success.
We were leading a team offsite and one of the gentlemen had just come from Japan and he was like, "Oh my gosh, this culture in America is go, go, go." It's really not very helpful. If we could just pause to allow things to sink in, you then have access to more of you in the meeting, towards the problem, and come up with amazing different ideas. So it's a really powerful tool that I don't think certainly corporate America hasn't caught on. And our society was all about faster, more, go.
Susan: I mean it is becoming a little better now because of some of the efforts to get to mindfulness, which is some of the same concept. And I love some of the things I've been reading about how they're teaching very young kids mindfulness practice so they can actually learn it early. And especially kids that are really struggling in school, hyper, whatever else. And it's not about meditating for 20 minutes, it's about allowing a child to just sit and learn how to breathe deeply for maybe a minute. And that can change the outcome of someone's ability to learn.
CrisMarie: And the other piece that is really powerful is we talk about our ego. Our ego is really driven by fear and wants to keep the status quo. We all have an ego. And when you're in an ego attack, if all of a sudden you're in self doubt, you're worrying, you're blaming somebody, you're critical of yourself or somebody else either internally-
Susan: That's my reactivity.
CrisMarie: Yes, your reactiveness too. Forgetfulness, drowsiness, all those. Now, there's times that those probably occur naturally, like if you are really tired. But a lot of that is to stop you from expanding and doing more with your horsepower, who you are in this world. So the idea is to actually recognize those ego attacks, and stop them in their track, and then flood with alpha meaning access more alpha waves.
Susan: And just to be clear, what I like about this work. I mean some practices like Buddhism are to get rid of the ego. This is not about getting rid of the ego because as long as we're in this body, on this earth and this particular dimension, whatever you think about that, we're going to have an ego because we are separate. But we don't have to allow our ego to run or drive the bus. This is like shifting, so you're in charge and your ego is background.
CrisMarie: So remember, you don't have to do any special training to access your alpha. It's noticing how stressed you are, how much you're pushing yourself, do you allow yourself to take breaks and then trying to intervene on your own behalf by closing your eyes, taking a five minute walk, breathing for five minutes, just feeling gratitude for the things that are going well in your life or sending a positive intention. The biggest thing that they showed raised alpha is when we're actually thinking positively towards somebody else, that that is very heart opening and it raises our alpha.
Susan: So often people think sending positive intentions means sending out what you want that person to be. So let's just be clear, what really is amazing is when someone lets you know what their intention is and then you actually use your own ability to send them your energy to support their intention.
CrisMarie: And when you do these ... like we've done now two of these, it raises our frequency, which then impacts other people and the ripples go on. So the more work you do on the kind of supporting your own alpha, the more you touch other people and can support people raising their alpha.
Susan: Oh, and I will say, just to be clear, the powerfulness of intention is when I'm actually projecting that out to support others and equally true is receiving. And that can also be something that people miss sometimes is the ability to receive when other people are supporting them. And there's a lot of evidence that that's another time when you are actually open to receive. Without your own stuff getting in the way, your alpha goes up.