John: I have a very special guest today: Nadja Lind from Berlin, Germany, creator of Workout Ecstasy, iAwake’s latest product. I’ve known Nadja for a long time. I visited her in Berlin three times, maybe more, and always had a great time. Whenever we get together, it centers around meditation and working out. In other words, we practice. Nadja is one of the Integral practitioner heroes that I know on the planet.
John: And in addition to being a very interesting and talented person—Nadja’s a world-class electronic music producer. Not only does she produce her own music and that of others, she also travels the world putting on concerts at clubs and big events, where people get together and move their bodies, move their minds, and move their spirits.
So for a long time I had been planning that someday we would have a track that would make exercising more focused, more enjoyable, and more effective. Part of the inspiration for this was knowing how often people talk about practice, but not many actually do it. I thought the more people we could get really doing the work, the happier they would be. Then one time while I was meditating, I thought, Nadja Lind, of course! And you did it. Workout Ecstasy is a masterpiece. I love it.
So, maybe you can talk a little bit about how you came to create Workout Ecstasy, what you were trying to do, and what went into it?
Nadja: Sure. I wanted to do a track, a very repetitive piece of music—the side of music I love to produce and to play—and to keep it very simple, so your brain doesn’t get too distracted by the music itself. This way, you have something to support your workout and keep you going, but it doesn’t distract you from your body, from breathing, from your actual workout.
I put an underlying entrainment throughout both tracks, so if you have your headphones on, you can stay focused much more easily because of the entrainment going on. But of course you can also listen without headphones. It depends on what you want.
John: I think that if athletes would start using this as part of their training that their inner game would get better, and you might see an improvement in performance of who knows, maybe 5, 10, 20 percent. And, boy! At that level, that would make the difference between winning and losing. It would really change the game.
Nadja: I think it’s also good, because you stay focused, but you’re not tense. You’re relaxed-focused. So, you’re in a relaxed and very focused state—not like an angry kind of practitioner, as in “Oh f___, I have to train now.” (laughs) When you train and you’re in that angry state, you tend to hurt yourself or others.
John: Yes, if I’m angry, I like to channel that energy into a good workout and really push myself.
But it’s really nice that the tracks start off with a focusing thing. Then there’s this build up, the beat starts moving, and the other stuff comes in.
Nadja: And to remind you to breathe deeply in and out, I recorded some breathing. So it starts with a little warm up first, yeah.
John: I believe that exercise is essential for us to evolve into what we need to be and for us to be authentically happy. If you’re a therapist and somebody comes to your office all depressed and you just talk therapy and they remain couch potatoes, it’s like, “Man, you’re not doing your job.” You’ve got to get people in good shape and vital.
There’s a book out called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by Dr. John Ratey with Eric Hagerman. It’s a very influential book over here. It goes through every problem you can have, whether it’s addiction, depression, unipolar, bipolar, trauma—and study after study proves what a huge help and benefit exercise is. There’s just no way around it—the science is in. Exercise is super important, and we’ve got to do it. I think intense exercise changes the brain in and of itself, but with this entrainment added to it, it kicks it to a whole new level. It’s really fantastic.
Nadja: Yes, it’s true.
John: This is uniting something that’s been important to me for over ten years now: the practice of meditation plus exercise. I notice that when I’m doing it, I’m just in the zone. A lot of creative ideas are coming to mind.
Nadja: Yes, I noticed this as well. This was my intention. It should be a little distracting to keep you in the zone, but not too distracting to keep you out of the zone. I wanted it to be exactly like this, so you can still have your creative mind flowing and do your workout while you listen. I tested to see what would be the right tempo to use it for jogging, or for doing your workout at home on the machine, so, I thought this might be the right tempo to get started.
John: It definitely gets me started. What tempo is it?
Nadja: 127 beats per minute.
John: Usually, my physical exercise is doing strength training and playing as much tennis as possible, but I hadn’t jogged for a while until Nadja sent me the Workout Ecstasy demo track. Then I got outside in the country and just started running with this stuff. God, I got into such flow states! Even when I got back to my vehicle, if I had three or four minutes left, I just danced around my truck. I didn’t want to stop moving. It’s so, so much fun.
Nadja: That’s very nice. For me, it really helps me if I’m tired, or I don’t feel like working out for 20 minutes, but when I listen to this, it really helps me to just keep on moving or keep on doing what I’m doing.
John: And it gets us high in a really good way. I think people want to get high. We want to have ecstatic moments.
Nadja: Oh, yes!
John: A huge problem that we have with alcohol and drugs is that they provide ecstatic experiences that people perhaps don’t normally get in their lives, and then they get hooked, and begin the whole downward process.
Nadja: It takes approximately 20 minutes to get high with beer or alcohol. So, maybe now you can listen to Workout Ecstasy instead.
John: Yes, absolutely. We need to find positive ways of getting high that are life-enhancing. This is definitely one of them. So, this is something for those of you who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol that could be really helpful. Of course, exercise itself helps rebalance brain chemistry and gets the brain healthy again after years of soaking it, smoking it, dusting it, and injecting it, right?
Nadja: Yes, definitely.
John: You start having a life that has a lot of flow, a lot of purpose, connection, and meaning—authentic, real happiness.
Nadja: Working out is really essential for recovery.
John: Yes, and thank God it’s starting to be recognized more.
John: Nadja, how long have you been working out religiously, if you will?
Nadja: Oh, my gosh, since almost forever! At least 20 years… 25 years. If I can’t work out, I’m really a desperate, miserable human being.
John: It’s the same thing with Lucy. I take her out every morning, and she just hauls out of the car, and I follow her into the country. If she doesn’t get that, she’s not happy. She’s sluggish and depressed. As long as she exercises, she’s a happy dog.
Nadja: Yes, working out helped me through all my traumatic experiences. Even without knowing it in my head; my body knew what to do. It really saved my ass all my life.
John: Yes, some years ago, when I was going through a really dark depression before I knew all that much about meditation practice or brainwave entrainment, exercise, I really believe, kept me alive and gave me time for everything else to catch up. I think I wouldn’t have survived without the working out.
Nadja: It’s exactly the same for me. When I’m at a hotel where there is no gym, I just train with whatever is there. I can train without weights; I can do squats in my hotel room; I can have a cardio workout if I want to. You just need to be willing and determined, and you can do it wherever you are. You have your body; you don’t need anything else.
John: Research has been done that you need to hit your ten every time you work out. You want to get to a place where you’re breathing really hard, you’re sweating, and you can’t speak. You’ve got to get to that zone. So, it needs to be intense. You need to push yourself. You don’t have to stay there the whole time. You just need to break through to that level of “aaaah.” It changes everything about the way your body operates. And it sends out a message to your body, “Hey, I want to be alive,” and your body responds to that.
Even if you’re down and not feeling so great, if you work out every day, you find yourself getting your gym bag ready and heading to the gym without even thinking about it. That’s the level when the changes really happen.
Nadja: I always pack my bag in the evening, so in the morning I can just grab my bag, and I’m already on the road. When my mind wakes up on the bike on the way to the gym, complaining, I’m already there.
Pam: What are some other uses besides exercise for this track?
Nadja: I do it at home when I don’t feel like going to the gym.
John: I think it would help with washing dishes, if you didn’t break dishes because you’re dancing too much.
Nadja: Cleaning the house? (All laugh)
Pam: That’s a good idea!
John: I know I sound super enthusiastic, but this stuff really excites me. I want to get it out to all the world. If we can get it into the athletic world, then it will change the game. It can start transforming people, and they’ll go from superior athletic performance into deep spiritual experience. That begins to change the whole story of what it means to be human and what it means to be alive. I think this stuff can really be key in doing that.
Nadja: Yes, that would be really good.
John: Well, Nadja, this has been fun and inspiring. Congratulations. And thank you.
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Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on April 13, 2016 by blog editor Heidi Mitchell. To listen to the full interview, click here.
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Nadja Lind has been creating (and using) binaural beat meditations since 2011, producing electronic music since 2004, and dj-ing since 2003. Nadja works out approximately five times a week at the gym and likes to use entrainment + beats. She used to work as an aerobics instructor and fitness trainer.
Nadja has a DJ career that kicked off on New Year’s Eve 2003 and has spawned a typically globetrotting calendar (Fabric London, Time Club Manila, Tresor and Berghain Kantine in Berlin, DC10 Ibiza), a production career that has seen several works as either a solo artist or with Klartraum production buddy Helmut Ebritsch, and the dizzying heights of being co-owner of the Lucidflow imprint, a record label which has started to rack up quality releases and remixes, seeing the likes of John Digweed and Hernan Cattaneo plucked from the catalogue, a strong seal of quality.
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John Dupuy is the CEO of iAwake Technologies and the founder of Integral Recovery, a holistic addiction treatment approach inspired by Ken Wilber’s Integral Model. He is also the author of the award-winning book Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction (SUNY Press, 2013). As a pioneer in the use of brainwave entrainment in therapy and personal development, John has dedicated his life to helping others deepen their spiritual practice and transform their lives.