Upgrade Your State: My Recap of the 10th Annual Biohacking Conference

Upgrade Your State of Consciousness. That’s what I would have titled this year’s 10th annual biohacking conference. I love this conference because its full of cutting-edge science + start-ups addressing the fundamental question: How can we optimize the human experience?

Biohacking Conference

Topics are wide-ranging from sleep and nutrition to physiology and psychology. It’s a crazy group of dreamers and doers! Here are some of my takeaways from this year’s 10th annual conference:

Mind-blowing keynote: Dr. Joe Dispenza’s research on brain-heart coherence emphasizes spatial awareness during meditation, such as imagining the vastness of space all around and tapping into a feeling of awe or unity.’ I often experience this in prayer, when I try to sit in a tall, dignified posture and imagine God’s presence throughout the whole breadth of the universe. It takes my breath away.

I’ve been waiting patiently for years to hear Joe Dispenza live after having met many friends who have been deeply impacted by his signature approach to meditation. Dr. Dispenza’s research findings will be coming out later this year, but for now this is one tip you can add into your morning routine to promote brain-heart coherence for a healthy start to the day ☀️.

Best quote: Naveen Jain, founder of Viome, the leading precision probiotic + supplement company (it customizes a top quality supplement based on your results from an easy at-home test), spoke about entrepreneurship and parenting. In his dynamic talk, he encouraged the audience to take-on a problem that’s so inspiring it will keep you jumping out of bed in the morning. Like my research, Jain emphasized the importance of enjoying the process for long-term motivation in entrepreneurship with this hilarious quote (paraphrasing): “Business is like sex. If you focus too much on the outcome, you’ll never get there-and you’ll miss the whole point: enjoying the process!”

Wildest speaker: Biohacker Bryan Johnson spoke in about his Blueprint Protocol, a three-year intensive analysis of his publicly available biodata in an attempt to slow down his rate of aging. In the Q&A with Bryan, it was difficult to discern if this former systems engineer and founder of Braintree Venmo was human or robot. He has so deeply engineered his way of thinking, speaking, and biohacking philosophy that he came across like a robot. I’ve never heard anyone approach anti-aging with such precision!

Hack to start right now: Sheila Kelley is a movement expert who’s specialized in understanding feminine and masculine movement (her talk focused on creating this dynamic in relationships). In the middle of a four-day conference, its easy to get stiff and sleepy. Her post lunch talk invited conference goers looking for more energy to do 2-minutes of push-ups as a quick way to re-engage the whole body (this was her ‘masculine’ exercise). For conference goers looking to slow down and relax, Kelley lead the room through slow, wide hip circles.

You can imagine how fun it was to have a room full of people doing hip circles-it completely shifted the energy in the room and prepped folks for another afternoon foull of biohacking adventures. Super fast and free, these are 2 great options to sprinkle into a busy work day!

Coolest start-up: ZeroIce Pod has awesome new tech: a compressor that can transform regular tap water in your tub into a cold plunge! I love recovering from weight-lifting, HIIT workouts and long runs with an ice bath, but don’t consistently find time to buy 5 bags of ice and carry them into the tub. This compressor cools off regular tap water-without having any electrical parts in the tub (like some competitor products)! Plus the ZeroIce Pod team brims with kindness and shared a special discount code: biohack100 .

Fascinating science: Tried an early-to-market red light therapy laser that’s designed to increase blood flow in specific areas of the body. There were multiple scientists talking about the importance of increasing blood flow to the brain for improved functioning. This makes sense to me! Dr. Brandon Crawford developed a laser for the carotid artery designed to stimulate blood flow. My takeaway? If you have a red light therapy device, make sure you use it on your neck for brain health 🥳

Talk where I took the most furious notes: “If its not life threatening, its only ego-threatening.” This quote about Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) with Peter Crone drove home the point: a lot of chronic stress comes from over-stimulation of our survival mind. I’m a healthy skeptic when it comes to ‘reprogramming my beliefs,’ but I couldn’t resist going to Peter Crone’s workshop, which was standing room only. I queued up early to sit in the front, and had a direct Q&A with Crone.

Crone invites you to see moments when you feel inadequate as a growth opportunity. He gave some powerful examples of ways to first identify an inadequacy, then recognize it as fundamentally in conflict with reality, and finally let it go. He encouraged listeners to explore: “How would your behavior change if your current problem weren’t a problem?” Sneak a peek at his youtube channel if you’re interested in learning more!

Strangest biohack: 5-needle protocol, ear-specific acupuncture. Sitting quietly in a circle with 10 needles in my ears was surprisingly refreshing. Back in January, I noticed sensitivity in my right ear. When the needles went in, I felt almost nothing in my left ear, but my right ear was on fire 🔥. The pain relief helped my shoulders relax and seemed to last for the rest of the conference. I’ll definitely do this one again!

Most heart-warming workshop: Gabby Bernstein uses internal family systems theory in her new book, Self Help, to help readers resolve internal conflict. She led the conference in a 4-step check-in exercise to notice what triggers shame and, instead, find compassion. I was skeptical when she started her talk because she was one of the least scientific presenters, but the exercise was palpably powerful and surprising observations came-up for me. I will 100% be buying this book as soon as it’s released!

Weirdest workshop: I went to a lot of weird workshops this year. In one of the workshops, there was an audience exercise to foster a feeling of psychological safety. The audience prompt was to turn to the person next to you and spend two minutes noticing things about the other person, then sharing those observations, like “I notice you have soft eyes, you’re wearing a blue shirt, your shoulders are tight, your legs are crossed.” My partner in this noticing exercise, a kindhearted no-longer stranger from New Jersey, made me red as a lobster with compliments.

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