Former dentist and now certified Dru Yoga teacher, Amanda Cartner of Inner Strength Yoga, shares with us the three main pillars of biohacking and how they can help us live longer healthier lives.
What is Biohacking?
The Healthline.com describes Biohacking as “citizen or do-it-yourself biology”. For many “biohackers,” this consists of making small, incremental diet or lifestyle changes to make small improvements in your health and well-being. For me, it’s about health span rather than life span.
Where does yoga fit into the concept of Biohacking? The 3 main pillars of Biohacking are diet, exercise and meditation – and I will look at some ancient yoga principles which can be said to align with the more modern concept of Biohacking.
The possibilities, of course, are endless: but they are all rooted in the idea that we can change our bodies and our brains, and that by doing so we can ultimately become smarter, faster and better as human beings.
The healing path of Ayurveda, studied and followed by many yogis – literally the Science of Life, is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit. Many of these ancient principles are just as relevant today as they were centuries ago.
Diet, Yoga and Biohacking
You are what you eat – and what you eat is reflected in your body, health and vitality. In yoga, we consider the self to be made up of 5 layers (koshas), with the primary layer being the physical body – and literally the food we eat.
There is a growing interest in the field of using nutrition to modify how we feel, increase athletic performance and support the ability to heal oneself (as well as to avoid disease in the first place).
Additionally, yoga encourages compassion, both for ourselves and for other living beings. Both from a yogic perspective and in line with much current advice, perhaps a vegan – or at least a plant-based diet is worth considering.
Exercise, Yoga and Biohacking
We travel in this body for the duration of our life. It makes good sense to look after it. The old adage ‘use it or lose it’ is particularly relevant here. The common belief that loss of muscle tone, decline in posture and strength is merely age-related is worth fighting against. In my opinion we should treat our bodies to a range of exercises – speed, strength and mobility being the primary areas for consideration. It has been suggested following many studies that yoga should form at least part of our exercise routine.
Meditation, Yoga and Biohacking
Time and time again it is suggested that meditation contributes to wellbeing. There are more types of meditation – or ways to enter the meditative state – than I could possibly list. From mindfulness to Transcendental meditation my conclusion is that you must find what works for you – and make meditation part of your daily routine. Mediation is, of course, very much part of the yogic tradition – it is said that the asanas/postures of yoga are there to prepare the body for sitting comfortably in meditation.
I often consider that the physical flowing sequences, combined with the breathing techniques of Dru Yoga can be considered as meditation in movement. Focusing on the physical and the breath draws in the busy mind and allows us to enter the calm state of inner peace. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centres attention; and sharpens concentration.
Summary of Yoga and Biohacking
For me, increased life span at the expense of life quality is not a sensible aim. Healthspan outweighs life span – and a long, healthy life is my aim.
Exploring the concept of Biohacking with diet, exercise and meditation at the core – using the principles of yoga described above is set to be my personal challenge for the new decade.
Amanda Cartner is a certified Dru Yoga teacher based in Whitley Bay, UK. Her personal mission is to maintain fitness, health and appearance for a long life and she aims to pass on this passion to clients. Amanda is a mother of four who trains in Crossfit Box as well as being a life-long yoga devotee. Visit her website here: https://innerstrengthyoga.co.uk and Instagram amanda_innerstrengthyoga