Welcome back to Peter Ragnar. If you missed the previous podcast with Peter, click here. While the last episode was all over the place in covering health, we focused a bit more on brain and mental health in this episode. Here you’ll learn about the following:
- How to Memorize a Random Deck of Cards
- The Two Sides of Brain Training and Brain Nutrition
- Cortisol’s 3 Damaging Effects on the Brain
- Calcium and DHEA connection to Alzheimer’s
- How Bacopa makes things Fresh, Alive and Easier to Grasp
- The Importance of Gut Health and Strength Training for the Bones in Serotonin
- Punching Out a Flame Faster than a Camera can catch – How Dopamine Effects Motor Skills
- The Cacao-Mucuna Protein Shake
- Having a Positive Outlook on Aging
- Building the ‘Shen Valley’
- Driving Games for Memory
- Lowering Cortisol by Owning Your Time
- And Much More
Links and resources:
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.
The content found on the Vital Way podcast in Superman Herbs is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, for the diagnosis or treatment of a health condition or as a substitute for medical counseling. Please review any information with your qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions concerning your health. You assume all risk for use, misuse or disuse of this information.
Logan: Welcome to the Vital Way. I’m Logan Cristopher and joining us again today is Peter Ragnar. We had him on just a few weeks back, maybe a month or so ago and we covered a lot of great information in that. If you haven’t listened to that one, I highly suggest you go back to get a little bit more of an introduction to who Peter Ragnar is and what he does. Today, we’re really going to focus in—and we’ll see where we go from here—on sort of a mental secrets, how herbs can support the brain and also practices and different things you can do, how that relates to stress and a whole bunch of different factors because this seems to be a big topic on a lot of people’s minds you know, especially in this day and age. It’s more about cognitive performance than physical performance, although those two certainly tie in together. You want one in order to support the other thing. So we’ll be covering a lot of secrets, practices, herbs and that sort of thing.
What I wanted to kick off this call with was when I was first introduced Peter many years ago, I saw a video clip of him basically memorizing random deck of cards. Someone shuffled it then one card at a time picked it up and Peter remembered each of the cards in order and was able to recite these back, which is amazing feat of memory. There are some specific processes that go into doing this. It’s actually a skill that anyone can learn but it isn’t an easy skill. It does take some practice. So can you tell us about that feat, Peter?
Peter: I’d be happy to, Logan. You know the beauty behind performance is that any performer, no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re doing a phenomenal dead lift, whether you are playing the piano or whatever it might be the trick is making it look easy. Well obviously, just like you know—I’ve seen some of your lifting and the strong man feats, they’re awesome—they didn’t come by accident. They came from a lot of hard work.
Just like you’ve done, you provided the proper nutrition so your body would respond to the exercise. It’s no different with the brain. Your brain cells require the very same thing. They require training and they require proper nutrition. Now that particular feat that you’re referring to happened to be actually a very old feat that was done back around the turn of the century, the turn of 19th century by a very famous magician called Harry Keller. I don’t know. Most people alive today wouldn’t know about Harry Keller unless you are a student of mentalism. Well, I was fascinated by it. I said wow, that seems almost impossible. Someone shuffled a deck of cards, they quickly show you a card, they go right through a deck of 52 cards and the magician or the mentalist immediately recalls them to you in perfect order. How on earth could you do that? Well, I discovered how it was done and actually I learned this from Harry Lorayne who was also a memory expert and a mentalist. He used to perform the same feat.
What I did was I got a deck of cards and there is a specific trick to it. It’s not actually a trick. It’s basically a way of remembering the cards because when you see a card, it’s just a number and a face card. How does that stand out from any other? Well, there’s a link and peg method of doing that and I won’t go into all of the details right now. So what I had to do was make up a deck for myself. I made up a mock deck with all the keywords on the cards that represented those cards. In other words, I took each cards and turned the card into a visual image and then basically I would go through and connect the visual image. I’d take a little trip. I’d take an imaginary little walk and along my walk, I would find the various images that led me to the other images until I made the whole journey of 52 steps right back to the beginning. Well obviously, that takes a little time to do. So what I would do in the morning is I’d take a deck of cards and I’d have a stop watch. I would see how fast I can do a deck of cards. It actually took me six months every single morning training that before I felt confident enough to do that before an audience.
Okay, that’s one part of it. The second part of that was I needed to do something to nourish my brain, to get my brain in the condition that it would accept these impressions very rapidly. Because of the nature of the brain, as we start aging we start losing those abilities so any slack I may have had mentally I had to make up for. Immediately about that time period, I started to look at ways that I could reduce my stress levels, my cortisol levels, increase my memory, increase my cognitive function and then I started researching the herbs that were known to support these, basically those natural substances that today we’re trying to find the secret for in chemistry. But the ancients had a key. They understood this. So these are some of the herbs I’ll talk about in our interview today. I found out what they were, started taking them, did the practice and then performed the feat.
Logan: Yeah, actually after seeing you do it on that video and then hearing about it from some other people, I worked on that skill myself for a little while. I never got very fast with it just because I didn’t keep practicing. I didn’t do the six months like you said but I was successfully able to memorize an entire deck and it would just been a matter of more practice in order to get this skill much better. You talking about that, it seems that pretty fascinating. It would be interesting. You could do like a study of people supported by some of the herbs we’re going to talk about today doing this process versus those that weren’t and seeing if there was any difference. I think that would be pretty interesting to see the results.
Peter: Here it’s the flourish at the end of that, by the way. You do the deck of cards and then you say, may I have the deck again? You rip the deck in half and rip that in quarters and pass it out of the audience. There you go.
Logan: That’s keeping the mind and the body together, right?
Peter: Exactly. That actually happened to be some of my first little demonstrations with the deck of cards, ripping them but—
Logan: There’s so many things you can do with a deck.
Peter: Yeah, it’s funny actually. Only a few months ago, Dennis Rogers, a great strong man, Dennis sent me one of his little tools for helping people rip decks faster. Great guy. I really appreciate the gift but it made me chuckle because it takes you back a ways. But here’s the thing that a lot of people don’t realize. It’s that most of us in the modern western society, we live a very, very stressful lifestyle. Everything is fast. Everything is on the go. It’s that stress hormone that while they’re necessary, our stress hormones like cortisol as an example is very necessary for the body, it also when it is too abundantly secreted damages the brain. This can be a terribly handicapping to an individual.
It actually damages the brain in three different ways. It interferes with the brain’s glucose, basically the fuel that the brain uses that is required to lay down new memories. Whenever that’s interfered with, it’s very hard to remember anything. It’s hard to lay down a new memory also. Secondly, what it does is it interferes with the function of your neurotransmitters and that’s basically the connections, the wiring of your brain. You start cutting those wires and the messages are not getting through. So here you’re trying to remember something and what happens? You come to a dead end and you have just all of a sudden a blank. You say, wait a minute, why can’t I get through? Well, the line is cut so you have to find a way to go around that or to repair the connection. Well, in an immediate situation it’s very hard to repair the connection. You just basically have lost it. And then basically the third way that cortisol or stress hormones damage the brain is that they increase the calcium in the brain cells, which an abnormal amount causes an abundance of free radicals which end up killing brain cells.
One of the things, Logan, that I found when I was studying the various diseases that affect the brain like Alzheimer’s, people who have Alzheimer’s have some of the highest calcium build-up in the brain than anybody else and that is directly related to how stress damages the brain, long term exposure to stress. Another interesting thing, and this relates back to the herbs that you and I both take, is that with the people with Alzheimer’s, they had 48% less DHEA in their bodies. I thought wow. The DHEA, by the way, is produced by the adrenal glands and it’s interesting that by the time that we reach 70, you only have 10% of it from what you had when you were 20.
Now what do you do? Well, obviously you look for ways to replenish that, to get the body to respond to certain herbs that trigger a greater production of those natural hormones that we’ve been losing over the years. One of the studies, by the way, a number of years ago by McGill University up in Canada, they went together to study how cortisol worked with memory. Actually, they did this in conjunction with the American Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institutes of Health and it was a four-year study. What they found was that cortisol destroyed the memory and the cognitive function and that people who had excessive cortisol lost the ability to absorb the information quickly.
Also, and this is something I picked up just recently was an abstract that was done by the Neuropsychopharmacology Institute on Bacopa, and I believe you just got that herb in. In the study, they took 76 adults from the ages of 40 to 65 and they tested them to start with. Then after 3 months on Bacopa, they tested them again and 6 weeks after the study was over. What they found was that there was a tremendous increase in their ability to retain new information. In other words, now people when they saw something or they heard something, whether it was visual or verbal, they were able to grasp it very, very quickly in their short-term memory. I thought that was just amazing. That was just from taking that one herb.
Logan: Yeah, Bacopa, the more I research about that, the more I’m amazed. It also comes from personal experience. I’ve shared this story a couple of times but for people who haven’t heard it, I had heard about Bacopa but the first time I experienced it, I was at a workshop or I was attending that. It was right after lunch and it was a little bit different food than normally I ate so I kind of had that common post-lunch sleepiness. I didn’t really need to take a nap but definitely my brain felt a little bit off. I wasn’t in the best focus mode. But as soon as I took Bacopa, in this case it was the tincture form of it, I could immediately feel like my brain switched on and I could feel the focus. From what you’re saying there about being able to retain information, I could feel that effect right away from taking this herb. But more research out there is showing you really get the best effects when you are on it for a longer period of time, as you found in that study, three months.
Peter: Right. It was even after that, six weeks after that, that they still retained that sharpness. In other words, things seemed more fresh and alive and they were easier to grasp. Now of course, if you’re doing the card feat like we were talking about, I could see where that helps incredibly. But this whole thing about brain health, when you think about it as we age the brain will fail before the kidneys according to some studies. Half the people, every other person who’s 85 years of age and older has Alzheimer’s. And we lose half of our synaptic connections even in our early 20s.
Now of course that sounds like bad news when we start talking about cognitive decline but the good news is that scientists have discovered that there is neural plasticity of the brain which allows us to make new synaptic connections at any age. That is if…if we’re doing the things that provide encouragement for those brain cells, if we’re learning new things, if we’re exercising, if we’re doing the things that could lead to a healthy lifestyle. Even after the age of 40 to 50 years of age, every decade we’re losing brain weight or the weight the brain decreases. Well, you think okay, it doesn’t seem like that much of a decrease but what people don’t understand is that the memory is hit the hardest. The amygdala and the hippocampus, they shrink by 20% to 25% by the time you’re 60 to 70 years of age. So is it any wonder that we’re having this epidemic of mental dysfunction and lack of cognitive ability?
What do you do about it? Well, I know what I’ve been doing about it and that’s exactly what we’re here to share. Obviously, diet plays a lot into this, too. One of the things that I take is coconut oil, virgin coconut oil which basically provides a healthy fat. These fats are utilized by the brain. The brain is basically fat except as it starts to decline, it ends up looking like a piece of green Swiss cheese that’s started to go rancid. In a sense, that’s what happens to the brain when it starts failing. It basically becomes rancid fat. But coconut oil has a way of restoring the brain cells by producing more acetylcholine. You can think of that as an insulator on the neurons in the brain. That allows the message, the signal to travel along faster. In other words, it makes you faster mentally.
Now of course obviously, talking about stress, what else are we doing? We’re destroying the body’s hormones, serotonin, the mood balance and depression hormone. In other words when serotonin goes down, depression goes up. It has to do with our sleep, our sex, our appetite and once again our memory. Serotonin also has to do with the degree of bone density. It’s interesting. My hypothesis is especially with working out, if you’re doing heavy resistance-type workouts and you’re stimulating new bone density, new bone growth, could it be we’re also triggering greater levels of serotonin or keeping the serotonin levels healthy? I don’t know if there have been any studies done on that but I see that there may be a connection there, especially when you start working your core body muscles, working the abdominal area. Consider that 80% to 90% of serotonin produced by the body is in your gut. So having a health gut, developing those muscles, what are we doing? I think we’re creating the climate for greater serotonin production.
But of course, here’s the biggie. We come to the next hormone dopamine. Whenever we start losing dopamine, that feel-good chemical where the world is just wonderful and everything is fine and the birds are singing and the sky is blue, whenever that neurohormone starts getting diminished, what else happens? We start losing our memory. We start losing the physical motor skills that we’ve developed. It’s something I found very fascinating because I realized years and years ago that there was a connection between dopamine, the herbs that I was taking and physical motor function because again when dopamine has declined, it can lead to Parkinson’s disease.
This was a number of years ago, I was doing an interview with Inside Kung Fu magazine. One of the things that we did was I was photographed taking out a candle flame with a punch and the camera that was used was recording it. When they viewed back the photos from it, there was no hand movement. Then they realized that the photographic speed of the camera was at 164th of a second but my hand speed had been 132nd of a second, faster than it recorded. I thought, wow. You know what I had been doing at that time? Naturally, I was working the skill, I was working on my speed definitely but additionally, what made the hand speed faster was the instantaneous connection of those neural connectors. Well that, I directly took back to my tincture. I had this big tincture with all of these Chinese herbs in it that I had made. I have to laugh at all the crazy things I did but I’ve been sipping on that, working out. I’m always surprising myself. Anyway.
Logan: Yeah, it’s interesting and this is something that I certainly researched myself, looking at skills, whether this is a physical skill definitely but it certainly applies to any sort of mental skill. You’re talking about the nerves and how they have that insulator. One of the things that they’ve looked at scientifically is what they called myelin, which is sort of the coating that goes on the nerves and how that gets built up, that gets insulated the more you practice a skill.
If you look at that nutritionally, you need to have the building blocks within the body in order to be able to do that and like you’re saying, it’s mostly fat-based. A couple of different fats certainly, the omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHEA is used a lot in the brain. But there’s also something I haven’t heard anyone really mentioned much. It’s somewhat of a common fat but it’s specifically used in this function. It’s called nervonic acid, as in the nerves, and that’s really used for that sort of coating on the myelin. If you have those building blocks within the body nutritionally and from the herbs and then you practice the skills right, then in my mind it makes sense that you’re able to move extraordinarily fast in this instance. But that anyone could actually gain skills faster by having the right nutritional support in place, at least if they were coming from a deficient place before.
Peter: Absolutely. When you think about the connection between dopamine and L-dopa and mucuna, which is rich in L-dopa and how that supports that particular hormone, if it’s supporting that then in turn, it’s supporting your physical motor skills because we know the opposite of that basically ends up being Parkinson’s disease and actually depression, a lack of ability to learn. Again, we throw the memory in there. Another thing it’s associated with, the lack of dopamine, is attention deficit hyperactive disorder, which actually seems to be the majority of our population.
Logan: It’s interesting with the dopamine that it also has sort of that sex hormone capacity, too, because in studies, dopamine has been shown to raise testosterone and growth hormone. There seems to be some sort of interaction with dopamine and some of the other hormones. There are some things about its interaction with prolactin. It may give it that and thus help increase these other ones but it really seems to be doing a whole lot of different things, this one herb or this one component in this one herb.
Peter: I noticed, Logan, that you mentioned something about the shamans would take a cacao and mucuna together and it seemed that they always had it for a particular purpose.
Logan: Yeah. According to some of the stuff I saw, that was one of the most ancient cacao drinks or chocolate drinks. It would be this combination of the two. Cacao definitely has some interesting capabilities itself. That brings up the whole sort of area of how you combine these things in the right way to really get that cognitive or other effects that you’re going for.
Peter: Hey, you just gave me an idea. How about making cacao-mucuna protein shake?
Logan: Yeah. It sounds good and I think it would taste good as well.
Peter: Well, that was the thing I noticed. It’s just like we were talking before the interview, I found different ways to use some of these herbs that are really quite tasty. The one I was mentioning earlier, and I have this every morning in my breakfast, and that’s Lion’s Mane. I’ll fix breakfast and it’s almost always the same breakfast. It’s organic oats with raw hemp seed, I sprinkle in some Lion’s Mane. I’ll put on some schisandra berry. I like the tartness in there. I throw some raisins in there. I’ll also have some apricot kernels that I grind up in a coffee grinder and I put those in there and blueberries and then some coconut milk.
For me, one, that serves so many different purposes for me. It gives me protein that I require. Of course, being on a vegan diet to me that’s very, very important. But it also helps keep my brain repaired. It will prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. But even more so, it’s very powerful for nerve growth factors. Now when you’re in the gym and you’re working hard, that’s very important, too. Of course, mentally being able to focus with a laser-like focus on whatever your lift is where there are no distractions, the only thing in the entire world is the iron that is going to be picked up, that all helps a lot.
Logan: I think a lot of people may miss that as far as working out. It’s not just a physical thing. It really is a place where you can really work on those of concentration and focus as well as other sorts of mental skills like goal-setting, visualization and all these things that can go into it. So not only are you obviously stimulating the body to grow and get stronger, helping with health benefits, cardiovascular ones and all that comes along with that, but really with that blood flow stimulating, that’s also going through the brain and using those different mental skills in there can be a great sort of playground in which to improve all areas of your health.
Peter: Yeah. I don’t think we give our brains enough credit in the roles that they play in our physical development, especially when it comes to feats of strength and whatever other things we enjoy playing with because that requires absolute, complete focus. Your ability to focus on one thing at one time totally like a laser light, how do you develop that? Well, you have to have proper brain nutrition. You have to have enough willpower to start working on it. You have to have an objective. You have to have a target that you’re focused on. No one hits a target they can’t see. It’s about establishing what those targets are.
As we get older, we start hearing all of these rhetoric that well, I’m over the hill and I’m past my prime, all of this crazy nonsense. All that is is basically that people have lost their targets. That’s nonsense. I look forward, I’m enthused about what I’m looking at accomplishing. I feel like a little kid. I’m just getting started.
Logan: Yeah, as you get older that just means that’s more time you’ve had to accomplish the things you want to accomplish. So you should be looking forward to that, right?
Logan: It makes more sense to me than not looking forward to it, dreading your time that’s coming.
Peter: Exactly. It’s also laying things out. This is what I do. Golly, I’ve got my workout journals that can go back years, actually decades. I’ve got a whole stack of them. I know every single workout I’m going to do and I’ve got a pretty good idea of what weight I’m going to lift. I know where I’m going to be a year from today, if not better. I know how much I’ll be able to lift. It’s pretty exciting because you can map it out. What’s get managed, what gets measured gets managed. There is no end to it unless you stop, unless you give up, unless you believe limiting concepts and ideas and you buy into that. And then well, you’re dead meat.
Logan: I’m curious, Are there any other sort of feats of memory or focus or concentration that you’ve done besides these memorizing these deck of random cards?
Peter: Well, that goes into so many other aspects. One of the things I do as a game for myself is that when we’re driving down an interstate somewhere, I’ll come up and I’ll go pass the car, remember, recall the license plate and then as I slow down after I pass several cars and those cars pass me, I recall those license plates back. That’s sort of a fun little game that helps keep my brain sharp.
One of the other things I did in an audience a number of years ago is on a big blackboard, we had a chess board, the game of chess. We had 64 squares laid out and we asked anyone in the audience where to start and we put in that space the knight. You know how the knight moves on the chessboard. The objective was to move that knight to every one of those squares without hitting the same square twice. But I sat there blindfolded with my back to the board and moved it to all 64 squares.
Logan: Wow. I haven’t head of that one before. That’s pretty amazing.
Peter: You would notice it in the audience, they were scrambling to try to do it on a piece of paper. They were trying to do it on a piece of paper where they could remember where they went.
Logan: I’ve heard a couple of different stories of chess masters like a guy playing. I don’t remember the exact numbers but it was something like he was playing blindfolded 64 different games with 64 different people and he was blindfolded the entire time and he ended up winning something like 55 of those games. So he had to keep the entire board games in memory, a whole bunch of them and be able to play without being able to look at the different pieces. That’s some memory right there.
Logan: I think with chess, there’s a lot you can do with it, which is probably why it’s one of the classic games and well-regarded around the world.
Peter: That’s amazing, Logan. You’re just sharing that with everyone, it just goes to show that we have no idea. We haven’t even begun to figure out what humans are capable of. We all have that potential. We all have that ability. It’s true. It would have to be developed of course. And with proper nutrition and training, learning those skills, we can accomplish those things. But I think that’s the very important part, that we can all accomplish greatly in our lives if we choose to. It’s just giving the body and the mind and the brain the proper environment so it can grow.
One of the areas I usually end up harping on is the area of sleep. We start looking at our lack of sleep. I don’t know what this is. People think my life is spinning by so fast, I can’t afford to sleep. I don’t have much life left. I’m going to miss out on something. I take the opposite of that. I sleep as long as I want to sleep. I go to bed early. I do happen to get up early but that’s only because I’ve slept so long and I do what I want to do. There’s plenty of time. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. I’ve got too many exciting things to do in my life.
By the way, a moment ago when we were talking about L-dopa or Mucuna, it just sorted reminded me of this. They did a study years ago at the Brook Haven National Laboratory out in New York where they fed L-Dopa, which Mucuna is so rich in, to mice and they increase the life span of the mice by 50% just on that one thing alone. Now of course, so often we’re comparing ourselves to mice and rats and the experiments that we have. Okay, we’re running around like mice on a treadmill, not getting enough rest, not recuperating enough and we’re dying prematurely.
Actually, there was a study done by E Van Cauter. I think it was up in the University of Chicago. One of the articles, I think it was JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, where they were studying accelerated aging and they found that young men who they had in this test study who slept no more than four hours a night had gone into accelerating aging in a week. In a week! How many people are only sleeping four or five hours a night?
Logan: Why do they deprive themselves on that often times? They deprive themselves on that often times. I can’t get by on only four hours of sleep at night.
Peter: That’s amazing. I’ve heard people say yeah, I’ve learned to do a super nap. What? Or I only four hours a night. I’m better than you are. You sleep eight or nine hours a night? How could you sleep so long? I say, I’m making my muscles grow.
Logan: Yeah, that’s one thing. I have seen some of the sleep sciences. The harder you train, it becomes even more important for any sort of athletics. If you’re not doing that, your body doesn’t need to recover as much so you can get by with a little bit less but you should still be sleeping a good amount anyway. But the harder you train, definitely even more. They working looking at some Olympic-level athletes and having the guy sleeping 12 hours a day and just seeing even better results with them.
Peter: Right, I’ve read those studies, too. They just make sense. Just basically experientially for myself, that’s all I can say, for me if I’m going to work out hard, my body tells me that it needs more rest to recup in. As long as I get that amount of sleep, X number of hours of sleep, I come back stronger. The reason I come back stronger is because there hasn’t been a sleep loss. Whenever you start losing sleep, or not sleeping enough, your cortisol levels go up. When the cortisol levels or stress hormones go up, there is a loss of HGH or human growth hormone. So they’re so connected to each other. Cortisol goes up and what happens? It halts tissue growth. It stops protein synthesis. It puts fat on your body, makes you fat around the waist. It impairs your immunity and it weakens your bones.
When you do the opposite, when you get enough sleep, testosterone goes up. The HGH goes up. The DHEA levels are strong. What happens? You make gains. You get stronger, healthier and more youthful, and you stay youthful. Youthfulness, we have no idea how long we can actually live. I think we’re just basically flat out believing ourselves to death but I’ve taken a different approach. Time isn’t toxic. Here we are.
Logan: It’s interesting what we’re talking about, like sort of the basics, training, sleeping, eating high quality food, taking some herbs additionally to support that, these things that help with our cognitive function, keeping the brain healthy but also helping with testosterone, the other hormones, just in general keeping us healthier. Is there anything else we haven’t really addressed that you do specifically in order to keep your brain healthy and all the cognitive development going on?
Peter: Well, the Bacopa, the Lion’s Mane, the mucuna. I like coconut oil. I make sure that I get plenty of green tea in my diet. The green tea has elements in it that help that. There are a lot of different things but just like you said, Logan, it comes back down to having a good support system in your diet. I’m very conscious of the foods that I eat, that the foods that I am eating are supporting what I’m doing. That becomes a delicate balance based on my activity.
I’m constantly monitoring it. I love journaling, writing things down. That way I can reflect back on it. Even with my workouts, I write down how I feel during those workouts. I write down what my blood pressure is. I know when I’m over-training. I know when I’m getting to that red line where the fatigue level is starting to match my recovery. Those things are a delicate balance. You’re learning to fine-tune all the time, learning not to have too much mental activity, not be distracted, to be focused and to be balanced. I think it’s really about living a balanced lifestyle. There’s a place obviously for making money and business, which I love. There’s a time for my creative interests and those include creative writing, working on a new book. I’m always working on a new book. I’m working on writing now a book qi gong which is book number 33. I’m working on my music. I’m going back to trying to master a piece by Niccolò Paganini on my guitar.
Yesterday, somebody had brought something up about the Navy SEALs and one of their physical fitness tests and what they require. They had to be able to do 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes and I said that’s interesting. Do 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes. So yesterday with deadlifts, I worked my back real hard then I did a little auxiliary arm workout. I kept thinking about that. Wait a minute. I got my stopwatch. I said, why should I do sit-ups? I’m going to make it more challenging. I’m going to do it on the Roman chair. So I did 100 sit ups in 1 minute and 24 seconds. I said okay, there you are, sonny. I’m old enough to be your grandpa. Get your grandpa up here. Let’s see him do it. Sorry, being a little arrogant here.
Logan: I don’t think that’s a challenge for grandpas. I challenge anyone to do that. That’s quite impressive there and that’s moving pretty quick. That’s more than 1 sit-up per second on the Roman chair.
Peter: That’s moving very fast.
Logan: Wow. Very cool.
Peter: Yeah. Anyway, not bad for grandpa.
Logan: We have talked a lot about cortisol, obviously all kinds of different effects but specifically you mentioned those three functions with the brain. In the previous interview, we talked a lot about our meditation practice. I’m curious. Are there any sort of tips or tactics that work well for you, making sure you keep your cortisol in check in order to support all your systems functioning optimally?
Peter: Absolutely. Every morning, I’m up between 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. I allow for at least two to three hours every single morning for my meditation and for doing qi gong, qi gong which goes back thousands of years, ancient moving meditation. I practice certain breathing techniques as I do the qi gong to help bring my body in a state of stillness and my mind to become crystal clear. What I end up doing in particular is called microcosmic breathing. I’m basically pulling the breath up from the lower part of my body down around between my legs, up my spine, up over my head and down into the area of the pineal gland. What I’m doing is charging the pineal gland with my breath with the energy or with the qi that flows in my body and then allowing it from my pineal gland to drop down into my abdomen or just below my navel which the ancients called the dan tian, which is an energy center. Actually, what’s been discovered is that serotonin, around 80% to 90% of the serotonin the body produces is produced in the gut, down in that area. So the ancients were onto something. How they figured this thing out, I don’t know.
But also triggering, stimulating the pineal gland that is a light receptor gland in the human body that allows for, the French word is for it is clairvoyance or clearer seeing. So there’s a clarity or perception of mind that’s associated with the stimulation of that particular gland. Actually according to traditional Chinese Medicine, it was called spirit valley or shen valley, which is the spot between the two hemispheres of the brain. It was learning how to activate the energy in that spot that would charge the entire physical body. Of course, there’s a little bit more to it. I’m making it very simple here but it’s what the sages discovered would give them great longevity, incredible vitality and thus they earned the reputation of being “immortals” or in this case mountain men where they basically got to the point that all they wanted to do was take themselves off to the mountains and to practice. They had some higher goals than even the physical ones that we spoke about on the call to this point.
Those are the things that I do every single morning. It’s something I also teach other people to do. I teach qi gong. I have for years and years. It’s just part and parcel of a total lifestyle. I’ve also endeavored to remove myself to the degree possible in the Western technological culture and society where I own my time, I own my life and I’m in control of what I do.
Logan: I think those are some very important points there. It leads me to one more question and then we’ll wrap up the call. Even though I feel like that was a great ending point right here but I feel like I’ll do one more question. So you mentioned the pineal gland and also housed within the brain, you have the hypothalamus and the pituitary, which are really kind of the master endocrine organs. They kind of run the whole show. Do you believe that all those stuff we talked about today having to do with, cortisol, diet and everything, that in addition to just the brain and the nervous system, that these things are going to maximally support these different glands within the brain as well?
Peter: Oh absolutely. There’s enough scientific evidence to back that up. You put it together in a package and you have a doorway. You have a doorway into one radical life extension, however you want to address that. Doors open for you. There are no limits. There are no limits except the ones that are just basically self-imposed. There’s no locked door that we don’t have a key for and I firmly believe that. We’re here to evolve, to grow, to expand, to reach the pinnacle, the zenith of our own growth. We’re planted in the soil of earth and as long as we get enough juice, not only do we grow a little bit but we grow enough to sprout leaves and then flowers and then yield the perfume of our essence, the very purpose for the whole thing and that’s a beautiful picture.
Logan: Yes. Yes, it is. Excellent. Well Peter, can you tell people who are listening where they can go forth to find more information about you and anywhere you’d like them to connect with you on?
Peter: If you go to PeterRagnar.com or LongevitySage.com, PeterRagnor.com takes you to the same place, you’ll have the opportunity to get a free e-book from on how to extend your life, breathing techniques for life extension and a lot of other good stuff. You’ll be able to find out about the herbs that we’re talking about. And just stay in contact. Get on my Facebook page, Peter Ragnar on Facebook. We’re having conversations all the time about on just what Logan and I were talking about. I think you’ll find it very exciting. We’ve got a lot of people interested in this so join the party.
Logan: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Peter, for taking your time today. I think we should do this again sometime.
Peter: I’d love to. Loved it. Thank you so much for the privilege, Logan.
Logan: All right, thanks everyone for listening. If you definitely want to check out some of those different cognitive herbs that we talked about, head over to SupermanHerbs.com. You’ll find all kinds of information on that topic with those different herbs. We do plan to give you more information available because this is a subject near and dear to my heart. Obviously, it appears that they do to a whole bunch to other people so we definitely want to help people focus on how they can improve their cognitive function, support their brain health and everything using herbs, along with all the lifestyle ways that we talked about today. So thanks everyone for listening.
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