Episode 166 – Drew Does Ayahuasca.
What’s up everyone? Drew Manning here, from Fit2Fat2Fit. Thank you guys for tuning in today. Today’s going to be a solo Podcast. It’s just going to be me. I’m not going to be interviewing anyone today. Every once in awhile I will do these, just because! *chuckles* Usually I want to talk about something kind of important, as many of you know, if you have listened to episodes 100 or 101, when I had my ex-wife on. Today it’s episode 166. Today I want to talk about an experience I had in Costa Rica, because the next three episodes after this are people from this resort I went to in Costa Rica and so it will make a lot more sense if I speak first. Then I will introduce these next three people these next three episodes.
But I am really, really excited to talk to you guys about what I did in Costa Rica. I just got back from Costa Rica. I went to a place called Rythmia. Rythmia is a place where people can go to experience breathwork, yoga, meditation and plant medicine. What is plant medicine, specifically something called Ayahuasca? Some of you might have heard of it. Some of you probably have no idea what it is. Today I am just telling you guys from my heart, from my perspective, why I did it, what I experienced and that’s pretty much it. I’m not going to be preachy about it. I’m not going to try to convert you to my way of thinking. I just want to talk about my experience and why I decided to do it and why I felt called to do it. We’ll talk about the basics 101, what is Ayahuasca? How does it work? Why do people do it? Where did it come from? Is it bad? Is it good? Is it safe? Is it healthy? All of that stuff. I’m going to tell you guys from my experience why is Drew Manning from Fit2Fat2Fit, a health and fitness guy, talking to us about a spiritual plant medicine that’s been around for centuries, right? I will get into all of that. So just bare with me. Hopefully you come into this episode with an open heart and an open mind, kind of like I did when I first hear about this stuff. Hopefully you learn something as well. That’s my only hope, is just sharing my experience and hope that it’s beneficial and helpful to some people out there that have an open heart and an open mind.
Alright, let’s jump into this episode. Drew does Ayahuasca. *laughing* That’s the title I came up with. Alright, so let’s start from the very, very beginning. What is Ayahuasca? For those that have no idea what Ayahuasca is, it’s spelled, ‘A-y-a-h-u-a-s-c-a’. It’s a brew made of this vine that has been around for, like I said, centuries. It’s a traditional, spiritual medicine. They use it in ceremonies among indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. So people from Brazil, Colombia, Peru and a lot of different countries, they’ve used this plant for spiritual practices. It acts as a MAOI, which is an monoamine oxidase inhibitor. What they do is they usually combine it with something called DMT, which is the primary psychoactive compound. Because if you just take the MAOI, the monoamine oxidase inhibitor by itself, it doesn’t really do anything to you. But if you combine it with something called DMT, which I am not even going to try to pronounce! *laughing* It makes this a very powerful psychoactive compound.
So how did I first hear about this? Let’s go there next! *chuckles* I heard about it listening to Podcasts. Amazing people like Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus are where I first heard about this plant medicine called Ayahuasca. I’ve seen some scientific research being done on it for the use of helping people with addictions, PTSD, trauma, anxiety and depression. They are using this plant medicine to help treat people with those problems. They’ve had huge success with these scientific studies. It’s technically not a legal substance here in the U.S. In other countries it can be, like in Costa Rica where I went at Rythmia, they are a medically licensed facility. They have a doctor on staff that medically clears you before taking it to make sure that it is safe for you. They have nurses and doctors on call all night when you are on the medicine as well. So it’s a very safe environment to take it. They test the brew as well to make sure it’s got everything it’s supposed to and nothing bad has been added to it. That’s what I really, really liked about Rythmia. How I got involved with Rythmia is I had some friends that went through this experience when they went down there, experienced it and had a life changing miraculous experience. Someone connected me with Rythmia and they said, ‘Drew, I think this would be awesome for you. You should look into it.’ So, I talked to the people at Rythmia. Jerry and his wife Brandy, about coming down there and having this experience. I was open to it. I will talk about my experience at Rythmia in a second, but I’m going back to why I decided to do this first.
A couple of years ago I was learning about this plant medicine and listening to other podcasts and being intrigued by the benefits from it, but also being intrigued by how something like this is so powerful, that has been used by indigenous tribes for centuries. Yet here in America in the western culture, we have never heard of something like this or we think it’s taboo. It’s weird. It’s not part of our culture. But me being part Polynesian, I am open to indigenous practices and cultures and substances that maybe here in America, we didn’t grow up with. That’s doesn’t mean that they are bad or not good for you because they come from an indigenous culture, not by any means. I am definitely open to these types of practices. I remember when I was in Hawaii, I went to this cultural camp where I got to learn about the native Hawaiian men and the traditions they had back in those days that a lot of us would think would be weird. Now they didn’t talk about hallucinogenic substances, but certain practices definitely would seem weird to our 21st century modern American culture, that we now have experienced our whole life. So what I am saying is, I am open to these types of practices. I was definitely intrigued listening to the science behind it, then personally meeting people like Aubrey Marcus. I met him before and him telling me about his personal experience with it and meeting other people with their personal experience and definitely feeling intrigued. Thinking ok, maybe this is something that I could be open to one day. But I never really felt called to do it. I never felt like I have to do this. I need this in my life. I’ve put in a lot of work since my divorce on personal development and self growth, like reading books by Brene Brown, which you heard me talk about on episode 100. I’ve been working with a life coach and putting in a lot of work to help heal myself and reconnect with my true self. So, I feel like I was already in a good place to begin with. I don’t feel like I have to use substances, whether it’s alcohol or drugs to escape from my reality because I don’t like who I am or I don’t like my reality. I think that is the difference between where I am at now. As a kid, going through experimentation phases of just wanting to escape your reality just because. Or you didn’t like your reality and you wanted to just use a substance to escape. I think that is the problem that people use any of these substances with, whether it’s alcohol or marijuana or other drugs, is the intention behind it. What is your intention behind wanting to do it? Is it because you don’t like where you are and you want to escape? You want something to kind of relieve that pain or you do it to numb the emotions that you are feeling in your normal day to day life. Ask yourself those questions before you do any kind of substance. Whether it’s sugar or alcohol or things like marijuana, what’s the intention behind why you are doing it? I think that’s the most important thing and that’s something I took with me going into this. What is my intention behind this? Am I doing it to just get a high and feel good? Am I doing it to escape my reality, because I don’t like my reality? I don’t like who I am and I want to feel good. Those are all questions only you can answer.
Being totally honest with you guys, I came into this in a really good place emotionally and spiritually before I even decided to do it. Why did I feel called to do it? This was the first opportunity where I have been invited to do it for one. But two, I felt ok. If I was going to do this, I wanted it to be in a safe place, a safe environment. Because I have heard horror stories that have happened to people, not just with Ayahuasca. You are in a vulnerable state with these medicines. I have heard of stories and recently my friend sent me an article where some of these shamans, some of these people who are these spiritual leaders, during these ceremonies they have abused their power and have sexually abused people during a ceremony, which is scary. I have heard of things happening to people. I think there are very few deaths, not from the medicine. The medicine doesn’t kill you, just very few deaths from whatever the situation is in the jungle. I don’t know the details behind it. So there is definitely that fear in my head of like, ‘Ok, I definitely want to do it in a place where I trust the people and I feel safe. I don’t have to worry about any of that kind of weird stuff happening.’ But it does happen. For any of you listening, do your research. Do your homework. If you feel like this is right for you, then make sure you feel right about it. Really ask yourself what is your intention behind wanting to do it, you know? I went into it doing my due diligence into learning about it first and talking to people I know and trust that have personally gone through it. Then after that, going with my gut and seeing how I feel, so I felt called to do it.
This was the place to do it for me, at Rythmia down in Costa Rica. That’s ‘R-y-t-h-m-i-a’ if you want to check it out. So, here I am. I go down to Costa Rica, this was the beginning of October. It’s a week long process. This is a nice resort down in Costa Rica. There are four nights of plant medicine. You take it each night. They also have things like breath work, yoga and meditation as well. So you don’t have to do the plant medicine if you don’t want to, if you go to Rythmia. I am going to talk about breath work in a second, because in the next three episodes I am going to bring on the founder, Jerry Powell. You definitely need to look him up and what he went through and why he created Rythmia and his experience with plant medicine called Iboga. He talks about how he got the idea to start this place in the first place. His story is remarkable. You will hear his story in the next few Podcasts when I bring him on. I bring on their director of breath work, Christian. He is an amazing person. I had an amazing, profound experience just with breath work alone. I would say almost like a psychedelic experience, but just through breathing. No drugs, no plant medicine at all. I got emotional. I really did and it was amazing how just breath work can give you what you need. It’s another tool that we have to reconnect with ourselves and help ourselves spiritually progress. I think there are different tools. I think there is plant medicine. There is prayer. There is meditation and there is breath work, just to name a few of them that can help anyone. I’m not for just one way or the other. I am not for just Ayahuasca and plant medicine. I am not just for meditation or prayer. I think there are a lot of different ways to do this. It’s important to find out what works best for you. The last person I bring on is the doctor, Jeff. He’s one of the other podcasts episodes that I will be releasing after this to talk about this from a scientific perspective and what he thinks of this plant medicine as a doctor. He is a psychologist that’s worked with thousands of clients before and has worked at drug rehab centers. He talks about how this differs from drug rehab centers. So you get a lot of different people’s perspectives and not just my own opinion. This podcast right here is just my own opinion. Hopefully you guys take everything I say with a grain of salt. I expect you to. I can only speak from the heart and what happened for me.
Before I get into the plant medicine Ayahuasca, I am going to talk about the first night of breath work. So, the first night I get there, we do a class on breath work. It’s amazing, for 60 minutes we are breathing a certain type of pattern where we breathe in to our diaphragm and expand our bellies. We breathe into our stomachs and then we fill up the rest of the way through our chest. So it’s a full deep breath into your stomach and into your chest. Then from there you just release the breath. It’s not a pushing out sound, it’s just letting it come out without any effort at all. We repeat that at a very fast pace for about 60 minutes. It’s amazing the sensations you feel. Your hands and your feet go tingly and your hands kind of clamp up like claws almost. The force of opening your hands is really hard to do, which is a really weird sensation. But as I was doing this about 20 minutes in, they had these workers come by and touch your chest in certain areas based on their training of where they feel tension to help you during the breath work. So they will come by and maybe say things to you that you wouldn’t ever think someone would know to say to you in that moment. I remember one of the times I was breathing, I could kind of feel some emotions come up. I was starting to get emotional. I was like, what is going on? *laughing* Someone put their hand on my chest and said some things to me that hit me really hard. I started crying. I know it sounds crazy you guys! *laughing* A lot of this is going to sound crazy, but this is just me and my own experience. I started crying. It wasn’t just me crying, there was a lot of people crying. Dudes, girls, a lot of people where these emotions were coming out through breath work. I was so blown away. It was my first experience at Rythmia. It was very, very profound. The things that were said to me were kind of personal, so I will keep that part personal. It was just really, really important to me and really hit me really, really hard. It was a really good first experience and that was with no medicine or anything. It was just breath work. I’m like, ‘Man, this is amazing! I need more of this in my life!’ *laughing*
So that was my first night. That was my first experience there. The next four nights we did Ayahuasca. It was a very spiritual practice and a very sacred ceremony. I used to be a part of the Mormon Church and in the Mormon Church they have Temples. When I was first going through the temple as a teenager, I didn’t know what to expect going through the Temples. But just to make a long story short, I knew that what was happening was sacred at the time. I felt like, ‘Ok, whatever they are doing, it might seem weird to me, but I know this is a sacred practice.’ It felt very similar when we went in to these ceremonies that the shamans, the spiritual leaders there that most of us would think were weird, they bless the medicine. They say a little chant, a little prayer along with some music. It’s beautiful actually. Throughout the night, they were going around blessing people and saying things to you. It was a very sacred experience. I drank it. It does not taste good. I will be totally honest with you. *chuckles* It was a little shot glass of like one ounce of the medicine. You lay there for about an hour and a half after taking it. They had all of these mattresses spread out in this big room, there were about 40 plus people there. You just lay there. Out of the four nights, nights 2 and 3 were when I had some amazing experiences. I probably won’t go into all the details. One, because it is personal about my daughters. But I will say this, one of the miracles that happened for me, I didn’t have any hallucinations to be honest with you guys. I didn’t see angels. Some people said they spoke to angels and had spoken to God even or spoke to Jesus. You know, like have had these crazy psychedelic experiences. For me, it was kind of more mild and subtle. It was all positive. I felt positive throughout the whole thing. I wasn’t scared. Some people were throwing up. Some people were running to the bathroom. The medicine can make you purge, right? You are purging something inside of you that you have been holding on to. A lot of people would purge trauma, sexual abuse, physical abuse or something they have been holding on to for a long time. It would come out in the form of vomit. At least that is what was explained to us during the ceremonies. I didn’t throw up, except for the last night. I did, which I will explain in a little bit. It came after the ceremony.
The experiences that I had were very personal to me, with me as a dad, especially with my daughters. But the miracle that happened for me was being able to reconnect with my soul. Now what does that mean? A lot of people listening are like, ‘Drew, you are crazy. What is going on? You took some drink and now you are talking about your soul? You are crazy!’ I don’t blame people for thinking that. I will just be totally honest with though, what I felt happened during this experience is I felt like I saw my 5 year old self, me as a little boy. That was my soul. I felt like that was my soul and I felt like I reconnected with him, that true version of me. The way I thought about it was ever since that age of 3, 4 or 5, we start to disconnect from our true selves. You look at children and they are pure. They are innocent. They don’t care what other people think. They are not domesticated and they are still their true selves, but after that age we kind of …. then it’s like time to grow up. Time to act this, think this way, feel this way and you are kind of domesticated in a way to be who society wants you to be, whether it’s from your parents, your teachers, your friends or the T.V shows you watch. The movies you watch, the books you read, the people you interact with on a daily basis of, ‘Hey, don’t do this. It’s weird. That’s bad. This is good. Do it this way. Think this way politically or think this way religiously. This is what is good for you. This is what is bad for you. This you shouldn’t do. You should feel guilty when you do this.’ We are kind of domesticated based on our elders understanding of the way they grew up and the way they were raised. That gets passed on from generation to generation. You kind of slowly disconnect from your true self. That’s how I felt. What was happening was for me, my whole life, I felt like I became Drew the grown up versus the pure innocent little kid. I felt like I saw my 5 year old self. He gave me a big hug around my neck. I felt like I was able to merge back with him. I feel like now I have this conscious inside of me, this thought of like, ‘Ok, is this what my soul really wants?’ Is what I am doing something that is aligned with my true self or is this just something that I know I am supposed to do because of what I have been told. It kind of makes you question where you are in your life these days and what you are doing, like being able to merge back with your soul. For me, it has been really powerful to make every decision based on, ‘Ok, this is who I am.’ I know who I am now and does this align with my true self. For me that was what was really powerful. And the way I treat my daughters is really important to me, because it kind of reflects how I treat myself, my soul, right? That was some great insight as well. All in all I would say it was an amazing experience. Nothing too crazy happened. There was one night when the medicine was really intense and I felt like …. I felt something, like how can I describe this? I felt like my whole body was vibrating at a very, very high frequency where I felt all this energy coming out of me. My brain, my organs, my muscles, like I felt …. I don’t know how to explain it, just a very powerful vibration or energy inside of me. Yet, I could barely move my body. It was so hard to physically move. It was all in all, it was a beautiful experience. I will just say that.
Seeing the people there, like I said, there were 40 other people there and being able to listen to their stories of what they went through and what they experienced, is where I kind of feed off their miracles. I can’t believe some of the stuff people are saying. Seeing the change that had just happened in one week of doing this plant medicine and the breath work and the yoga and the meditation every single day, to see them totally transform within a week and these miracles and breakthroughs that they have never had before after years of counseling or drug rehab, or whatever it is that they have been trying to overcome. To see their miracles happen, is amazing. I can’t compare to anything else that I have ever been a part of in my life. That was my personal experience with Rythmia and with Ayahuasca. My first time ever. Would I do it again? Yes. Am I in a rush to do it again? No. I don’t feel like there is anything specific that I need to work on, but if I have an intention to do it, I will call them back up and go back down to Costa Rica. I know there are people that have been doing this for years, you know? It’s tremendously helped them. Like I said there are different tools that we have available to us as humans. I think one of them is plant medicine based off of the research that I have seen and listening to these indigenous people talk about it generation after generation of how this has helped them and their people, I am definitely open to it. I’m not saying that you need to be by any means. I’m not trying to push this on anyone saying, ‘You guys gotta go here! You guys gotta do this! It’s going to change your life!’ Because I feel like, just like religion, different religions work for different people. People feel called to different religions for a reason, that’s kind of their truth. I feel like that is one tool that people can use to reconnect with God and uplift themselves spiritually. I think plant medicine is just another tool that we have available to us as humans. I feel like why not explore all of the tools, that’s just my opinion.
That’s it, you guys. That was my experience. The breath work, I think I am just as much a believer in as I am the Ayahuasca. It was a beautiful, beautiful experience for me personally. All positive things, some people had some bad visions where they saw some bad things. But it was all good in the end because they learned what those bad things represented in their life and they could see it for what it is. They were able to overcome them or purge them out and move on. It was really cool to hear other peoples experiences as well.
With all this being said, Drew does Ayahuasca, whatever. You guys know me, I am an open book. I’m going to tell you guys from my heart how I feel. I embrace vulnerability as a strength. I own my story. I don’t have anything to hide about this. I really don’t. My hope is to help people not just transform physically, because you guys know that I am about keto. I like helping people lose weight, but here is the thing and this is what I have kind of come to understand with all of this is that I am here. My purpose is to help people completely transform, not just physically. We all know that physical transformation does not equate to happiness, neither does financial transformation. Financial success does not equate to happiness. There are all these outside sources of success that we see other people have. We think, ‘If I had money. If I had that body. If I had this job. If I was doing this.’ All of these outside sources of happiness, we think if we had those then we would be happy. But in reality that is not the truth. My whole goal is to help people with physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health all together at the same time. So whether that looks like you doing keto and you doing plant medicine or you doing vegan or Paleo or whatever works best for you. Or being a christian and going to church and being a good person and taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally, that is what complete transformation is about. That is my goal is to help people with complete transformation, not just the physical transformation and that being the end all be all of happiness, because it’s not true. For me personally, I know to be fulfilled in this life is really hard but it’s possible if you have those four pillars worked on and completed, right? Taking care of your physical health, which leads into mental health, which leads into emotional health, which leads into spiritual health. There is a parallel between all of those and I think I feel like that is where people can be truly transformed and truly happy. When they know that they can create their happiness from within, but it takes taking care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and finding out what that looks like for you. It’s different for each person. My goal is to help people find what works best for them. That is what I feel like I am meant to do here on this earth, whether that is through keto or whether that is through talking about Ayahuasca or talking about church or whatever it is. I will do the best I can based off my own experiences and what I have been taught and the blessings I have been given to teach other people. My hope is that it might help a few people and if it does, then I know for me that is worth it. Those are my thoughts you guys. I would love to hear your thoughts about this. I’ve had so many people, since I posted about it, ask me about my experience. What happened? What did you learn? Was it scary? Where you afraid of dying? A lot of people are afraid because it’s unknown. My goal is for you over the next three episodes to really learn from the founder, Jerry Powell and the doctor, Jeff and Christian, the breath work teacher at Rythmia, to really learn from them and listen to other podcasts. Do your research and see if this is something that is right for you. I don’t think you have to choose between this and your religion. I feel like these kinds of things, all these tools that I mentioned, breath work, meditation, prayer, plant medicine, can go hand in hand, in my opinion. I feel like you don’t need to fear like, ‘Ok, I can only be this way or I can only be this way.’ Find your combination that works best for you, but be open to using all the tools that I feel that God has given us to use here on this earth.
So, that’s my two cents. Like I said, I won’t be preachy about this, but let me know if you guys have questions about it. Enjoy the next three episodes with the people from Rythmia. I can’t wait to talk to you guys again soon. I will be doing more solo podcasts that I have planned for the near future, so be on the lookout for that. We will talk to you guys later.
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