Claudio is a student journalist from Chile who is challenging himself in an experiment. It’s an experiment into physical endurance, change and novelty. On and off the bicycle, into body and mind. Mark will accompany and guide the process in this self-discovery adventure in Chile and Argentina where Claudio will test how to deal with changing circumstances and how to improve his personal abilities. Subjects like awareness, dealing with fear, biochemistry, focus, and the body-mind connection play an essential role in this experiment. The goal of this experiment is offer “normal people” new insights and to offer a 3 month program / journey for those who need a change, who are stressed or depressed, or who just want to take it to the next level in their personal development.
This physical and mental experiment will give more insights to what happens when we “radically” change our lives and make new habits that benefit body and moreover the mind. We believe that nowadays people are more and more exposed to mental difficulty and brain fog. There is too much (irrelevant) information flow and external stimuli while the mind could actually use some clarity and peace.
Awareness and brain nourishment form the framework of this project. We are testing how to use mindfulness techniques on and off the bicycle to train presence and focus. We practice skills how to deviate from daily distractions and the default mode network which is the brain region that is responsible for mind chatter, known in Buddhist tradition as the monkey mind. The objective is to become silent and quiet in the mind. To enter a new stage of energy.
Exercise & experience
To repeat some brain elements from Mark’s book Reinvent Yourself: according to clinical psychologist and neuroscientist Steve Ilardi, we need to move to activate key circuits in the brain that enhance energy, mood, and motivation. “It’s the best antidepressant out there.” He says exercise also enhances our cognitive function, memory, and attention.
In addition, Professor Gerd Kempermann (M.D.) states that a new, enriching, and exciting environment brings about complex cognitive processes in the brain. It’s an insecure environment that needs cognitive flexibility. Combining these complex cognitive behaviors with exercise will result in the making of new nerve cells in the brain. “Specifically, new neurons are added to the network of the hippocampus, the ’gateway to memory,’ dependent on activity and experience.”
The relevance and message of cycling in a totally new environment, is that for new neural connections and cognitive growth to appear, people have to leave their comfort zone. We aim to demonstrate what processes are at play, how the central nervous system reacts to change and the adaptive powers of the brain. Not only for crazy cyclists but also for people in their daily lives who have innovative ideas, who want to start a business, a new relationship or who constantly delay going to the gym. Unfortunately many of us suffer from procrastination, rumination about “what might happen” or “what others might think.” In many cases it’s that monkey talking in their mind that is affecting their ability to change and act. These fixed patterns in our brain dictate our lives for over 50% according to a Harvard study and in order to change these patterns, people have to rewrite their program—exercise and new experience are tools to do just that.
Fundamental questions we will look to answer: what role does novelty and exercise play in enhancing focus and motivation? How can we un-stress ourselves? Why is change so difficult and what happens when we change our habits and environment? How to quiet and clear the mind through cycling and mindfulness?.
Developments in neuroscience and the overall mind-body connection are going through the roof. This experiment is to a high degree science based but we will have subjective parameters that we cannot avoid. We won’t be able to measure the dopamine release in relation to cycling to a mountain top and how that affects mood or motivation for example. Or how the practice of “being present” translates into focus or reaching flow states. We’ll use and document whatever is possible though, like measuring the heart rate variability and its effect on the (para)sympathetic nervous system.
This experiment and cycling adventure is a compelling way to showcase the process of what we like to call, like the book, reinventing or reprogramming ourselves. Experienced based. For example, Claudio (and also Mark) will go deeper into the physical (borders) and novelty. The objective is how to train mind and perception of reality. Like a muscle. What impact will novelty have and how does this affect brain-chemistry? In what ways can we reframe the negative towards a positive approach? How can these insights be used in a day to day life (for the folks back home)?
Claudio is physically and mentally preparing for the cycling adventure with Mark. He has no idea what his journey going to be like. He will cycle into the unknown. He is currently working on his inner self and is changing his fixed patterns and habits—a journey in itself. To give an idea: he practices in Santiago through forming new habits and mindfulness training (as of September 2019) carving a new morning routine and getting himself acquainted with meditation practice. Look at this phase off the bicycle like a detox and preperation for the journey—an important part which will be incorporated in the 3 month program.
Interested or want to get involved in this subject, send us a message.