Sun, 19 August 2018
This week we welcome Ariel Garten to the show. Ariel Garten is the CEO and co-founder of InteraXon, which creates thought controlled computing products and applications. Ariel has also researched at the Krembil Neuroscience Institute studying hippocampal neurogenesis, displayed work at the Art Gallery of Ontario, been head designer at a fashion label, and opened Toronto Fashion Week. Referred to as the “Brain Guru”, Ariel and her team’s work has been featured in hundreds of articles in over 20 countries.
Questions we ask in this episode:
This week I'm excited to welcome Ariel Garten. Ariel is an artist, scientist, entrepreneur and CEO of InteraXon, a company specialized in thought controlled computing. In this episode we discuss Muse, the brain sensing headband. Muse is a wearable device that sits on your head and tracks your brain activity in real time, which brings the practice of meditation into a whole new light. We chat about how meditation can impact our overall health, and discuss the tools, tips, supplements and strategies that can help us get the most from our meditation sessions. 01:18 I like so many of us personally struggle with meditation, but it looks like Muse could be a real game changer in this space. Enough from me. Over to Ariel. Hey, guys. This is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I am delighted to welcome Ariel Garten to the show. Good morning, Ariel, how are you? Although I say good morning, so it's probably not good morning for you, is it?
01:44 I'm in Canada. It is nighttime here, so good evening, good night to everybody in this side of the hemisphere, and good morning to you
01:52 Thank you very much. First up, for everybody that may not be familiar with you and your work, I'd love it if you could just tell our listeners a little bit about who you are, what you do and perhaps why you do it as well.
02:03 Sure. My name is Ariel and I'm the founder of a company called Muse. We make a device that is a brain sensing headband that helps you meditate, gives you real-time feedback on your meditation so that you can know when you're in the zone and when your mind is wandering. Yes.
02:21 I was just literally going to jump in there with the meditation aspect as well.
02:29 Jump. 02:30 Jump straight in. I was just telling you before that I really struggle with meditation, and after running a podcast for almost five years the take home for me from a lot of the world experts are that meditation is so critically, or it is so critical for overall health in terms of switching off all of the noise.
02:52 I liken my own personal journey with meditation as to perhaps standing outside a shop and sells televisions, and in the window of the shop there are 100 different screens. Each screen is showing something quite different. That's how my mind is. I'm thinking about this while looking at that, and there's something else happening up here. I've through Headspace, a billion different meditation apps, tried transcendental, tried many different practices and I really struggle with it. 03:21 Very, very interested in Muse and you sharing what Muse is in terms of a tech perspective with our audience, because I'm thinking that it might open up a whole different way of approaching meditation.
03:34 What you described is essentially why we built Muse. Everybody knows meditation is fantastic for you, but frankly it's very hard to do. You can sit there even if you're guided by an app and your mind is still wandering all over the place. For some people that can be really scary. You're sitting there. Your mind is supposed to be blank, you imagine, even though that's not what meditation is, and it's bouncing all over the place. You say, "Oh, jeez. I'm not good at this. This is not for me." You end up feeling worse about yourself and not meditating. 04:02 We wanted to build a tool that literally would hold your hand while you meditate and let you hear in real time what was going on inside your mind and guide you and show you what it is that you're supposed to be doing, and reinforce you when you do it right. Stu: 04:16 Sounds like a very useful piece of kit. How does the process work? 04:23 You slip on this little device. This is your Muse. It slips on just like a pair of glasses like this, and it tracks your meditation in real time. There are sensors, two sensors on the forehead and two behind the ears. These are actually clinical-grade EEG sensors. They're actually tracking your brain's brainwave activity in real time. It then sends that data to your smart phone or tablet, which interprets the data and lets you hear the sound of your own brain. 04:52 The metaphor we use is your mind is like the weather. When you're thinking, distracted, it's bouncing all over the place, you hear it is stormy. As you bring yourself to quiet, focused attention it actually quiets the storm. Most people think that meditation is just the idea of letting your mind go blank. It's not. Meditation is actually mental training, and the most basic form of meditation is focused attention meditation. In that you are focusing your attention on your breath or on a neutral object. 05:20 How you do it is you focus your attention on your breath. Your mind wanders. You notice it wanders and then you bring it back to your breath. In doing so you're able to train and maintain your attention. Now, what happens for most of us is our mind wanders, it continues to wander, and then we catch, and, "Oh, right. We're supposed to bring it back." 05:39 This act of noticing it's wandered and bringing it back is like doing your bench press rep at the gym. That's the rep of meditation, noticing it, bringing it back. In a regular meditation you might be wandering one, three, five minutes before you notice and bring it back. With Muse, it cues you instantly. You instantly bring it back, so you can literally get in many times more reps at the gym. You really are honed in that practice of noticing and returning.
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