459. The Power of Breathwork for Energy, Sleep, Healing & Spiritual Awakening w/ Othership's Robbie Bent

Robbie Bent

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Robbie Bent is the CEO and co-founder of Othership, which is building a global community to solve the loneliness epidemic, operating the first emotional training classes in North America through a combination of social spaces, saunas, ice baths, and its breathwork mobile app. 

Robbie Bent is CEO and co-founder of Othership, which is building a global community to solve the loneliness epidemic.  Robbie's company Othership, has built the first emotional training classes in North America combining beautiful social spaces built around saunas / ice bath’s and the leading breathwork mobile app.  Othership also run's live breathwork concerts in NYC, LA, Miami and Austin. Robbie is a GP at Vine Ventures, a Psychedelic Medicine venture fund committed to giving 50% of profits to research and charitable causes and was also an early employee at the Ethereum Foundation. Robbie has been profiled by leading wellness brands like the Ben Greenfield Podcast, My First Million, Eight Sleep and the Natural State Podcast.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Today’s guest, Robbie Bent, and I hit it off right away – kindred spirits, you might say.

He's the CEO and co-founder of Othership, which is building a global community to solve the loneliness epidemic, operating the first emotional training classes in North America through a combination of beautiful social spaces, saunas, ice baths, and the leading breathwork mobile app. 

I am a big fan of the app and will absolutely be attending the workshop tour’s next visit to Austin.

Guests on this show often share solutions to what ails the world. But sometimes they come with a hefty price tag. What I love about breathwork is that anyone can do it, anytime you want, for free. And in my experience, it can definitely transform your life in the most powerful of ways.

If you're someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, addiction, or just about any other mental or emotional challenges, this will definitely be a really important episode for you. And hey, if your life's perfect and you want to make it even better, there's a lot here for you too.

We also have an exclusive offer reserved for listeners of this podcast. Visit  lukestorey.com/othership to score 25% off an annual subscription. You won't find this deal anywhere else. You can also visit othership.us/luke to access 14 days of the app for free.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

00:06:16 — Getting to Know Robbie Bent
00:40:20 — Shared Addiction Journeys
  • Robbie’s struggle with alcohol and cocaine
  • Luke reflects on his story
  • Growing past addiction through ayahuasca ceremony 
  • Exploring different perspectives of healing 
  • Early inspirations for Othership
  • The struggle of getting back to “normal”
  • Leveraging addictive personality trains 
  • Robbie’s thoughts on traditional-style AA meetings 
01:03:09 — Welcome to Othership
  • All the details on Othership, Toronto 
  • Austin location (maybe) coming soon
  • Exploring the Othership mobile app 
  • Othership.us/luke to access 14 days of the app for free
  • Luke’s practice with the app 
  • Navigation, music, and breathwork routines 
  • Combination of science, music, visualizations, and language
  • Luke and Alyson try Othership
  • Transformational testimonials 
  • How to sign up and use the app
01:35:43 — Looking Into a More Healed Future
  • Robbie’s ten-year goals
  • Seeking connection and building relationships
  • Integration of plant medicines 
  • The brick-and-mortar dilemma 
  • Impact of loneliness on your physical health 

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

Robbie Bent: [00:00:05] I had lots of friends. Always was very social, but I've never felt like, hey, this person would die for me. I'd never felt that. And not only that this person would die for me, but I would also die for them. My entire life has changed. This is Robbie Bent, and you're listening to the Life Stylist Podcast.

Luke Storey: [00:00:26] All right, fasten your seatbelts and strap on your crash helmets podcast, people. We're about to blast off on a rocket known as Episode 459: The Power of Breathwork for Energy, Sleep, Healing, and Spiritual Awakening with Othership's Robbie Bent. And for those of you seeking the full episode experience, you'll find show notes, links, and transcripts at lukestorey/robbie. 

And even better yet, if you want me to send you all the episode content every Tuesday morning, I'm going to need to get your email address. And here's how we do that. Go to lukestorey.com/newsletter. Takes about 20 seconds to sign up and of course you can leave anytime. Again, that's lukestorey.com/newsletter. 

Our guest, Robbie Bent, is just an awesome guy. He knocks on the door, and we just hit it off right away. Definitely kindred spirits, as they say. He's also the CEO and co-founder of Othership, and they're building a global community to solve the loneliness epidemic. And man, do we have one? Othership built the first emotional training classes in North America where they combine beautiful social spaces built around saunas, ice baths and the leading breathwork mobile app. 

And they also run live breathwork classes in New York City, LA, Miami, and Austin. Now, unfortunately, I missed it when they were in Austin, but I'm definitely going to be attending next time they roll through. Now, I've been using this Othership app nonstop and it's just incredible. In fact, I snuck in a four-minute session this morning as that's all I had time for. And even that little short blast of breath upgraded my day. Super cool. 

And as you know, guests on this show often share solutions to what ails us, but sometimes they come with a hefty price tag. And what I love about breathwork is that anyone can do it, any time you want, for free. And in my experience, it can definitely transform your life in the most powerful of ways. But because I'm a bit lazy, I prefer personally to be led through a breathwork session. So that's why I use Robbie's app most of the time. 

Okay, I want to get right into the thick of it with this episode, so I'll just allude to a few of the general topics we explore. But just know that if you're someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, addictions, or just about any other mental or emotional challenges, this will definitely be a really important episode for you. And hey, if your life's perfect and you want to make it even better, there's a lot here for you too. 

So after sending Robbie on a NeuroVizr and NuCalm journey here at the studio, we sat down and discussed the following: Robbie's wild experience at a week long darkness retreat; his former addictions and how he got clean; the role hot, cold, and breath had in his healing, and how his company Othership came to be, and where it's headed. 

We also explore their two physical locations in Toronto and New York City, the abundant science on the benefits of breathwork, and the various categories of sessions on the Othership app, up, down, all around, body, brain, and even psychedelic. 

And he also explains why the Othership journeys have so many variations of breath and how we found the incredible breathwork facilitators for the app, and how the epic soundscapes they use are created. And finally, Robbie shares the most impressive Othership transformations he's witnessed since its inception. 

And I'll wager that after hearing this episode, you'll want to take the Othership app for a spin yourself. To do so, just go to othership.us/luke for 14 days of their breathwork app for free. And we also have an exclusive offer only for listeners of this podcast, and that's you. Go to lukestorey.com/othership and you'll get 25% off an annual subscription. And you won't find this deal anywhere else. 

Now let's go ahead and embark on this sole mission with Robbie Bent. Enjoy the ride. Robbie, how was your NeuroVizr session? For those listening, our guest, Robbie, just came in the home studio here and I said, "Hey, you want to take a little journey?" He'd already done the Lucio light, which was my first plan, so I didn't get to divergence him on that, but put him under the NeuroVizr headset with his head inside a giant Leela block, for those of you that are familiar with that particular brand. So how'd that go?

Robbie Bent: [00:04:40] I came to your house a little bit nervous. It's only the second interview I've done in person. There's a huge setup. There's cameras. There's lights. Notice my heart's beating a little bit faster, and you offer me this beautiful gift. And so you get in this contraption, put the device on my head, and within 3 to 4 minutes, listening to that nice music, I started feeling some moments of pure joy. 

And so I went from, what am I going to say, is it going to be good, what's Luke going to think of me, these feelings of doubt, and just to being completely present, looking at some of these beautiful colors and having moments of real awe. I would call them awe, I guess. So a few moments of I'm not thinking, I'm not worried, I'm just here enjoying the sounds and the light. And I've tried Lucio light a number of times and I just really preferred. That was a really beautiful experience to set the tone, help me feel it a bit more, I guess adequate and present.

Luke Storey: [00:05:35] That's awesome. Well, we had toyed with the idea of doing an Othership breathwork before, which I've been doing a lot of. We'll obviously talk about that, but I thought I might get too spaced out if we did that. It's like, maybe do one after. But I've been pretty consistent with it. Yeah, yesterday I did one of the ones, because I emailed you and said, "Which one is the most psychedelic?" I want to just like take your app to the the depths and I did the Third Eye one. 

Yeah. And it was pretty profound. So I've been in a good habit of that. But it's the first time I've ever offered a guest a little 11-minute journey. So I'm glad that you had a good experience and that you weren't like, "Ah, I can't talk now." All right. Well, that brings me to my first question, sir. Let's start by just saying, what is Othership? So you guys have this app and you have a location in Toronto and, spoiler alert, sounds like you have some other locations popping off. 

But give us just the elevator pitch on that because I'm going to meander into a bunch of different stuff here, but I want to make sure that people understand that we're going to be talking about breathwork and specifically how you're creating an incredible business around that, and hot and cold therapy, and all this. So just give us a summary of what Othership is in its current incarnation.

Robbie Bent: [00:06:51] Yeah, I think the main problem we're solving is the fact that our nervous systems are broken, especially coming out of COVID, more so than ever. The feelings of I'm stressed, I'm overwhelmed, I'm burnt out, I'm lonely. If I asked you when's the last time you were bored, or had nothing to do, or how did you feel today, all of those are super hard to answer. We're always, wake up, check my phone. I have 10 different items on my to-do list. Go, go, go. It just feels like there's no space. 

And as a result, it's because we're in our sympathetic nervous system, that fight or flight mode, all the time. And evolutionarily we're not meant to be that way. It's just a confounding number of variables in our environments that have changed. And so that was the problem I was solving was my nervous system was broken. And so similar paths to you, struggled with addiction, had a company that blew up, was broke, depressed, and struggling, and had these issues. 

And so found, through a ton of study, practices of breath, hot, cold, psychedelic medicines, all these different things that help you to reclaim and master your nervous system. So that's what Othership is. It's the idea that you can use these ancient practices in community in a way that's fun, so that you can learn to take back control of your nervous system.

Luke Storey: [00:08:19] Excellent overview. When you said your business blew up, for a second, as it fell out of your mouth, I was like, "Oh, he made bank. It went well."

Robbie Bent: [00:08:27] No, no, no. It blew up.

Luke Storey: [00:08:29] There's two ways a business can blow up. It can implode or explode. I guess if it explodes, maybe exponentially it grows. That's great, man. What's the latest news? What are you most excited about? You were telling me before about some new locations happening. What else is in the immediate future lightening you up about your venture?

Robbie Bent: [00:08:49] For four years I've been working on this with four of my best friends, my wife, and three best friends, another couple. And we've known that there's power in these experiences, watching 50 people in a massive sauna, turning out the lights, doing a massive anger release where everyone screams. We did a class on Monday night called Love and Kindness, and it was based on a meditation where during the class you actually eye gaze with a stranger.

Then the lights go out, you bring to mind an enemy or someone you're struggling with, and you send them love. And I just saw probably 60% of the people crying. And four years ago, we saw this stuff happening, but nobody really believed it. It's like, you got an ice bath in a backyard, man. What are you talking about?

Luke Storey: [00:09:31] Nobody's cried in my backyard ice bath that I'm aware of.

Robbie Bent: [00:09:33] Yeah. But I saw people doing breath, coming together in community, in small groups, and in a backyard around a fire. And I thought, "This is really powerful." And so for the first time now, you put some money behind it, a beautiful space, design, esthetic, incredible music, well-trained facilitators, and the experience changes. And for the first time, we're starting to get recognition where people are saying, oh, I've heard of Othership, or I did a class, I had a transformation, or 50 people are crying in a group on a Monday night. 

You see that happening and it just feels, wow, there's actually something here that's much more powerful than we thought. And so when we were building this, question was like, "Is anyone even going to come?" We had a small community, but is the average person who maybe isn't into their emotions and psychedelics and all this other stuff, the average banker, or lawyer, or engineer, or just standard person. Especially in Toronto, it's not a super spiritual place the same way that maybe the West Coast is. 

And so we were wondering, are people going to come to this thing? And we've been open for a year now and two weeks waitlist to come to the classes. Everything's full. And the biggest thing I'm excited about is taking-- we built in Toronto, which is a pretty world class city, and coming to New York. So we've been looking for seven months. 

We found two spaces and it feels like we're going into the big leagues, biggest city in North America, taking a big swing, signing leases, putting our whole livelihoods on the line to make it happen on a bigger stage. And I don't think I've ever been, in my entire career, more excited than to bring these things that changed my life to a huge group. So you're catching me now. I'm maybe on one of the best days of my career.

Luke Storey: [00:11:18] So good, so good. And I can only imagine the big leap of signing a couple of leases in New York City. I mean, I used to do events with another business and we would have to sign, just renting a boutique hotel or a fashion studio for 2 to 5 days, and it was like, "What? How much money?" And that was very temporary. But you're like, man, we better put some asses in seats or we're going to be out on our ass. 

So that's a huge move. In your journey so far, and we're going to get into that, I think you and I have so many parallels in terms of how we arrived at what we do for a living and where our passions lie, who are three teachers, or teachings in general that have influenced your life or work that come to mind? Three books or people that you've encountered that have just changed your trajectory.

Robbie Bent: [00:12:10] That's a really interesting question. The first thing that came to mind is there are people in my life versus famous people that I read about and tried to implement. And so one is a former co-founder of mine. I worked in crypto. I worked for the Ethereum, the ecosystem and the Ethereum Foundation for four years. And I met co-founder Sina Habibian. Younger guy, brilliant, had done physics, and he just-- whenever it was time to do something, he was just like, "Let's fucking go, man. Let's do it. Yeah, of course, we're going to do it." 

So we pitched to Andreessen Horowitz, which is like one of the biggest tech investors in the world, and I'm super nervous. I think he was maybe 24 or 25 at the time, and I was like, "Hey, you can just join the team. You want to lead the pitch? And he was like, "Yeah, of course, I want to lead the pitch." Where most people would be like, "Whoa, I don't know. I've never done this before." And he just jumped in, led the pitch, crushed it. When I saw that it always stuck with me of like, "Okay, you can just do it. Don't be afraid." 

And it goes to New York where the idea is, yeah, we're going to sign leases. Let's go. If it's not us, who's going to do this thing? We've made it. It doesn't exist. Let's go. And he's someone I always think about that inspires me of like, "You can do it. Believe in yourself. Bet on yourself, and just go for it, even if you're nervous."

Luke Storey: [00:13:34] I like that. Just interjection here. There's a really great principle that someone taught me many years ago when I was in the freeze moment of having an idea and being afraid to execute it. And I was trying to get all prepared and get all my ducks in a row and plan it all out. Then I was going to do it. 

And my friend at the time, this guy Hector, who was a real estate investor guy, he said, "Luke, you're going about it all wrong. You're trying to do the ready, aim, fire method. Nothing gets done like that. It goes like this, fire, aim, ready." 

And I was like, I think I know what you mean. It's terrifying. And I did it. And I just doing my thing. I was doing these classes and just put out ads and started enrolling people with no class. And then that made me get the goddamn class together. So I like that. Who's the second one?

Robbie Bent: [00:14:24] So it's funny, this question is the first thing I'm thinking is like, oh, try to sound smart. What's like a book you read?

Luke Storey: [00:14:29] I love your authenticity, by the way, that you share openly some of the internal dialog that many people don't say out loud. So thank you for that.

Robbie Bent: [00:14:38] Yeah. I appreciate that. That was my thought. I was like, try to sound smart. What's a book you've read? And then I was like, no. Okay. I read a few books a year or whatever it is. Most of the time I hang out with people. So obviously the learning's going to come from people in my life. So the next one that popped up was my wife. And so before my wife, I was struggling with addiction, I'd lost my company, I was broke. 

I met her and I always had this need, this insecurity of, I want people to like me. I want to have nice things. I want to prove I'm successful. When I met her, it was the first time-- I didn't feel like a good person. When I was struggling with addiction, and I had problems with relationships, and money, and just doing things that were shady generally. I would disappear on the weekends.

Luke Storey: [00:15:18] I relate.

Robbie Bent: [00:15:19] And we can get bored with that too. But when I met her for the first time, I just felt like I was starting over. And if I just treated this person amazing, it would mean I was a good person. And so every day-- I've never raised my voice or said a negative word to hurt her feelings. And that was really important to me to start. The more I did that, the more it made me feel worthy. And so she taught me about what it means to love somebody and to be a real team. Because before that, everything, all relationships were somewhat selfish where I was like, what can I get from this?

Luke Storey: [00:15:51] Or transactional in some way.

Robbie Bent: [00:15:53] And even I had lots of friends. Always was like very social, but it never felt like, "Hey, this person would die for me." I'd never felt that. And so with her was-- and not only that this person would die for me because I'd had another relationship like that, but I would also die for them. And I was going to put everything on the line for them. 

And so she taught me to feel. Because of that, she was the first person I could be totally authentic with and share my secrets like, hey, I don't feel good about these things, and I'm struggling with this, and totally open book with no lies. And I'd never had a relationship like that. So now I think it's five and a half years. We just had a baby three months ago.

Luke Storey: [00:16:32] Congratulations. Wow. I didn't know that.

Robbie Bent: [00:16:34] Yeah. So that's been a crazy journey, but she has totally changed my life. And through her, around the start of sobriety journey, we started this business together. My entire life has changed. So she's taught me the most about just being open, and honest, and serving, and loving.

Luke Storey: [00:16:55] Awesome. I relate. So fortunate to have that experience, especially when you've had the converse experience before. I mean, in my case, through no one's fault but my own, in most cases at least. Yeah, that's beautiful. How about a third?

Robbie Bent: [00:17:11] So the third one is, before this role, I had always wanted to make money. That was my driving force out of school. So I was an investment banker. I worked in finance. It's like, "How do I make money the fastest?" And when that didn't work out, I was like, I'm going to do a startup. That's how I make money the fastest. And it was always operations, discipline, hard work. I never grew up in a house where creativity was prioritized. It was like, work hard, make money. 

And so I always thought of myself as an operator, somebody who gets shit done and is disciplined. And it was only in this last role where I've actually had a creative side, so designing some of these breath works, and scripts, and classes, and what is the brand and the storytelling around it. And our two leads in that space, Harry and Amanda, two of my best friends now, we met on this project and they're responsible for creating all the guide training, all the classes in the space, all the production that you hear on the app. 

They're creative wizards. I'll wake up one day and Harry will have made a theme song for Othership that he sent me and said, "Hey, man, I made this last night." It's like, what? Always having these amazing ideas. And so watching him and Amanda, his wife, for me, it's opened up something that, wow, you don't have to be this operator. You are creative and everyone's creative. Because I never played any musical instruments. I wasn't in any plays. I just never felt like I was a creative person. 

And so what I've learned over the last four years from watching him is that, yeah, I can be creative, and there's creativity in everything, even if it's just writing a script or telling a story. And when you are creative and feel that energy of making something, that's been some of the biggest joy I've had in my entire career. So the two of them, for helping me embrace creativity and understand that I have it has been extremely powerful.

Luke Storey: [00:19:00] That's beautiful. Yeah, it's interesting on the creativity. Because I've always thought of myself as someone creative. When I was a kid, I drew, I play music, I make content. But I've been recently in a similar way expanding my interpretation of creativity and thinking about other people's expression of that gift and what comes to mind as you, say, how you're exploring your creativity and seeing that it's multifaceted or at least looks different than someone traditionally who's created as an artist, let's say. 

Think about someone who's really good at Excel spreadsheets, which is to me I would rather have my toenails ripped off than even open an Excel spreadsheet, let alone try to read it. Worst case scenario, creating one. But that person who's maybe very left brain and analytical and good at math and things, that's creative to them. So I think you're so right. That's a really good point. Everyone is creative. We're constantly creating. It's just a matter of what it looks like. That's very cool. 

Before we get into more of the hot and cold therapy, and breathwork, and things you're up to with Othership, I would be remiss if I didn't ask you about your experience in the darkness retreat. I only know of this through my friend Aubrey, who I think I haven't seen yet, but I think did a short documentary about his experience. 

But the way he explained it to me was that it was, and this is a person that's done a lot of work with psychedelics and whatnot, said that it was as if not more powerful than any experience in which he's taken something exogenous to explore consciousness. So how long ago did you do that? What were the nuts and bolts of it? Where was it? And give me some of the the highlights of that reel, if you will.

Robbie Bent: [00:20:48] Yeah. Once a year I try to do some type of transformational work. And so one week, 10 days away with no phone. Could be a psychedelic retreat. It could be a vipassana or meditation style retreat. It could be something like the Hoffman process.

Luke Storey: [00:21:03] Did you do that? 

Robbie Bent: [00:21:04] The Hoffman I'm doing this June, so that's this year's.

Luke Storey: [00:21:06] Are you doing the one up in Napa?

Robbie Bent: [00:21:09] Calgary.

Luke Storey: [00:21:10] Oh, wow. They have one up there. Oh, cool.

Robbie Bent: [00:21:11] Yeah. There's a number.

Luke Storey: [00:21:13] Oh cool. Yeah, I did that a couple of years ago or a few years ago now, and did a podcast with one of the facilitators.

Robbie Bent: [00:21:19] Yes. It heard somebody messaged me over the break and was like, ah, this changed my life. It was one of our friends, Ben Kempton from the Buried Life, and he was like, "It's changed my life. You've got to go. Really. You've got to go." And I said, "You know what, fuck, I'm just going to book it now and make it work." Because all these things, it's like, "Oh, I've got to take a whole week off. It's not really a vacation."

Luke Storey: [00:21:37] Definitely not.

Robbie Bent: [00:21:38] Yeah. So I try to do that with no coffee, no caffeine, and just do a reset. And it's one year was the dark retreat. And before it, people were talking about it in our community. So we get a lot of people in Othership who are really interested in this stuff and, oh, have you heard about it? Have you heard-- I'm like, "What? What is this thing? It sounds insane." And then the more I looked into, it was like, "Whoa, this is actually a super advanced meditation practice." 

So in some Eastern cultures, it represents the time from death to rebirth, so going through the bardo, it's called. And so it'll be a 47-day dark retreat that people do through adolescence to adulthood to master dying and the process before rebirth. And it's very intense. You're sitting. After eight days, couldn't even imagine that. So I'd heard about it. I did a Google search. I found this place called Sky Cave Retreats. To my knowledge, I think the only place in the US, it's just outside of Ashland, Oregon.

Luke Storey: [00:22:34] Of course, it is.

Robbie Bent: [00:22:34] Amazing guy who runs it. I talked to him on the phone and he'd done six months on retreat and a year in the wilderness. And so I was just talking to this guy and he looks like he's figured something out, his energy. He just feels like somebody that I want to embody or that would be a good teacher. 

And so that really encouraged me. So I booked one out there and it's in the woods. You're out in the middle of the woods. They have this amazing commune. They have a massive garden on it where they grow all the food for the people that are staying there. 

And it was a whole different lifestyle. Just being part of that and seeing how kids could be raised outside of the city was really cool. And so you go in and there's not much training. It's just like, you're in. And you look around a little bit, shut the door, lights go out and you realize, I can't even see my hand in front of my face. Darkness.

Luke Storey: [00:23:25] Like a float tank.

Robbie Bent: [00:23:27] Yeah. And then you-- well, it doesn't adapt. And also I didn't memorize the room. So if you even move 15 degrees, a wrong turn, you're lost in this tiny room. So I'd have to be on my hands and knees, feeling around.

Luke Storey: [00:23:46] Oh, man. Hopefully there's no sharp objects in there.

Robbie Bent: [00:23:48] Well, it's a cave. There was just a bathtub. And I thought, when I saw it, this is so strange, why is there just this bathtub in the middle? And that was the saving grace of the experience because it was a little bit cold. And with the cold, the fear comes. Because the first two days-- I was afraid of the dark as a child. So in my basement, I would turn the lights off, it'd be dark. I'd run up the stairs like super afraid. I was afraid of horror movies, and a lot of those fears were triggered. 

So as a human being, light inside is where we get safety. So you wake up, first thing you do, you open your eyes, look around, I'm safe. I'm in this room, I'm alone. And so in the darkness, the first two days, you generally just sleep. There's no light. And so you have this long super dream-filled rest period. And I hardly left the bed. And if I was going to go to the bathroom, I'd feel a little bit nervous. You know no one's going to grab you, but you feel like maybe somebody is. 

And so there's just this subconscious, deep-seated fear from lacking sight, which was really interesting because you have to teach yourself to breathe in that state. And so the first two days were sleeping and then it was mastering fear and discomfort. And so I had asked him at night, "How do I do this? I'm struggling." So he would come once every night to drop off your food in a little-- they'd put it on one side and then you would open the other one in the dark, pull the food in.

Luke Storey: [00:25:09] Like a double door.

Robbie Bent: [00:25:11] Exactly. Exactly. And then eating, it all comes in Tupperware containers. You don't know what anything is. You're eating in the dark, sitting up.

Luke Storey: [00:25:18] Eating with your hands?

Robbie Bent: [00:25:19] Eating with your hands. They would have like a plastic cutlery around for things. But a lot of stuff was sandwiches and chips and stuff that's easy like apple that's easy to eat.

Luke Storey: [00:25:29] Was the taste of food different with all of your senses being deprived?

Robbie Bent: [00:25:32] It wasn't super different. It was just uncomfortable to just-- you realize how much we rely on sight as our dominant and primary sense. Everything.

Luke Storey: [00:25:44] Is there a toilet in this thing?

Robbie Bent: [00:25:45] There's a toilet. Yeah, there's a toilet with-- 

Luke Storey: [00:25:47] I was picturing a bucket.

Robbie Bent: [00:25:49] You obviously have to sit down. You have to find it. So there was running water and there was a bath. And so after--

Luke Storey: [00:25:54] You could take a hot bath?

Robbie Bent: [00:25:55] You could take a hot bath. And so that was dealing with the fear. You're cold. It's this cave. It's dark. You'd wake up and every time you'd wake up, there's a panic. It's a sense of like, "Where am I?" And you can't see anything. And it just felt like you're being compressed. And when I also went in, I think I was overworked, 16-hour days, coffee. I missed the flight because I was on Twitter at the gate. It was like you're driving a race car right into--

Luke Storey: [00:26:21] You're speaking my language, bro.

Robbie Bent: [00:26:23] The wall. 

Luke Storey: [00:26:23] I've missed many a flight in my day.

Robbie Bent: [00:26:25] And so this was like the-- it was going maximum stimulation to minimum. And I would have these dreams that I'd left. And then I was like, "No, I couldn't do it." And they were so vivid. And then I would wake up. And so in the space, I think some of the learnings I took away were just this one technique when you're feeling discomfort and fear, like deep fear, there was a way to breathe. And he had taught me. I said, "I am struggling." And so he taught me this technique of, okay, breathe, feel into your body, feel into your body, feel into your body. Let go, let go, let go. 

And then visualize a positive feeling, a time you felt positive before. Perhaps it was a time you were brave, or stood up to a bully, something like that. And sit with that feeling until you've shifted your state. And what's nice is in day to day, you just feel shitty. You just go on like, okay,  I'm busy. I've got my next email. I've got my thing. In the dark retreat, there's nothing else to do. So you're getting into the ice bath. 

You have to relax or else you're just going to be afraid the whole time. So it was a really nice way in a contained environment to deal with fear. I didn't find-- I think people might be disappointed that had done psychedelic medicines and are going and like, wow, it's going to be this psychedelic trip. It's more of a just an intense, as intense as it can be, meditation. Long, grueling. 

There's no spectacular fireworks and hard opening love. It was just, I'm here dealing with only my thoughts alone. And so in some ways it's a form of torture, but some ways it was super beautiful. So I would go be cold. Day three, I'm starting to get the hang of it, taking these warm baths and in the warm baths, expanding. So that was the big bath. You try to make that last an hour and a half and then around day three, four, some interesting opening started to happen.

Luke Storey: [00:28:16] And those are eight days?

Robbie Bent: [00:28:17] It was eight days. You can stay in as long as you want. I'd actually thought I got COVID about day three. This was in the big pandemic. It's scary. You don't know what's before the vaccines. And I started coughing. And so it was just-- I'd heard some horror stories on the way there and it's like I got the new strain. I'm going to die in here. They only come check on you once a day. And if you don't say anything, they might assume you're sleeping and I'm going to die in this cave. 

And so I was like, "You should leave. You're coughing so heavily, you should leave." And I was just like, fuck. I put on my email that I was going to go for this eight days, and I only make it three. I'm going to have to go back to the team and be embarrassed. It was just ego, self consciousness of, don't be a quitter. You can't quit. And then I realized I was allergic to something in the cave, some type of dust. 

And every time I was sitting on the meditation cushion they had, it would blow the dust in my face. And so I was coughing so violently. I just stuck it out. I was like, "There's no way you're going to quit." And so I stuck it out. I realized that. I stopped sitting on the cushion, and so it got better after that. But that was pretty hardcore fear of, what if you died here alone?

Luke Storey: [00:29:22] Also just facing that self imposed determination of failure. I mean, I'm the same way. When I commit to something I feel bad if I give up.

Robbie Bent: [00:29:36] There was also insecurity too. What are other people going to think? Who cares, really? But then, I put it out there that I was going to do it. And so it was an interesting test of will. And so you can go. You could do too if you just wanted to rest. It'd be such a nice weekend rest to just go in there and sleep for two days.

Luke Storey: [00:29:51] I think that would be a good starter for me.

Robbie Bent: [00:29:53] Yeah. Absolutely.

Luke Storey: [00:29:54] I do great in float tanks, which some people find to be really uncomfortable. Just the claustrophobia, the acute loneliness of just being somewhere where there's no stimulation. But I like it a lot and I go longer than the normal time allotted usually. But when I heard about this darkness retreat, I was like, "Oh, hell no." Which for me makes me want to lean into something when I have a fear. It's like, "What are you afraid of?" And I'm like, "I don't want to look at the thing I'm afraid of. But eight days, dude, that's a long time.

Robbie Bent: [00:30:28] It was long. Two things. So that was the first learning,which is dealing with fear and finding comfort in darkness. And as I was afraid of the dark as a child, there were these memories that came up of this movie, which is this movie. They're like these villains that terrified me in nightmares when I was five years old. 

And I could see visuals of these villains. But it was like they were retired. I'm like, "Oh, remember when we used to scare you as a kid? You're not afraid anymore." And so it was really a mastering of fear in a very long setting. So that was really interesting.

Luke Storey: [00:31:00] Like exposure therapy.

Robbie Bent: [00:31:01] Exactly. So that was really interesting. And everyone I told about this was like, "What are you talking about? This is insane." Nobody was like, "Fuck, yeah, I can't wait to do it." It's out there. And then the second thing that was really interesting was, in life, we're on the surface, almost all the time, especially in a standard life. And even with some of these practices, I'm doing this every day. Wake up. What's my task list? I'm checking my phone every hour. I've got these emails to send. I'm on social. It's just always stuff. 

And so you're only thinking about what you need to do to survive. And maybe you have your five-minute meditation practice. Maybe you have a moment that's inspiring or lovely. But even in a relationship, you get in these ruts and it's the same thinking patterns over and over and over. And so what this does, imagine you put up an umbrella and that same stuff that's raining down on you every day, all stimulation is gone. 

And so all of a sudden this clarity comes up, okay, I'm not thinking about what I have to do tomorrow, so I don't have anything to do. I'm just here. And so stuff starts to come up. Am I living a good life? Oh, wow, my parents are almost 70, mortalities. They might die soon. How am I going to feel about that? I'm halfway through my life, potentially. What kind of changes should I make? Wow, this is so boring. What is missing? Connection. What does that feel like? How great is life? So just having--

Luke Storey: [00:32:24] That's cool. 

Robbie Bent: [00:32:24] It's almost like you read all these books to get insights and it's just like, okay, if you just stop, the insights are there and you're just taking away everything that's distracting you from them. So instead of having to listen and get others insights, it's just a way to go as deep as you can into who you are mixed with, wow, this sucks and it's really long. And around day five, you can't really sleep anymore. 

Before day five, the dreams get incredibly vivid, almost. That part is almost psychedelic. And then the one other thing that is memorable still after, it's probably a year and a half, almost two years ago, was coming out. Probably one of the best moments or most memorable. I can still feel it in my body. It's about eight days. I'm like, hey, you know what-- the goal was to do 10, initially. And I say, "You know what, eight is fine. There's no more ego here."

Luke Storey: [00:33:17] How could you tell that it was eight? Did you ask them when they came in?

Robbie Bent: [00:33:20] So he comes once a day to deliver the food.

Luke Storey: [00:33:22] So you knew that he came.

Robbie Bent: [00:33:24] Exactly. You're like, no. There's nothing else to think about. You're like, okay, I made it. If I could just do one more hour.

Luke Storey: [00:33:31] You're scratching lines on the wall one.

Robbie Bent: [00:33:33] It's hardcore. And so I was like, "Okay, you know what? I've made it. This is good enough. I don't have anything else to prove. The ego of 10 days, it's stupid." You got what you needed. And I'm like, "I'm going to get out." As soon as I said, I'm going to get out of my mind, it was like a panic. So running, trying to find the door. Fuck, where is it? I can't get it open. I can't get it open. And you can leave any time. There's no person. It's not locked or anything. You turn on the light any time. 

And so I just finally pulled the door open. And it was in the morning, still dark and buzzing. That's how I would say it. So I open my eyes, open the door, it's dark, but it was like I could see every molecule in the air particles just buzzing. Wow, what is happening? And also the air in the cave wasn't super fresh. And so all of a sudden I'm in this mountain outdoor area. It felt like I was drinking cold water, by breathing. Just the most refreshing cold water. 

And so I laid on the ground, just breathing in for probably 20 minutes. And then slowly the sun started to come up. And at first you saw-- you realize that color is only a reflection of light. With no light, there's nothing. And so at first it was browns dark as the sun started to come up, and a bit of greens. I'm hugging the ground just looking. 

And then when the sun crested and I saw that first blue in the sky, and the sun hit me in the eye, it transported me to a moment when I was-- I don't know why this moment, but a moment with my dad skiing as a kid where I saw the sun, fully in that moment of just pure joy being a child. So just, wow. And I looked down the hill and this dog comes running up, massive sheep dog. And I just hugged the dog. It's the first person I've interacted with. And I end up going for a walk, putting on some music. 

They had a creek there, so I did a natural cold plunge in a beautiful sauna. And then I ate what I could see. And so in that two-hour, three-hour, four-hour stretch, just the beauty, absolute beauty of the simplest things of just seeing the sun, walking, breathing in fresh air, being with a dog, in a cold plunge, talking to people. 20 out of 10 life experience for the simplest, easiest things. So that was the third major learning was just a reset on gratitude for life. How good the small things are.

Luke Storey: [00:35:58] Wow. So cool. The way it was described to me included-- I don't know if this is scientifically accurate, but when you're in darkness for that long, you're going to produce more melatonin. And if there's no light, you won't make any cortisol. And then this melatonin has the capacity to downgrade or upgrade, I guess, in this case to endogenous DMT, which we know we have in our brains. Well, probably in our whole bodies. But you didn't have any far out visions other than your dreams. You never felt like a psychedelic or transcendent experience to the degree that one would with taking plant medicines or something of that nature?

Robbie Bent: [00:36:43] I thought there was transcendent experience in thought patterns, so there was heart openings in that same way, but they're earned. If you take 5-MeO, you're on the journey. It's going. You don't have control. You're just letting go. In this case, you're still cognizant the whole time. So there was no explosion. It was a slow, gentle build with state shift from lack of stimulation. And there are visuals. So you're looking in the dark and things are happening. 

There was moments where I felt like I was in a courtyard with dark-- almost in Harry Potter, Voldemort's layer, pretty scary shit, with these shadows that are coming and you can't really make it stop because you can't-- you close your eyes, it's the same thing. And so there are scary visuals, but it's not like an ayahuasca or DMT experience where it's like, pffft, I'm on this journey. 

So it was much more subtle, challenging. It's just a different thing. I wouldn't say it's better or worse. I would put like dark retreat here, psychedelic medicine experience here, deep meditation retreat here, and they're all different ways of getting to a similar place.

Luke Storey: [00:37:52] I like it. Yeah. The house of God has many windows. All right, so tell me the name of the place again.

Robbie Bent: [00:38:00] It was called Sky Cave Retreat.

Luke Storey: [00:38:01] Sky Cave Retreat. All right, you guys, we're going to put that in the show notes, which will be lukestorey.com/-- can't say S very well, slash Robbie lukestorey.com/robbie. We'll put that in there along with anything else we talked about today. 

A common request from Life Stylist listeners is a breakdown of my top five non-negotiable supplements. After a couple of decades of research, I'd have to say that vitamin K2 easily makes that list. Nearly every American adult has insufficient levels of vitamin K2. It's simply not available in the modern Western diet. 

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Okay. So let's talk about something we have in common, and that is our battles with addiction. What did that look like for you? What was your poison? Where did it take you? Give me the gnarls.

Robbie Bent: [00:40:31] I love stimulants. I always have. I did some genetics testing. My brain clears dopamine super fast. And so if I watch a Netflix show, I can watch 20 hours. If I'm reading a fantasy book, I can read the whole book in one sitting. If I'm working, I can go two days and I can get really ramped up. 

So if you're like, "Hey, man, let's compete at this thing." Boom, dopamine triggers, let's fucking go. And so for partying I started with alcohol in high school pretty early. Probably 14. Love cannabis, alcohol, graduated to ecstasy, then graduated to cocaine. And I was probably about 18, 19. And alcohol and cocaine became for me almost every single weekend throughout university.

Luke Storey: [00:41:18] And then the cocaine in your nose or in a pipe.

Robbie Bent: [00:41:20] In nose.

Luke Storey: [00:41:21] Did you ever hit the pipe?

Robbie Bent: [00:41:22] Never hit the pipe.

Luke Storey: [00:41:23] Smart man.

Robbie Bent: [00:41:23] Yeah. It wasn't a--

Luke Storey: [00:41:25] Very intelligent choice.

Robbie Bent: [00:41:26] Wasn't around my group of friends, so wasn't exposed to heroin or crack.

Luke Storey: [00:41:32] Probably because you didn't live in Vancouver.

Robbie Bent: [00:41:35] Yeah. Vancouver's a pretty gnarly spot.

Luke Storey: [00:41:39] I understand heroin is ubiquitous there.

Robbie Bent: [00:41:41] Yeah. So I just loved socializing, and I felt pretty insecure. And so for me, going out, first thing would be, in Toronto, is power drinking. I'd easily have six, seven, eight, 10 drinks, a gram of cocaine, two grams of cocaine. And I would be out until 6:00, 7:00 AM, something like that. And that was okay. 

It would happen just on the weekends and it was my early 20s. I got to be about like 27, 28, and it was really starting to impact my relationships and my work. So I started getting home 5:00 AM, 6:00 AM with a group of friends to-- okay, now I'm by myself and it's 11:00 AM, and it's the next day. And I'm drinking again, and it's 48 hours of partying.

Luke Storey: [00:42:29] That gives me chills. There's maybe no-- well, there's a lot of bad feelings in life, but one of the most creepy feelings that I experienced an untold number of times is when you're like coming down off drugs and the sun's coming up and the rest of the world is up getting ready for work and stuff. Because I used to-- well, I don't want to steal your story, but one quick story that was like at the lowest of lows in my addiction was when I was using a lot of crack, which was why I asked if you hit the pipe, which I would definitely not recommend to anyone ever do, even once. 

It's the worst fucking thing ever. I've been smoking crack all night, and then I would want to keep going. And so I'd still be going at 8 or 9 in the morning. I would walk around Hollywood Boulevard looking for dealers. Most of them would leave when the sun came up. And talk about the most demoralizing, shameful, depressing, sad thing in the world is watching other "normal people" waking up and starting their day and you're the fucking loser. And no judgment against people that are still doing that. 

If you're listening, I hope you make it through. But those were I think the darkest times for me, was not even those times alone with myself coming down. But coming down and trying to not come down while the world is spinning around you, especially in a big city and just being out with the bright sun just going like, "Oh, my God, dude, you are a fucking loser. Your life is over." 

And with the contrast, I guess the contrast of being around other people and the way that they probably see you as you are, a yellow, skinny, strung out kid on the streets of Hollywood, I mean, just the worst. If I've ever thought about, "Yeah, maybe I could have a glass of wine," I just go back there and I'm like, "Even if I could, I don't want to find out the hard way." So I stay on the path. But anyway, more about you. 

So this started to progress where it's not partying with the homies. You're waking up the next morning and you're supposed to show up somewhere and be responsible to someone or something and you're falling apart, I assume.

Robbie Bent: [00:44:35] Yeah. So a couple things that came to mind. I moved into this really nice hotel in Toronto and I'm trying to run a startup, and it's no longer Friday and Saturday night. That's happening and I'm missing work on Monday. Then it's I'm going out for a glass of wine on Wednesday and it's, oh, maybe just a little bump, a little bump and to go to sleep. That's in my mind. I'm just going to take a little bit of coke and go to sleep. And then it would be once a week. I would be showing--

Luke Storey: [00:45:02] I love the logic there.

Robbie Bent: [00:45:03] Oh, one drink's fine. Little bump, it'll be super fun. And then I'd be driving into work without sleeping, machine gunning cigarettes, red-eyed. Even if you take two showers, you still smell like alcohol and drugs. And I would drive into work and then go into work and I was like, what am I-- and I would sleep in my car midday when I came down, in the back seat, and I'd bring a pillow. And a couple moments, I was living in this super fancy hotel and I would be up all night and the bar would open at 11:00 AM. And so I would be waiting 11:00 AM and I would go down to the bar.

Luke Storey: [00:45:37] It's a long wait. The liquor stores in Hollywood would open at 6:00 AM and that was a long way. 11:00 AM, I couldn't make it.

Robbie Bent: [00:45:45] And so I would have a baseball cap on. I'd go down and just order four shots and a bottle of wine to take up to my room. And I can only imagine what the person is thinking. This guy's red-eyed. He just, on his own, Thursday morning, drinks four shots and goes up to his room. And so that period was probably two, three years of, whoa, this doesn't feel good. This isn't normal. This isn't just-- in university it was normal. And there'd be a big group. Everyone goes out for brunch the next day. Didn't feel like a problem. 

Even in my early 20s, it didn't feel like a problem. And then around 26, 27, this stuff started happening as a kid. You're walking around in the daytime looking at people like, this is a fucking problem. And then I tried Cocaine Anonymous, tried Alcohol Anonymous, didn't really work for me. I tried a Vipassana retreat, which worked a little bit and it was the final straw. It was an ayahuasca ceremony. Not the first time, but the second time I went to Peru. And I really went with the intention of like, I don't want to do cocaine ever again. 

And through that ceremony, I realized, okay, well, the problem is alcohol. You're having two drinks and it's loosening your willpower. You're putting yourself in these situations all the time. Why? And so that's when it finally stopped. But I tried to quit for three, four years. Would have two months sobriety and then step back and feel guilty and then would have these binges. And then about 30, 31, moved to Israel, did the Vipassana. A few months later, did the ayahuasca. And then I've been sober ever since.

Luke Storey: [00:47:13] Wow. Good for you, man. I find that this path-- when I got sober, your only options were going to a treatment center, followed by a lot of 12-step meetings, which I took to like a fish to water. And it worked for me great until now, 25 years later. But a few years ago, I started to meet people. And this is what actually led me into having the curiosity to explore plant medicines and whatnot in an intentional way, obviously. But I started meeting people like you that were like, oh, I was on coke, I was drinking, blah, blah, blah, and I couldn't stop myself. 

And I went and participated in a ceremony and I got sober. And I remember when I first started meeting-- it was on the podcast I started meeting people that had that experience. And I'm like, this makes no sense because the paradigm of sobriety I come from, which is the most well-tested and well-worn, at least in our recent history, there were probably sober people and tribal nations and things that used plant medicines before. But as far as Western culture, 1935 Alcoholics Anonymous, pops out of nowhere, and has affected millions and millions of people's lives positively. 

But part of that model is total abstinence because, like you explained, that was my experience too. I'd be like, well, I just got to lay off the coke or the heroin, or whatever, but I can still drink. And then this inevitably would always end up at the same destination no matter what the initial substance was. So I started meeting people. The way I interpreted it in the beginning was like, "Wait, you did drugs and it made you get off drugs. How does this make sense?" 

But over the years, of course, I've learned and I think just grown more curious about that phenomenon and I think what it is is that what Alcoholics Anonymous does, I mean, it does a lot. But at the core of it, really, the stated purpose of that program, for example, is to elicit a spiritual experience. 

And the funny thing about this is, and I've done some podcasts touching on this, the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous, and let's just call that all of the 12 steps, and all of its permutations, and all the different problems people have. There's an anonymous for just about any personality disorder or addiction. 

But it was founded upon the co-founders, Bill Wilson's famous white light experience, which he experienced in the DTs and a treatment center in a hospital a couple of days after he had been weaned off of alcohol with a plant medicine called belladonna. It was this formula that used to use to dry drunks out. And so he had this psychedelic experience a couple of days later, had a spiritual experience on the natch and got sober from that. And then the rest is history. And then he sought out to help people have a spiritual experience. 

So from that perspective, it actually makes sense that if someone has a deeply transcendent experience using "a drug" 5-MeO, ayahuasca, psilocybin, LSD, whatever it is, it makes sense that one could have the experience of the divine, of God, of higher states of consciousness that could then render them sober. And you're not the first person I met that's had this experience. 

The interesting thing to me about it is that just having a peak or a series of peak experiences, it could remove that demon from your personality, that glaring flaw of addiction. But it doesn't necessarily give you a framework of principles by which to live that change your moral compass and your inherent character. So there's no question in this. I'm just kind of sharing my perspective with you. 

It seems that one not only needs a deeply transformative experience, but following that, and I guess this is what we call integration in the realm of working with medicines and stuff, is that one needs some philosophy or framework by which to live so that you can-- or practices which we're about to talk about. I like to share this because I have had a lot of experience in these realms at this point. 

You have to have some-- well, you have to do anything, but I think the longevity of one's sobriety and quality of life is not only dependent on that peak experience, but in the unfolding of some spiritual framework or practices that keep you going, whether or not you choose to go have one of those experiences again. 

So you got sober on this ayahuasca retreat in Peru. How did things like breathwork and hot and cold therapy that have now merged into this thing that I'm seeing as going global for you, that's my vision for you with Othership, how did you start using those as integration tools to keep that going? And what other teachings or tools have you used? You mentioned Vipassana retreats so that you have something of your own to build on. 

Because one can get sober-- there's an old saying in AA, what do you get when you sober up a horse thief? You've got a sober horse thief. And when I first got sober, dude, I used to steal from my job. I was a scoundrel, but I was sober. So I didn't have the morals and the compass to guide me yet. And thankfully, I hopefully have learned that by now. Definitely not stealing from anyone. 

So what was your experience of that afterward? How did you start to integrate some of these other practices so that you weren't like, oh, bing, my head got blown off by ayahuasca and now I'm just back to being me again?

Robbie Bent: [00:53:04] I mean, this is such a good point in the conversation because you hear so much of-- oh, and even the way I was telling the story, it wasn't the ayahuasca that got me sober. It was the ayahuasca that gave me a period of time to make habit change. And so when you come back from that first experience, I feel amazing, I can do anything, my willpower is stronger.
Every time I do one of these transformational experiences, especially with psychedelics, I feel there's a window to make change in behavior, but it's not sufficient to guarantee you'll make that change. And so there's a-- Gabor Mate has a movie, The Jungle Prescription, and they send heroin addicts to do ayahuasca.

Luke Storey: [00:53:44] Oh, I haven't seen that.

Robbie Bent: [00:53:45] Yeah. The remission rate, spoiler alert, is or whatever-- I don't know if remission rate is the right word, but the people who are doing drugs, relapse rate, 99%. Massive.

Luke Storey: [00:53:56] God, I can't believe that.

Robbie Bent: [00:53:57] Well, the problem is if you go back-- and I've actually seen this with friends as well, were like, "Hey, man, you quit drugs. What did you do? Oh, this retreat, I want to go." And it's hard going through the ayahuasca. It's brutal, but it's still easy. It's seven days, 10 days. You do some journaling, you do a diet, you go.

What's hard is you come home and same friends, same job, same thought patterns. You don't change your thought patterns you've been building, if you're 40, if you're 30, since you were three, four or five years old. You can't just-- I have the same things I'm working on for 10 years. It's the same intentions, the same deep down inner critic. 

So then you come home and the chances are that you are changed. As you said, they're not. You're just sober. And so for people who are listening, I think the plant medicines help give you a chance to change, but then the change comes at home. So what worked for me, what was super lucky, is that my I met this partner and she was super into health and wellness. And so it was, hey-- 

Luke Storey: [00:54:53] You're like, well, I better get on this or she's going to be gone.

Robbie Bent: [00:54:56] And she supported me. So one thing, I'm not different. I still have problems with dopamine and excessive stimulation. So I drink coffee.

Luke Storey: [00:55:05] Freshening ups.

Robbie Bent: [00:55:06] Yeah. So that I try not to do. But I love coffee, I love work. So now my addiction is work. It's slightly more healthy, but it's still not great. I love ice baths. Anything that's going to make me feel alive, I'll do it. And so it's taking-- look, you can't just become abstinent at your house having no fun sitting there. So it was the impetus for Othership was like, "Can we make something at night?" 

I don't want to go to AA. I don't want to sit in a church basement. It works for some people. It made me feel not good. And I also didn't want to go to therapy. I'd go one to one, and I do Zoom, and it's valuable, but it's not like Friday night. Let's do a therapy session. And I didn't want to be in restaurants. I didn't want to be in bars, didn't want to be in nightclubs, because that would lead to, "Oh, yeah, I can have a drink." 

And so my wife and I, she was like, "Oh, why don't we go try this ice bath? I've heard about it on these wellness podcast. Let's go do it." So we found a Russian spot 30 minutes out of town in a little strip mall. We went to this bathhouse, and our first date was a sauna and cold plunge.

Luke Storey: [00:56:03] Great plan. Great first date.

Robbie Bent: [00:56:06] Fuck, this is amazing. 

Luke Storey: [00:56:07] One, if you didn't like it, you could have compatibility issues.

Robbie Bent: [00:56:11] Yes. So we did that. And usually you're on a date, you're like, "Oh, do I look cool? what am I going to say? Do I have any jokes to tell?" We were nervous and it was just the ice bath. You're both feeling, you're pinging. No one's on their phone. You're in a bathing suit and a robe. You're not all dressed up. And it just was amazing. 

And so we started doing that every single weekend for years while I worked at Ethereum. We lived in San Francisco. We lived in Berlin. We'd always grab a crew on a Friday night and be like, "Hey, well, let's all go to the bathhouse together." We make WhatsApp groups, it'd be a conference, let's all go to the bathhouse. And every time, the next day, you'd wake up and it gives you that stimulation that you're getting from drugs, but in a healthy way. It's actually raising your sustained dopamine levels. 

So if you struggled with cocaine and stimulants, the ice bath can help re-pattern. And so you hear a lot about it for inflammation and immune system and all these things. And it's great. It's definitely a biohacking tool. But for me it was a re-patterning for drug addicts. And I've actually seen one to-- legitimately 100% of people that like cocaine use will love the ice bath. So it's nature's cocaine in some ways. 

So you're feeling this massive boost in dopamine, but it's healthy. And so that is a tool daily, extremely powerful. That combined with breathwork, the ability to shift my state. I needed to do things that were fun for me. So having a supportive partner that was down to adventure and keep me honest but still leaning into my personality. And some of these things that an addict has are super powers, so I can outwork anybody. I can get--

Luke Storey: [00:57:42] That's very true.

Robbie Bent: [00:57:43] And so it's just leaning into what is my personality and I'm not changing it, but putting guardrails in place with friends and family and then if I need stimulation, yeah, I'll do an ice bath. I'll maybe do deep breath work. And so those tools were the bazooka for people who are struggling to maybe meditate or therapy is not working. These are things that change your state instantly, that reset your neurochemistry, that make you feel better. 

So that for me was-- the goal was, okay, meditation sort of works, psychedelic sort of work, but they're not really working for my friends. Meditation is really hard. It requires a ton of discipline. You sit down and your mind's racing. It's like, "Am I doing this right?" You can do it for 30 days and still feel, I don't know if I've got it. So most people fall off. And then therapy, there's massive lines. It's quite expensive. You have to bare your soul to people. So there's a lot of friction for both of those. 

Whereas you jump in an ice bath, you do some breathwork, you listen to some music, you make both of those fun and community-driven. There's almost no friction to get started. So those tools for me, when I started doing them, they really took away the urge to take drugs. And I knew if I wanted to take drugs, I would do that instead. And eventually the urge to do drugs, I just stopped thinking about it.

Luke Storey: [00:58:58] Wow. So cool. Yeah. I'm envious of youngsters like you that were able to have access to those experiences early on. I suffered for quite a few years when I first got sober because, I mean, I was actually going to Russian banyas and Korean spas and doing hot and cold, and stuff like that in all kinds of different-- before it was called biohacking, doing biohacking stuff, the infrared saunas and all the things. Colonics were big back in the day, in the '90s. 

But I think now, like God, if I would have someone turn me on to microdosing, breathwork, daily hot and cold, and being able to do those things with like-minded people, I would have had, I think, much less suffering. But it's what is, the suffering, of course. It probably has a lot to do with why I sit down and talk to people like you and share these conversations. So I want to alleviate for other people. 

But I just want to tell you, you're lucky you came into the sober game at the time you did, especially since sitting in church basements and AA meetings didn't resonate with you for whatever reason. I might add too that not all meetings are created equal, you know.

Robbie Bent: [01:00:01] Absolutely. I think this is a fantastic program. It's helped millions of people. It's just, for me, the few that I went to, I just felt like there's something wrong with me.

Luke Storey: [01:00:12] Okay, everything has its level of consciousness, including each collective consciousness of every little micro 12-step group out in the world. And I don't go to meetings personally myself at this point in my life, but I did for a long time. And I mean, if you walked into one that was low consciousness, it could definitely be less than helpful. And there are others you walk in and you're just like, "Oh, my God, the love in this room is transformative." 

And you see street people starting to come into the meeting and a couple of weeks go by and now the guy's showered and is sober and his mental illness is improving. I mean, it's incredible. But it doesn't necessarily appeal to all people. So I'm excited that there are other ways that you're describing now in your path. There are a lot of other alternatives for people that are suffering and need a different flavor. 

And I think you can-- combining all of those things, whatever combination suits your personality type, you can make it much further, much faster, in terms of just regaining your true self and developing spiritual practices that help you not only feel better, but become a productive member of society and do things like you're doing with Othership. The land is rich now with opportunities for people, especially people with addictions. So thank you for sharing that. 

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What's happening in your Toronto location? Which I'm really disappointed, it sounds very far, and thanks for the invite in February. I have other plans, but it sounds hella far for me. Living in the middle of Texas, you realize everything's super far. It's like living on an island. It's weird. But on your site, there's a few photos where you can see these giant 50-person saunas. It looks super vibey. It does not look like an old school Russian banya or Korean spa in a mini mall in the suburbs. It looks super high level. 

So what's the space like? What are the experiences like? And who builds your freaking saunas? They look really cool.

Robbie Bent: [01:03:48] Yeah. So Harry and Amanda, who I had mentioned, had trained in Europe to be Aufguss sauna masters. So it's a term, I think, originated maybe Germany/Finland. And it's a performative art. So it's the use of essential oils and different smells, different temperatures, dancing, waving the towel to create performance. And so our classes are partly inspired by the traditional Aufguss which they live in, trained. Harry and Amanda, myself, Miles, we've been to over probably 100 bathhouses worldwide, and they were so detail-oriented. 

They would go in the saunas, measure them, look exactly what they were, and ask about what wood-- they trained with one of the world champions and lived at his house for a bit of time. So they actually custom-built the sauna, the dimensions, the heater. So it's an internal expertise. And then we have an amazing designer who created like the vibe. 

And so the space itself is meant to feel like a social space, but also we call it the House of Transformation. And so there's three types of classes. And so it's, to my knowledge, the first ever emotional wellness classes in a sauna and ice baths at that scale. So you'll come in, there's a guide, there's a fire. Everyone sits around the fire in stadium seating. And the classes have--

Luke Storey: [01:05:09] Is this inside the sauna or the tea room.

Robbie Bent: [01:05:11] This is out in the tea room.

Luke Storey: [01:05:13] Oh. There's an actual fire?

Robbie Bent: [01:05:14] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:05:16] Perfect.

Robbie Bent: [01:05:16] You meet in the tea room, and the idea is humans have gathered around a fire for since the beginning of time. And we wanted to create a place where you can-- it's hot and cold, but socializing is important. So you'll come in, the classes might be one of three things. So there's upper classes and that's almost like a fitness class. 

So you'll have vocalizations and roars, movement, maybe some squats, really getting the energy up. The music might be electronic or hip hop. It's very much like if you've been to Barry's or SoulCycle. It's that vibe. It's really ramping up your energy. And there's down classes.

Luke Storey: [01:05:48] Like the app. You have up, down and then all around. That's the third one.

Robbie Bent: [01:05:52] Yeah. So the down classes are meditative. So think candlelight, sound baths, introspection, asking questions about your emotions, some gentle stretching, very relaxing.

Luke Storey: [01:06:01] That's more of my stays.

Robbie Bent: [01:06:02] Yeah, a little more exciting than a traditional meditation class. So you've got the hot coal to help you break down those barriers. And then the signature classes are the all around. And these are really meant to be therapy lite classes. And so your anger release, your shame release. We have called the Rose Thorn bud. So the rose is your best moment of your year with rose essential oil on the stove. Then it's your thorn what you're struggling with. 

Lights go out in the sauna. Someone's playing a gong. You bring to mind that moment. You scream it out. Fifty people just, aaah. Then it moves into your bud. So it's your intention for the year. So you're slowly teaching people these emotional regulation qualities. Because in a sauna there's no phones, you're actually captive. Whereas in a workout class you're working out. So you have someone for 15 to 20 minutes to teach them a skill or take them through a journey. 

So each class has tower-waving performance, different sense, and then some emotional regulation. There's a couples class where you come in, you'll do three minutes of massage. Your partner will massage you for three minutes. You'll do some eye gazing. You'll go in the tub together. You'll come out. You'll hug each other to warm up. So it's a mixture of classes every day. Drop in. So it's midday. You just want to-- you're in town. We want to go for coffee, we go for a quick, hot cold instead. 

And then at night, there's socials. Because the big thing was, do people want wellness parties? And all our backgrounds are in hospitality. And my partner owned a bunch of restaurants, nightclubs. He's also on a sobriety journey as well. And so can we create-- we go Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night vibe. And so that's been-- that was the question and something that now is slammed 

And so you want to meet a girl, you want to go on a date, you want to have a birthday, you want to bring a bachelorette, you want to go with friends, but in a way that it's not people wasted, falling all over. So we had a party on New Year's, complimentary. We just told everyone in the community, "Hey, if you want to come, it's free tonight. We're going to be sharing lockers, don't bring any valuables." 

And we programmed a 10-minute breathwork, started at 11:50, ended at midnight on a hold, 10, 9, 8, with a giant roar of excitement with 100 people in the space all doing the breathwork and then high fiving, giving hugs. And so it's like that's a moment that's usually spent in a nightclub wasted. But now you're still doing it socially, but actually setting a real intention for the new year. So the space is really a combo of emotional, wellness, work and making it cool. 

It doesn't have to be, I'm going to my therapist because I'm depressed. It can be, twice a week I work on love and kindness at Othership. I go and I think of people I love and I do it in the hot and cold, and it's my emotional wellness practice. And then at night, if you need that stimulation, you don't want to drink, you want to go out, you want to party, but in a way that's healthy, is that too.

Luke Storey: [01:08:44] Wow. Can I give you some unsolicited business advice?

Robbie Bent: [01:08:49] Yeah. Let's go.

Luke Storey: [01:08:50] I say you cancel the leases in New York, get one here in Austin. I would be on that shit on the regular. I'm kidding about canceling, obviously. you couldn't and wouldn't, but are there any plans by chance of exploring here?

Robbie Bent: [01:09:04] Surprisingly, that's why I'm also here.

Luke Storey: [01:09:06] No way, dude.

Robbie Bent: [01:09:07] Yeah. So I'm looking at two spaces.

Luke Storey: [01:09:09] We need you, bro.

Robbie Bent: [01:09:10] 2025, end of 2024 would be the goal, but we'll see. And again, very, very early. But exploring two spaces.

Luke Storey: [01:09:18] Well, I can tell you there is a massive, you've probably already figured out, a massive community of like-minded people here I think many of whom, like me, have moved from New York or LA and wanted a little mellower life, and a bit more freedom, or whatever called us here. But man, I mean, you could throw a rock and hit someone that's into breathwork and hot and cold. I mean, it's just like, I don't ever meet anyone here that doesn't have that as a lifestyle practice. So please do. Humble request. 

In the meantime, I'll use the app in my own ice bath and sauna, invite a couple of homies over. But that's just-- man, I think you're onto something so, so cool there. You're going to put a lot of therapists, God bless them, out of business because so much can happen in community and state change and intentions and all the things that you were describing. With your model in Toronto, you have you have-- what did you say? A tea room or something?

Robbie Bent: [01:10:14] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:10:15] Have you guys played around with serving kava or anything like that in there?

Robbie Bent: [01:10:19] So we haven't. Now, this is-- it was the smallest possible space. It's probably the smallest bath house in the world. It's only 3,000 square feet, but still a 50-person sauna, four ice baths, tea room. And the goal was, hey, do people want this? Does the average Joe or Jane want to come in and work on their emotions? And we were like, okay, we think it's amazing, but are we crazy? And the result after one year is, yeah, people 100% want this.

Luke Storey: [01:10:43] You got a waitlist.

Robbie Bent: [01:10:44] Yeah. So the new spaces are a 100-person sauna, eight ice baths, quite a bit bigger tea room. So in this space we had no room for-- we just have on tap sparkling water, water, teas, all that stuff's complimentary. And then it was very much a very low frills in terms of amenities. So something like having a kava night would be amazing, you know?

Luke Storey: [01:11:09] Have you ever tried this drink called Feel Free?

Robbie Bent: [01:11:11] I have. The kratom and kava combination?

Luke Storey: [01:11:14] Yeah. I always issue a caution there. I don't ever drink a whole one. I think it says on the bottle, drink a quarter, which is about what I drink. But if you drink a whole one of those, you're lit. That's pretty strong but it makes some people nauseous, I think, because of the kratom and whatnot. But I hit them. I keep a case of it around. And I like to do a little quarter oftentimes. I forgot today, but I'll do it before a podcast. 

But I find that particular drink is a really great social lubricant. And if you just use a quarter dose, you can make a mocktail that's tasty with some juice or sparkling water or whatever. And it tastes really good. And it's the best. As a former avid fan of alcohol, I would say in 25 years, it's by far the best alcohol substitute that I found that is relatively free of side effects if you go easy on it.

Robbie Bent: [01:12:06] If any of your listeners want an opportunity here, when we open these two spaces in New York, this isn't really our expertise, we'd rather partner. So if people have good ideas, they want to send us for non-alcoholic beverages, send away and we'll be happy to partner.

Luke Storey: [01:12:21] Yeah. We need to have like a tonic bar and just have different options or even things that are stimulating too for people that want to buzz that way.

Robbie Bent: [01:12:29] No nootropics, potentiates. Stuff that's legal.

Luke Storey: [01:12:31] Yeah, absolutely. Super cool. Let's talk about the app. So I got the app. You guys sent me a link and thank you for that, by the way. The other day I emailed you and I was using it wrong. I didn't think I was logged in, but I just wasn't hitting the right buttons and you were like, "Give Luke lifetime access." So thank you for that. That was really an amazing gift, one of the many benefits of having a podcast.

But in anticipation for our conversation today, I was like, "Well, I need to do a bunch of these so I really can speak from experience." And dude, I got to say, it's freaking badass. I mean, I love breathwork. It's something that I've been doing for a long time, but it's also something that I'm not going to go full on unless I'm in a group session with the sound bath and the whole thing. 

If I come up here in the loft and do some breathwork, I'm going to do five minutes or something. And just get a little buzz and activate or calm down, whatever I'm going for. I'll do some Kundalini yoga or kriya or something like that, which is how I first got into-- I don't call it breathwork, but there's a lot of advanced breathing stuff within that tradition that can be pretty profound, but I just won't do it. 

It's like working out, man. If I go work out with some buddies or God forbid, go to a gym, yeah, I'll put in an hour. If I work out on my own, I'm going to go get my X3 bar in the backyard for five minutes and be like, "Yeah, good job, Luke." I'm out. It's not called-- I think I said this in one of y'all's promos, that they don't call it breathwork for nothing. The ramp up period, and you guys say this a lot in the guided sessions on the app. 

You're like, "Okay, guys, I know this is hard right now, but we're almost to the threshold." And it's so true in breathwork, where you start doing it, it is like working out, depending on the style. But it's like, oh, God, and I don't want to do this. I don't to do this. There's resistance. But then you do hit this threshold and you just gain momentum. Like running, I'm not a big jogger, but you run, it sucks at first and then you hit your stride and you're like, I could do this forever. It's really like that. 

But a couple of things I like about the app is that there is such a variety of duration. Sometimes I don't want to do an hour. I want to do 10 minutes, or 30 minutes, or whatever. But if I want to do an hour and go deep, which I've done, I think the Third Eye one was about an hour, then it's there. And an hour sounds like a long time, but once I get in there and get activated, next thing you know, they're like, "Okay, last song." So I like that. And also the music is really good and there's a lot of variety in the music. And now, I think, know Amanda and Harry. They're some of the leaders.

Robbie Bent: [01:15:10] Yeah. Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:15:11] Guides. Yeah. So your voice, I know, prior to meeting you. Their voices. I like that there's a couple of different guides and many of them. So you'll be doing it and then Amanda takes over and there's all these different little sections and I find that there's enough novelty in it that it keeps my interest. And I did, two nights ago, one of the 10-minute sleep ones. And I'll be honest, I was a little skeptical.
I'm like, "Nothing makes me tired." I literally just have so much energy. It's very hard for me to go to bed. Once I go to bed, usually I sleep well, but getting there, it's hard to get myself in bed and relax. And I was like, "You know what? I'm going to try it," because I'm doing this interview. I want to see what happens. 

Dude, I was falling asleep at the end of the 10 minutes and I was bummed. I had to get up and put my headphones away. I was like, oh, man, I want to do this and just be ready to actually fall asleep, which I was. And I still had to get up and turn the lights off and stuff. So I was like, "You guys cracked the code." So congrats on that. 

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Questions would be around when I'm experiencing the app is, where does the music come from, and how did you guys figure out how to do the sequencing of breath? Something I found unique about it in contrast to past breathwork that I've done. There's a lot of variation. There's the inhale 12 and then exhale 15, and then it jumps to two seconds in, two seconds out. And there's all these different changes that seem to be ubiquitous throughout the few journeys that I've tried. 

So who's doing the music? How did you guys come up with how to do the breathwork? And after you answer that, let's get into some of the science for the science-minded people that are finding the rest of this way to woo-woo.

Robbie Bent: [01:18:40] Yeah, let's do it. So I think a mixture of just being hardcore power users of breathwork. And so we had first tried Wim Hof and that was the app regulated style cyclical breathing. Wow. This is, holy shit, 15 minutes. You can feel this. This is changing your state. Wow. And so then we started-- read James Nestor's book, Breath.

Luke Storey: [01:19:05] I'm the only idiot that hasn't read that book yet. Everyone's read it except me. I need to get on that. Thank you.

Robbie Bent: [01:19:11] So it's great. It just explains the science behind why breath is important, why it's the fourth pillar of health, which we'll get into. But so the intellectual piece was like, wow, this is supremely good for you, and you can actually change your state. You can really shift up or down. You're moving between states of the nervous system, the sympathetic versus parasympathetic. So we learned about that. 

And through that, tried every style of breathwork. Kapalbhati, box breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, all these different patterns, and realized, from reading tons of research papers, that inhaling is increasing your heart rate. You are blowing off a lot of carbon dioxide. You are constricting your blood vessels. You're creating a fight or flight state. Long, slow exhales, deep into the bottom of the lungs, creating parasympathetic rest and digest state.
So everything came from, okay, you can like go into fight or flight, you can go into rest and digest. So when we create a session, it's like, well, what are we trying to do here? If we're trying to sleep, long, slow exhales, a lot of breath retentions, slower and less inhale. So maybe you inhale for three, exhale for eight. And so very basic principles.

Luke Storey: [01:20:19] I'm doing those right now, by the way.

Robbie Bent: [01:20:20] Yes. So it's beautiful. So that was like, okay, well, if we're going to do a sleep or some type of down regulated emotion, great. Then on top of that, we started layering in, asking customers, hey, what do you want? Some people would say, "Oh, we want the deep psychedelic ones." Okay, great. We know that that's going to be 40 minutes to an hour to create a turn off of the default mode network, the part of the mind that's always on with judgment. 

You're actually physically turning that off by slowing the oxygen absorption into the brain. You're sending signals to the limbic system. You're reducing your sense of self, your sense of memory. So you're creating not quite psychedelic, but similar state. And in that state, you're processing emotion. So it's like, okay, well, what emotions can we process? Anger, grief, shame. So we'll listen to our customers. 

Someone will say, "Oh, I'm really struggling with anger. I just got out of a breakup." So we have on cutting the cord for a breakup. So the goal was to combine breathwork patterns, which we knew through the science, with incredible music. So the music, we partner with DJs or use Royalty Free libraries, and Harry's a producer. He's a magical being that does all these things. But so he'll sit there and once we've decided on the breath pattern, the emotion, we'll then talk to therapists about, what is the language here? So is it-- there's one with an amazing inner child release.

There's another about forgiveness, and we use technical exercises that therapists will use. And so it's a combination of the breathing patterns, the visualizations, and the language, and the music. And the goal is, let's not make it like a meditation. Let's make it like your favorite song on Spotify where it's like when you're doing Third Eye, it's like you're listening to a dope set. 

There's another one on there called Roller Coaster, and the DJ is this person with flying colors who's a Burning Man DJ, and he made that custom set. And in that one, instead of the standard breathing patterns, we were like, "Let's design the breath to the music." So sometimes it'll be in 12 out six because the music demands it. And so it makes it more-- every session is a work of art, so it makes it entertaining. 

Yeah, I'm fucking listening to this wicked set, I'm breathing to it, I'm creating a state change. Oh, shit. That's what happens when I go to a nightclub. So it was really thinking through a combination of science, music, visualizations, and language to be able to help you shift your state five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, whatever you need.

Luke Storey: [01:22:40] That's really interesting about the language of working with therapists, because I have also noticed and I'm-- I don't know, maybe it's just my judgmental, critical mind. But when it comes to music, a, I'm super critical, very picky music person. Of course, I think the stuff I like is the best. Probably isn't to you or anyone else, but to me it is. So the music's really good. But also I didn't find-- I think a couple of days ago I did the affirmations one and I put it on. 

I was like, ah, affirmations, basic. I'm like, what am I going to learn from this? Not going into it with a negative mindset, but not really high expectations. You're like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Affirmations. I get it." But I think because I was in such a deep state from the breath and I was also, I think pretty much every time I've done it, well, almost every time has been under the Lucio light which is a show I've done in the past. 

We'll put the Lucio light episode in the show notes again at-- what was it? lukestorey.com/robbie. But I'm in this really transcendent experience. And then those affirmations were actually very meaningful and things that I would work with outside of an app. I mean this is language that I understand and use and I didn't find it to be corny at all. You know what I mean? Sometimes, I don't know, you're in a yoga class.
You travel to a small town. It's like, some mom that went to a yoga teacher training two weeks ago and is guiding you through something and you're kind of like, ah, this is campy or corny or not that deep, or you don't relate for whatever reason. And I was pleasantly surprised that that element, the actual words chosen, the dictates of, say this inside and stuff, are actually very deep and profound, including the one that I did last night. 

Alyson's had this cedar fever thing that we heard about in Texas and I have yet to experience. But unfortunately, she's had this thing going on for the past week. So doing breathwork has not been on the top of her agenda. But I coerced her into doing it last night in anticipation for our interview. So we did the 30-minute-- what was it? I took a note of it. The couple's energy 30-minute thing, and she obliged. 

And the prompts in it were so beautiful that at the end of it, dude, I mean, I'm generally more emotional than she is, I was bawling, dude. We're laying together, holding hands. I love you so much. But a lot of it was from the breath, but equally so from the prompts. I mean, these are things that I want to think about, moments in which I experienced kindness or love from her. And thinking about those and actually having the practice to go, "Wow, this person really does love me." 

And here are all the instances that I have in my memory bank that I can pull up and actually refill those. It was really beautiful. However, during the experience last night, our little dog, Cookie, there that I think is probably out of the camera's reach, was laying right there under the table. And right when we started doing the deep breathing, the inhales, she ripped the gnarliest, silent but violent fart. I mean, it was actually hilarious because we both at the same moment were like, "Fucking cookie."

And I realized maybe sometimes the dog should have her own space and intimate moments like that. But yeah, it was hilarious. So in 30 minutes we had laughter, tears, depth, deep intimacy with the eye gazing portion. That was another part of the prompts that were really beautiful. It's like, we do that, but I'm not necessarily going to just do that on a Tuesday night unless I'm like, "Hey, in a half an hour, can I borrow you? Let's have a little 30 minute experience." So I like the intentionality of that, especially doing it with the partner. That was really cool. 

So those are some of my personal anecdotal experiences thus far. I'm a huge fan. I'm super into it. Not just saying that because you're here, but it's very cool. Aside from your own journey that you've expressed here today, what transformations have you seen with other people in your space in Toronto or reflections from people using the app? What crazy stuff are you seeing from people in terms of emotional breakthroughs and things of that nature?

Robbie Bent: [01:27:07] It is insane. I never would have expected this in my wildest dreams. It's at a point now where I'm getting two or three messages a day or our team is. The reviews, even if you look at the physical space in Toronto and go through the reviews, it's just every single one, people are saying like, "Hey, I haven't cried in 10 years. This was the first time I felt safe enough to release emotions." 

We had one that struck with me from COVID was a woman who was so scared and isolated. She would not even go to the door to get her Uber Eats. Would wait 10 minutes until the person had left. And she started doing these deeper sessions every week for 12 weeks. She was able to overcome her fear and start to go back out in to society.

Luke Storey: [01:27:51]  Using the app at home.

Robbie Bent: [01:27:51] Using the app. Things for chronic fatigue syndrome, people being completely healed. We launched in January. We're like, "You know what? It's really hard to do a cold plunge. It's not for the mainstream. It's fantastic, but it's hard, so let's just make it fucking easy." And the other thing is it's not that fun. You're in there for three minutes. You're sitting there waiting, mastering your breath. You feel great after, but why is it not guided? 

And so we spent some time, designed 31 sessions with breathwork in the cold. You listen to amazing music and we just made it free. We just said, you know what? We can make this free for anyone who ever wants a free month of the app. It's called the Play It Cool Challenge. It launches. No money on marketing. We just launched it and we were like, "Hey, this is free thing." You want to learn to so cold plunge, here it is. 

So many people signed up for it on New Year, and we'd launched it two days before New Year's, no planning. Breaks our website. hundreds of people join this WhatsApp chat from all over the world. So I'm looking like, who are these people? Italy, Kenya, Dubai, all over Canada, the US. And I'm like, it's so cool because people are just plungers or nuts. They'd love it so much. They're so passionate, but they're doing it alone in their little ice hole. And there's not really a community of plungers that's global. 

And so we just put this thing out there for free and every day people are sharing like, "This is the first time I've been able to keep a New Year's habit for 12 days. I never thought I could do this. My resilience, my bravery. It's the first time I felt safe feeling emotions. I'm always in my head." So it just makes me feel so good, man, really to see something like that, put it out and have people like what you built, and say, thanks, you're making a difference. 

So I think it's changing lives. To see a lawyer come out on a Monday night, do a love and kindness class, talk about the enemy he felt it in his dad, start crying in front of a group of 40 strangers, where the hell does that happen?

Luke Storey: [01:29:52] That's so cool. God, what a cool job you have. I mean, I do, too. I'm very grateful to share people like you with the world. There's going to be people listening to this that are-- some will be very experienced in these realms and some have never heard of any of this. And they're going to, oh, by the way, that's a good opportunity. You guys gave a great offer here, and I'm going to throw that in. I'll probably have put it in the intro. 

But just before I forget, if you guys go to othership.com/luke, you can use the app for 14 days for free. Thank you for that. I have a sense-- how much is the app, by the way? Because you guys gave it to me for free. But for a normal person that doesn't have a podcast, how much is it?

Robbie Bent: [01:30:30] It's 128 bucks for the year.

Luke Storey: [01:30:32] Wow. Not bad. Is that less than Netflix or on par?

Robbie Bent: [01:30:35] Yeah. It's about the same.

Luke Storey: [01:30:37] I'd say if you can't-- well, get your 14 days for free at othership.com/luke. I bet if-- I don't have the discipline to do this. But I think if one were to cancel Netflix and just do this, their life would probably be a lot better. But maybe some people can afford both.

Robbie Bent: [01:30:53] Yeah, we look at it like, one, if accessibility is an issue, DM us and we can figure something out. So we never want someone who was like, hey, I want to use these practices. We followed Sam Harris. I always really respected how he did that. So DM us with an ask, and happy to figure something out. But two, the goal is, look, if you're doing one session a month, one of these deep dives and it changes your emotional state, what is that worth? 128 bucks is half of a therapy session. 

So if you were using this even just once a month, one of those couples energy date sessions once per month, we felt like the value was there. So the goal was to make sure the experience is, yeah, there's the daytime, five minutes day shifts, getting to bed, which are great. But if you can do one of these deep emotional ones every once in a while, we thought that would convey value to the user.

Luke Storey: [01:31:43] Absolutely. I've been doing one every day. But I also worked for 52 years to create a life that gives me an hour in the morning where I can really get myself in the state that is necessary to do all the things that I want to do. Not everyone's in that position, but that's another thing that I think is cool about it. Yeah, if your life at the moment doesn't account for an hour in the morning to be your best self, do 10 minutes. Whether you're using your app or any kind of breathwork practice, Wim Hof, whatever it is because now we know the science on this is universal to human beings the way that we breathe, you're going to have an impact on your life that's positive. Just period. 

There's no way to do this, no matter how you do it without having something good happen. So I want to encourage anyone, especially people like me that have a difficult time finding the discipline to really go deep on their own. I have the discipline to do some breathwork pretty much every day for a long time now, but I'm not going to do an hour on my own. It's not going to happen. I might set that intention, but no.

Robbie Bent: [01:32:51] The times I do the hour is with friends. And so what it's become is 10 friends come over and we're partying and that's the way we party, is we put it on speakers blasting across the house. We lay down, do one hour of breath work, and that replaces the bottle of wine or the drugs. And it's an exciting thing to do in a group

Luke Storey: [01:33:08] That's actually a really good point because we've just been busy moving into our house. So we haven't invited many people over and are just being hermits for whatever reason. It's what feels good. But I had the thought-- once we got a little more settled, I thought, man, we should hire-- I have a lot of friends here that are breathwork practitioners. 

We could beg one of them to come do it or pay them to do it or something and, set up the living room down there and have like a breathwork night. And I'm like, sounds hard to put it together. But I just had-- dude, I could put your app on and crank it on the whole house system and just blast it and invite some homies over to the loft. And you don't need a facilitator because you guys are doing that for us. That's a great idea. I like it. 

I've always been a fan of pomegranate, but I had no idea it contained one of the most powerful compounds in the world for mitochondria. It's called Urolithin A, and it's incredible for mitophagy. Or put more simply, the way your body discards old dysfunctional mitochondria. The thing is that you'd have to eat ridiculous amounts of pomegranate to get a clinically effective dose of this Urolithin A. 

That's why I get mine in a product called Mitopure, available in a berry powder, protein powder, and soft gels. Super easy to take and adopt into your daily routine. Mitopure is a breakthrough post-biotic that activates your body's natural defense against aging. It's also the first product on the market to offer a precise dose of Urolithin A to upgrade mitochondrial function, increase cellular energy, and improve muscle strength.

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And in the meantime, there is a special offer for you, listeners. You can use the promo code LUKE10 to get 10% off any two, four or 12-month Mitopure plan at timelinenutrition.com. And by the way, I highly suggest the starter pack, which lets you try all three forms of Mitopure. Again, that's timelinenutrition.com, and your code is LUKE10. 

All right. So last thing I want to cover here is what's your absolute stretch vision for what you're doing with Othership? Give me in 10 years from now, what does this look like for you if everything goes according to your plan?

Robbie Bent: [01:35:58] Yes, I think the two big problems we want to solve is, I'm standard person. I don't know anything about this. So I'm not into spirituality. I don't do yoga, I don't do meditation. I'm unhappy. I don't really know why. I don't know what tools I have. And this is 95% of North Americans. I'm struggling. And I know there's these amazing tools like psychedelics and meditation, but the prep of the friction to get to them is just too hard. 

The other side of that problem is, hey, I've done these crazy peak experience retreats, but I'm not integrating them into my life. So yeah, I went to the meditation retreat, but the change didn't happen. So I want to solve that problem to help the average person who's unhappy and overwhelmed come in to a more happy place where they understand, process their emotions, and do in a way that's accessible. 

So what does that entail? It entails in 10 years in Othership in every major city. And that Othership, that bathhouse is the atomic unit, the hub, where you go weekly, you meet your friends, you hang out there, it can be socially, you do your emotional classes that we talked about. Then you have the app that you use at home. So you can use that daily for five minutes. Just to improve your breathing patterns, improve your emotional awareness and regulation. 

And then there's a bit of a deeper process. So there's two things I really want to build in the future. One is a pilgrimage. So when you have 50 studios and a million customers, once a year, you have a five-day music festival meets Tony Robbins. And so you go and you meet all the other hard cores that are using the product and you have this thing that's super fun, but there's some work. And so at night it's a party, but in the day it's personal development. It gives you that thing to look forward to. 

And then I would love to introduce groups. So something we're thinking about is you've come to the space 10 times. One of the biggest problems outside of this prep and integration is loneliness. I don't know if you heard the stat, but the average-- what you think the average close friends, the number of close friends that the average North American has?

Luke Storey: [01:37:58] Three. 

Robbie Bent: [01:37:58] 0.8. So most people out there don't even have a single person to share their problems with. And we feel more isolated than than ever. And it's become, everything you can do can be done from your phone. You don't need to be in community the same way you used to. Jobs are changing. Everything's remote. So it'd be really nice. There's people that come that are lonely. They're looking for a friend group. So you start coming to the space, you've come ten times, you get a message to say, "Hey, do you want to join a group?" 

And that group includes once a week, a Zoom check in with your group once a week in Othership session, and then a retreat. And so this solves all the problems. It gives you the group, gives you the sustainability, the accountability, and then also allows you to do those peak experiences, reduces the friction. 

And I think if you have something like that, some system, the way AA is a really beautiful system that works. If you have some system like this, it can appeal to a different set of people. And so in 10 years, if we built all of that, I think we can help millions of mainstream people change their lives. So that's the goal, is to build that system.

Luke Storey: [01:38:57] I love it. What about the integration of plant medicine, psychedelics, as I think we were talking earlier, about ketamine being illegal, I wouldn't say it's a psychedelic. But definitely can help you see some things you don't see normally. Where do you see the integration of working with anxiogenic substances, etc as legality permits?

Robbie Bent: [01:39:24] Yeah. So I think-- from my standpoint is what we can provide to that service is the prep. So for many people, what I've seen here is you come into the space, you're like, oh, sauna, ice baths, it's cool. I'm feeling good. I've started using the app, I'm doing breath work. I'm feeling good, and you're here in the space, ayahuasca, psilocybin. You start following the podcast to be healthier. 

I listen to Luke Storey and I heard about it, and you're interested. And so we can help take a group of those interested people and then make a recommendation on a safe retreat to go to. Not run the retreat, but partner. Could be partnered with all those in Costa Rica, which I just got back from, which is--

Luke Storey: [01:39:57] Did you go there?

Robbie Bent: [01:39:58] Yeah, it was incredible.

Luke Storey: [01:39:59] Oh, man, I'm supposed to go there and I haven't yet, sadly.

Robbie Bent: [01:40:03] One of the best experiences of my-- so I've done four deep dive ayahuasca retreats. And that one I went with, it was to call in fatherhood. So I went with 15 of my-- ayahuasca for me, though, has always been super hard, dramatic, deep, dark, letting go of traumas. And this one, I went with 15 friends, my sister, my family, all the best people in my life were going to be around my son with the idea of, hey, I'm transitioning into a new form of life. I want to call it in. 

And instead of shriveling in the corner, scared and struggling, I asked for help and my friends would come over and hug me during the ceremony. And it was just-- the nature was incredible. So some day partnering someone like that who's an expert, that's not our expertise, and sending a group of people in the same city to go. And then when they come back, also providing the container so they continue. 

So one thing that was cool about that, ayahuasca, doing with my friends, the other ones I've been to, you really get close in these seven days, 10-day retreats. And you're like, "Wow, we're going to be friends forever." And then the WhatsApp chat for one month is pretty popping. Then three months later, then one year later I don't even remember the names of the people I did the first ayahuasca with. 

And so wouldn't it be great if you did it with people from your town and then had a space to go to that was geared for transformation? So I don't see us providing psychedelics, but I see us working with providers to provide everything around it to make the change stick.

Luke Storey: [01:41:28] That's awesome. I mean, I can't think of a better integration than community hot, cold, breath. I mean, that's it. That's the winning formula. Wow. Very cool, man. Well, I wish you the best in you're endeavors. Very happy to support what you guys are doing, especially the move to Austin. That one, selfishly, I'm most excited about. 

Until then, I'll use the app and God forbid I ever have to go to New York City, but if I do, an Othership there will make it a lot better. God bless everyone that still likes New York. I just don't like cities in general, Austin included. So I don't live down there where all the people and 5G towers are. 

One last thing I want to ask you, actually, do you have any apprehension about building brick and mortar businesses in light of what we just went through with all these draconian lockdowns and stuff, which from my purview seem to be much more extreme north of the border, in Canada. I mean, I'm sure you guys have talked about that. I mean, what happens if they're like, oh, hey, there's a new thing and we're shutting everything down?

Robbie Bent: [01:42:35] Yeah, we're bankrupt. So yeah, COVID, the first vaccine came out and we were like, hmm, looks like this is going to end. You can kind of get the sense. We look to the UK and we were like, let's roll the dice. People need this. They want it. Fuck it. Let's go. It's important. And so we signed the lease, put our own money into it, took the plunge, literally, and opened and now it's just like, fuck that. We made something that's fucking awesome. We want to give it to people and we're going. And yeah, if another pandemic hits, we're bankrupt. And that's just the--

Luke Storey: [01:43:09] It is what it is.

Robbie Bent: [01:43:09] The fact. But people need in-person experiences. Nobody wants to be digital everything. It sucks.

Luke Storey: [01:43:15] Just think of the-- and I don't want to go down this rabbit hole because we're out of time and we got lives to live and everything. But one of the saddest things about this whole era for me has just been how many people have been forced into isolation and how much suffering that's caused and how much more people are prone to illness of all types, viral in nature or not, when they're not moving their body and breathing, and getting hot and cold, and eating healthy food, and having community. I mean, it's like, if you wanted to make a populace really sick, the very best way to do it would be stop them from going to gyms, and the church and--

Robbie Bent: [01:44:00] All this being alone. The study just came out, loneliness has the same impact on inflammation in the body as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Luke Storey: [01:44:08] Really? That's a real thing? 

Robbie Bent: [01:44:10] Real stat. Came out Sigma Health study a couple of years ago. Yeah. That's insane. And it doesn't mean that you're around people. It's that you feel a lack of meaning and connection in your life. And so for COVID, you put people alone, it's a form of torture. Yeah, for me, that's open, and I don't know. Yeah, it's probably a longer topic for the last question. But I don't think people are going to accept something like this again. It's different. It's okay, we did this before. It didn't work. Now you're facing--

Luke Storey: [01:44:40] That's a good point.

Robbie Bent: [01:44:41] All these. People just don't want that. So we're taking the risk.

Luke Storey: [01:44:46] Good for you, man. Good for you. I encourage all entrepreneurs in the wellness space to follow suit. I mean, I luckily had a podcast, and people that I interview aren't generally afraid to breathe each other's air, even in the middle of whatever that was. But I stopped doing public speaking. And if that had been my main source of revenue and all that, it would have been devastating. Thankfully I was relieved actually, now that you can go do that again, and events are happening. I actually don't really feel like doing it.
I got used to not going out and traveling and doing talks and stuff. I enjoy it, but the time to get there and all the stuff that goes into it, it's pain in the ass. And I felt for people that make a living doing live events and stuff, it's just brutal. Especially those people that are doing things like you are, that are really supportive to people's emotional, and mental, and physical wellbeing. It's like, man, if we're going to shut anything down, how about not that. You know what I mean? 

Shut down bars. Maybe not that either because that's medicine for some folks too. But anyway, congratulations on your success. I wish you much more of it. And I can't wait for, hopefully, thousands of people listening to this podcast over the next few weeks to check out your app. And if they're in Toronto or in the future in New York City, to come see what you guys are up to, man. It's really, really cool.

Robbie Bent: [01:46:05] Thanks, Luke. I appreciate it. And just inviting me to your house, putting something together to make me feel less nervous before we start, I thought it was really thoughtful. It was beautiful to meet in person, so I really appreciate it.

Luke Storey: [01:46:17] Likewise. And I think I'm going to adopt that, put people on a little 10-minute journey before we sit down. Anyone that's willing at least, which hopefully most of them will be. You were my beta test and you were, by the way, very coherent and present. You didn't seem too spaced out or anything. So apparently it works.

Robbie Bent: [01:46:33] Awesome. Thank you.

Luke Storey: [01:46:38] Well, that right there concludes this week's journey, my friends. Thank you for spending your valuable time with me and my new friend, Robbie. And I hope that you had as much fun as we did. Now, the only part you missed was the Othership breath and ice bath session we did after the recording. It's always great to get to know people in the interviews, but it's a whole different experience to lock eyes and breathe together in a Morozko Forge freezing ice baths afterward. And that's exactly what we did. It was really fun to conclude our time together in such a meaningful manner. 

But fret not for missing that part of the show because you can go to othership.us/luke right now for 14 days of their breathwork app for free. And I highly recommend checking it out. It's pretty cool. And if you dig it as much as I do, make sure to take advantage of their exclusive Life Stylist listener offer to get 25% off the annual subscription. And here's the link for that one. It's lukestorey.com/othership. And of course, all of those links can be found in the show notes on your podcast app as well.

Okay, on to the next one. This Friday, we'll drop another solo cast, Ask Me Anything episode, where Bayley poses questions to me taken from The Life Stylist Podcast Facebook Group. This will be Episode 460. We chat about a lot of topics, including how to un-vegan yourself, probiotic scams, home ozone therapy, and myth busting, earthing and grounding. 

Then next Tuesday, we're back with another guest episode. That's number 461. Quantum Upgrade: Charging your Health, Home, and Happiness with Source Energy. That one features Philip from Quantum Upgrade and Ian Mitchell from Wizard Sciences. And heads up. If you're a fan of the Leela Quantum stuff, EMF protection and all the energetic life upgrades, you definitely want to tune in next week. 

So before we get out of here, make sure to tap, subscribe, or follow on your podcast app so all the new shows are auto downloaded the moment they're published. I actually do this with all of my favorite podcasts so I can listen to them with my phone on airplane mode. It's a great EMF hack, by the way. Okay, that's it. We'll meet again this Friday, and again next Tuesday. Until then, keep your head up, your heart open, and your life style.



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