Discovering Resilience: Lessons from Spartan Races & Psychedelics


Episode 211

Joseph Anew

In the latest Psychedelic Podcast episode, Paul F. Austin announces a new co-host who's no stranger to the microphone or transformative practices. Joseph Anew, a seasoned podcaster, former Spartan Race executive, and Director of Third Wave’s Psychedelic Coaching Institute, brings fresh perspectives and invaluable expertise to the show.

The conversation delves into Joseph’s journey from fitness to psychedelics and the unique intersection between the two. Do psychedelics and obstacle-course racing have more in common than meets the eye? How do extreme experiences inform effective psychedelic coaching? Can psychedelics serve as a conduit between mental and physical health?

This episode elucidates how pushing human boundaries—be it a psychedelic journey or Spartan Race—can offer profound insights into resilience and well-being.

Joseph Anew:

Joseph Anew is an “outside the box” thinker, holistic health expert, and personal transformation coach. Across the last twenty years, he has helped thousands transform their physical and emotional health through public speaking, coaching, podcasting, and live events focused on mindset coaching, exercise, sleep, nutrition, breathwork, cold immersion, and most recently psychedelic medicines.

Joseph is the founder of RUNGA, an experiential health and wellness company that hosts transformational live events and online coaching programs. Joseph also spent eight years as an executive at Spartan Race where he was head of the company’s fitness and sport departments.

Podcast Highlights

  • Joseph’s evolution from competitive fitness to the Psychedelic Coaching Institute.
  • Joseph’s Spartan Race journey.
  • The surprising parallels between psychedelics & obstacle-course coaching.
  • Why the Psychedelic Institute hosts intensives in the jungle.
  • How psychedelics help to re-pattern physiology, emotions, and behavior.
  • Joseph’s excitement about The Psychedelic Coaching Institute and the podcast.

These show links may contain affiliate links. Third Wave receives a small percentage of the product price if you purchase through the above affiliate links.

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.1 Paul F. Austin: Hey, folks, and welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave where we explore how the safe and responsible use of psychedelic medicines catalyzes individual and collective transformation. I'm your host, Paul F. Austin, and today I'm joined by our new co-host, Joseph Anew, the Institute Director of Third Wave's Psychedelic Coaching Institute.

0:00:24.7 Joseph Anew: I believe the physical body is a reflection of the mind, the emotions, the spiritual body, the connectedness, the sense of belonging. And sure, we can go to physical therapy and get things out of emergency mode, but when we look at static postures and our breath, it is intimately related to what's happening between the ears and behind the eyes, and I think that psychedelics have a way of cracking that wide open.


0:00:53.6 Paul F. Austin: Welcome to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave, audio mycelium connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance, and collective transformation.


0:01:25.4 Joseph Anew: Today's podcast is brought to you by BIOptimizers. Summer, or really any holiday season can be a time where we take a break from the daily grind to enjoy life to its fullest, but all the fun aside, we often find ourselves taking a break from our health routine too, late nights, irregular eating habits and indulgence can become the norm, but when the vacation season winds down it's time to start getting back on track with our health. Although it may not be easy, it is essential for our well-being. If you struggle to get back to your health routine after something like a summer vacation, I have a valuable lesson to share, focus on majors, prioritize healthy eating, exercise, and above all, quality sleep. Just one interesting fact about sleep to mention, according to a study on the effects of alcohol and sleep, drinking more than two servings of alcohol per day for men and more than just one serving per day for women, can decrease sleep quality by 39.2%. Not to mention the effects of indulgent food and late nights out.

0:02:31.7 Joseph Anew: And sleep is the key to your body's rejuvenation and repair process, it controls your hunger, your weight loss hormones, it can boost your energy levels, and it can impact countless other vital functions. Good night's rest will improve your well-being much more than almost anything else, sleep is a major to focus on. That's why I recommend you start taking magnesium daily, but not just any magnesium supplement you find at the store, you have to get Magnesium Breakthrough by BIOptimizers. Magnesium Breakthrough contains seven forms of magnesium designed to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed. The sleep benefits are truly remarkable. And once your sleep is optimized, you'll find it much easier to tackle all the other major aspects of your health. Trust me, it's a game-changer. Listeners of The Psychedelic Podcast, you can now get a special discount on Magnesium Breakthrough by visiting Again, that's Fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed with Magnesium Breakthrough.

0:03:43.8 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, this is Paul Austin, Founder and CEO at Third Wave, and welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast. Today we are going to talk about how psychedelics can help to re-pattern our physiology, emotions, and behavior, and also look at how psychedelics help people reconnect with nature and their own primal selves. Today we have Joseph Anew on the podcast. Joseph Anew is the Institute Director of our brand new Psychedelic Coaching Institute, and the new co-host of The Psychedelic Podcast. Joseph was a practitioner in our third cohort for our coaching certification program, and we got to know each other quite a bit through that. I found out about his extensive professional career in training, programming, and we just started to talk about what it would look like for him to step in to the Institute Director role here at the Psychedelic Coaching Institute. And then naturally, as you'll learn more about in the podcast, Joseph himself has hosted a podcast for the past several years, recording several hundred episodes as part of that podcast, so it felt like a natural flow to invite him to become a co-host of The Psychedelic Podcast. And Joseph will be handling and talking a lot about the physiology of what it means to become transformed through psychedelic use.

0:05:05.3 Paul F. Austin: And in the coming weeks, you'll hear quite a few episodes from practitioners who have graduated from our training program, exploring the work that they are now doing out in the world as a result of going through this transformative program themselves. And to make sure you never miss any of these episodes, follow the show wherever you listen to podcast, or subscribe to Third Wave's channel on YouTube. As always, you can go deeper into this episode with full show notes, a transcript and any links that we mentioned in the conversation, just follow the link in the description or head to and scroll to Episode 211 with Joseph Anew. And if you wanna learn more about what we're up to at the Psychedelic Coaching Institute, just go to That's On the show today, Joseph and I go deep into Joseph's evolution from competitive fitness to the Psychedelic Coaching Institute, his role in Spartan Race, how he became involved with it and helped it to grow over seven years, the surprising parallels between psychedelics and obstacle course coaching, why at the Psychedelic Coaching Institute we host intensives in the jungle, how psychedelics help to re-pattern our physiology, emotions, and behaviors. Joseph Anew is an outside-the-box thinker, holistic health expert and personal transformation coach.

0:06:31.0 Paul F. Austin: Across the last 20 years, he has helped thousands of people transform their physical and emotional health through coaching, podcasting and live events, with a focus on mindset, exercise, sleep, nutrition, breathwork, cold immersion, and most recently, psychedelic medicine. Joseph is also the Founder of RUNGA, an experiential health and wellness company that host transformational live events and online coaching program. And prior to that, Joseph spent eight years as an executive at Spartan Race, where he was head of the company's fitness and sport departments. Now, keep in mind, we are doing a lot of incredible things at our private community at Third Wave, and that's found at If you're interested in continuing the conversation after this episode and joining us in the community, just go to Alright, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation today with Joseph Anew. Let's start with your why, Joseph, 'cause I think the audience, the people who are listening, they wanna know you, they wanna understand you, and I'd love if you could just start with the story of why did you choose to become professionally involved in the psychedelic space?

0:07:43.1 Joseph Anew: Hey, thank you, Paul. I wasn't sure what shape it was going to take. As you mentioned, my background, I've been a health and wellness fitness nutrition coach for 20-plus years at this point. And the journey there was, it started very much in body fitness and running marathons and triathlons and getting really physical, and then what tends to happen, and I've seen this in many other folks as well is, you get super fit but you realize you're not as healthy as you could be, and then you start getting really into health, and that's where food comes in. And eventually you start getting into wellness and spirituality, because you're constantly trying to up-level and constantly trying to fill in gaps and make yourself all that you can be. And for me, I thought I was there. I was healthy, I was fit, I ate well. And really after the passing of my father and the birth of my son, which happened in a short period of time, I realized a pretty serious hole in my heart, call it a God-shaped hole, call it a search for meaning, I was also getting into my mid-30s, which is a common period of time, and a common age for men to have a little bit of a spiritual awakening.

0:08:51.1 Joseph Anew: So after years of saying, "I can go anywhere I wanna go with my breath and all this," I decided to step in, first with microdosing, and then with higher dose experiences, and it just, it completely changed my life, it completely changed my sense of being, it helped me heal many wounds. I had a really pretty challenging childhood that I won't get into, but I had a lot to process, and I didn't even realize that. And so it opened up these incredible doors and really just completely changed my body, my mind and my spirit, my ability to be a husband and father and professional. And so then I decided, after this transformation, to sign up for your certification program. I was at Third Wave. I bought the Mushroom Grow Kit a couple of times. I signed up for the certification program. And over the course of that program was really when I began to be called to contribute to this. As you mentioned, I built a certification, a multi-level certification program over at Spartan Race, I've built out chains of fitness franchises, I've coached people in all realms and walks of life, and so I was feeling really called. And then as we started to connect, I started to realize that, wow, stepping into this work, I thought maybe I would step into it professionally as a coach.

0:10:14.4 Paul F. Austin: As you mentioned, RUNGA is a health and wellness business. I didn't know if I was gonna just drop mushrooms into that business and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, here we go, we've already got a really nice container. But as I started to learn more about these medicines and really develop that reverence, I started to wanna shoot into a little bit of a different realm, and that's when you and I connected. So, here I am, it was so exciting to hear what you were doing at the time at Third Wave where you had this idea of creating an institute, and it was just so up my alley, it really... It was like bringing all 20 years of my experience into one building, basically, one shop, where we do teach the skill of psychedelics and we also support those coaches and in our lessons and lectures and future content, how do we integrate all these non-psychedelic modalities that have been my life prior to psychedelics into a professional coaching container where coaches can now use those things to prep and integrate people after high dose experiences? Happened pretty naturally, it was unexpected, but I'm very grateful for it.

0:11:20.0 Paul F. Austin: Let's talk a little bit more about your time at Spartan. I think from my memory, you were maybe the seventh or eighth hire at Spartan in 2011, you ended up committing to them for seven years, helped them grow into several hundred or a few hundred employees, build out their training program, helped them to get on NBC, on prime time television for the Spartan Race. What was the most meaningful aspect of that work for you at Spartan in helping to build that out over seven years?

0:11:52.7 Joseph Anew: You know what was funny? In college, I got really into endurance, I got really into fitness, I got really into running as far as I possibly could. And when I graduated college in 2007, I had this sort of burnout, the feeling like, "I don't actually love this, I'm addicted to it," but no one enjoys running for a full marathon where your watch is beeping at you if you run too slow or you run too fast, and you gotta drink out of this bottle every 45 minutes and this bottle every 15 minutes to keep your electrolytes in... No one likes to... Unless you're super Type A, that gets pretty monotonous and pretty old. And so I was realizing I was pretty burnt out from not the activity, but just everything that goes into competing in such a predictable sport, like the type of people who run Ironman are not varied, 85% of them are the exact same DNA, [chuckle] the exact same type of person. And so I'd had a couple of years of contemplating what I was gonna do with my physical body because it's so important for me to stay physically active, and I was so burnt out from that monotonous endurance stuff that I had a college professor call me and say, "Hey, you know that this race that I had turned down year after year after year, I'm never doing that. It's called the Death Race."

0:13:17.4 Joseph Anew: I'm like, "I'm never doing the Death Race." And my college professor who I was good friends with calls me up, I still remember where I was driving and he says, "Hey, the lunatic that runs that 24-hour Death Race, he's doing a race, it's 5K, it's gonna be a ton of fun. We're gonna jump over fire and run through the mud." And I'm like, "I'm totally in. That's what I need, no heart rate monitor, no water bottle, no sodium concerns, just sunshine, mud, earth, forest, nature." And it just, it was life-changing. And it was this... It's similar, the feeling I got from that was similar to psychedelics in that you do this physical experience, you put your body through this intense, just physical crucible, and there's an overflow that goes into your spirituality and your... How you eat, how you think, how you sleep, there's just... There's such a powerful force coming through your physical body that you get all of these other benefits that are just coming from the overflow. And that's the same feeling I got from psychedelics. It's like you have this significant emotional spiritual experience, and suddenly...

0:14:25.6 Joseph Anew: And I know this is your story, Paul, after your LSD experience you started wearing Vivo Barefoot shoes, you started eating a little cleaner, 'cause you started to see the connectedness and the way this all works. And so, I wanted to help bring that to more people. Immediately we got involved, my professor and I both at the same time, we started to build out content, ended up becoming a certification program because so many trainers and coaches, just like today in the psychedelic space were saying, "What do I do to prepare somebody for this insane event?" I didn't learn how to throw a spear in my certification program to be a trainer, I didn't learn how to, like, "This guy's got barbed wire in his butt and he's getting hit with a fire hose, this is just out of scope for any trainer." So we started to build out more and more, ended up being a multi-level certification program. As you said, we focused on the weekend warrior for many years. Well, by about 2013... Well, there was one guy in particular that really drove this for us, his name was Hobie Call. We're like, "This guy's trying to win."

0:15:34.0 Joseph Anew: So, it's like, [chuckle] this event is enough as it is, just crawling across the finish line is to be celebrated. But we had this guy that was... He was a 2:15 marathon runner, and he was winning these races by margins of 35, 40 minutes. And we were like, "Wow. We're developing a professional sport now." So around 2014, 2015, I shifted, we had a couple of million people a year, average Joes, weekend warriors, people that are on weight-loss journeys, cancer, recovering from all sorts of things, we hedged on them in the beginning, and then we switched a couple of years later into this professionalization and this sport creation, which again ended up on NBC. If you go on YouTube, I think you can see me commentating the races, like I'm Joe Buck on Monday Night Football. It was a really crazy exciting time and it really... We met with the Olympics, we pitched the Olympics to bring obstacle racing, and it really ended up exploding and, it was a wild ride, and a massive personal journey and transformation for me. I'm very grateful for it.

0:16:51.0 Paul F. Austin: I'm just thinking of like, could an ayahuasca ceremony ever be considered a sport in the Olympics? How many cups can you drink?


0:16:58.4 Paul F. Austin: Or how long can you sit in ceremony? What will be a marathon of... And I say this, of course, just to be clear to the audience, very tongue-in-cheek and very much joking, and yet, I love how you brought up these parallels between Spartan, or the obstacle course kind of landscape and what's happening in psychedelics right now. 'Cause a lot of medical doctors, a lot of psychiatrists, a lot of therapists, a lot of even coaches who have maybe been coaching for years and years and years, as you said, psychedelics are out of scope for nearly all of them. And so right now we're going through this massive cultural wide shift where people are having to learn about how they work with these substances. And when you're in a clinical format like a therapist or a medical doctor, there's a lot of regulations, there's a lot of rules, you gotta do it this way, this way, this way, this way.

0:17:49.8 Paul F. Austin: But life is not usually that clean and neat, it usually doesn't have that many straight lines and it's not that organized. And of course, that's why we've developed the training program that we've developed, it's really for folks who wanna color outside the lines, so to say, who really wanna do the pioneering work, who really wanna do the building outside of all of these rules and regulations and have the courage to step forth and do this. And so I'm curious now that you've gone through the training program yourself, with the coaching institute, you're now the institute director, what are some of those parallels that you're noticing and observing between where the industry is now with psychedelics and where obstacle course industry was when you first joined Spartan, both the good and maybe some of the bad?

0:18:37.0 Joseph Anew: Yeah, great question, Paul. Well, I think that there's a certain... In both cases, you're pushing the edge. You are willing to step into the unknown in order to achieve something great, in order to find... And there's an interesting parallel where you're... If you're on the path to find your center, you gotta find your edge almost first. And so, there's a lot of overlap there. And I think coaches that are stepping into the psychedelic space, it's almost like they know, just like running a marathon, as I said, the people that run Ironman are not varied, they're typically CEOs, they make an average of $248,000 a year, 70% of them are men, most of them are tall and lean and slender. And one of the reasons they love Ironman is because you can calculate, "Alright, I gotta swim this far, bike this far, run this far." My training program is just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, "If I run this much for this long this many days a week, I'm gonna finish." It's just a math...

0:19:45.8 Paul F. Austin: It's formulaic in some ways.

0:19:48.7 Joseph Anew: Formulaic. It's very formulaic. But as a coach works with a client, and in my realm today I've got two kids under three, birth has taught me that there is no formula, there is no... Nature does not really operate in that sort of what Britta Bushnell would call "Apollonian world". In coaching, a lot of times we're following similar frames and we're creating these formulas for success, and sadly they don't work. So when we look at things, and of course, they work to an extent but with the right client trying to do the right thing or trying to carve out a new niche or trying to create something truly amazing, they often have to color outside those formulas. And I will tell you, from years of standing at the starting line of a world championship, we were giving tens of thousands of dollars away. I could almost look at the start line and be like, "Okay, the guy that was counting how many pieces of broccoli and how many ounces of chicken he was gonna eat at dinner last night, probably not gonna win. The guy that's at the start line ready to go chilling, just knows how to get into his body, he's got a better shot."

0:20:54.2 Joseph Anew: And so, what I'm saying is sometimes at the very high level, you need to let go of some of that security and really step into the unknown and find that edge so that you can really see who you are, what you are and what you wanna create. And I think that that's what coaches are looking for as they step into this work. And I guess the bad is, when people try to take that formulaic approach, they try to... I just had a call a little while ago where, you can't take your plans into a high-dose LSD experience. It's like it's just gonna get just... You're gonna go where the medicine wants to take you. And so, there's a lesson to be learned there in terms of surrendering and allowing things to take their own shape. And I think that's the... When people try to figure out a psychedelic experience or a Spartan Race, that's where they get in trouble. You gotta just see what you've got.

0:21:51.7 Paul F. Austin: And I love that because it also speaks to, and this will get a bit meta very quickly, but the training ground of psychedelics themselves. In other words, when we're sitting in ceremony with ayahuasca, when we're eating five grams of psilocybin mushrooms, when we're taking 500 micrograms of LSD, that is in itself a training ground for how to navigate uncertainty, how to navigate a landscape that we don't know what may emerge or what may come of it. And of course, the teaching there has always come back to the breath, always come back into presence, always come back into the body. And this is a lot of what we emphasize even in the training program, it's like, yeah, folks think they want information. That's what they think they want. What they need is transformation. Because as a coach, when you're going in and you're working with a client, when you're working with an individual, it's always personal. It's always of that moment and of that time. There's no playbook necessarily.

0:22:52.1 Paul F. Austin: And so the best coaches know that, at the end of the day, they may do some assessments upfront, they need to get a sense of how to navigate X, Y and Z with a client. But at the end of the day, 80% to 90% of the job is showing up in presence, and intuition, and knowing what to communicate, what questions to ask, where to guide folks. And that's, of course, where psychedelics helps so much. Whether someone's a coach or practitioner who wants to work with psychedelics, or even whether someone's just a coach or practitioner who wants to become more developed, wants to develop more depth, wants to develop more wisdom, wants to develop more compassion, all of these things that I think are essential to coaching, psychedelics can act as a phenomenal training ground for that.

0:23:38.5 Joseph Anew: Right. And I think, it can't be understated just how much value, I was thinking back when I was at Spartan, I ended up running, so I was... We were researching a book... Joe, the founder of Spartan, was writing a book and we were researching this many years ago. And I read that the ancient Spartans had an annual foot race, where it was 10 miles barefoot with your mouth full of water, and at the finish line you have to spit the water out. And I said, "Wow, this is really interesting." I immediately put a sip of water in my mouth, went running, did about a mile, it was so uncomfortable, it was just so out of my comfort zone. But I was like, "Wow, this really taught me a lot about how to breathe." And this is way before all this breath work and nasal breathing promotion and books on, number-one selling books. And, so I ended up working up one mile, two miles, three miles, five miles, eventually ended up doing a 30-plus mile ultra marathon in Hawaii with my mouth full of water. And it was interesting how, my ability to relate to the person that was running their first 5K and the struggles they feel, when you're at hour nine of Hawaii humidity and you haven't taken a... You haven't opened your mouth in so long, people think you're a mute on the trail, they're... It was just such an amazing beautiful learning experience to be that person just in silence for what was 10 hours.

0:25:06.4 Joseph Anew: But anyways, I found my ability to being at that end of the spectrum just so extreme, coming back to the guy that's running his first 45-minute race, it was like, wow. When he says, "I'm exhausted," I know how exhausted you really are. It's like you've pushed your own envelope. And I think that in the psychedelic space, one of the things with our coaches that I just appreciate is the amount of experience a lot of them bring in or are committed to pursuing. Because I think ultimately as you get into this space and you're helping people integrate and you're helping people, there's no replacement for your own personal experience with this stuff in your deep, deep, deep, deep inner work. And I just think that that's just... We are so fortunate to attract just such amazing people into the space that really wanna take that experience and add just a layer of professionalism, ethical processes and just learn about all the ways that... All the things they need to help their clients navigate, whether it's pharmaceutical interactions or whether it's other stuff. But it's just the commitment to excellence that people are bringing in to our certification program is just, anyways, it's just, it's awesome.


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0:27:37.0 Paul F. Austin: And what you're touching on is this idea that psychedelics are a skill, or the example that you gave about running 30 miles with water in your mouth, you had to work your way up to that. You had to do X before you could do Y before you could do Z. And I think that's similar with what we're seeing in psychedelics. At this point I've been working with psychedelics intentionally for almost 14 years. Psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, rectal ketamine, MDMA, rectal MDMA, ayahuasca, wachuma, 5-MeO. I still haven't worked with Iboga, or even peyote. But each one of those has a different level of mastery that one is attaining to, to be able to sit and be present in it. And I see Iboga almost as being at the top top because of how intense and long it is. And yet, I wouldn't recommend that someone who's never done psychedelics just go smoke 5-MeO-DMT right off the bat. There are plenty of people who do that but that often can lead to a traumatization or retraumatization, not a fragile, a broken ego, a shattered ego, so to say, which can be difficult to put back together. And that incremental growth, over time, is how we develop that skill both for ourselves.

0:29:00.6 Paul F. Austin: But as we're developing that inner skill for ourselves, working with this intelligence of psychedelics and plant medicines, we are in fact also developing a greater skill to hold space and presence for those who we're choosing to work with. And that's why, I think this lens of psychedelics as therapeutic tools, well helpful for many who struggle with depression, addiction, PTSD, is incredibly limiting in terms of the full context and the full landscape of what these actually provide. And that the myopic focus on psychedelics as therapeutic tools, only offers a sliver of what their real potential is if they are used with intention and responsibility. And I think that real capacity is everything that we've just been talking about, this process of mastery, cultivating depth presence. We have a faculty in our program, Jen Andrulli, who's an Indigenous Alaska woman and she's like, "Yeah, at this point I just would rather time-travel and telepathically communicate." There's other realms, even magical realms I would go so far as to say that could be opened up through these medicines as well. And that is where, I think, the real fun begins in many ways.

0:30:23.3 Joseph Anew: Well, I love that because I... I did an indoor Ironman many years ago, and literally, it was a half Ironman indoors. And when we think about what we do to frame this a little bit is, what we're creating is this non-clinical, non-medical, more sort of, as you're saying, this more earthly, this more... This deeper, more transformational, more rooted approach to the skill of psychedelics. I did this indoor Ironman where you did 56 miles on a bike but the bike was stationary, you were just in a white... You're just in a room. I literally have not been on a bike since. It was like the last... It was the worst thing. And then you got off that and you did a treadmill run. It was a pool swim, right onto the bike on a trainer in a office building, and then a treadmill run. And it was miserable, awful.

0:31:20.0 Joseph Anew: I have no problem being for 11 hours in nature in Hawaii with my mouth sealed shut, but to be in that white wall... I couldn't get where I needed to go emotionally. In fact, it just completely destroyed my relationship with cycling. Anyways, all that to say is, it can be limiting because there's a certain... If I was really preoccupied with safety or whatever it might be, maybe my first mini approach is gonna be in that realm where I'm super safe and nothing can go wrong, I'm not gonna get hit by a car or anything like that. But then it's like sometimes people need to step out to really find that truth and find that true North Star and that true capacity, or depth that they're looking for ultimately.

0:32:01.3 Paul F. Austin: And it's why we host our intensive at Brave Earth, which is a beautiful center in the middle of the jungle in Costa Rica. 'Cause what we're learning as we do this training program is, there's transformation in the medicine itself and the intelligence of the medicine, but it is exponentially amplified when done in nature. And there's actually been some really interesting research out of Imperial College that Synthesis is one of the centers that I helped to start. They did this research on showing that psilocybin when done in nature is that much more potent and impactful. And so I think what you're speaking to is, how are we de-domesticating, de-industrializing even, these psychedelic experiences so that it really feels like we're in touch with this primal archaic part of ourselves that has been repressed for potentially... In the Western lineage for over 1700 years since the Eleusinian Mysteries and a lot of those animist and pagan traditions were eliminated by the Christian Church. And so a lot of this retrieval right now that's going, that's happening, is part of that process of remembering again because a lot of what we talk about is, we as a Western people have amnesia, we have forgotten what it is like to be connected and rooted into nature and psychedelics are helping us to remember and reconnect with that.

0:33:27.9 Joseph Anew: Absolutely. Gosh, I remember when I was down at the intensive with you at Brave Earth, that land was just, it was... And it didn't... The interesting thing was I took a tiny dose and had a full experience. And so there's this, when you have that connectedness, it's also, it just changes every element of a protocol or of an experience where you really open to it. And I just think that, yeah, in a modern world where cash is almost extinct, we're just getting completely just computerized, this sort of automatic society and there's an app for that, and we use GPS even when we're going to the same grocery store we've gone to 6000 times. It's just this, yeah, it's refreshing, I think. And I think a lot of people are a little bit lost trying to figure out what's missing in their life.

0:34:18.2 Joseph Anew: And it's just this disconnectedness, it's just this not being a part of something larger because everything is just a screen now or an LED bulb or something. It's not truth, it's not sun, it's not earth, it's not nature. And I think that a lot of times to truly appreciate it, to truly turn down the program or the dopamine center or whatever it is that's addicted to the modern world. I think microdosing, mini dosing, stepping into nature, high dose, it's like you're tuning down that new age program, that modern program as you are reconnecting with that ancient part of you that really loves this stuff, that really, this is what you were truly born into.

0:35:00.4 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. Jacques Ellu wrote a book on this in 1954 called "The Technological Society" and it was one of Aldous Huxley's favorite book about the onward march of industrialism and how it's destroying the human soul. And one of the core things in that book that he talks about is the tradeoffs that we make, when we prioritize convenience, we lose the capacity to be skillful. And when we lose the capacity to be skillful, we lose agency, we lose autonomy. And so a lot of this coming back into psychede... And there's tradeoffs here, there's a balance. Convenience to some degree creates a lot of free time for us. It does create a level of freedom. And I think there is a way of when we start to work with psychedelics intentionally, we become that much more aware of all the ways in which we are still not free and the sacrifices or compromises we are willing to make.

0:35:55.7 Paul F. Austin: Brave Earth as an example where we host these intensives, that is an experiment that 23 people are living in the jungles of Costa Rica to create a community together, to get off the grid, to make everything fully sustainable. They're making tradeoffs as a result of that, but they're betting that that's a better way to live. And I think what psychedelics are helping us to understand is, the way we have been living the last 100 years is actually antithetical to human flourishing, and they're allowing us to understand certain teachings from wisdom traditions, from nature that need to be reincorporated for us to heal mental illness, for us to feel more connected, for us to live lives that are healthy and nourishing, and have wellbeing at the center of them as well.

0:36:46.6 Joseph Anew: And it's the entire... It's what we call biohacking. It's, you're just creating a more natural environment for yourself. And what we see is that when people biohack, which might be to just watch the sunrise with your bare feet on the planet, we see improvements in almost every measurable health outcome, whether it's emotional health or cardiovascular health, grounding, just getting your feet on the earth 30 minutes a day has a huge impact, positive impact on the health of your heart. And so many, whether it's... And nutritionally, just removing a lot of these chemicals and food-like substances that were invented in the last five or 10 years and getting back to things that have been around a long time, health improves. Harvard just did a study, and I'm not suggesting that we go on this, the carnivore diet, but they brought, it was like 2800 people onto this carnivore diet, this heavy meat diet, which, I don't eat that way and I don't necessarily recommend anyone does but what you can be sure of is that it's free of all of the modern food chemicals and artificial sweeteners and all that.

0:38:01.8 Joseph Anew: And the results were insane. It was like 100% of the people got off their medications, and this was almost 3000 people. So, a lot of what we're doing even outside of the psychedelic space is getting us back to nature. And just like the folks down at Brave Earth, the 20-some-odd people living there that, they're demonstrating the option. They're the polarity, they're the kind of opposition of all that is modern. And after we go down there and have a transformational experience, it's like, "Okay. To what extent are we gonna come back? To what extent? What can I take from Brave Earth then bring back because I'm still gonna... " I'm not gonna use candles because it's more natural. I'm still gonna use light bulbs. And it's like, "Where are we gonna... How do we keep a foot in nature while we still use the internet and have a cell phone and things like that?"

0:38:52.3 Paul F. Austin: Yeah. It's like, I love the Daoists, they refer to this as the Middle Way, and that's a lot of what we talk about with the third wave of psychedelics. What's the Middle Way between the first wave? Indigenous use, ritual ceremony, nature connectedness, and the second wave in the '50s and '60s, science, precision medicine, personalization, optimization. How are those two coming together and what's the Middle Way between those? And I think that's a lot of what we're exploring. Now, one, couple more, we have about 10 minutes left or so, this is a slightly briefer episode than normal, but our audience will be hearing lots from you in the coming weeks and months, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this relationship between psychedelics and physiology. A lot of emphasis in the psychedelic space is on mental health and emotional health, and yet we know you can't separate the mind from the body, that actually a lot of things starts from a physical perspective. And this is in a way, even what's differentiated third wave, or training program, my personal approach is really rooting in the physiology. And I'd love to hear your thoughts, and how do you think psychedelics help us become physically healthier? How do they help us to take better care of ourselves from a lifestyle perspective?

0:40:08.0 Joseph Anew: Thank you for the question, Paul. And the physical body has been just such a passion of mine. I thought I was gonna end up being a physical therapist or something at one point. And, I'm gonna go back all the way to 2008, and I had a gym, it was called Ultimate Athlete, and I was doing a lot of post-rehab for scholarship athletes, quarterbacks that are senior in high school that already have a scholarship lined up, but they just have to survive the season, and they've got some pain or whatever's going on there. And I had this one kid who I would stretch, I would work in concert with his physical therapy team, and they would teach me how to stretch him, and so he would come in to me like three, four days a week, and I would do all the whole program with him. And after several months, he had an avulsion fracture in his elbow, which basically means his bicep tendon ripped off a little chunk of bone from his forearm, because when you're a young kid, your legs are often stronger than your upper body, and so if you're a throwing athlete, this can happen. And one day after several months of literally getting zero improvement, not like a little improvement, zero improvement, he comes in and his arm is almost 100% better. And I said, "What the hell is going on here? Did you see a shaman?" No pun intended, he did not, he's like 16.

0:41:32.4 Joseph Anew: But he said, after some digging, he said, "Look, I didn't do anything different, but my sister's birthday is tomorrow and I've been blowing up balloons for several hours before I came here." And I said... And this is what started just my obsession with breath, because I started to realize that when you get an injury and your scholarship's on the line, and there's so much there that you go into fight or flight, you're afraid you're gonna lose the college, the full boat, you're afraid you're gonna not play football anymore, you're afraid of this, you're afraid of that, you're protecting the elbow, and you're creating all sorts of muscular compensations in response to those shifts and those beliefs. And when he blew up all of those balloons, what did he do? He activated his diaphragm, he got his breath out of his upper body, he let go. If anyone here has ever blown up more than 12 or 15 balloons, you start... You gotta re-position, you gotta really get into it. So that's really what started this quest. The other seed that was planted around the same time, is I worked with this really, very not nice woman, and all of a sudden she came in completely changed, completely inside and out changed. And at the time I knew she did psychedelics, but wouldn't tell me that because I didn't really know much about it, but I know for sure that's what she did.

0:42:53.0 Joseph Anew: And that's probably what planted the seed so many years later. All this to say, I can say, I have witnessed and I have personally experienced a massive change in my physical body through energetic, somatic, breathwork releases of all kind, psychedelic and non. I believe that many of the injuries, pain, recurring injuries, muscle stiffness tightness, it's emotional holding, it's our beliefs. And if we look at the chakras and how if I don't show up in the world fully, I'm gonna position my chest a little bit different, it's gonna affect my back. And so, I believe that when you go into the psychedelic space and anyone that's taken a high dose experience, especially if it's MDMA or even mushrooms, you let go of all that. Your body can move like it's never moved before because you've let... It's like being in water. It's like you've let go of a lot of that trauma, a lot of that stored energy. And so I believe the physical body is a reflection of the mind, the emotions, the spiritual body, the connectedness, the sense of belonging. And sure, we can go to physical therapy and get things out of emergency mode, but when we look at static postures and our breath, it is intimately related to what's happening between the ears and behind the eyes.

0:44:27.0 Joseph Anew: And I think that psychedelics have a way of cracking that wide open where this is not based in any science I've read, but I would be willing to bet, if you read, like 85% of people are gonna have back pain at some time in their life. How many of those people are just too stressed out? How many of those people are just not happy? How many of those people are not connected to the natural environment? And so when we do reconnect people with themselves and the world we live in, a lot of that stuff falls away. So, that's been a real core piece of this. And then the last thing I'll add on, Paul, I know I'm getting long here is, you know this, every day I get in my 40-degree jacuzzi, my plunge. And I think that there is an extremely strong connection with that practice and my ability to self-regulate, my ability to manage my emotions. Getting into 40-degree water every morning, no one wants to do it, but you do it anyway. And so that's that sort of dopaminergic that like almost LSD microdose effect. But when we look at what that does, is when you come out of that, your body is in a different state hormonally and chemically. And I think that practice is a really great precursor to high dose psychedelics because you have to learn how to surrender in the discomfort, You have to learn how to let go, you have to learn to just be with whatever you're going through and...

0:45:51.3 Paul F. Austin: Learn how to breathe to self-regulate.

0:45:54.2 Joseph Anew: Even how to breathe, and how to breathe. It's all about the breath. And, I know that's cliche, but it truly is.

0:46:03.3 Paul F. Austin: Well, and I think the other point as well that you didn't mention that I'll emphasize is, psychedelics are incredible tools for shifting behavioral patterns. And so a lot of people think that they have depression, but in fact their diet's shit, or they may have struggle with anxiety, but it's because they're drinking way too much caffeine, or they're not sleeping well enough. There's a lot of physical aspects that lead to emotional issues that if you get to the core of it, it's like, "Well, if you eat healthier, if you move more, if you get more sunlight, if you sleep better." And these are complicated things. It's not... I understand that just getting better sleep, there's a lot of stuff that's underneath that. But time and time again, I hear people who heal these repressed or suppressed emotions through working with psychedelics, which opens up an expanded space to actually change their relationship to the food that they eat, to the way that they move, to the way that they relate. And that capacity to make changes intentionally, I think, is another huge element of why psychedelics are so helpful for the physical self, the physical body.

0:47:11.6 Joseph Anew: Absolutely. We eat in alignment with our self-perception. This is your LSD experience and what you're alluding to is like, I know in my own life as an example. I could drive by 6000 Chipotles and not stop. But if I'm ever feeling down, if I'm ever driving in the car and I know I'm out of sorts, maybe I'm too stressed out, maybe I didn't sleep last night very well 'cause I've got two kids under three, I at least glance at the Chipotle and consider it. [laughter] Even myself. I've recognized that there's an appeal, it's like if you're feeling down, you're way more likely to gravitate to a food that is hyper-palatable or that is hyper-caloric, that's hugely high in fat and carbs and everything else. Whereas on the flip side, the more connected you are to nature, like at Brave Earth, if they put cheeseburgers, beer and pizza out, no one would eat it.

0:48:18.1 Paul F. Austin: Yeah.

0:48:21.6 Joseph Anew: You're in this space, you just wanna eat leaves and cucumbers and apples and stuff. It's just what your body is called to. And so there's a lot to be learned there. And as you said, when you cure the disconnection and you give yourself some, whatever is lacking, self-love, self-compassion, self-appreciation, connectedness, you suddenly, don't be surprised, and that is also the reason why without psychedelics in the general populous, it's so hard to stick to a diet, and it's so challenging because you're not getting to the self-perception and you're just trying to just... You're actually shaming yourself more because you're not eating the Chipotle or you're forcing yourself to eat bananas or whatever it might be. So there's a lot there, but you get to the root of whatever is ailing you and, there's a lot there. That's why Iboga's so big with addiction, just rewires those programs.

0:49:22.4 Paul F. Austin: It does. Even neurobiologically, Iboga has an alkaloid in it that actually interrupts the addiction pattern in the brain. And then from a psychospiritual perspective, it's just so intense that it roots everything out...


0:49:37.7 Paul F. Austin: From an addiction perspective. So there's... Again, it's like a Middle Way, there's two aspects and two elements of that. Well, Joseph, it's good to have our first recorded and published public conversation. I'm glad that we at least got to spend 45 minutes dropping in and talking about psychedelics, physiology, Spartan racing. There's a lot of ground that we covered here. Anything that you are most excited about when it comes to the institute and even co-hosting the podcast that you wanna share with our audience as a final message or some final words?

0:50:16.5 Joseph Anew: Yeah. Well, I'm very excited about the institute as you know, we've got really grand plans, and it's gonna be an amazing journey. Again, I just feel so fortunate both to be here and to be serving the people that are finding us and registering and enrolling for the certification program. I'm super psyched. In terms of my contribution to the podcast, it's awesome. As you said, I had my podcast for several years. I paused in December last year, and now being, again, taking my 20-some odd years of coaching and wellness health fitness experience and bring it into this realm that is so transformational in many ways, every modality, whether it's breath or fitness, kettlebells training, endurance running, ultimately, a lot of those pursuits were chasing the same thing. They were all trying to find either that edge, or that missing link, or that soul connection.

0:51:17.4 Joseph Anew: So it's really neat to take all of that, and now come into this incredibly powerful modality that is just, as we know, the wave is still coming to the shore. And just know that being able to contribute that information is what I'm saying is, as people step into psychedelics, I feel like all of those other modalities are there to catch you in many ways. And so I'm excited to offer that perspective on this podcast within the psychedelic realm, the interconnectedness between all of these things that have been my life. So, yeah, I'm excited to bring a new twist and complement what you do on this podcast and the types of guests you'll be interviewing versus the types of guests I'll be interviewing. And so I think it'll be a really exciting journey for the audience.


0:52:08.7 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, it's Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Joseph Anew. Remember to head to and go deeper into this episode with full show notes, transcripts, and all the links we mentioned in this conversation. That's, and scroll to Episode 211 with Joseph Anew. And you can continue the conversation with us in Third Wave's community at, tell us what you thought of this conversation. Let us know in Third Wave's community. You can sign in and find The Psychedelic Podcast in the menu, leave us a comment there. And while you're at it, check out the rest of the platform where you can find support, meaningful discussions, as well as get access to education resources and providers across our global ecosystem. Sign up for free at For next week's episode, Joseph will be interviewing a psychedelic coach that went through our training program at the institute.


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