Sacred tobacco, From football to MMA, Exploring consciousness, Integrating psychedelic lessons, Meditation post psychedelics, and more.
Guest: Kyle Kingsbury
Kyle Kingsbury is a former football player (Arizona State), a retired American professional mixed martial artist (UFC six years), and currently Director of Human Optimization at Onnit and host of The Onnit Podcast.
While fighting at the highest level, Kyle became fascinated with nutrition, performance, and recovery. Since his MMA retirement, his focus has shifted to learning more about longevity, plant medicines, and inner peace.
In this episode, we cover Kyle’s path from college football, to MMA fighting to joining Onnit as Director of Human Optimization. We learn about shamanic tobacco, the power of plant medicine, various types of meditation, and much more.
P.S. This is Kyle’s second time on the show, check out the first episode he was on: The Bledsoe Show — Life Stories, Psychedelics and Burning Man Tips with Conner Moore and Kyle Kingsbury #36.
Paul Chek turned Kyle into sacred/shamanic tobacco, which is known to work synergistically with ayahuasca. Nicotine may be a widely abused substance in our modern world, but to many indigenous cultures of the Americas, tobacco is a sacred plant known to cleanse both individuals and ceremonial spaces.
Nicotine may get a bad reputation in the modern world, but it is actually a nootropic, a.k.a. smart drug. Kyle recommends GoodSense Nicotine Gum, as it doesn’t have aspartame or an artificial sweetener.
From football to MMA
Kyle grew up playing football and became a lineman at Arizona State. Even though he was a bench player, he enjoyed playing and didn’t have delusions of greatness. He was realistic about his career.
After football, Kyle got into martial arts, but didn’t think about going professional until someone gave him an opportunity to train professionally for free. Since he hated the idea of having a desk job, he went for it.
“A base salary doesn’t drive you to work hard and make more… When you live on commission it’s a rollercoaster of feast or famine.” — Kyle Kingsbury
Kyle had an amazing start to his fighting career, he won his first two fights in less than 30 seconds and was immediately hooked. He went on to have a 7–0 winning streak, but didn’t have a big skillset and wasn’t learning much from his wins.
Kyle got into fighting when he had no real purpose in life, he just liked training. He wanted to see how far he could take it, so he went into the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and fought for a belt. After 6 months at AKA, Bob Cook a.k.a. Crazy Bob asked him if he could fight at 205 lbs as he was a 260 lb. lineman.
Once he dropped weight, he got into Ultimate Fighter season 8, and then into the UFC.
Later on in his fighting career, Kyle trained with a native American boxing coach, who taught him about meditation, reflection, letting go, and starting fresh. His coach brought him to an Indian reservation to do traditional temazcal, which is a type of a sweat lodge, where they do ceremonies that include singing, blessings, and meditation.
Kyle learned a good deal about native American culture, learning how to let go of losses and what happened in his fights, and move forward. After seeing amazing results from the native culture traditions, Kyle asked his coach to experiment with plants medicine.
His first experience was with psilocybin mushrooms, which he did with his wife, at a full moon ceremony in native lands with no lights or water. Even though both of them never had THC at that point, their took 13 grams of psilocybin as instructed by his coach. For reference, Terence Mckenna calls 5g a heroic dose!
After psilocybin, Kyle went to Peru to do ayahuasca. He read on Erowid that “Ayahuasca is the apex of teacher plants.“ Plant medicine eventually helped Kyle change his priorities from fighting to exploring his consciousness. He wasn’t aligned with fighting anymore. He was losing fights, not full time in it, considered the brain damage, and decided there was no future in it for him. His motivation has changed, and he wanted to become the best version of himself.
“Exploration of consciousness is one avenue of very high importance that falls into self-betterment. Getting the most out of life… Exploring our consciousness helps us to heal, helps us to unpack some of the wounds we have from childhood, from out trauma. It also helps us see things in a new eyes, from a new perspective, and it has done that to me. Far far more so than I could have imagined or hoped.” — Kyle Kingsbury
Integrating psychedelic lessons
Psychedelic experiences and journeys come in all shapes and sizes. One of the most important aspects of a psychedelic experience is the integration phase. If you do psychedelics and keep getting the same message, then it means you’re probably not integrating that message into your everyday life and you still need to work on that area. It doesn’t mean there are no other messages for you, else you might be doing psychedelics too often or not integrating your lessons appropriately.
“The message is for you and you alone.” — Kyle Kingsbury
Kyle did ayahuasca 22 times, which seems like a lot of times to many people, but in some circles he feels like a baby. Dan Engel and others spent years in the jungle doing over 150 ceremonies. On the other hand, if you don’t want to go that deep, but still have a similar, reflective experience, try float tanks and breathwork. If you haven’t done psychedelics, just remember you can’t judge.
“You don’t have a seat at the table unless you’ve done it.” — Graham Hancock
FRIEND OF THE SHOW
Meditation post psychedelics
When Kyle started meditating, he tried hard to quiet his mind and get rid of thoughts. Working with plants helped him find the real essence of meditation, and he can get into deep states so much easier now. It’s made his life experiences so much better and his breathwork changed too. Today, the The vast majority of his meditation is stillness.
Besides psychedelics, Kyle likes to use apps like Brain FM and Binaural Beats, and a device called Mindplace Kasina, which illuminates LED lights over your eyelids. It sounds weird, but after a couple of minutes in it, you’re gone, without psychedelics. Kyle has also been practicing Tai Chi, standing QiGong, and walking mediation.
Paul Chek has been a big influence on Kyle, especially his book How to Eat, Move, and be Healthy! (which also had a big impact on Mike). A brilliant book that looks so simple, yet filled so many gaps. Chek was one of the first guys to talk about analyzing your poop, why you shouldn’t lift with a belt, why QiGong is beneficial, and more. He was always ahead of the curve.
“Ayahuasca taught me how to find my quiet center. It taught me the goal of meditation.“ — Kyle Kingsbury
Life at Onnit
Kyle has been to Onnit for the past 6 months, and it’s his first 9–5 job. Even though he hate the idea of 9–5, Onnit is nothing but a traditional place, which is why he loves it. Every employee at Onnit is encouraged to train, they get access to an infrared hot sauna, cryotherapy, get 50% copay on every massage, and more. Kyle also loves the fact he can clear his mind midday with have an organic smoke break, while grounding on the grass.
The grind mentality
The grind mentality is not the best way to get shit done. When you work with a philosophy of: “If I grind and bust my ass now, I’ll be able to retire at this age and then I can do what I wanna do in life.”, then you’ll probably become a grumpy old person, who is unhappy with the life they created. When you go through life creating value for someone else instead of focusing on yourself, you will probably regret it at some point.
“I’d rather fail at something I wanna do, than succeed at the something I don’t wanna do.” — Kyle Kingsbury