Dr. Gabriele Sigg: Welcome Beautyfull Souls and Beautyfull Hearts to this very first Poetic Science Talk, today with Gavin Andrews, Director of HeartMath UK+IRL as well as the founder of Syntropy States, a beautiful app for meditation and breath work. So, what are we doing here at Poetic Science Talk? We invite guests who can help us to play our individual and collective roles in creating a more heart-centered world. It’s not going to appear by itself! We each have to learn, develop and act from the heart to bring about the new world we want to live in.
Gavin has created Syntropy as a beautiful way to help. It’s my honour and pleasure to have you here.
Gavin Andrews: Thank you. It’s an honour to be here. And I believe I’m the very first guest, so it is a special honour for me.
Gabriele: I’d like to start with Syntropy States. I’ve always hesitated to do breathwork as it felt so technical, but with the Syntropy app and the beautiful art and soundscapes, it’s easy. I just breathed along, and it didn’t feel forced or conscious. I’m also very sensitive and the app helps me get back from an imbalanced state to a more coherent one very easily. I’d love to know the story behind how the idea for Syntropy came about.
Co-Creation With The Universe
Gavin: So, well, I’m one of the Co-Founders along with Allie Joy. And originally, when we started, we had another founder, Mark Soden, who makes music. The short story is that during Covid, Allie who is an artist; and who is also a HeartMath Coach actually and has made art with the use of biofeedback, so she has created art installations using people’s heart rhythms; she contacted me one day and said: “Hey, there’s not many breath pacers out there that are really good – they’re all a bit boring actually, they’re not very exciting or very artistic.” And this was really funny because I was thinking about this as well, it didn’t seem there was anything out there. At the same time Mark contacted me, he’s a music producer and has his own record label and he said: “Have you heard about binaurals?” and I said: “I’ve heard about them and got some tracks, but don’t know too much about them. But actually no one is making music for breathwork, or rather, coherence breathwork.”
And so it was just one of those situations where the universe kind of, where there is this synchronicity, and these two unconnected people contacted me at the same time. So I just said: “Why don’t we just give it a go?” That is how it basically all began. Ali produced some art and Mark produced some music and this wasn’t the first video we created as Syntropy States. And we found out that it was beautiful, really different. It’s abstract art, psychedelic art if you like, digital and generative art. And the music is constantly pacing the coherence pattern and the art does the same.
So we just thought: We’re on to something here. What are we going to do now?” We were trying to find a way to get it out into the world and that’s when we started to create an app – and then that’s also when things started to get quite complex obviously. So ,we created an app, called Syntropy, and that’s where we are now. We’ve got 80 plus videos in the app. We ended up also collaborating with other artists and musicians. We invite international artists to submit samples of their work. Then we pair them, we might have for example an artist from India with a musician from Lithuania.
So, it become just a really nice vehicle, a different way to help people with breathwork, meditation or also just relaxation. It’s also a nice way to help artists and musicians play their part in well-being, as art and music are a forgotten but powerful way to help people shift state and achieve states of relaxation and other states of consciousness as well. So, that’s the story behind it all basically!
Gabriele: Thank you. You summarized it nicely and it’s very interesting, the synchronicities and how everything came together. I also like the idea that it’s not separate any more, there’s the science of breathwork then there’s the music and the beautiful artwork. We are holistic beings and we need all of it. The heart brings together the different aspects of life and it’s integrated in the heart. I exactly felt what you said at the beginning. Breathwork can be difficult and I come from a scientific background and to me breathwork can seem complex. You might not want to do it if you are feeling stoical. It’s interesting what you are talking about.
Gavin: Yes, it’s funny how things can appear. There are a lot of people interested in breathwork. They are also interested in meditation and mindfulness and relaxation techniques, but because they are not necessarily easy to do, or they feel boring, people unfortunately give up on them. So, we just thought we’d use the art and the music to make the breathwork easier for people, make it enjoyable. So basically all you have to do is focus on the heart and breathe in time with the beautiful art as it evolves and expands and contracts and as the music and the rhythm paces your breathing. It makes it effortless and enjoyable. The abstract art and the psychedelic art bypass the conscious mind, so you find yourself very quickly in different states of consciousness as well. For sure it’s not for everyone, but many people will enjoy and benefit from the art and music.
Gabriele: Yes, I really do believe so. And can you describe the difference between breathwork and “normal” meditation?
The Difference Between Meditation and Breathwork
Gavin: Well, there’s a few differences. Since meditation and mindfulness are terms which are used quite generically, people can be doing lots of different practices and achieve lots of different types of states. That’s the same with breathwork, there are different types of states to achieve and activate the physiology in a lot of different ways. What we are particularly interested in, and this the same with HeartMath as well, is “coherence” and so coherence is a specific physical and psychological state that you can achieve through a specific type of breathwork which is basically balanced breathing. Some people call it resonance breathing, or 0.1 hertz frequency breathing, and we call it coherence. It’s really about balancing the breath, slower, deeper, paced breathing and what you are actually doing is balancing both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic branches of your nervous system, which thereby creates an optimal state. So you put yourself in a state that benefits you physiologically. It’s facilitating homeostasis. The heart starts to beat in this rhythm that we can actually measure with the HeartMath biofeedback and then the rest of the body and the brain follows that balanced rhythm. The brain activity shifts towards the prefrontal cortex and brainwaves move into high alpha as well. It’s an optimal state that we can get into quite quickly with that particular kind of breathing. So, that’s the physiological and psychological side of the things.
Additionally, a sort of esoteric benefit is the nurturing of a connection with the heart, the physical connection with the heart, noticing your heart rate and be actually being able to feel the heart physically, but also, more metaphorically or esoterically, connecting to the heart of who you really are.
That’s a very important part within the HeartMath work – to connect to who you really are, what is important to you and how you could live your life with more heart, with those heartfelt characteristics, you know love, care, appreciation, understanding, forgiveness, compassion – all of those types of heartfelt feelings. Obviously we need a lot more of them right now in the world. So that’s one of the differences, we specifically focus on the breath to achieve a physiological state, but also using the breath and the heart together to connect to the heart of who we really are.
Gabriele: Yes, it is needed, and I feel Syntropy and HeartMath are wonderful tools. It feels like with your breathwork videos, the art, you feel like you get carried there. We live in a challenging time and it’s really great to have tools that facilitate and help us to build the new world more easily. Which brings me to another question: How would you envision the world, a heart centred world? How would this world appear from your perspective?
Gavin: That’s a really difficult question to answer. What we’re really talking about is a paradigm shift and a dimensional shift. In essence, in its simplest form, for me it’s a world that is fairer for everybody, a world that’s healthier, that’s happier, where we’re more empathetic towards each other – whatever their economic or political situation, or psychological situations. Ultimately, that we’d have caring compassion for each other and then build a world that is fairer, as opposed to one that is based upon exploitation and what we can get from each other. We’d collaborate so that more people can live a happier, healthier, more thriving live. We might not get rid of all of it, but humans have proven that when we can come together and collaborate and we can treat each other with care and compassion. Rather than destroy each other or defeat each other and destroy our environment. It’s actual collaboration that got the human race this far. But if we continue on the path we’re on right now, it’s going to cause us problems. I think that’s what it’s about: The more we connect with our own hearts and the hearts of each other, then we have the opportunity to create the new type of world. We’re at a tipping point and I’m an optimistic person, but I see clear signs of what we have to do differently and very quickly, and my believe is that we can do that by connecting more with our hearts. From the head we can justify a lot of our behaviours, but they are not necessarily to the benefit of the greatest number of people.
Gabriele: Beautiful Words. Thank you. I think we take that vision in our hearts with us.
Gavin Andrews is the Managing Director of Syntropy States and the Managing Director for HeartMath UK and Ireland. He seeks to support people through his different roles in providing tools to get through difficult times and sharing the knowledge to help humanity to find its way back into their heart. www.syntropystates.com
An incredible collection of paintings from the French symbolist and post-impressionist painter, Odilon Redon (1840–1916). Redon was passionate about art from a young age. Following his fathers wishes he took up architecture, but after failing exams he continued with his love of drawing. His interest in Hindu and Buddhist religion blended with a passion for Japonism influenced the astounding drawings we see today. www.rawpixel.com
Poetic Science Talk
Poetic Science Talk brings together people who have the mission to live from their heart center and live from a Heartset to create a soul-aligned living on earth. We discover the latest research about the science of the heart, art for the heart, science for the soul and beauty from inside out.