**top Scores** Inner Balance / Coherence
Thread for posting your scores on inner balance, or similar device.
1-pics or gtfo
2-nerdiness is ok in this thread, and is not to be held against members when posting elsewhere
3-kato cannot be allowed to win
4-linking of hrv metrics to other life hacking metrics, and similar general discussion, is encouraged
The Master (highest session coherence score, minimum 1000 achievement points in session, level 4)
7.3 - Baba Yaga
The Bad Buddha (highest peak coherence score, level 4)
11.0 - katolotus (level 3)
The Mad Monk (highest session achievement score, minimum of 80 "high", level 4)
1190 - Baba Yaga
The DHEA Doper (highest consecutive 7-day achievement points total)
* FAQ *
Why are these people doing this?
Studies suggest that sessions of 20+mins a day, 5 days a week, for 1 month, in "coherence", may double DHEA levels, while at the same time lowering cortisol levels. Anecdotally, this practice also appears to significantly improve well being. Still want more benefits? There is also suggestion of improvements in: asthma, hyperventilation syndrome, hypertension, hypotension, anxiety, depression, fatigue, resting heart rate, total heart rate variability, blood pressure and gastric pain.
What is coherence?
"Coherence" is a term used by Heartmath as a proxy measure for "quality" of heart rate variability (hrv). It is related to the pattern of the hrv, and also to the amount of hrv. A hrv pattern that is more sine-wave like in shape is given a higher coherence score. Higher amounts of hrv (heart rate bpm, over time, "peak to to trough" difference) are also weighted for a higher score. A "coherent" hrv is better than an incoherent one, a bigger coherent pattern is better than a smaller one.
The picture below shows how your heart rate (bpm) can vary 20 or more points in the space of a few seconds (literally a few heart beats), when in "high coherence". Just as important, is the pattern of that variation. A large, "smooth" sine-wave like hrv pattern is linked to beneficial biochemical change in the body. For example, when I am in "high coherence" my heart rate at the top of an inhale is around 90 bpm, it can then rapidly slow to 70 bpm (or less) at the bottom of the next exhale. With practice, you will find that your hrv will increase and your heart rate average will drop, as you do more sessions.
How do I get coherence?
Primarily, a "coherent" hrv is induced through respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Additionally, positive mindfulness/meditation practices and techniques, appear to work well. Additionally, check Alan's post. Also see hacks, below.
What is the session coherence score?
The session coherence score is a measure related to average hrv coherence for session (total area of session coherence curve / time). It is a proxy measure for the overall "quality" of the session.
What is the session achievement score?
The session achievement score is a measure weighted for (good) hrv coherence x time.
What's up with the levels? What's the best possible score?
See Alan's post here.
Any other motivations?
One of my favourite sport (super) stars, Cooper Cronk, mentioned on his blog that he uses similar breathing training. If it is good enough for Cooper, it sure is good enough for me. I like this quote from Cooper's site the best:
"People often ask me what Iâ€™m listening to minutes before the game. The truth is not what you may think. Itâ€™s most likely to be something that takes my heart rate down and calms my mind to a place of stillness. Because itâ€™s only in stillness you can find the clarity to achieve greatness".
* HRV Hacks *
Below are the top 6 things, I find most useful for hacking hrv. If you have your own, feel free to share.
1 - Rhythmic breathing. Equal time inhale and exhale, with typical range between 8 and 13 seconds (total time for one full breath). A "good range" is generally between 10 and 12 seconds (between 5 and 6 breaths a minute, 0.085 Hz - 0.1 Hz). There is some science around this here, for example, page 130: "the resonant frequency of their CVS lay in the range of 0.075â€“0.12 Hz". Additionally, the Mayer wave is approximately 0.1 Hz.
This paper here suggests a method to find your own "personal" optimal breathing rate. By testing which breathing rate "maximises" the amount of low frequency response (typically around the 0.085 - 0.1 Hz range). My own level test is here.
2 - Deep breathing. Approx. 50% of diaphragm range is typically recommended.
3 - Smooth breathing. Diaphragm breathing can additionally help control the smoothness (and rhythm and depth) of breath.
4 - Mindfulness. A distracted mind will kill your score. Try not to look at the device, it will mainly distract you. In addition, it helps you to train for "real life". A key goal, for myself, is to create level 4 "high" coherence, on demand, in less than a minute - without relying on being plugged into a hrv trainer.
5 - Relax. Particularly on exhale. Do a full body scan of any tension points, and relax these areas.
6 - Heartmath techniques. Especially "heart focus" and "appreciation". Sounds kooky, I know. But you can consistently get a 5+ score just by applying "heart focus" to a 5 breath / minute metronome (0.085 Hz).
Other useful tips:
Sound and light. Contradicts the goal of inducing high coherence without "help", but, a binaural beat with nootropic lighting, may be a useful hack for some. Other music, both relaxing and stimulating may be useful.
Pranayama type images. "Taking in your inhalation as though you were savoring a very fine scent. Let your exhalation be long, soft, calm and peaceful."
Reigning Former Inner Balance "Mad Monk" Champion... :-P