From the Silicon Valley of California to the Diamante Valley of Costa Rica, Zander’s mission is co-create a more joyful and resilient world by living in harmony with nature and sharing solutions with others. Having grown up with a fairly standard American diet and lifestyle, he developed various health challenges that were made worse by modern medicine. This led him to seek alternatives to the conventional alopathic system.
As Zander learned about and experienced natural and holistic health, he realized that many of the most effective modalities (such as yoga, meditation, bodyweight exercise, the raw fruit-based diet, barefooting, climbing, the Continuum Concept, naturism, permaculture, etc) are essentially being modeled for us by our closest cousins, the other great apes (orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas). In 2011, Zander moved to Costa Rica to live in a tropical habitat, as all wild apes do, and to explore communities working toward greater ecological resilience and local sovereignty. While he had significantly improved his earlier health conditions, he was still dealing with persistent misalignment in his neck, calcification throughout his body, and associated anxiety and depression. In 2015, he gathered with several of his friends, who were representing the ape lifestyle in various ways, for a week to explore this concept as a group. It was a amazing experience that inspired him to continue developing his “inner great ape” and Ape Living as a retreat theme.
Later that year, Zander discovered a breathing technique unlike any he had encountered in yoga classes, a form of Tibetan tummo that profoundly improved his overall well-being. It reduced his inflammation, eased his pain, boosted his happiness, and relaxed his anxiety, allowing him to better manage his healing process and life in general. Eager to share this powerful solution with others, he began teaching friends and strangers alike, wherever he went. Before long, he was asked to lead formal workshops on Respiration Yoga, an integration of breathing techniques inspired by natural breathing, tummo, and other pranayama.
Considering the profound health benefits from an anthropological perspective, he realized that tummo (which involves breath retention and is often practiced in conjunction with cold exposure) directly relates to our unique adaptations to living in both colder climates and aquatic environments. He recognized that the benefits of tummo further validate the growing evidence in support of the contested “aquatic ape” theory, and is currently researching these topics to share his insights on ApeLiving.com. Zander is also working with Upward Spirals and the Diamante Valley Solution Center to help co-create a more ecologically harmonious world.