- Diamante Valley, Costa Rica
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 numerous health challenges that were made worse by modern medicine. This led him to seeking solutions outside the conventional alopathic medical system.
As Zander learned about natural and holistic health, and began experiencing it for himself, he realized that some of the most effective modalities (such as yoga, mindfulness, bodyweight exercise, the raw plant-based diet, being in nature, barefoot walking, grounding, going to bed early, the continuum concept, permaculture, etc) were all essentially being modeled for us by our closest living cousins, the other great apes (namely orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas). That inspired him to focus more on learning about primatology and anthropology. In 2011, Zander moved to Costa Rica to experience living in a tropical habitat, as all wild apes do. In 2015, he invited several friends, who were best representing the ape lifestyle, to get together for a week and explore the concept of Ape Living as a group. This was a wonderful experience that led him to continue researching and developing this as a modality and retreat theme. While he had eliminated or significantly improved most of his earlier health challenges, he was still dealing with perpetual misalignment, arthritis, and bulging disks in his neck, along with associated anxiety and depression. While he was practicing the solutions he had found to some degree, his central challenge became to embrace these lifestyle changes with greater consistency and patience.
Later that year, Zander discovered a breathing technique unlike any he had encountered in yoga classes, a form of Tibetan Tummo, which dramatically alleviated the negative emotions surrounding his neck problems. This allowed him to better manage his healing process. Eager to share this profound method with others, he began teaching friends and strangers alike, wherever he went. Before long, he was leading formal breathing workshops called Respiration Yoga and integrating multiple techniques. Considering it from an anthropological perspective, he realized that Tummo, which is often practiced in conjunction with cold exposure, relates to our species' unique adaptations to living in semi-aquatic environments and colder climates, and its benefits seem to validate the “aquatic ape theory”. He is currently researching these and related topics to begin sharing his insights and experiences on ApeLiving.com.
In addition to facilitating Ape Living and Respiration Yoga workshops, Zander is now working with Upward Spirals and the Diamante Valley Solution Center to help co-create a more ecologically harmonious world.