Her book Stress Less, Accomplish More debuted at #7 out of all books on Amazon. The New York Times, The Today Show, Vogue and ABC News have all featured Emily’s work. She’s been named one of the top 100 women in wellness to watch, has taught more than 15,000 students around the world and has spoken on meditation for performance at Apple, Google, and Harvard Business School.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Emily achieving her goal of performing on broadway
- The happiness of pursuit
- Finding meditation
- Developing the Ziva Technique
- Vedic meditation
- Different types of meditation
- The art of mindfulness
- Find your mantra
- Om vs. aum
- 2x breath
- Secrets to manifesting
- What is adaption energy?
- Rest heals the body
- Close the stress windows
- Meditation is the new caffeine
- Rewiring the brain with psychedelics
- Benefits of EMDR
- The purpose of Vipassana
- The meaning of Ziva
- How motherhood humbled Emily
- Practicing Ziva before pregnancy
- Moving daily
- Meditation training in India
- Eating “Paleo Veda”
- Fully enjoying life
Sproos <== 10% off all Sproos products & free shipping on orders over $40
Kettle & Fire <== 20% off all Kettle & Fire products
Four Sigmatic <== 15% off all Four Sigmatic products (free shipping on orders $100 or more)
Organifi <== 20% off all Organifi products
Emily Fletcher – Stress Less, Accomplish More (book)
Emily Fletcher’s website (Ziva Meditation)
Follow Ziva Meditation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
21-Day Meditation (app)
John Mackey (books)
Listen to Dave Asprey previously on TUHP (episodes #061 and #159)
Michael Pollan – How To Change Your Mind (book)
Listen to Aubrey Marcus previously on TUHP (episode #233)
Vega – Chocolate Protein Powder
Jesse: Hello and welcome to The Ultimate Health Podcast, episode 303. Jesse Chappus here with Marni Wasserman, and we are here to take your health to the next level.
Marni: Each week we will bring you inspiring and informative conversations about health and wellness, covering topics of nutrition, lifestyle, fitness, mindset, and so much more.
Jesse: This week we are speaking with Emily Fletcher, the founder of Ziva Meditation and the leading expert in meditation for extraordinary performance. Her book Stress Less, Accomplish More debut at number seven out of all the books on Amazon. The New York Times, The Today Show, Vogue and ABC News have all featured Emily’s work. She’s been named one of the top hundred women in wellness to watch has taught more than 15,000 students around the world and has spoken on meditation for performance at Apple and Harvard Business School.
Marni: Emily was such a pleasure to speak to and she really has inspired me to make meditation more of a regular practice, whether it’s using her technique or so many of the other forms that I’ve learned over the years. It was just so inspiring to hear her talk about it and what it’s done for her life. And she really has a great story to tell and I’m excited for you to listen to our chat. So here’s some of what we talk about, the happiness of pursuit, different types of meditation, the art of mindfulness, how to find your mantra, secrets to manifesting, how rest heals the body, closing the different stress windows in your life and how motherhood has really humbled Emily. Such a great conversation excited for you guys to hear this. Here we go with Emily Fletcher. Hi Emily. How are you? Welcome to the podcast.
Emily: Thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.
Jesse: Great to have you on the show, Emily, we have a ton to get into, but I want to start off going into your story and taking it all the way back to when you were a little girl living in the Florida Panhandle. So where specifically did you grow up and what was life like?
Emily: I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and you might’ve been noticing, there’s like a passage in the book where I talk about, I was doing keg stands of Nat Light in the Walmart parking lot and singing the national anthem at the opening of the Super Walmart and you know it was all football and like super southern, you know, it wouldn’t be, it’s not really a likely breeding spot for a meditation teacher, but here we are.
Jesse: So at nine years old you realize your dream is to perform on Broadway. Where did that come from?
Emily: I was reading the newspaper on the floor of my mom’s bathroom. It’s one of those moments in life that’s very clearly etched into my mind. And she was in the shower and I saw an ad for this place called Young Actors Theater. And I looked at the ad and I looked at my mom and I said, oh mom, I need to go here. I’m going to be an actress. And she was like, okay. It wasn’t like, if, when please can I, it was just, I’m going to be an actress. So she enrolled me a few weeks later and it was halfway through my fourth grade year and I was so fortunate to have this place in my hometown where we studied voice and dance and acting and we put on shows multiple times a year. And I did that all the way until I graduated high school. And I also happen to have like a really great musical theater program at my public high school growing up. And so I was just really in love with musical theater. And so I joined the BFA Musical Theater Program at Florida State, which is in my hometown and then moved to New York, you know, to perform on the great right way. And thankfully my second day in New York, I got my first professional job, which is a show that was performing at Radio City Music Hall and I got my equity card which is like the actors union. And then I got my first show on Broadway and I did that for about 10 years. Um, it was, uh, arguably like a version of success, you know, and most of us think, well, once we achieve that dream then then we will be happy. And for me, three weeks after my Broadway debut was actually the saddest I’d ever been. And I realized at a pretty early age that I was more interested in the happiness of pursuit than I was the pursuit of happiness. Like I was happy, yes, when I was moving towards my dream when I was working towards being on Broadway. And then once I got it, it was like, oh, it felt like my dream had been taken away from me. And so I thought, well my happiness must be in the next show or the next job or the next boyfriend. And I did that for a decade until, you know, long story short, I found meditation and it changed my whole life.
Jesse: So when you make it on Broadway, you’re only 17 years old at the time.
Emily: Well, I was 21 like I graduated from college, it was 2001 so I was 21 which is young, but still not 17 young.
Jesse: Okay, well 21 so you’re very young. You make your goal and you’re performing on Broadway and let’s talk about unraveling something that you started to get into there a little bit. The fact that for a lot of people achieving a goal like that, their lifelong dream takes them a whole lifetime. And in your case, you’re only 21 and your there. And like you said, right after you achieved this dream, you’re as sad as you’ve ever been. So was this a good thing or a bad thing for you to reach that dream at such a young age?
Emily: Well, there’s a beautiful concept in the Vedas, which the Vedas is this beautiful ancient body of knowledge from which we have this type of meditation that I teach and acupuncture and yoga and feng shui. Then anyway, there’s this concept in the Vedas that says there’s no such thing as good or bad. There’s no such thing as right or wrong. There is simply creation, maintenance, and destruction. And I think it’s a pretty powerful concept to wrap your brain around because it’s so tempting as humans to want to judge things as good, bad. You know, oh the stock market went up, it’s good. Stock market went down, it’s bad, you know, it’s sunny out, it’s good, it’s raining, it’s bad. And so I think that it was neither good nor bad, but it was an opportunity to find my happiness in the only place that it actually resides, which is inside of me. You know, it’s like we all are so conditioned to believe our happiness is going to come on the other side of that magical person or that magical job or that magical zero in the bank account. And the thing is, we’ve done that research. We’ve been doing that research our whole lives. You know, when we were 12 we wanted the bike when we were 16 we wanted the car and we were 18 we wanted the girl when we were 21 we wanted the job. We just keep chasing, chasing, chasing. And the reality is that most of us never have the gift of finding the place where our happiness actually resides, which is inside of us. And, and you know, every spiritual text has been teaching this since the beginning of time. What you seek is in you. And so I actually, in hindsight, I do think while it was painful in the time, like quote unquote bad in the time, I think it was such a gift because like you said, most people spend their whole lives chasing the dream and if you’ve never achieved the dream, then it’s easy to stay in the illusion that your happiness will come on the other side of the attainment of it. And so it was such a gift to achieve the dream at 21 and they’d be like, well, this ain’t it. And so where is it? And so, you know, a decade of fumbling and looking and searching and seeking, you know, kind of prided myself on being a seeker. And then I found this type of meditation and I was like, oh, I’m not a seeker anymore like I found it, I found it and it’s right inside of me.
Jesse: So around the time you find meditation, your health is really starting to deteriorate. You’ve gone gray, you’ve got anxiety, insomnia, you’re constantly sick and injured. So what do you think was causing this? I think it was an accumulation of stress in my nervous system. I think it was, you know, living your life in a constant state of fight or flight. And I’m not trying to say that my story is any like harder than anyone else’s. Like I certainly, I, I gave a talk a few weeks ago at this conference and the guy that went right before me was a navy seal. So he was talking about, you know, like actual fight or flight. People are shooting at him and he’s like in the ditch, his life is being threatened. And then I go up on stage and I’m like, whoa, I was having anxiety, I was on Broadway and it just felt so like, um, inconsequential. But the reality is for most humans, the fear of public speaking is actually greater than the fear of death because for most of us, death is hypothetical. But public speaking is a very real threat. And I think it hearkens back to, you know, back in the day when we were, you know, tribal and if we got up in front of the tribe and they didn’t like what we said, we’d get kicked out of the tribe, which actually equaled death. So anyway, when you’re an actor, your whole life is auditioning and it’s the nervousness and anxiety of being rejected and that intensity and adrenaline rush of performing in front of thousands of people. And in my particular case, my job was to understudy three of the lead roles, which basically means you show up to the theater with no idea what you’re going to play. You know, even if I wasn’t on, I was terrified that I was going to be thrown on at a moment’s notice. And so I think that anxiety is, I think is late night insomnia and when you’re not sleeping, your body’s not running repairative functions. And so that sleep, I think the lack of sleep rather is what led to me going gray and led to me getting sick more often and ultimately not enjoying myself even though I was living the proverbial dream.
Marni: So you found meditation, let’s talk about your first experience. What type was it? What was it like? How did you respond to it?
Emily: Yeah, so there was this amazing woman sitting next to me in the dressing room who had like a harder job than I did, and she was crushing her job. I mean, just every song, every dance, every bite of food was a celebration. And so finally I was like, I need to have some of what she’s having. And so she invited me along with this intro to meditation talk. I liked what I heard. So I signed up for this course. And on the first day of the first course, I was in a different state of consciousness than I had ever been in before. And I liked it. And then that night I slept through the night for the first time in 18 months. So I was like, whoa. Like this is different. It’s tricky now to talk about this because when we say the word meditation, what most people think of as a free app on their phone. And so this, it’s hard to imagine, but this was actually pre meditation apps. This was like pre Headspace, pre Calm, pre Oprah Chopra. And now that I’ve been teaching through that transition, like when I first started teaching, most people in the west, and like New Yorkers had a big concept of what meditation was, but most people have not tried any version of it. So when they came in to take my class, it was very much with beginner’s mind. But now because there’s like a new meditation app that comes out every day, there’s literally thousands of them. People have preconceived notions of what it is. So anyway, I did not have that. So it was another gift of just going in and being like, okay, well I guess this is what meditation is. But what I did know was I was viscerally in a different state of consciousness. It was different than waking different than sleeping, different than dreaming. And then I had no expectations of this, but I, I did. I slept through the night right away. And then I stopped getting sick. I didn’t get sick for eight and a half years. I stopped going gray. I stopped getting injured and I started enjoying my job again. And so I thought, why does everybody not do this? And so I left Broadway and I went to India and I started what became a three year training process to become a teacher. I was not in India that whole time, I’m not that hardcore, but my training was very hardcore. It was, you know, thousands of hours of apprenticing and hundreds of hours of transcribing books by hand and Sanskrit and thousands of hours of meditation. And since graduating, it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. Now when I first learned, I just learned meditation and then I just taught meditation for like about five or six years. And then I started noticing that I was looking at like the world and like talking to people at cocktail parties and just out and about and a lot what I was hearing again and again, and you guys even said this as you were introducing the podcast to me, you were like, you know, there’s probably a lot of people listening who have tried it and maybe stopped or dabbled in it or curious about it. And so I started noticing that the world is filled with ex-meditators. And I was like, why would people get the keys to the kingdom and then put them down? You know, like this is the thing that we’re all looking for, like access to our happiness internally is ultimately what we’re all searching for. And so it was baffling to me how anyone could find the practice and then quit. And so I started diving deeper and asking questions and really trying to get inside of the heads and hearts of my students and being like, you know, what are the pain points here and how can I help? How can I be of service? And what I started realizing is that for most people, because they have such busy minds, such busy days, one of the hardest points of meditation was simply stopping the momentum of their day because it like go from 90 miles an hour into this deep healing, restful surrender that is, this type of meditation was too much of a gear shift. And so that was one pain point. And then the other pain point that I noticed in the reason why people were quitting is that they were afraid of the intensity of emotional and physical detox that can happen when you start this thing. So this thing is like not a toy, it’s not a joke, it’s pretty powerful tool and it can create a bit of a healing catharsis. It actually kicks up, eradicates that lifetime of accumulated stresses that we all have in our cellular memory. And that process can be intense for people. And a lot of meditation teachers, we’re not talking about that or addressing it. And so people went into it thinking like, oh well I’m meditating so I should just be happy all the time now. Or I’m meditating so I should never be angry ever again and they didn’t understand intellectually that there may be a purge just like if you do a juice fast or stop smoking like your body has to purge. So I adapted the technique and that’s actually when I developed the Ziva technique, which is this trifecta of mindfulness, meditation and manifesting. So the three M’s and the way that we use mindfulness, which p.s., mindfulness is what most people are probably most familiar with. When you think about a quote unquote meditation app like the Headspace, the Calm, the drop-in studios, the guided videos on Youtube, most of those are teaching what I would call mindfulness and I would define that as the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment and mindfulness is very good at dealing with your stress in the now I’m very good at creating a state change in the now. The technique is usually more active. Anytime someone’s guiding you through or if you’re directing your focus in any way or visualizing something. I’m again putting that in the category of mindfulness and because it’s more active because it is more focused. It’s great for high performers and high achievers to use as a runway into the deep healing, restful surrender that is the Ziva technique. That is like the meditation portion of Ziva technique.
Jesse: Okay, Emily, this is great, but I got to pause it here. There is so much we have to get into. You’ve really opened up a lot of different topics. I want to discuss and I actually want to start by going all the way back. We’re going to definitely get into mindfulness and then meditation and manifesting the three M’s, but before we do that, let’s go all the way back to your first meditation experience. I’m just curious what specific type of meditation was this?
Emily: I learned with a guy named Michael Miller, who’s based in London, and he was teaching something called vedic meditation, v, e, d, I, c, which is based on something called Nishkam Karma Yoga. So Nishkam Karma Yoga, Yoga means union, karma means action, and nishkam means hardly taken. So it’s kind of like the lazy man’s meditation. And even though it’s like 6,000 years old, it was designed for people with busy minds and busy lives.
Jesse: Okay. And then you’ve also talked about different apps out there and how they’re coming out all the time. Do these apps serve a purpose to you or are they just distracting people from getting into quote unquote better types of meditation?
Emily: Well, I think that they’re not distracting per se. I think the rising tide lifts all boats and I think that it’s great that millions of people have downloaded these apps that are curious, that are, you know, dipping their toe in the water. So I think it’s great. And you know, some people have really had some huge healing benefits from them, which is awesome. The only thing that I am on a bit of a mission to do is to educate people on the differences between the different types of meditation. Because what I’ve found is that with a lot of the mindfulness apps, while it’s great for creating a state change in then now it’s good at getting rid of your stress, and then now it’s not necessarily getting rid of your stress from the past, which what I noticed from my own experience and from teaching like 17,000 folks to meditate is that it’s really that eradication of the stress from your past that allows you to perform at the top of your game. It’s that purging, that healing catharsis that allows you to uplevel your cognitive performance because ultimately that stress is making a stupid, sick, and slow.
Jesse: Okay. So if I understand this correctly, this is a good sway back into what we we’re talking about a minute ago. The mindfulness. So these apps are typically working on our mindfulness practice. So let’s go back there and talk about specifically get into more of the details of what mindfulness looks like. This transition into meditation.
Emily: Really the best definition I have of mindfulness is the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment. And that is a beautiful thing to do and it is very necessary in this day and age when we’ve all become bulimic of the brain and we’re just intaking, intaking, intaking. And so it’s beautiful and powerful and even necessary, I would say. But what I’ve found is that if you’re exclusively practicing mindfulness, you may not be getting the same type of return on time investment that you could be getting if you were also meditating. And so to just highlight the difference between mindfulness and meditation, we’ve talked about mindfulness a decent amount, but with this type of meditation, you’re actually giving your body rest. That’s five times deeper than sleep. And that’s not an insignificant point because when you give your body the rest that it needs, it knows how to heal itself. Just like when you go to sleep at night, you heal yourself. If you get sick, you go to the doctor, they say rest. So this type of meditation is giving your body very deep rest and that deep rest allows you to come out of the meditation, not only feeling more awake, but also having de-excited the nervous system. And when you de-excite something, you create order and when you create order in yourselves, you allow this lifetime of stress to start coming up and out. And so I find that even for like a 15 minute sitting, which is what I teach in the book and in our online course, it’s just 15 minutes, twice a day before that 15 minute time investment. You find that you have hours left of productivity in your day, you find that you need less sleep. You find that you have more energy. And I think that’s another reason why a lot of people quit is that they invest some of their most valuable resource, which is their time. And then if not getting an exponential return on that investment, then it’s very easy to fall into the trap of saying, I’m too busy to meditate. And that’s not something that I hear too much with Ziva meditators because it’s like if you do it, you’re going to have more time in your day, you’re going to be more productive. And that’s kind of why I’ve doubled down on the productivity and performance aspect of this because I think that no one has time to waste, you know, like really like we’re all hurdling towards the grave right now. And so it’s like we want to maximize the minutes that we have left on the planet. It’s like we don’t meditate for the sake of meditation. We do it so that we can get better at life so we can really accomplish what we were put on this planet to do.
Marni: So let’s expand on the meditation component. So we do our mindfulness, we check in with ourselves, our environment. We go into the meditation. And I know you talk about grasping a mantra. So let’s talk about this, how and the purpose of it and how it’s different from maybe a mantra phrase. You talk about a word. So I just want to kind of go into detail on this and what this looks like.
Emily: Sure. So the term mantra has gotten a little hijacked by the wellness industry. You know, a lot of people think that the term mantra is like a slogan or what I would call an affirmation. You know, you’ll see on Instagram like Mantra Mondays and people will post all these inspiring quotes and phrases which are awesome. Like I’m all about affirmations. I use them when I work out. I think there’s power in them, but an affirmation like I deserve abundance or I’m a strong, angry woman. These are lovely but not the same thing as a mantra. Mantra is a Sanskrit word, man means mind and tra means vehicle. So mantra is actually a mind vehicle. And in the case of Ziva, they’re designed to induce this deep rest. They’re designed to de-excite the nervous system. And I liken them very much to the key that operates the car. The key is not the point of the car, but the car doesn’t go without it. And so it’s not about grasping the mantra. It’s not about focusing on a mantra, it’s not about chanting with the mantra, but you do have to have it in order to like turn the car on. Otherwise you’re just sitting in a parked car in your garage. And I think it’s why a lot of people think that meditation is hard is because they haven’t invested the time to actually get the training and they haven’t found a technique that was designed for them and not a monk because a lot of mindfulness techniques are actually designed for monks. And so once people have a technique that’s designed for them and they’re willing to invest the time to actually get the training, it’s ridiculously simple. And those two things are not the same. A lot of people confuse ease with simplicity or even simplicity for weakness, but I actually think that the power in this practice comes from the simplicity.
Jesse: Now we’re going to take a quick break from our chat with Emily to give a shout out to our show partner, Sproos.
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Marni: And now a shout out from other show partner, Kettle & Fire. This is the best bone broth that is just ready to go for you in seconds. Jesse and I are big fans of making our own bone broth on the regular, but sometimes we can’t or we don’t have time, so it’s great to have Kettle & Fire bone broth on hand, whether you’re a purist and you just want plain bone broth. They have both chicken and beef broth, but they also have so many different blends including curry, lemongrass, miso, butternut squash, tomato and chili all blended with their bone broth. So really there’s something for every one depending on your palette. And if you didn’t know this already, bone broth is so incredible for your skin, your hair, your nails, your joints, your bones, and it’s great for regular maintenance or even repair. So if you have something going on with your digestion or your skin, bone broth is that magic formula and will always bring your body back into homeostasis.
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Marni: And just so I understand, once you find your mantra, I’m not sure the right terminology said, we shouldn’t say grasp but maybe find it or it comes to surface when you’re in meditation. Is it the same one that you want to use all the time? So maybe the first time you practice the Ziva technique, you come up with your mantra and then it’s always the same one or is that something that might shift depending on what you’re going through in life?
Emily: Good question. So the cool thing about these mantras is they’re not like diagnostic or prescriptive. So it’s not like, oh, I’m going through a divorce right now. I need to use the mantra of, you know, acceptance. Or right now I’m building a company, so I need to use the mantra of resilience because even that would be the meaning or a purpose to it. Or you would be going in with some sort of an agenda. So in the book and there was some confusion about this in the book and I might actually make an edit in the next imprint of the book, but because I really focus in the book about letting the mantra like come to you, a lot of people misunderstood that to mean that I was saying that you should just like intuit or make up a word or like choose something arbitrary to be your mantra, but I actually give a universal mantra in the book and I recommend that people, if they read the book, they use that. And then what I do in the online courses, Ziva online, is that I teach people a protocol by which to choose a mantra from a curated list. And then when people learn with me face to face in New York or LA, then I actually give them their own personalized mantra face to face. The reason why it’s different depending on the level of support you have is because what I teach face to face, I like to call it like the Maserati of meditations. Like it’s fast, it’s powerful and I think it makes you sexier. But with that power becomes like sometimes a very intense level of catharsis. And that’s really my job is to help people through that. And it’s why when we teach live it’s like two hours a day for four days and I can keep checking in on you. And then people have access to a lifetime of support and follow up because if people are dealing with trauma or anxiety or PTSD or have a history of depression or anxiety is sometimes that catharsis can be quite intense. And I would never want to put people in a situation where they are not equipped to deal with it or move through it elegantly or with the support that they need. So I have this live course when I originally started and then I wanted to make it available online, but I didn’t want to throw people into like a potential suicidal situation or able to like to not able to leave their house. And so we made the online course gentler and then the book is a little bit gentler. So my, my analogy is that like the live courses, like the Maserati, online is kind of like a great Toyota. And then the mantra that I give in the book is like a great vespa, you know, like they’re all going to get you there. They all work, but they’re just varying degrees of sort of like speed and power.
Marni: Okay. So there’s the one in the book, but can you give us an example of one or two right now that maybe, you know, you’ve come across with people that you’ve trained just to give, you know, our audience a kind of a reference point of, of what a couple of them might be.
Emily: So the most famous mantra there is out there is Om, right? So that, you know, that’s what everyone thinks about when they think of meditation they think fancy fingers and like, Om. Om is a monastic mantra. It’s originally designed for monks. And so if you were to use Om as your mantra all day in and out, you might find yourself like giving away the keys to your car or signing away the deed to your house. Or just kind of waking up those more reclusive, monastic parts of you. But that is a great example of a mantra. It’s actually that the mantra that contains all other mantras cause the sound that contains all other sounds. So a lot of people think, Om is O M but it’s actually like, aaauuummm, it’s like A u m it’s the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the sound that contains all other sounds. And if you think about it, it goes from the back of the throat to the front of lips. Some people liken it to like an acronym almost for the whole alphabet.
Marni: I love Aum. So during the meditation as well, are we focusing on breath work? I know in the book you go through different exercises at the end of the chapters with different breathing exercises. So breath is obviously a big part of the meditation as well. Correct?
Emily: Well I use those exercises at the end of the chapter for specific use cases and those are quite diagnostic. So there’s one called the 2 x breath, which you know we can go through right now. I think it’s like a nice quick fix for folks from as you’re having like an anxiety attack or panic attack. All you do is simply inhale through the nose for two and you exhale through the mouth for four and it’s so, so simple. Just inhaling through the nose for two and exhaling through the mouth for four. But the thing is if you’re about to have a panic attack or an anxiety attack, you can’t really have something complicated to fall back on. You need it to be very simple and so that’s a great just thing to have in your back pocket if you’re like, well I’m freaking out. Just okay in for two out for four and you can even do that walking if you’re really amped and that’s a nice way to kind of warm up or prime the body for the Ziva technique. But interestingly breath is not actually a part of the Ziva technique. I use it in other cases in life, but once you sit down to meditate, because Ziva is a little different than most other styles of meditation because what we do is we train people to be self sufficient. And so once you have the training, like you don’t need me or an app or anything else, you just sit down and you close your eyes and you dive right in and you won’t even really need the breath anymore. I know I’m being a little vague right now, but to me I see the breath is like either a great way to warm up the body for the meditation or as something to do to prevent a panic attack in your waking state, but not necessarily something you would need in the meditation because you’d have a mantra.
Marni: Gotcha. So it can be part of the mindfulness as you’re, you know, tuning into your breath and your surroundings, you can kind of ease into it a little bit easier.
Emily: That’s exactly right. Yes.
Marni: Okay. So manifestation. This is, or manifesting, this is the last component. Let’s talk about this and how we can utilize this to kind of tie the knot.
Emily: Yes. So manifesting, it’s a word that’s getting more and more, I think accepted in pop culture. You know, even a couple of years ago, people are like, oh gosh, you want me to secret my dreams? And it’s not just about sitting on a couch and getting high and hoping for your dreams to come, like you still have to take inspired action. But to me, manifesting means consciously creating a life you love. It’s you getting intentional about what you want your life to look like. And again, while that might be simple, it’s not so easy for most folks because most of us have been in survival mode for so long that we don’t even know really what we want. You know, it’s just like, well, let me just get through this day and let me get through this acquisition and let me get my kids to sleep. And it’s just survive, survive, survive. That we’ve forgotten to ask ourselves, what do I want to do? How much money would I like to make this year? What’s my dream relationship look like? What’s my dream relationship with my body feel like? How much sex do I want to be having? What’s my dream home look like? And so a lot of us even think that we’re manifesting, but we’re accidentally complaining. You know, we’re like, oh, why did she get a raise? And I didn’t? Why can’t I lose this weight? Why won’t my boyfriend go to therapy? And so if we ask these negative questions that we tend to get negative answers. And so what I do in the training is I just, I encourage people to utilize these few minutes right after the meditation, which is a very sacred time, very powerful time to meditate because the right and left hemispheres of your brain are functioning in unison. And so to set your intentions from that space is very powerful. It’s easier to both listen to how nature wants to use you and for you to communicate your desires to nature when you de-excited, the nervous system and the right and left hemispheres of the brain are functioning in unison. So, and here’s the CliffsNotes secret to manifesting. Is imagining your dream as if it’s happening now as if it is the current reality. And what a lot of us mistakenly do is when we think about our dreams, we accidentally worship the space between where we are and where we think we should be. And worshiping that distance between where we are and where we want to be is actually the definition of the stress. Stress is the space between where you are right now and where you think you should be. So we want to take care of that we’re not watering those weeds, we want to take care of that. We’re watering the flowers that we’re putting our attention on, the thing that we want to grow. So in this case, it’s basically just imagining the dream as if it’s unfolding all around you.
Marni: And it’s such a fine line, you know, to get into that space picture exactly what you want, that you’re in it now. And then you’ve got, you know, your, your little monkey mind coming in saying, well that’s not true. This is not happening. And then you can see those wheels starting. So I would guess that after practice, you know, days, weeks, months, years, it gets easier and easier and you can just get into that state and be in a flow state or be in that really good present zone where you are just feeling like life is always great.
Emily: Hmm, yes well said. And I think to your point, for most people manifesting is very hard in the beginning. It is a decidedly advanced practice. And what I found is that just after time, some weeks and months of meditating where you’re carving out the stress from your body, you actually start to believe that you deserve your desires. The trick is we don’t get what we want in life. We get what we believe we deserve. And so that’s why I found that the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts. So like the combination of meditation and manifesting together is so much more powerful than doing either one alone. Because if you’re just manifesting, you know, you could have lined your wall with vision boards and watch The Secret on repeat. But if you’re not doing the hard work of getting your buns to the chair everyday, twice a day, then chances are your body still riddled with stress and you don’t believe that you deserve your desires or you just feel so overwhelmed that you can’t even imagine even starting going for your dreams. And so after a while of getting out of fight or flight, getting out of survival mode, you start to have more space for creation. You start to have more space for, like you said, flow and it just gets a lot easier.
Jesse: So Emily, you’ve touched on the stress and carving it out of our lives a couple of times. And I want to go back to meditation and talk more specifically about this. So what kind of stress are we talking about and how specifically are we getting this out of the body?
Emily: So when I say stress, I mean any type of demand on your body. Even if you had a great childhood and you’ve been in therapy for 10 years, like just being a human being alive on the planet earth right now, like your body’s not living in accordance with nature. You know, if you’re looking at your iPhone, if you’re microwaving your food, if you’re eating mangoes in the winter time, if you’ve ever taken a plane ride or sat in a motor vehicle that is quote unquote stressful on the body, it is demanding on your body its burning up something that we call adaptation energy. Which is simply your body’s ability to adapt to a demand. And so what the meditation is doing is that it’s basically giving your body this deep healing rest and like you’re filling up your reservoirs of adaptation energy so that you can more elegantly handle the inevitable demands of life. So every single time you’ve ever launched into a fight or flight stress reaction like a dog barked in your face when you were 10, your parents divorced when you were 12, your breakup when you were 16, getting rejected from that college when you were 18, like anytime you’ve ever been sad, stressed, or been in an actual fight or flight situation, it’s left a little open window on your brain machine. It’s called a premature cognitive commitment. PCC, and by the time the average adult is 20 years old, we have about 10 million of those. 10 million premature cognitive commitments. I liken it to having 10 million open windows on your brain machine. And so in order to survive, we’ve had to minimize those windows, right? In order to just be present in our daily lives. But we still have them going on in the background is burning up our brain power, burning up our physical power and ultimately making us stupid, sick and slow. And so what the meditation is doing is that it’s going in and through the rest that it’s delivering, it’s allowing you to actually maximize those windows so that you can click x and get rid of the stress. And then once it’s out, it’s never coming back. And so what so many of us have done in the kind of like the Western model of medicine is like, just mask the symptom. Just shut it down, shove it down, don’t feel, don’t cry, don’t be angry, don’t get sad, just take an Advil, take some coffee, move on, move on. You know, we just pretend like this symptom isn’t there and we just power it out at all costs. And then we wonder why we have adrenal fatigue and are getting cancer and heart attacks and you know, chronic inflammation. Any other, you know, fill in the blank chronic situation. So what the meditation is doing is that it’s actually, it’s like just giving you rest and when you give your body the rest that it needs, it knows how to heal itself. Just like when you go to sleep at night, you wake up and you feel better because your body is run a whole host of healing mechanisms. Same thing in meditation. The difference between sleep and meditation is it in sleep, your brain is chilling, but your body’s on guard. So think about last night when you went to sleep, probably like dog came in, dog came out, alarm went off a few times. Partner’s snoring, sirens, sun came up. You didn’t know any of that happened because your brain was in blackout, sleep. But all the while your body was on guard. [Snoring sounds] Sucking wind, sucking oxygen so that you can be prepared for a saber tooth tiger should it attack you in the middle of the night. Now in this type of meditation the bodies getting rest thats five times deeper than sleep. And the way that we know that is in the metabolic rate drops, heart rate slows, body temperature cools. And the trick here is that nature won’t let you rest that deeply physically and be in blackout sleep mentally at the same time because at that point you’d be an evolutionary liability. So basically one or the other has to be on guard. When we’re sleeping, brains, chilling bodies on guard in this type of meditation body is chilling, but brain’s on guard. So I’m saying that for a couple of reasons. One to illustrate like the type of rest that the body’s delivering, why it’s healing you from those old stresses. But two, what I would like for people to take away from this is that meditation is not going to make you deaf. Your ear drums are still gonna work just fine. You actually have like a hyper mental alertness, which is that hyper mental awareness that allows the body to get the rest, which is ultimately what makes you more awake on the other side.
Jesse: So Emily, talk about all these different windows being open throughout our lifetime and using meditation as a tool to close them. And I’m sure it’s different person to person and at whatever age they begin this meditation, but on average, how long do you find it takes people to close their windows and get back to a baseline?
Emily: Well, the patterns are different, but the patterns that I see are usually like the first day people are like, Ooh, this is a fun new toy. And then second day they’re like, ah, this is weird. And then like third day is very intense for folks. Usually they’re quite tired, quite angry, quite sad and it’s just like, yeah, it’s just the gunk coming up and out and I’m speaking right now, about the live course, the patterns that I see there, cause that’s what I can witness face to face. And then by day four they usually feel a little bit better. And then the pendulum swings, I feel great, I feel terrible, I feel so happy. It feels so sad and it swings pretty dramatically for the next two to three months and then things even out and you just up-leveling, up-leveling, getting a little bit brighter, a little less stressed, a little more rested. And that happens over the course of really the rest of your life? Now, it’s a little bit slower on the online course, but really this is a lifelong journey. But the most intense is in the first few days when it’s like a floodgate of stuff coming up and out.
Jesse: So people getting into this knowing there’s going to be this floodgate of things coming at them. What are some tools or tips you can give people to handle that in a positive way?
Emily: Great question. So the best thing you can do is rest. Like a little nap after the meditation, going to bed a little early, skipping the boozy brunch, not going to the rave, 20 minutes less on Facebook and instead of lying in Shavasana, taking a bath, taking a nap, taking a walk, getting a massage, these are all very, very good usages of your time in your first few weeks of meditation. It’s like the more care you can take of your body while your nervous system is detoxing, the more you’re going to enjoy it. You know, easy on the booze, easy on the pot, easy on the coffee, the sugar, just anything you’d do that would be toxic to your system. You want to really dial that down.
Marni: And in the book you make a reference of meditation being the new caffeine of how when this can become a regular practice, you might even lessen your need and desire and craving for caffeine. Can you expand on this?
Emily: Sure. I mean, I hear it happen day in and day out. And interestingly at my intro talks, I don’t say that this isn’t necessarily a benefit. I mean in the book I do, but I just hear it. I mean, I’ve heard it for eight years now, where people are like, oh, I just forgot to turn on my coffee machine this week. Like I used to drink three cups of coffee a day and now I don’t even take one. Or I used to have five, but now I only have one. And so most of us are reaching to coffee because we’re exhausted and we’re reaching to it as a productivity tool, reaching for it to wake us up. And so because the meditation takes away that exhaustion and because you don’t feel so foggy anymore at the middle of the day, the people’s dependence on it just kind of goes away. Now I gave a talk at the Google headquarters called why meditation is the new caffeine. Really both of them can be productivity tools, but caffeine is molecularly very similar to a chemical called adenosine, which is what your brain produces to tell you that you’re tired. And so the caffeine is not giving you energy per se, but it is masking your brain’s ability to feel tired because the caffeine is going in and blocking the brains adenosine receptors. But all the while your brain is still producing that chemical. So once the caffeine leaves those receptors, then all of that adenosine floods in and then you’re more tired than when you started it. That’s what the comedown is. And so my argument is, is like look for the same amount of time and ultimately less money over time. You can give yourself a productivity boost and an energy boost that is sustainable, that is self sufficient. And as I think I quote John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods in there, when he was talking to one of my friends and drinking a coffee and he’s like, oh, your energy’s not your own. He was like relying on the caffeine to pick him up. Now look, my friend Dave Asprey and I would probably have a very long debate about this and so, in making it sound like a blanket issue, which it’s not. Some people for coffee is very good for them. For me coffee is toxic because I vibrate so high anyway. I think in talk and my metabolism is so fast already that for me caffeine makes me crazy. But for some people like an ayurvedic medicine that are more coffic in nature that are more like Gravitas, then caffeine is quite good for them. So I think the direction that we’re going with health and wellness and medicine is going to be hyper-personalized. So I’m not suggesting that everyone should quit coffee, but I am suggesting that do you really want to be dependent on an external substance for your energy or wouldn’t it be nice to also be able to access that energy internally?
Jesse: Great explanation. I really like that. And I want to come back to your analogy of opening windows throughout life and the different stresses that open those windows and then using the Ziva meditation technique to close them. My question for you is, are there other tools besides meditation that can be used to close those windows?
Emily: Yeah, I think therapy is probably like a great tool that most people are very familiar with and I think that therapy is so valuable and I really loved it. I was in therapy for a few years before I started meditating and then for one year after, and I think it’s great, but interestingly therapy is healing things on like a cognitive level. It’s giving you a framework and intellectual operating system through which to view your past, your present and your future. And I’ve had many, many therapists take my class and still go through very intense purging and they’re like, what’s going on? Like I’ve healed this, I’ve dealt with this. Why am I so sad? Why am I so angry? And so the difference here is that Ziva is healing things on a cellular level. It’s healing things on a pre-verbal level. So therapy is a great healing tool, but it’s more cognitive. Whereas this is more cellular. I would say. This is a little controversial. I haven’t done it yet, but I’m just diving into Michael Pollan’s book, you know How To Change Your Mind. My friend Aubrey Marcus, you know has a podcast and he is always talking about different types of therapeutic usages of psychedelics. From what I’ve seen from my friends, it seems like with the right practitioner and the right dosage and the right intention and the right follow up program, some psychedelics can be very healing. It’s almost like rewiring the brain. It’s giving you a window into what it’s like to be in higher states of consciousness. It’s just, it’s a little dangerous right now because it’s still illegal. It’s hard to really find and source and research great practitioners and I think that that’s a big part of the story is having the right guidance through that. Another thing that I’ve heard is very effective is EMDR, which is like eye movement directional. I forget what the D and The r stands for, but it’s a type of therapy where you’re moving your eyes from right to left. Veterans who are dealing with PTSD or kids who have been like they were coming out of sex trafficking that have had severe trauma, rape victims where they use EMDR to rewire the brain specifically around the trauma. So there are other healing modalities for sure.
Jesse: Now we’re going to take another quick break from our chat with Emily to give a shout out to our show partner, Four Sigmatic.
Marni: If meditation is part of your regular routine, you’re definitely gonna want to enhance your practice with medicinal mushrooms. And the two mushrooms I would suggest sipping on would be Lion’s Mane to enhance your focus and put you into a really good state of mind, especially if you meditate in the morning. Or if you’re a nighttime meditator I would recommend getting your hands on the Reishi as it’s so calming and chills you out and especially if you’re a boat to go into a deep sleep afterwards and just sipping on a warm beverage in general is so healing and so nurturing and so conducive to a meditative practice and these packets make it so easy. All you have to do is tear it open, pour it into some hot water and you’re good to go.
Jesse: As listener of our show, you get a 15% discount on all your Four Sigmatic purchases and to take advantage, go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/foursigmatic again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/foursigmatic. On top of that, if you spend $100 or more, you get free shipping going load up on your favorite medicinal mushrooms today and take advantage of your listener discount.
Marni: And now a shout out from other show partner, Organifi. Turmeric Gold beverage is such a classic around here. In fact, Jesse and I miss it so much while we were away. It’s so good to be back with the Turmeric Gold again. It’s so soothing before you go to sleep. You just grab a scoop of it, put it in some hot water. It’s already got coconut milk powder in there, so it’s good to go all-in-one elixir that just calms you right down and the taste is phenomenal. So if you haven’t tried the Turmeric Gold yet, go and get your hands on it. It’s going to be your favorite new nighttime beverage.
Jesse: And what Marni was referring to there is when we went away on our cruise, so are back at home and we’re happy to be home. And as a listener of our show, you get 20% off the whole Organifi lineup to take advantage, go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/organifi. Again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/organifi and Organifi is spelled o. R. G. A. N. I. F. I. Go and get yourself some of the Turmeric Gold today this stuff is going to help tame any inflammation in your body. And now back to our chat with Emily. And Emily, coming back to the psychedelics. I know you’ve talked about in the past a friend of yours that wanted you to try LSD and eventually at the right time for you, you came round to try that as a therapeutic thing for yourself. So take us back there and tell us the story of what that was all like.
Emily: Yeah, it was one of my students who’s really into it and he had this beautiful like farm upstate and he curated this beautiful weekend with music and food and you know, it was a whole thing and it was quite beautiful. Now to be perfectly honest, that was not what I would consider quote unquote therapeutic in that I wasn’t working with a licensed practitioner. I didn’t have any like really super clear intention going into it. We weren’t like processing or having therapy on the other side of it. But it was fun and beautiful. Like for me it was a little bit more recreational. But the thing that came up for me during the LSD was I just kept hearing the word Vipassana, Vipassana, Vipassana, Vipassana and I was like, what’s going on? And something in me knew, I would be able to access that same feeling, that same expansiveness, that same sort of like connectedness that you can access with LSD. I had an intuition that I could access that even without the drugs. And so that was when the seed was planted for me to go and do my first Vipassana retreat, which for those of you who might not know Vipassana, is like a 10 day silent meditation retreat, and it was awesome. I did mine in India, but you can do them all over. I loved it. I highly recommend it if you can afford 10 days away from your life, but it’s silent, no eye contact, no reading, no writing, no exercise. It’s two meals a day. It’s 10 and a half hours of sitting, you know, cross legged on a cushion. It’s very intense, excrutiatingly physically painful, but if you can stick in the pain and sit in it and not leave or lose your mind, then by like day five or six, you start to have some real insights, some real downloads. And I actually kind of felt like that same level of expansiveness and connectedness that I did on LSD. I mean it’s different but similar. And so some people will be like, well, what’s a different between Vipassana and Ziva. I liken Vipassana, to like psychic surgery, you know where Ziva is more like physical therapy. It’s like I’m teaching you how to do your exercises on your own and you gotta do them every day. It meant to be integrated into life versus Vipassana is like very monastic and you’re going away and it’s like a big psychic shift.
Jesse: You mentioned being in physical pain during the silent retreat and you’ve described doing the silent retreat as the most intense pain you’ve ever been in. So get into that a little bit more for us.
Emily: For like the first 45 minutes of a pasta. You’re like, ah, great, doing great, nailing it. I can only speak from my experience, but from like minute 46 I was like, certainly I’ll have to amputate my legs. Certainly I’ll never be able to walk again. And so for minute 46 and now you’ve got, you know, nine hours and 15 minutes left to go in that day and you’re just in your brain is finding any way out of the pain. And so I remember on my first day I was like, well, I’ll just go and sneak another cushion. So maybe the extra cushion will help is I had a second cushion. And then on the third day I got another cushion for underneath my knee. And on the fourth day I got another cushion front under my butt and then my other knee. And then finally the teacher calls me over and he whispers in my ear and he goes, stop trying to not be miserable. And I was like, oh, got it. Like I was trying to avoid the pain, I was trying to stop feeling the pain. But the whole point of Vipassana, and again at least for me is that you have to learn how to sit in the pain. You have to sit in it so directly in and accept it so fully. And if you can do that, if you can stop trying to avoid the pain, then the brain clicks over into this whole other sphere. And it was the first time I ever understood that the pain and pleasure parts of the brain are next to each other. And then what happens is you have this wave of pleasure. It’s like you have these wave of almost like full body orgasm happening, not in a sexual way but in like a very expansive connected way. And then the trick becomes how do you not chase the pleasure and how do you not avoid the pain? And if you can really become a master of that, not chasing pleasure or avoiding pain, then you can become a master of anything, any addiction, any need, any grievance. It’s like that’s really all we’re doing in our lives usually is avoiding pain and chasing pleasure. And so Vipassana kind of just throws you into the fire of that.
Jesse: And did you have any psychological freak outs during the 10 days?
Emily: I did not, but I had been meditating for 10 years by the time I went. But I did see people freak out. Like I saw there was a couple of people left. I could see you guy like going through what seemed to be like borderline psychotic break. I’ve had friends who have gone and had, you know, not full psychotic breaks but like there’s something that shifts. And so I guess my only word of caution around doing Vipassana would be starting a daily meditation practice before you go. Like I would not show up like hung over and toxic having never meditated before and super stressed cause it’s just a, it would be like just stopping heroin, cold turkey with no support or methadone or, and it was just, it’s too much coming out all at once.
Jesse: So we’ve talked quite a bit about the Ziva technique in the three parts, but I’m just curious, where does the word Ziva come from?
Emily: Oh it’s actually a Sanskrit word that means bliss and it’s a Hebrew name that means one who is radiant or kind. And since bliss, radiance and kindness are pretty common side effects of meditation, I thought it would be a good name. Plus it looks real good on a tote bag.
Marni: Yeah, it’s beautiful. And Emily, you had a baby boy recently.
Emily: I did it.
Marni: Yeah, he’s beautiful. Jasper. Can you just share what this experience was like and how this has changed you?
Emily: Oh, well my pregnancy was a dream. It was so fun being pregnant. I loved it. And I’ve been studying like pregnancy and labor for like 11 years or so. Like I’ve been really interested in pregnancy and I’m on the board of a company called Expectable, which is all, you know, guided exercises for pregnancy. And so I really went into this experience, super arrogant to just thinking I was going to have a dream birth and I want it to be like in a tub at home. And I figured my postpartum would be a breeze. Like I didn’t even read about postpartum depression because I was like, well that’s not going to happen to me. And then my labor was super intense. It was four day back labor. And then I went into a pretty brutal postpartum. It was just a series of physical complications. Like my stitches came out and he had a tongue tie, which means he couldn’t nurse properly, which made nursing excrutiatingly painful and I’m going to say more painful than Vipassana. And also it’s like you have to do it every three hours around the clock or your kid dies. I like wasn’t making enough milk and he had jaundice. It was just like bang, bang, bang, and so, and just sleep deprivation alone is enough to make you crazy. It was not a joke and I think it really humbled me and it gave me a lot more compassion for my students because the reality is if you’ve meditating twice a day everyday for 11 years, like life does get pretty easy and pretty awesome and pretty flowy. And I’m realizing this only in hindsight is that I got a, not arrogant, but like maybe distanced or detached from the experience that my students were having when they were first going through the emotional detox and just how intense that is. And so I think, and I just kept going on that trajectory. I might’ve been a little flip or lost a little bit of empathy or compassion. And so just reminding myself of just how hard that was. And it’s like pms, but on crack it’s like you can know that pms is coming and it doesn’t make it feel any less real when you’re in it. Like you can, no, it’s a hormonal thing, but still when you’re in it, it feels real. And so with postpartum, like your hormones are changing so dramatically. Like you’re losing, I think progesterone, which is what makes you feel so high when you’re pregnant. And then when that goes out, prolactin comes in, which is what makes your milk come in. So it’s like a beautiful complex system, but it’s still a huge transition. And even though you know it’s going to happen and you know it’s hormonal, it doesn’t make it feel any less real when you’re in it. So anyway, I stopped meditating for a month after Jasper was born and then my second month I was able to do once a day. And then when I went back to work after two months, I started back with twice a day. So, and even that was like a good reminder of hey, we meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation. You know, it’s not, so you can have a perfect meditation record. It’s like I had been putting deposits in the bank account for so long so that I had some reservoir to make it through such an extraordinarily high demand time. I dunno if that was the answer you were looking for, but it was intense.
Marni: No, it’s great. And do you have any tips for anyone who might be going into pregnancy or who is pregnant? Anything around incorporating meditation into just the whole process of being pregnant?
Emily: Yeah, so I mean even though I said that I quit in my first month postpartum, like I don’t want to say that my stress was special, but I did have like a pretty intense physical challenges in the first month. It’s almost like I needed to be stressed. I needed to be in fight or flight to stay awake for that time. But for most people, if they’re dealing with postpartum depression or sleep deprivation, I do actually think that meditation would really help. The number one thing I would recommend for people who are looking to get pregnant, if people are on the fertility journey, I highly recommend starting a practice and we have a couple of case studies in the book talking about 44 year olds who weren’t even candidates for IVF. And then they started doing Ziva for like two years and came back and they had the fertility of 18 year old. And so I think it’s great to start a practice even before getting pregnant. And then when you’re pregnant, you know your body’s working so hard creating a human that you want to make sure you’re filling up your reservoirs as often as possible. And then when you’re then a parent, you’re probably not going to be sleeping as much as you would like and your sleep might be interrupted. And so the Ziva, the best way to talk about it is it’s like a supercharged power nap, but without the sleep hangover. So instead of needing an hour nap, if baby’s napping, you might be able to meditate for 15 minutes and then get up and clean your house or you know, do some work for the other 45 minutes. And so it’s just really kind of a game changer. And I know now because I just launched a baby and a book in the same year and there’s no way I would have been able to do that without meditation.
Jesse: So Emily, transitioning out of baby mode into stress mode, I know we’ve talked a lot about how meditation can be used as a tool to purge stress, but for people just living their day to day life, what are some techniques and different things that you’re doing to keep stress at bay and to keep balancing your life?
Emily: Yeah, so other things that I do is that I’ve become much more like draconian about my sleep because Jasper wakes up usually around seven and I’m doing my best to be in bed by 11 which might sound crazy, but that’s early for me. I’ve been on the showgirl schedule, so if left to my own devices, I like to sleep from 2:00 AM to 10:00 AM which is not ideal. It’s work for me to try and go to bed at 11 but I’m doing it and I’ve been happy with that. I also had been on a pretty intense supplement regimen. I see this amazing woman named Dr. Beth at this clinic in Soho. She’s like an applied kinesiologist and I know that people have, you know, varying theories or beliefs on this, but she muscle tests me to see what supplements I’m deficient in or what my body might be purging or if I’ve picked up any formaldehyde or aluminum or if my body has heavy metals or something that needs to clear out. I was making not enough milk for like the first four months that Jasper was alive and then I started doing her whole program and my milk came in at like four months, which is very unusual. Normally it’s like your supply is established by month one. So I do my supplements and sleeping, and then I have this smoothie that I make every morning that’s like half an avocado and greens and blackberries and blueberries and collagen powder and Vega chocolate protein powder and a raw egg and coconut milk. Like I like wake up, meditate, do my smoothie and do my supplements. And then I try to do some sort of form of movement every day. And that’s very flexible. It could be 15 minutes of yoga. I might do 15 minutes of high intensity interval training. On a great day, I’ll go and take a class. Um, but I do try and move my body at least a little bit every day.
Jesse: So early on in the interview when you’re telling your story, you talked about going to India on and off for three years as you’re training for meditation. And I just want to go back there and get into some of the details of what day to day life was like when you were there. And then talk about the transition coming to New York. Such a busy city. I mean, I’m not sure exactly where you were in India. It might’ve been quite busy there as well. But compare and contrast for us the difference of living in India versus New York.
Emily: Yeah, so a typical day in like meditation, teacher training land would be anywhere from like two to four hours of meditation. And specifically this type of meditation. I was doing something called rounding, which is like very gentle yoga into a breathing technique into meditation, into this guided visualization. And that thing takes about an hour. So I would do like three or four hours in a row or you know, sometimes I do two hours, take a break, do another two hours, lots of listening to lectures, transcribing books by hand in Sanskrit. And then at the end there’s a lot of memorization as well, which sounds crazy, but there’s certain things you have to memorize that kind of allow you to field almost any question. You know, like some people will come and sit in on like a Q and A and be like, how do you know the answers? All these questions. And it’s because of, I just spent so much time memorizing these different things that happen, like different ways that people were having headaches or where in your head is it? Or if it’s this part of the head, it probably means this. If it’s on that part of the head, it probably means that, and you’re right though, there is a big juxtaposition, like it’s definitely a softer existence than living in Manhattan. And I think that for a lot of folks especially who are just like in India exclusively that whole time, it’s very challenging to come back and then start a company or start teaching or even get on the subway because your nervous system is so raw. But because my training was a little bit slower, it was a little bit more integrated. I felt like I wasn’t as raw coming out of it and I was still kind of like building my website and looking at the entrepreneurial aspect of it, even from the middle of my teacher training. So for me it didn’t feel like a sharp contrast. It was kind of a gradual transition, which I’m very grateful for.
Jesse: What was the food like in India?
Emily: Oh, it’s delicious. I love the food in India, especially in Rishikesh, the whole town is vegetarian. And so I went vegetarian for a few years after that. I mean, you know, it’s just spices. And if you ever go to Delhi, there’s a spice market and it’s like an accosting of your senses. You almost can taste the smells. They’re so strong coming through your nose.
Jesse: And what does your diet look like these days? You mentioned transitioning off the vegetarian diet.
Emily: Yeah, I would call it sort of like a Paleo Veda, if you will, meaning it’s kind of Ayurvedic kind of Paleo. So I do a smoothie in the morning and then lunch is quite variable. And then I have these amazing women named Amy and Jamie who they’re changing the name of their company but use to be called Dear Belly. And they will sometimes make like home cooks like Ayurvedic meals for my family and I, and I get that that is a total luxury. But in this very high intense like book launch, baby, running a company, breastfeeding time, I just knew that like something’s got gotta give, you know? And so for me it’s cooking is the thing. And yet the food is very important to me. So something I’m willing to invest resources in. So they’re awesome and they make farm fresh, organic, plastic free hormone free food for my husband and I, and it’s such a gift. So I’d say it’s like a, you know, low carb, meaning that I’m not eating too many processed carbohydrates. My husband is gluten intolerant, so we don’t eat much gluten. And you know, the sugar tip, like I try to stay away from sugar, but I’m not like militant about it, you know, just the usual, I try not to be too regimented about it. I try to listen as much as possible to what my body needs and wants. And actually for the past week, I’ve actually been enjoying feeling a little rebellious. Like I was so disciplined with my time and my diet with my exercise during the launch because I had to be able to draconian about my healthcare that the past few weeks I’ve kind of enjoyed just being a little bit like, I’m going to eat that ice cream, I’m going to drink that wine, I’m not going to the gym. I’m going to balance back. But right now I’m just enjoying the pleasures of life and it’s super fun.
Marni: Awesome. Well, it sounds like the way we eat as well too. And Yeah, good for you for putting, you know, even though you’re outsourcing the food right now, you’re still making it a priority to eat well. So that is key. And it obviously it goes in flow with everything that you’re doing. So Emily, we’ve brought so much value and so much great information to this conversation, but one last question that I want to ask you is what does ultimate health mean to you?
Emily: Oh, ultimate health means to me the ability to fully enjoy my life. It’s very challenging to enjoy your life or to live your purpose if you’re sick or tired or stressed or in pain and so to me ultimate health is getting to a place where you don’t even necessarily have to be managing your health anymore. That it’s a joy that you feel like you’re strengthening and growing and evolving and that your brain and body are fully equipped for you to live out your mission and not preventing you from enjoying your life.
Marni: I love it. Beautiful and your book is Stress Less, Accomplish More other than our listeners getting a copy of the book, how else can they connect with you?
Emily: Yeah, so if they’re interested in diving into either the online or the live course, they can check out zivameditation.com that’s just z I v a meditation.com and all of our information is there and then we’re also all over social media just @zivameditation.com.
Jesse: Alright Emily, we’re going to link everything up in the show notes over at ultimatehealthpodcast.com for the listeners and this has just been a great conversation and we thank you greatly.
Emily: It’s my pleasure. You guys are awesome. Thanks for having me.
Marni: Thank you so much, Emily.
Jesse: Thank you, Emily.
Marni: We hope you enjoyed today’s conversation with Emily. I really loved it and as I said in the beginning, I am so excited to make meditation more of a practice in my life and let us know what you think over on Instagram. Give us a follow @ultimatehealthpodcast, make sure you’re also following @emilystellafletcher. Give us a tag in your stories of what you learned from today’s episode. We love seeing all of our stories and we love collecting them every Friday we do some shares of the stories we collect and yours just might be featured this week.
Jesse: For full show notes, be sure and head over to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/303 we have links to everything we discussed on today’s show, a downloadable worksheet and a show summary, so be sure and check that out. Before we let you go, I want to give some love to our editor and engineer Jase Sanderson over at podcasttech.com. Jase, you do such a great job. We really appreciate the work you do. Thank you. And this week’s fun fact about Jase is that he’s been making bone broth at the start of the week and incorporating it into his lunches. We love regularly consuming bone broth and so does our dog Goji. Right on. Have an awesome week. We’ll talk soon. Take care.
Disclaimer: This is a raw transcript and it may contain some errors. To listen to the complete audio interview, go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/303.
296: Dr. Joe Dispenza – Becoming Supernatural, Reprogram Your Mind, Trust Your Intuition
295: Dr. Andrew Weil – Cooking As A Form Of Meditation, Moods Are Contagious, Microdosing Psilocybin
293: Mark Manson – We All Need Hope • Meditation Makes You Stronger • Happiness Is Overrated
259: Dr. Gabor Maté – Trauma, Addiction, & The Use Of Psychedelics
134: Dr. Sanjiv Chopra – Coffee, Exercise, Vitamin D, Nuts & Meditation… The Big Five
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