[00:00:51] Meditation eBook
[00:01:50] Wild Health Podcast
[00:02:56] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:04] Guest Introduction
[00:07:03] The Meditation Shame Spiral
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[00:13:15] Meditation vs. Sleep
[00:16:18] Adaptation Energy
[00:22:17] Committing to Meditation Regimen as Stress
[00:25:37] The Anatomical Structure of The Brain Can Change with Meditation
[00:29:18] Podcast Sponsors
[00:31:30] The Effect of Meditation on Our Neurons
[00:34:34] The Effects on Telomere Length
[00:37:33] Meditate Using the Ziva Method
[00:53:25] The “Super Power Pose”
[00:59:06] Black Pepper Tea and Meditation
[01:04:13] Closing the Podcast
[01:05:48] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast…
Emily: And the trick is nature will not let you rest that deeply physically and be in blackout sleep mentally at the same time. You’re planting higher-quality seeds in the present moment and you become more attuned to the patterns as they’re unfolding. You’re not spending 15 minutes of your day, you’re investing 15 minutes of your day. And what I found is that if you’re willing to make that 15-minute investment in the practice, the ROI is indeed exponential.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
It’s Lulu time. I’m going to be interviewing a really great, great lady named Emily Fletcher. Emily Fletcher is really cool. We’re going to be talking about meditation, and I should mention that the “Meditation Demystified eBook” that my team at Kion created is something that would go very well hand-in-hand with this interview because there is a guided video meditation by Emily. In that guide, there is a complete template for creating your own DIY meditation practice, step-by-step instructions on how to use meditation for sleep, for performance, if I can talk, for performance, for productivity, for emotional regulation, for spiritual connection, all the different myths of meditation. It’s about 40-plus pages and it’s a ton of little-known but very practical meditation tips. So, you can get that over at getkion.com/meditation. That’s getkion.com/meditation.
Another thing that I wanted to mention to you is–I don’t talk much about other podcasts on this podcast, but there are a couple of guys who are brilliant physicians down in Kentucky. They’re friends of mine. They have a podcast called Wild Health. You can check it out at wildhealthmd.com. But I mentioned them for two reasons. Number one, their podcast is really great from medical standpoint and worth a listen, shorter 20 to 30-minute episodes that cover topics in functional medicine. But then the other thing is I told these guys I would let my listeners know about them because I know a lot of podcasters listen to my show. And if you’re looking for a good physician to have on your podcast, these guys would be really, really fantastic to reach out to. And people reach out to me to be on a podcast. I’m currently booked out for almost like a year on podcasts. However, I know these guys are available and they’re really fantastic, and you go to wildhealthmd.com to reach out to them. Just giving those cats a shout-out. Matthew Dawson is the main doctor over there, and Michael Mallin is his partner.
And then, I also wanted to tell you about WHOOP, which is a sponsor of today’s episode. It’s a performance tool. You wear it on your wrist. It’s a wrist worn heart rate monitor, but it goes way beyond heart rate. It samples your HRV the entire day, 100 times per second it measures your heart rate 24/7. So, it gives you very advanced heart rate analytics. It detects all your workouts and provides a strain score that quantifies how strenuous your training was on your body. It has a built-in sleep coach. It provides a ton of training insights based on the heart rate and the recovery data that it’s collecting and it has really good sleep cycle measurements to sleep quality, sleep cycles, REM sleep, deep sleep, light sleep, and it’s a cool-looking device too. So, you get 30 bucks off a WHOOP, and I’m going to give you a code and you can apply that for a 12 or 18-month membership at WHOOP. So, the code that you can use is GREENFIELD at whoop.com, W-H-O-O-P.com and use code GREENFIELD.
Alright, as promised everybody, I have one of my most popular guests in the realm of meditation back on today’s show. It’s been a while since I have interviewed the great Emily Fletcher. I think our last episode turned some heads and got some–because it was–I think I titled it something like Meditation for Mind-Blowing Sex, and we got into meditation for sex, and for insomnia, and for energy during the day, and a lot more. But since I interviewed you, Emily, you wrote this new book called “Stress Less, Accomplish More.” And I think I told you this, I don’t know if I told you this, so hopefully, I’m not going to offend you on live air, but I almost rarely read meditation books that people send to me because it seems like they’re just the same old same old woo meditation books, whatever.
Everybody needs to meditate, step away from the stress, breathe, blah, blah, blah. But your book wound up being one of those books that now is dog-eared, folded over, tons of stuff underlined, highlighted. And anytime that happens, I love to get the author on the show and take a deeper dive if you’re game. So, welcome back.
Emily: I’m so game and I’m also very honored. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Thank you for being open-minded enough even though you’re familiar with my work and you’re very familiar with meditation. I think it takes a special human to go into something that they know a lot about with the beginner’s mind. And so, I really appreciate that and I’m honored to be here again.
Ben: Sweet. Thanks. And for those of you who are not familiar with Emily, she’s got a really, really comprehensive bio, but long story short is she founded this company called Ziva Meditation, which is one of the world’s first online meditation training programs. And her style, her flavor of meditation actually is pretty unique. You’re going to learn about it a little bit more on today’s show but. She actually did 10 years of training that she began in India, and she also has had a career on Broadway, in different Broadway shows.
She’s spoken all over the planet on this stuff. She often appears as the guest meditation guru at a lot of the conferences I wind up at, like A-Fest in the summit series. And we’re actually going to be together in Mexico this weekend at the time that this podcast comes out. And she has taught thousands and thousands and thousands of people around the globe how to become self-sufficient meditators with a very, as I alluded to earlier, unique flavor of meditation that she has developed.
So, that all being said, Emily, I think a lot of people might actually be intimidated by meditation or feel as though they can’t meditate, and I think that’s a perfect place to start because in the book, you get into this thing called the “Meditation Shame Spiral.” So, what is the Meditation Shame Spiral?
Emily: Well, at this point, unless you’re living under a rock, you know you should be meditating. It’s like the science is in–the world’s highest performers are doing it, the elite athletes, the elite entrepreneurs, we get it, it’s good for us. I think we’re past the point where we’re skeptical of meditation itself, where people get tripped up now as they think, “Well, my brain is just too crazy. I get that it’s good for me, but I have too many thoughts. I get that other people can meditate, but not for me. My stress is special.” So, that’s one form of the Meditation Shame Spiral. I’m ashamed because I don’t think it will work for me.
Ben: I’m just going to name that right now. Let’s call that the snowflake phenomenon.
Emily: Great. I love that. It’s going in the next book. My stress is special. I’m a special stressing snowflake. And then, the other version of this is, “I want to meditate. I really know it’s good for me, but I simply don’t have time. I don’t have time. I have kids.” I heard someone said this to me the other day at an event, like, “I want to meditate, but I can’t, I have a dog.” It’s like, excuse me? And so, time is a big factor for folks. And why this has gotten a bit out of control and why it induces shame is that if it’s another thing that you put on your to-do list that you don’t do, then you’re breaking personal integrity, you’re breaking promise to yourself, and you become embarrassed about the thing that you’re not doing, which creates more stress, and then you’re just in a downward spiral.
And so, the beautiful thing, and what we’ve solved at Ziva is that you don’t have to clear your mind in order to get the benefits of this practice. So, even if you’re having so many thoughts, that’s okay, you’re not a meditation failure. The reason why most people don’t think they have time to meditate is that none of us have time to waste. And so, if you download a free app from the internet and you do 10 minutes of something and you feel okay, like you feel it’s better than taking a shot of tequila, you’re like, “Alright, I feel okay,” but it’s not giving you an ROI.
If it’s not giving you more time in your day, then you’re going to put that meditation thing in the cute category, in the nice-to-have category, when I really want to reframe it as the single most important piece of mental hygiene that we need to be practicing every day, especially in this day and age of technology and where stress is killing us. According to Harvard Medical School, stress is responsible for 90% of all doctor’s visits. And so, we can no longer afford to treat stress relieving tool like a cute thing that we’ll get around to when we have more time.
Ben: Yeah. There’s actually this book, by the way, just to throw this in there, called “The Healing Code.” I don’t know if you’ve read it, but that book pretty much highlights just about every chronic disease that’s related to the autonomic nervous system due to the interplay between the stress, the immune system, killer cells, inflammation, et cetera. Whereas I suspect there are probably some diseases that are not related to sympathetic nervous system overdrive or the autonomic nervous system as a whole. It is pretty profound when you actually reverse engineer just about any disease, how most of them actually do start with some type of nervous system dysfunction related to stress.
Emily: Sure. I would go as far as to say almost anything that’s chronic. Now, if you get into a car accident or if you have some sort of an acute trauma that happens, then that’s a different thing. But still, you being stressed is not going to expediate your healing process even in those acute instances. And according to Ayurveda, which is the sister science to what I teach, inflammation is the basis of all disease. And when you get stressed, when you launch into that fight-or-flight thing, then the cortisol and adrenalin, that cocktail of stress hormones that you produce, they are acidic in nature. And so, it increases inflammation and what we call heat in Ayurveda.
But just to go back to the shame spiral just to finish that off is that the thing that I think we’ve done at Ziva is that this technique, you’re not spending 15 minutes of your day, you’re investing 15 minutes of your day. And what I found is that if you’re willing to make that 15-minute investment in the practice, the ROI is indeed exponential. You have more time in your day. Your to-do list that used to take you five hours starts to take you three. You used to need seven or eight hours of sleep and wake up exhausted. You might need six or seven and wake up refreshed. The time that you spent getting sick or pro and conning decisions because you don’t trust your intuition, all of that stuff goes away when you get rid of stress and your body, and your brain start functioning as they were designed.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And a couple quick thoughts that I was thinking about as you were talking was, A, some people might say, for example, “Well, how about cancer?” Cancer is a DNA mutation issue that is a genetic problem that isn’t related to stress. But actually, if you look at a lot of the emerging theories of cancer, they’re based on this so-called metabolic theory of cancer, which is essentially a state in which the mitochondria failed to function properly and generate a state of lactic acidosis within the cell that then results in things like the formation of tumors or affects blood flow to the cell, et cetera.
You can read work by Travis Christofferson, for example, about the metabolic theory of cancer and how all that works. But ultimately, a big part of the mitochondria dysfunction is actually related to excess sympathetic nervous system drive and this so-called cell danger response that if you’re listening in–I mean, you can go look up CDR mitochondria or cell danger response mitochondria and see how much of this actually is related to a lot of the stress that Emily has alluded to.
And then, the other thing that I should mention is, and this might be kind of a curveball for you, Emily, but I know that sleep researchers like Matthew Walker, for example, who are on the cutting edge of sleep lab studies, they say that it actually is a myth that things like yoga nidra or meditation can actually simulate or replace sleep. He refers to them as more of things that can enhance sleep and decrease stress, but I don’t want to make people or give people the impression that meditation could replace the neural restorative properties of a full sleep cycle. You’re not saying that necessarily, are you?
Emily: No, not at all. I mean, there is a whole chapter in the book about sleep, but it is not a replacement for sleep. What happens in your brain chemically is very different than what happens in your brain when you’re meditating like sleep and meditation. And the simple version of that is that when you’re sleeping, your brain is chilling but your body is on guard. If you ever watch someone sleeping that’s–they’re sucking wind, they’re oxygenating their body, and that’s to protect from a predatory attack. If your brain is in blackout sleep, you need your heart and lungs and blood to be oxygenated so that if that tiger were to come in, by the time you wake up, you’re ready to launch into fight or flight.
With this style of meditation, the opposite is happening. Your metabolic rate decreases, which is the rate with which the body consumes oxygen, your heart rate slows, your body temperature cools. And the trick is nature will not let you rest that deeply physically and be in blackout sleep mentally at the same time because at that point, you’re in evolutionary liability. So, basically, one or the other has to be on guard. So, while sometimes I will say meditation is giving you rest two to five times deeper than sleep, that’s not totally accurate because it’s not sleep, it’s a different type of rest and sleep.
And ultimately, it is the mental awareness that you have when you’re meditating that allows your body to get that deep physical rest, and that’s why you feel so energized on the other side of it. That’s why you start to have more time and more productivity and more energy on the other side of the meditation, but it’s not the same thing as sleep. However, it will improve the quality of your sleep. I’ve seen that for myself. I used to have debilitating insomnia on the first day of my first class and cured it. And I’ve taught over 20,000 people now and I’d say it’s the number one benefit that people report.
Ben: Yeah, I agree. And certainly, in a sleep deprivation state such as like at a busy conference where you might not have the ability to duck out and get a full-on powernap, I’ve personally found that meditation, particularly some of these like 15 to 21-minute or so meditation sessions, seem to give me a feeling as though I’ve had closer to eight hours of sleep the night before, or if I’m ducking away to conference in the afternoon to squeeze in meditation when I know my body’s not going to actually go to sleep, I can better handle the dinners and late night events that are occurring when I’m at that event. I think part of this might be related to something you get into in the book called adaptation energy. What exactly is adaptation energy and how does that work?
Emily: Yes. It’s not really a scientific term, but I think that it’s a nice intellectual frame for what you just described. Let’s say you have kids, or you’ve got a job, or you’re at a conference just a day where you’re just non-stop back-to-back meetings, calls, traffic, changes of expectation. I would call all of those things demands. So, what we might previously call stress, like, “Oh, my job is so stressful, my kids are so stressful,” I would call those demands because they’re demanding your time and they’re burning up your adaptation energy, which is the simple definition is your ability to adapt to a change of expectation. Your ability to adapt to a demand is your adaptation energy.
And the trick is when we run out of that adaptation energy and then we have another demand, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, then what happens if you’re out of adaptation energy, you have another thing happen to you, then you’re going to launch into fight or flight, whether you know better or not, whether you’ve read “Eat Pray Love” or not. We all know how we should be acting. Not many of us are acting in accordance with that, we act in accordance with the baseline level of stress in our nervous systems.
And so, if you’re meditating every day twice today, which is what I recommend and what I teach in the book and in our online course, it’s 20 minutes–sorry, it’s 15 minutes twice a day, and that is like you’re filling up your tank, you’re filling up your reservoirs with adaptation energy. Now, does it take away the demands? No. Life is still going to be life, but you’re no longer running on empty, you’re no longer one sideways glance away from losing your temper on your kids, you’re no longer one email away from having a total mental breakdown. It’s like you’re filling up so you have more mental and physical energy.
Ben: Yeah. And where my mind likes to go just as a physiologist is I think about, again, this idea of the autonomic nervous system. And we know if we look at, for example, heart rate variability, which I know you’re familiar with, that interplay between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, it does increase, and it’s been proven in clinical studies to increase in response to meditation. And in very simplistic terms, if you look at heart rate variability, essentially, all it is is proper interplay between a sympathetic fight-and-flight response and a parasympathetic rest-and-digest response. Meaning that your body is more finely tuned to make on-the-fly adaptations to stress. Meaning, if you are tired and sluggish and fatigued to be able to step things up and actually be more alert and awake when you need to.
And conversely, and this is of course more common, if you are stressed out or if you’re in traffic or whatever, somebody dropped something on your foot or you stepped on something sharp or your kid starts to throw a tantrum or anything, you’re actually better able to activate or modulate your parasympathetic nervous system and stay in a more restful state as a response to those stressors. And so, this adaptation energy that you described in the book could, if you look at it from a scientific standpoint, really just be indicative of higher overall heart rate variability or better interplay between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system.
Emily: Yeah. I think that’s beautifully said. And I think that it’s something that we all want to cultivate for exactly the reason that you just mentioned is your response in–is it appropriate for the stimulus? And I would say that it’s also a really important trademark of leaders. That could be if you’re a parent, if you’re running a company, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re an influencer, people are attracted to and they want to listen to people who have a higher heart rate variability. I mean, the ability to adapt. Like, can you be stressed when it’s appropriate to be stressed? And can you relax when it’s appropriate to relax?
And the reason why most people are not variable is if they’re stuck in that fight or flight all the time. They don’t have the option to downregulate, or if things just get totally burned out and then they’re just exhausted, their adrenals are blown out and they don’t even have the ability to upregulate. But both are dangerous. And one thing I want to highlight is it’s not bad for you to get stressed. You know this, the workouts, the–what’s that called? Hormesis, where you do a really hard work out, or go into an ice bath, or go into a sauna, like that is “stressful”, but I would put that into the category of good stress or acute stress, which is actually good for you because it strengthens the strong mitochondria and it kills off the weak ones. So, it’s not bad for you to get stressed. What’s killing us is the chronic staying stressed.
Ben: Mm-hmm, yeah. Yeah, exactly. And one of the things that I thought of, because I was going to ask you how often you do the form of meditation that, by the way, if you’re listening in, we’ll be explaining during this podcast, but you mentioned 15 to 20 minutes twice a day. This is just a little bit of a thought stream, but I don’t know if you’ve ever talked with anybody about this, but in many cases in this whole fitness nutrition, biohacking sector, people are trying a lot of things. They’re trying their infrared light panels or infrared sauna, or cryotherapy, or some new earthing or grounding mats, or spending some time with some type of deep tissue or body manipulation technique. And sometimes it seems like by the time you get to the end of the day to also throw in a couple of 15 to 20-minute meditation session is yet another thing to do.
And sometimes I question if people who are steeped in the realm of meditation like yourself, it’s just like, “Oh yeah, it’s just like meditation, it’s the forefront of my life, it’s what I do.” Whereas people who are just trying out all these other things, people who are health seekers, people who are biohackers, et cetera, it’s like by the end of the day, there are so many other things that you’re doing that two 15 to 20-minute meditation sessions just seem like they’re almost more stressful to try and squeeze in than stress relieving. Have you ever tackled that type of topic in your head or thought about maybe in this age where we have access to so many different things that we can do that it can be stressful to try and do two times a day 15 to 20-minute sessions?
Emily: Well, I think that it’s a valid concern and I understand where it comes from, but I would offer that if you start with the meditation, if that becomes the foundation and you’re giving your body the ability to adapt, you’re becoming self-sufficient in a practice, you’re getting rid of the backlog of accumulated stresses that we have in our cellular and now we even know in our epigenetic memory. If you’re accessing source energy every day twice today, two things are going to happen. One, you’re going to have more time in your day because stress is making us all stupid, sick, and slow. And two, you might not be as dependent on all these other toys and gadgets and experimentations because your body is going to be functioning as nature intended. It’s going to be functioning as it was designed to function.
The thing is that stress is slowing so many things down; our cognitive performance, our immune function, our neurogenesis, our fertility, our sex drive, our ability to sleep. It’s so pervasive. It’s that white noise on in the background that’s taking up so many mental cycles that we don’t even know how much time it’s costing us until it’s gone. And so, I would just say as an experiment, if you’re going to call yourself a biohacker, then let’s do the experiment. What if for two weeks or three weeks, you took 15 minutes twice a day away from the other tools that you’re using and put this in and then see what happens?
Ben: Yeah. And I think maybe some of this is also for me too because part of my job as an immersive journalist, so to speak, is every single day, there’s like 10 new things I’m supposed to be trying and writing about, not just your meditation book, but the other three meditation books with the different types of meditation that I’m getting in the mail and reading and having to try. So, part of this might just be for me, somebody who’s just–as part of my job descriptions, to try out a whole bunch of different things and report back to people on how they work or talk with experts like you on the show about them. Maybe it’s something that I run into with greater frequency than some folks, but it was just something I thought about as you were talking about frequency.
Emily: And I think you’re in a unique spot because your job is to try new things, whereas most people just want to find the thing that works, right? And it’s like once they find that thing that works, that goes into the daily routine and everything else has to be negotiated against it. But your job is to experiment and try new stuff, so I get that you’re in a uniquely challenging spot.
Emily: Win the snowflake award.
Ben: Yeah. I get the snowflake, hurray. I’m going to run with it. One of the things, and I’ve already kind of touched on the fact, I really like to think about these things from almost like a very scientific flesh and blood type of standpoint. And so, I did appreciate the sections in the book where you get into what actually happens in terms of things like the corpus callosum, and telomeres, and some of these anatomical structures in the body that have been proven to change with meditation. And I wanted to ask you if you could describe a few of those, like for example, when we look at the brain, and I alluded to the corpus callosum, and I was wondering if you could describe what that is and how that’s literally changing when you meditate anatomically.
Emily: Sure. So, the corpus callosum is the thin white strip that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. And this was news to me because I always thought that the brain was just the brain, was just a thing, but it’s really two things, you’ve got the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere, and the only place that they’re connected is through the corpus callosum. And we’ve known for a long time that meditators have thicker corpus callosum than non-meditators, but we weren’t able to prove if that was causal or correlated. But now, we know that the longer you meditate, the thicker your corpus callosum becomes, which suggests that it is in fact causal. So, it’s like, “Okay, cool, party trick, but why would I want a fat corpus callosum?”
Well, I think everyone should because it’s quite literally the bridge between your creative mind and your critical mind. It’s the bridge between your masculine and your feminine, the past and the future and the present moment. And so, we want the information and the energy to be flowing freely between these two parts of our brain. And so, my theory is that the thicker your corpus callosum is, the easier it is for you to come up with all those witty comebacks in the heat of the moment.
Like if you get into a fight with your partner and it gets pretty heated and then eventually you shut down or retreat to the bedroom, my theory is that the thicker your corpus callosum is, the easier it is for you to come up with all the comebacks like when it counts versus two hours later in your bedroom when you calm down and you’re like, “Why couldn’t I have thought of that when we were talking?” Or same at work. Your boss comes to you freaking out, “Hey, you missed this deadline. What are we going to do?” and you just shut down and go blank. It’s like if that thing is firing, if your whole brain is firing as it is designed, you’re going to be able to access those creative problem-solving ideas even when you’re “stressed”, even in the middle of high demand.
Ben: Oh, and it should be noted, just to interrupt real quick, when people microdose or people even use plant medicine to go on deeper journeys or trips, that’s a big part of what they’re getting, is that left and right hemispheric coordination. Michael Pollan talks about that a ton in his book, which really the title of his book is about that whole coordination. It’s called Change Your Mind, but it is about that change in the corpus callosum or the left and right hemispheric activity.
Emily: Yeah. And feel free to fact-check me on this, but apparently when they did an autopsy on Einstein, and this is going to sound counter to what I’m saying but I don’t think that it is, he had virtually no corpus callosum, which almost means that he had a huge one because the right and left hemispheres of his brain were virtually merged together. I’m not 100% sure that that’s true, but I’ve recently read that somewhere, but we should fact-check that.
Ben: Interesting, huh. I didn’t know that, but I do know, I think it was the Radiolab podcast, I believe. They just did like a big podcast on Albert Einstein and his brain. I didn’t listen to it yet, but if I can hunt it down, I’ll put it in the shownotes for everybody. By the way, the shownotes for what you’re listening to with me and Emily, they’re at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/stressless.
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So, we know the corpus callosum becomes thicker and you get better coordination of this left and right hemisphere of the brain. What about these so-called mirror neurons? You talked in the book about how you can literally become like a little bit more of a psychic so to speak with a regular meditation practice, but then you get into the biological underlying mechanisms of that. What exactly is going on with neurons?
Emily: Well, it’s a little bit of a joke about being psychic, but if you think about the fact that the present moment is the future in the making and if meditation is making you more present, then you become–well, two things happen. One, you’re planting higher quality seeds in the present moment for the future, and you become more attuned to the patterns as they’re unfolding versus being like surprised by everything and blindsided by everything.
But here’s a Broadway show girl’s analogy of mirror neurons is that if we were in a room together, or even if we were video conferencing to some degree, you could imagine that my brain has neurons or your brain has neurons and they’re like boomerangs, and they come out and they dance with each other and then they report back. And so, mirror neurons are one of the reasons why porn is a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s the reason why if this was a video podcast and I were to cut my hand on camera and people were to see it, they would cringe, it would hurt them a little bit, but seeing me have pain. But conversely, when you see someone have pleasure, it can bring you pleasure.
And what happens with mirror neurons when you’re meditating in a group is that it’s like the whole collective consciousness just bends, the energy in the room just drops. And so, if you imagine that everyone in a room is sharing a collective consciousness, if one person meditates, it’s like putting one bowling ball on a trampoline, it bends just a little bit. But if 50 people meditate together, it’s like 50 bowling balls on that trampoline. And so, meditating in a group is a really powerful experience because of this.
And what I found is that it’s not only enjoyable when you’re in the group, but that impact can have an effect even after the group meditation. It’s kind of like doing a workout in a class and then because you pushed yourself harder, you’ve learned new things. You can start to take those benefits with you even if you’re working out at home. I think there’s also a little bit of a groupthink going on. But the way I usually talk about mirror neurons is how it relates to sex because if you’re getting more pleasure from watching your partner get pleasure, then you’re going to be more generous. You’re going to be more present. And that’s where I joke about being psychic that you’re lovable if you’re psychic because you can start to intuit what they want. And it’s really just a product of being super present and having increased neural activity.
Ben: I’m pretty sure that all I really got out of what you just said was that I could choose to either meditate or watch porn, and that either would work for my mirror neurons. So, the choice is mine.
One other biological element that you say or actually put research behind in the book is the effects on telomere length, which is of course directly correlated to a decrease in the rate at which we might experience some of the deleterious symptoms of aging. And you get into a few studies on telomere length between meditators and non-meditators. What did they find with telomeres?
Emily: Well, this is based largely on the work from the book, “The Telomere Effect.” So, I give a shout-out there. But basically, they’ve now proven that the more stress you are, the more stress you have in your body, it can weaken and shorten your telomeres. And the way I like to think about telomeres, which your audience is probably familiar with, but I think about them like the little plastic casing on the end of your shoelace. The telomeres are to your DNA, what the plastic casing is to your shoelace.
And so, if you’re chronically stressed for long periods of time and it starts to weaken and damage or shorten the telomeres, then it’s like the plastic casing comes off the shoelace, and then the shoelace can start to unravel. Well, similarly, the DNA starts to unravel, which is what’s impacting our body age or chronological age. And so, if meditation is the most powerful stress relieving tool that we have, then it stands to reason that the less stress you have in your body, the stronger and longer your telomeres could be. So, is it that meditation is reversing your body age? Perhaps. What’s likely more accurate is that stress is expediting the rate with which we are aging. And like you said, it’s enhancing the deleterious effects of aging.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. It is interesting because–especially when you consider that–like I interviewed Dr. Bill Andrews from the company Sierra Sciences, and they essentially take a whole bunch of different molecules that may or may not impact telomere length, and they just blast telomeres in almost like a petri dish type of setting to see what works and what doesn’t. And they have actually discovered two compounds; one called telomerase activator 65, which is abbreviated TA-65. Some people may have heard of it. You can buy it on Amazon.
Another one is called TAM-818, which is I think telomerase activating molecule 818. You can buy that, too. I mean, the former I think is $500 a bottle, the latter is about $800 a bottle for somewhere around like a two to three-month supply when you compare and contrast the effects of that, which are actually pretty synonymous with what you get from meditation, which is free. It kind of gives you pause when you think about how you’d want to rank prioritize what you were doing to enhance your longevity.
Emily: Yeah. It makes the online course look like a real bargain because once you learn it, you have the technique to take with you for life. It’s not like you’re re-upping every two months, because I’m really big on self-sufficiency.
Ben: So, you have this whole flavor of meditation that you’ve developed called Ziva. Did you just make up Ziva one day, you just pulled this out your ass, or is this something that is advised or something that you came across during your time in India? I mean, how did Ziva actually come to be in terms of it being the specific form of meditation that you teach and you practice?
Emily: Mm-hmm. I wish I was that creative that I just was like one day woke up and I was like, “Oh, this.” But no, this was based on years of personal research on my own body and then years and years of teaching thousands of people to meditate. So, originally, when I first started teaching, I was exclusively teaching meditation. Now, what the Ziva technique is is it’s trifecta of mindfulness, meditation, and manifesting. So, the three Ms.
Ben: Mindfulness, meditation, and manifesting.
Emily: That’s correct. And where that’s a little confusing for folks is that most people are using the terms mindfulness and meditation as synonyms, but they’re not the same thing. I would define mindfulness as the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment. We could all practice mindfulness right now. We could all close our eyes and–let’s just do it. Let’s just close our eyes and take a big inhale through the nose–
Ben: Unless you’re driving.
Emily: Exhale. Unless you’re driving, keep your eyes open, but you could still breathe. Exhale through your mouth. [00:38:59] ______ inhale, just feel the feeling of the breath as it enters the nostrils. And as you exhale, feel the tactile sensation of the breath as it exits through the mouth. And one final time just for funsies, in through the nose, feeling that feeling of the breath oxygenating the body, your lungs expanding, your belly getting full, and as you exhale, feeling your shoulders drop, your brow soften, your jaw soften.
So, what we just did was we just took three mindful breaths, and you can open your eyes if you had them closed. And that’s why people will say, “Well, you can meditate in one minute,” or, “I meditate when I’m cooking,” or, “Exercise is my meditation.” What people are saying is, “I’m very present when I’m cooking. I’m very present when I exercise. Those are stress relieving tools for me. And I’m mindful when I walk in the woods.” Great, beautiful, like all of that is awesome. Mindfulness is necessary. It is very good at creating a state change, like, “Oh, I’m stressed. I do 10 minutes of this app. I feel a little better in the now.” Like taking an aspirin when you have a headache.
This is quite different from the meditation portion of the Ziva technique, which this is based on something that I learned when I was in India. It’s based on something called Nishkam Karma Yoga, which means union attained by action hardly taken, which I like to call the lazy man’s meditation because it’s not hard, you don’t have to focus, you don’t have to clear your mind, you could just do it in a chair, on a subway, and a lift. So, anyway, the meditation portion of Ziva is very good at dealing with your stress, not only from today, but it’s getting rid of the stress from your past.
All that stuff that we’ve been storing in our cells and even inherited from a few generations past, every time you’ve ever launched into fight or flight, it’s left a little open window on your brain computer, something that we call premature cognitive commitments or PCCs. And by the time the average adult is 20, we have somewhere around 10 million of these open windows on our brain computer, and it’s that that’s slowing us down. It’s that chronic backlog of stress that’s making us stupid, sick, and slow. And so, the meditation portion of the Ziva technique is going in and giving your body this deep healing rest. It’s de-exciting the nervous system so that the backlog of stresses can start to come up and out. And ultimately, it is the eradication of the stress from the past that ushers you into higher states of performance, higher states of cognition. And that is why you start to get a return on your time investment.
So, we use mindfulness as like an appetizer almost. There’s a runway because it’s something for you to “control”, it’s something for you to do on the way to the surrender and the rest that is the style of meditation. And then, we finish the whole thing with something called manifesting, which sounds a little hippie-dippie, it sounds a little woo-woo, but it’s not. It’s what every Olympian is doing. It’s what every successful entrepreneur is doing. It’s basically recognizing the reality is that your thoughts become things. And in order to do anything great, you have to first imagine it. To build a house, you have to have a blueprint. To get into a relationship, you have to decide you want to be in a relationship.
So, for me, manifesting simply means consciously creating a life you love. It’s you getting intentional about what you want your life to look like. Asking questions like, “How much money would I love to make this year? What do I want my relationship with my body to feel like? How much sex would I like to be having this week?” And instead, what a lot of us are doing is we think we’re manifesting. We even think we’re praying, but we’re accidentally complaining. “God, why does she have a boyfriend and I don’t? Why can’t I lose this weight? Why did he get a raise and I didn’t?” And if you ask shitty questions, you’re going to get shitty answers.
And so, what I trained people to do in the manifesting is start to ask better questions, and more importantly, you do it in this sacred time right after the meditation where the right and left hemispheres of the brain are functioning in unison, where you’re just coming out of this fourth state of consciousness. And if you start to plant the seeds for what you want your life to look like from that de-excited state, I’ve just found that the combination of meditation and manifesting is so much more powerful than either one alone.
Ben: Right. You more readily can become what you believe when you are in that slightly ego-dissolved left and right hemispheric brain coordinated type of state. And of course, there are tons and tons of books about that whole idea of manifestation and how you take subconscious steps towards what it is that you were manifesting after you’ve done something like that. I mean, heck, I was laying on the couch last night waiting for my family to come home. They were out and about, and so I had a little bit of downtime and I picked up Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass, which is almost like a modern version of the whole manifestation, manifesto, and that was what I was looking through last night and it just reminded me again like how much your subconscious thoughts direct your actions, and how if you program those subconscious thoughts on a repetitive basis, you will begin to take actions, whether you know it or not, almost magically towards what it is that you want to achieve.
And so, I think it’s very interesting. I think that’s something unique about your style of meditation is you wait and wait and wait until you’ve gotten mindful, you’ve done the meditation, and at the very end, you do that manifestation, which I think is a really powerful one-two-three combo. But returning back to how this was developed, I do think it’s important to point out that your meditation doesn’t necessarily rely upon this idea of clearing the mind. And from what I understand, that’s actually something borrowed from a form of meditation called, and correct me if I’m pronouncing this incorrectly, Nishkam Karma?
Emily: Yeah, Nishkam Karma Yoga.
Ben: Okay. Now, what is that?
Emily: So, Nishkam Karma Yoga, and the Sanskrit definition, Karma means action, Yoga means union, and Nishkam means hardly taken. So, it’s union attained by action hardly taken. And where this is pretty interesting is that this style of meditation was created, even though it was 6,000 years ago in India, it was created for people with busy minds and busy lives aka householders. Meaning, people who like to have sex and have kids and have jobs. They live in society. It is not a technique designed for monks.
And what’s interesting is that a lot of the mindfulness practices that are so popular right now, a lot of the apps, the YouTube videos, the drop-in studios, I would put most of those in the category of mindfulness, and many of them are derivation of things that were originally designed for monks. And there’s nothing wrong with them, but it is a reason why so many people think that meditation is hard. It’s because they’re trying to do an adaptation of something that was not designed for them, it was designed for a monk. And so, the meditation portion of the Ziva technique, even though it’s old, even though it’s simple, it was designed for us, and so that’s why it’s more effective. That’s why you get such a return on your time investment.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, the idea is that you’re not trying to force yourself into having a completely empty head, you’re just allowing your body to spontaneously pass into that state using these three steps, or really not the three steps because you’re finishing with the manifestation, but almost like using that first step I guess of mindfulness before you go into the meditation.
Emily: Well, you’re absolutely right, and that it’s not about forcing anything, it’s not about clearing the mind because the only time the brain flatlines is when we’re dead. Thoughts are not the enemy of meditation, effort is. And so, you make me start with the mindfulness, which is something active, something for people to do, but then when we get to the meditation cushion, we use something called a mantra, and that word is confusing as well because it’s been very hijacked by the wellness industry. When most people hear the word mantra, they think affirmation. They think, “I am strong. I deserve abundance. I am wise.” or whatever affirmation you’re using of the week. And this is not to dis-affirmations. I think they’re great. I think they’re powerful. I use them when I work out, but they’re different from mantras.
So, mantra is a Sanskrit word; man means mind, and tra means vehicle. So, these mantras are mind vehicles and they’re custom designed to take you from these active layers of left brain thinking and de-excite your nervous–more subtle layers of right brain being. They are the key that operates the car of this style of meditation, and it is the mantra that’s doing a lot of the work for you so that you don’t have to work so hard, so you don’t have to focus, or concentrate, or sit in uncomfortable positions. You could call the mantra the ultimate meditation hack, if you will.
Ben: Okay. So, the mantra, is this–okay. So, I took a transcendental meditation course. I even did a podcast about it where I was assigned mantra during the course. That was my mantra for that TM course. In your flavor of meditation in Ziva, are people coming up with their own mantra like just thinking, whatever, love, love, love or one, one, one or whatever, or are they actually using some kind of a super-secret meditation mantra passed down from the ancients that they somehow are given via special secret ring code?
Emily: So, both end. So, as you know in the book, I teach a very gentle version of the Ziva technique. I call it the Zi technique in the book, and it’s gentler by design because when people learn with me live in person, I like to call that the Maserati of meditation. Meaning, it’s fast, it’s powerful, and I think it makes you sexier. And with that can come a level of emotional and physical detoxification. And I think it’s really important that you have some guidance and some support through that if you’re going to saddle up for, “Hey, I want to heal an entire lifetime of trauma and stress and maybe even from some generations prior to this.” Most of us need a guide through that journey.
Now, when I created the online course, zivaONLINE, we made it a bit gentler by design. So, what I do in that course is that I teach people how to choose their own mantra, but based on a list of–like a curated list of mantras. And then, what I gave in the book is a universal mantra, which I would say is gentler. And that’s just based on the level of support that I can provide to book readers or online course participants or face to face. If the live is the Maserati, then the online is like a really good Toyota, and the book is an adorable Vespa. So, they’re all going to get you there. You know what I mean? Like all roads lead to Rome. The question with the mantra is just how fast you want to get there?
Ben: Yeah. That makes sense. By the way, there are a lot of adorable Vespas in Rome. I’m just saying.
Emily: Oh, perfect.
Ben: So, anyways, so the mantra, one other question about it, are you saying it audibly or just thinking it?
Emily: No, we’re not chanting it, because if you were to be chanting it, that would require a little bit of effort, and this is lazy man’s meditation. So, the cool thing also is that it makes it super portable, like no one knows that you’re doing it. You could do it at work, or on a bus, or even with your kids yelling in the next room.
Ben: Got it. Okay. So, to come full circle to the three steps, can you review just one more time just so people can really wrap their heads around this what the three different steps of Ziva meditation are?
Emily: Sure. So, we start with the appetizer course, which is the mindfulness. The technique that we particularly use is something called “Come to Your Senses.” It’s very simple. But I want to address this. Just because something is simple does not mean it’s weak. Oftentimes, we confuse simplicity for weakness in the West. I would say that the power in this practice comes from the simplicity. So, we start with something called “Come to Your Senses,” or basically just moving through the five senses; what am I hearing? What am I feeling? What am I seeing? What am I tasting? What am I smelling? And again, that’s something active for you to do. It’s like for my high-achieving control freak folks, it’s something where they can get their hands on the wheel. And then, it’s almost like the meditation portion sneaks up on them and their body just surrenders into it before they even have to try or do anything.
So, the mindfulness takes about a minute or so, and then we drift into the meditation, which is about 14 minutes, and then we end. So, this is at the end of the meditation, you would keep your eyes closed and we move into the manifesting. And here’s the CliffsNotes secret sauce to manifesting, and I’m giving away a lot of my secrets here. It’s just that you want to imagine the dream as if it is your current reality. So, with manifesting, I would say that the secret is imagining the dream as if it’s happening now because what too many of us do is that we accidentally worship the space between where we are and where we think we should be, and that is the definition of stress.
The space between where you are and where you think you should be is what creates most of the stress in our lives. So, instead of watering those weeds, we instead want to water the flowers. We want to put our attention on the thing that we want to grow, which is always the feeling that we assume will come once we achieve the dream. Like we’re never chasing the thing, we’re chasing the feeling we assume the thing will bring. And what I love about manifesting is that it gives you the gift of that feeling right here right now, and it’s almost like you’re tricking your cells into believing that it’s possible. And then, if the opportunity comes, it’s not so scary, you’re not as likely to self-sabotage because you’ve already been imagining it in your mind.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I like it. And by the way, Emily walks you through all this in really good detail in the book, those three steps and how to do them. Like I mentioned, I took a TM course and I’ve read Emily’s book and talked with Emily a lot in a previous podcast. And then, I also think I’ve mentioned before this form of meditation that I found in a book called Mind to Matter by Dawson Church called Eco Meditation. Really, of all the different forms that I’ve tried, my favorites are this one, two, three step of Ziva, the mindfulness, the meditation, and the manifesting. And then, just because I’m lazy and sometimes I like to put on an audio and have somebody walk me through a meditation, that eco meditation that I found a recording for online.
But ultimately, with all the different forms of meditation out there, and as we already alluded to, I’m trying out a bunch of different stuff, this is in my opinion a super powerful one. And Emily also has in the book some other kind of cool different poses and techniques that I think we should briefly touch on, one in particular being the super power pose. I tried this a couple of times before I got on stage to speak. And not to toot my own horn, but I thought I did a really good job. I thought I came out with a lot of energy when I did this. I think it was you who told me that you do it before you get on stage to speak or before you perform or teach, but can you walk people through what the super power pose is?
Emily: Sure. And so, this is based on–I think her name is Ann Cuddy. She gave a TED talk on this and then she came up with a book. I believe it’s called “Poise,” but she talks about super power poses, and the basic concept is that when you’re stressed or scared, then your body can collapse in on itself. Your heart sinks in, your shoulders stoop because you want to protect the vulnerable parts of you, your neck, your heart. We start to concave.
And so, just like our body responds to our emotions–or sorry, our emotions respond to our body. It works in both directions is what I’m saying. When you’re freed, your body will take the vision of fear. Conversely, even if you’re afraid, if you start to take a position of victory or confidence or joy, then your emotions can start to respond to that as well. So, one of the ones that I love, and I will do it before I’ll speak on stage, is simply the super power pose. So, you stand with your feet a little bit wider than hip distance apart. You would put your arms akimbo like Superman or Superwoman. So, fists on your hips.
Ben: Yeah. I’m at my standing desk right now so I’m doing this as you’re saying it.
Emily: I’m doing it, too. So, you just want to have your elbows are out like your Superman. And even just doing that, you drop your shoulders back, you open up your heart, you bring your gaze up. And then, from there, what I personally do is that I’ll slap a smile on my face even if I have to fake it, even if I’m really scared before–I’m going to speak in front of 3,500 people next week, which I’m thrilled about and a little scared. Already, I’m imagining myself backstage in this position. And then, I’ll put a smile on even if it’s fake because sometimes you got to fake it so you make it.
Ben: I’m smiling.
Emily: Yes, great. And then, what I will do is I’ll do like a breath of fire. So, in and out through the nose pretty quickly. So, you’re just–like you’re a little dog panting from your belly. So, you’re smiling, you’ve got your arms akimbo, and you’re just–and you look a little silly, but it’s super fun. And if you can do it even for one minute, I guarantee you’re going to feel a little bit brighter, a little bit happier, a little bit more confident on the other side of that.
Ben: Super power. Was that old-school SNL movie?
Emily: Oh yeah, superstar.
Ben: Yeah, superstar.
Ben: I think that that’s called. Yeah. It reminds me a little bit of that. But it actually really works. It sounds cheesy, but you just throw your arms up in the air like a Y shape. You do this breath of fire for 30 seconds, you smile. It seems like kind of a Tony Robbins thing, but it actually works. A lot of people hear this stuff and they think about it then they forget it, but I’m telling you folks, if you’re listening in, you got try this before you get on stage to perform before a competition or maybe–
Emily: Or before a date.
Ben: Yeah, before a date. Maybe before–you know, it’s kind of funny. I sometimes have to pry myself or even our family dinners at night because I’m just like, “Done. The day has been stressful. I can’t just transition straight from the office up to the dinner table, and I have to stop and get myself in a really good place.” And of course yesterday, I was preparing for today’s podcast with you. And so, I was going through all my notes and I did the super power pose last night before dinner downstairs outside my office in the hallway before I went upstairs to be with the family. It does put you in a pretty good place mentally. It just makes you energetic and happy, and it actually works.
Emily: That makes my heart so happy. And that even feels like something fun you could do with your kids. You’re like, “Hey, you guys. Before we have dinner, let’s do the Superman pose or let’s do the Wonder Woman pose.” It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s a little silly. And I also want to give a shout-out to my friend Todd Herman, who wrote “The Alter Ego Effect.” He talks about how he has like talismans or something that he puts on or something that he does to get into writing mode or into speaking mode. And his kids made him a bracelet. And so, he hangs it right outside of his door, because he’s like an elite performance coach, like a mindset coach for Olympians, and he’s like, “My kids don’t need a performance coach. They need a dad.” And so, his archetype for a great dad is Mr. Rogers. So, when he puts on this bracelet, like every night before he comes home from work, he puts on the bracelet and he says he kind of steps into this archetype of Mr. Rogers. I’m not doing his whole thing justice, but he’s fascinating and then that seems like the super power pose could be a way for you to transition from one state of being to another.
Ben: Yeah. Todd is super cool. That’s actually a good book. That’s really funny you bring him up because I was literally just texting Todd this morning, like two hours, so that’s funny.
Emily: Oh, great.
Ben: We’re on the same wavelength.
Emily: I love that guy.
Ben: Okay. There’s another–
Emily: Both are Ziva meditator.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. He’s very cool. He might be in Cabo as well when we’re down in Cabo, I think.
Emily: He will be.
Ben: Awesome. Cool.
Emily: Yup, he will be.
Ben: One big family reunion. Okay. So, another thing you get into, you got a ton of different nutrition tips in the book, but one thing that I hadn’t seen before–you talk about oregano, and cucumber, and mint, and garlic, and some other compounds, but then you bring up black pepper, and especially black pepper tea, and how you found that via an Ayurvedic physician. What exactly is black pepper tea and how do you use that?
Emily: It’s the simplest, cheapest, awesomest cure that you probably already have in your kitchen. So, you just boil water, you take some organic black pepper, and then you just grind, just six or seven grinds into your mug, pour the water over it, let the grinds settle. So, you’re not drinking the pepper itself, but you’re making a tea out of it. And it should be so hot both temperature-wise and spicy-wise that you sweat. The way I will use black pepper tea is if I feel like I’m coming down with the cold, or right now we’re in the season change, and so people get a little dry, their mucus membranes dry out, a lot of people are getting sick, so it’s something you could do preventatively in this time. But basically, it’s like it’s almost artificially inducing a fever. So, your body will sweat out the little bit of a cold if you’re having one.
Now, this was given to me by my, basically like witch doctors, so I don’t have a ton of science on it. But since then, I was speaking to a woman who’s done a lot of research on THC and CBD, and she was going on and on about the benefits of black pepper because it’s something, it’s an endocannabinoid just like CBD is. And she’s like, “Honestly, it’s amazing that this stuff is legal and that we all just have it in our kitchens because it’s that powerful.” But I wish I had more science on it. I don’t. I just know that it works for me and I’ve been prescribing it to my students and they’re like, “This stuff is like magic.” If you do an extra meditation, if you feel like you’re coming down with a cold, you do an extra meditation and then do the black pepper tea. I’d be very surprised if you get that cold.
Ben: I wonder since it is a very warming tea, and as you allude to in the book, and even induce almost like a mild fever like a hyperthermic response, if this would be one way to upgrade the effects of a sauna experience, if you could drink black pepper tea before you go and use a dry or an infrared sauna, if it would enhance the sweat or the warming experience.
Emily: My gut says that yes, it would, but if you do that, report back.
Ben: Yeah. Alright, first podcast listener to drink a black–
Emily: [01:01:30] ______.
Ben: Yeah. First podcast listener to drink black pepper tea. And remember, you put five or six grinds of organic black pepper into boiling water in a mug, and then you drink the water and you leave the pepper at the bottom of the mug. You don’t have to actually eat the pepper. Then go get in the sauna. Leave a comment in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/stressless and let me know what you think. And if I remember too, let me think what my–actually, I’m in the sauna. I always have an hour–
Emily: Well, I could–
Ben: I have an Evernote document where I get things out of my head. I’m going to write a note to myself right now. So, for tomorrow morning’s sauna session, I’m going to drink, so that’s going to be Friday, black pepper tea. Okay, I’m writing a note to myself. I’m actually going to try this. So, I’ll let you guys know, hopefully, in a podcast or perhaps in one of my Instagram posts how that works.
Emily: And how about this? How about the first person who tries it and comments back, I could gift them a scholarship to zivaONLINE, the 15-day meditation training?
Ben: Oh, I love that. Okay. So, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/stressless. First comment there, be honest people, who does black tea, gets in the sauna, and lets us know what the experience is like. We’ll just pick it right out of the comment section and we’ll get you access to Emily’s online course. Hey, good segue. We didn’t even talk about that. She’s got a course online. I think I have a link to it somewhere. Maybe in my last podcast with you–
Emily: Yeah. You should have a link to it.
Ben: Yeah. But I’ll put a link in today’s podcast as well. It’s basically just like an online–is it an app or an online course?
Emily: I mean, it’s mobile responsive so you can do it from your phone or iPad or online, but it’s not an app in that, it’s not an addiction model, because the thing about meditation apps is that they’re monetized by your eyeballs. So, they’re designed to keep you tethered to your phone. And I want you to be self-sufficient. I don’t want you to be dependent on me or technology. So, it’s about 15 minutes a day for 15 days. The first three days, you learn the mindfulness–through 12 is all about that meditation, that deep restful meditation. And then, 13 through 15, you learn the manifesting. And once you graduate, even you have the techniques to take with you for life. We also do monthly coaching calls, which you have access to for six months, and there’s a beautiful online community, so I’m really proud of it. Oh, and one–figured out, most online courses people are hesitant to even get them because they have a 3% completion rate in most online courses. Ours has a 70% completion rate, which I just found out last week and I’m floored by and really proud of.
Ben: That’s pretty good. Does Mindvalley were in your meditation course?
Emily: I do have a course with them, but this is zivaONLINE. This is the one that we do in-house.
Ben: Okay. Alright, gotcha, cool, cool. I will link to that. We actually have a code. Hopefully, it still works. Last time I interviewed you, our code was BEN50 that saved folks $50. Was that still active, do you think?
Emily: Why don’t we just do BEN? We’ll make you a new one and we’ll just make it–the code could be BEN.
Ben: Okay, BEN. But leave code BEN50 active too because I think I had that on the previous podcast. I want to make sure it doesn’t disappear. Folks stumble across that one.
Emily: Okay, will do.
Ben: But either way, folks, just use code BEN for now. That’ll save $50. I’ll put a link to that in the shownotes as well. But I also think you should get Emily’s book, too. Maybe it’s just because I’m more bent towards books than technology, but I think the book’s really good, too. So, the book is called “Stress Less, Accomplish More.” I’ll put a link to that at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/stressless. And then, her Ziva meditation course, I’ll put a link to that too and your $50 code on that is BEN. And remember, do super power pose, remember to drink your black tea and get in the sauna, and of course most importantly, remember to try this really cool potent one-two-three combo of mindfulness meditation and then manifestation. So, Emily, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us.
Emily: I’m such a big fan of you. It’s really a delight to be here. Thank you for what you’ve created, thank you for all the lives that you’ve touched, and thank you for having me on.
Ben: Yeah. I’ll see you at the Day of the Dead Party next week.
Emily: We do.
Ben: Alright, folks, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Emily Fletcher signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Mind-blowing sex, better sleep, increased energy… My guest on today’s podcast has cracked the code on teaching you how to meditate, what kind of meditation works for all these goals, and for many more.
Her name is Emily Fletcher, founder of Ziva Meditation and creator of zivaONLINE—the world’s first online meditation training.
Emily’s mission is to make meditation attractive and accessible to people who are ready to up-level their performance and their lives. Recently featured in The New York Times, named top 100 women in wellness to watch and regarded as one of the leading experts in Vedic meditation, Emily has been invited by companies like Google, Barclays Bank, Sweetgreen, & Viacom to help improve company performance through meditation.
She began her ten years of training in Rishikesh, India and was inspired to teach after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits meditation provided her during her 10-year career on Broadway, which included roles in Chicago, The Producers & A Chorus Line.
Emily has been invited to speak at Harvard Business School, Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, Summit Series, A-Fest and The Omega Center. So far, she has taught over 5,100 people to become self-sufficient meditators with this game-changing practice to take with them for life.
Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance is her new book, for which she specifically developed a novel meditation technique for working people with busy lives. Now, you can learn to recharge anywhere, anytime—at home or at your desk. All you need is a few minutes and a chair (no apps, incense, or finger cymbals required). But this is not just another meditation book. In it, Emily teaches a cool trifecta of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Manifesting to improve your personal and professional performance, clarity, health, and sleep. You learn how to cultivate Mindfulness through brief but powerful exercises that will help you stop wasting time stressing. Plus, you’ll get Manifesting tools to help you get crystal clear on your personal and professional goals for the future.
I’m digging it (and I’m usually NOT a fan of woo-woo meditation books). Get it here.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-How the Meditation Shame Spiral undermines efforts at meditation [7:25]
- Activity: “My brain is too crazy; my stress is special”
- Time: “I want to meditate, but I just don’t have time”
- Broken promises to self; personal integrity
- No one has time to waste (return on investment)
- Stress is responsible for 90% of all doctor’s visits
- Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is related to most disease
- You’re not spendingtime; you’re investing time meditating
-Why meditation doesn’t replace the importance of quality sleep [13:50]
- Chemical reactions in the brain to sleep and meditation are very different
- Nature doesn’t allow the human body to be in deep relaxation physically and mentally at the same time
- Meditation is more relaxing, but is a different type of rest than sleep
- Curing insomnia is the #1 benefit that people report after starting meditation
-Adaptation energy [16:30]
- Stressors vs. Demands affect your ability to adapt to circumstances
- When depleted of adaptation energy, you break (straw that breaks the camel’s back)
- We act and react according to the baseline stress levels in our nervous system
- Meditation doesn’t change or remove the stressors; it replenishes our adaptation energy
- Indicative of higher interplay between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems
- People are attracted to people who know how to adapt (higher HRV)
- Chronic, staying stress is the killer
-Whether or not committing to a meditation regimen creates more stress [22:45]
- If you become self-sufficient with meditation, you’ll have more time in your day, and you’ll lose dependency on toys, gadgets, etc.
- Your body will be functioning as it was designed to function
-How the anatomical structure of the brain can change with meditation [26:00]
- Corpus callosum connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain
- It’s proven that meditation thickens the corpus callosum (strengthens the connection)
- Great way to come up with the witty comeback when it really matters
- Nootropics has a similar effect
-The effect of meditation on our neurons [31:30]
-The effects on telomere length [34:35]
- Book: The Telomere Effect
- Telomeres are like the plastic casings on the ends of shoelaces; chronic stress weakens the telomere and impacts the body age
- BGF podcast w/ Dr. Bill Andrews
-The nitty-gritty of how to meditate using the Ziva method [37:30]
- Three “M’s”: Mindfulness, meditating, manifesting
- Mindfulness: The art of bringing your awareness into the present moment (not synonymous with meditation)
- Meditation: alleviates stress from today as well as from the past
- Manifesting: Your thoughts become things
- It is inspired by Nishkam karma yoga
- Nishkam: “hardly taken”
- Karma: “action”
- Yoga: “union”
- “A union attained by action hardly taken”
- Many modern meditation techniques, apps, etc. are derived from meditation intended for monks; this is why it’s perceived as difficult to the busy person
- Use of mantras:
- Mantra means “mind vehicle”
- Transition from left-brain thinkingto right brain being
- “The ultimate meditation hack”
- Don’t mistake simplicity for weakness
-What the “super power pose” is [54:15]
- When you’re scared or stressed, we start to concave
- Our emotions respond to our body, and vice versa
-What black pepper tea is, and what it has to do with meditation [59:06]
- Put 6-8 grinds of organic black pepperinto a mug and pour boiling water over
- Self-induced fever
- Would it enhance a sauna experience?
- First person to try it and report their results via a comment below will receive a gift registration to Ziva online
-And much more
Resources from this episode:
-Book: The Healing Code by Alexander Loyd
-Book: Mind To Matter by Dawson Church
-Book: Powerful Poise by Amy Cuddy
-Book: The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman
-Book: The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn
–Learn How To Meditate With The Meditation Demystified Ebook: One of the most comprehensive resources on how to personalize your meditation practice based on your own goals.
–WHOOP: The performance tool that is changing the way people track their fitness and optimize their training. Save $30 off your order when you use discount code: GREENFIELD
–Beekeeper’s Naturals: A wellness company specializing in innovative nutraceuticals made from healing hive compounds and plant-based ingredients. Get 15% off your order when you use discount code: BEN
–Policy Genius: Whether you’re an insurance expert or a newbie, Policygenius created a website that makes it easy for you to compare quotes, get advice, and get covered.
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