Meditation – Emily Fletcher – Stevia

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Emily Fletcher is a meditation teacher with extensive training in Vedic meditation, she had a 10-year career on Broadway including roles in Chicago, The Producers, A Chorus Line and many other shows. She first experienced the benefits of meditation as an actress and she now helps every day people, celebrities, and everyone in between discover the powerful benefits of meditation in their lives.

In this Show, You’ll learn:

  • Meditation stereotypes
  • Sitting still
  • Public Display of Meditation Campaign
  • Vedic meditation

Links & References from the Show

Got questions?


Yoga students, if you love to learn about yoga, health and wellness, plant-based nutrition, flexibility and mind/body biohacking, you have come to the right place, my friend. Welcome to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood, where my goal is to make your yoga practice just that much easier. Find us online at YogaBodyNaturals.com. We’re also on Facebook and YouTube. Check us out. Now let’s get on with the show.

So hello and welcome, everyone. Lucas Rockwood here, Yoga Talk Show, thanks for joining us. We have a very special guest today. Emily Fletcher is joining us from, I believe, New York City. I’m hanging out here in Barcelona. Thanks so much for joining us, Emily.


My pleasure.


So Emily, if you haven’t heard of her, she’s a meditation teacher and she has extensive training in Vedic meditation, and she had a 10-year career on Broadway and she had roles in Chicago, The Producers, A Chorus Line, very famous shows I’m sure you’ve heard of. She experienced the benefits of meditation first as an actress, and now she helps everyday people, celebrities and everyone else in between, experience the powerful benefits of meditation.

Emily and I have just met. I got really interested in her work, primarily because she seems like a normal person, and as a guy in the yoga world I meet a lot of freaked out yogis, and lots of people that are doing meditation and really into meditation, even to carry on a conversation it can take two hours. In watching your videos and checking out some of the resources you have online, you seem like a real person with a real story, and also just a real genuine connection to meditation. So I’m excited to have you on the show, so thanks so much for joining us.


It really is my pleasure, and that cracks me up. “I wanted to interview Emily because she seems like a real person”, which has sort of been my goal in meditation is that I want to make it incredibly accessible, and really my goal with Ziva, which my company is called Ziva Meditation, my mission statement with it is to rebrand meditation as the productivity tool that it is. So I love that that’s why you were drawn to me and Ziva.


Yeah, cool. Well, like I said, most meditation teachers I know, and don’t get me wrong I love my meditation teachers and my freaky meditation friends, I really like them, but most of them I find they were born into hippy families or they’re yoga teachers like me, and it seems like you have a different story. There’s a lot of similarities, too, I’m sure, but it seems like you have a different story, particularly with your background in acting. (02:29) So maybe you can tell us about your acting background, tell us about your life in New York before and after meditation, how things have changed, how they’ve stayed the same and about this productivity spin you have on meditation.


Yeah, it’s a pretty unlikely journey from show girl to meditation teacher, which I think is sort of hilarious. But I was on Broadway for 10 years and had an amazing journey. But my last Broadway show was A Chorus Line, and I was understudying three of the lead roles, which basically means you show up to the theater and have no idea who you’re going on for that night. Sometimes I would start the show as one character and halfway through they would switch me to a different character, or I’d be chilling in the dressing room doing my taxes and they’d be like, Emily Fletcher to the stage, please, and I would start panicking and having anxiety attacks. I’d be like, which costume do I put on?

Long story short, I was going grey at 26 years old, I had insomnia for 18 months and I was real confused why I was living my dream on Broadway, doing the thing I’d wanted to do since I was 8 and I was miserable. So thankfully this incredible woman was sitting next to me in the dressing room, and she had a harder job than me. She was understudying five of the roles and seemed to be nailing it. Just every song she sang was a celebration. Every bite of food was a celebration. I was like, what do you know that I don’t know? She said I meditate, and I was like and? And she said, no, no, Emily, it really helps my stress, it helps my performance, it helps my anxiety, and I was like okay, I didn’t really believe her. I just kept being miserable and going grey and having insomnia.

Finally, it got so bad, to be honest I was sucking at my job and embarrassed about it and it started this downward spiral to where I didn’t feel like myself anymore. And so I went to her and I said look, I need something. And she said well look, my teacher’s in town. Do you want to learn? And so I went along to this free intro to meditation talk. I liked what I head, it made sense to me, it rang true to me. So I signed up for this course, it was a four-day course. First day, first course, I was “meditating.” I didn’t know what that meant, but I was doing something different than I had ever done before and I liked it.

And then that night I slept through the night for the first time in 18 months, and I have every single night since and that was 8 years ago. Now, when I was at this talk I did not know that curing insomnia was a side effect of meditation. I was just going because I was going grey at 26 and I was mad about it. But then everything started getting better. I stopped getting sick, I stopped getting grey, I stopped getting injured, I started enjoying my job again and I was like wait a minute. Why does everyone not do this? It’s so good, it’s so easy, it’s relatively inexpensive considering what you’re getting for it.

And I so I left Broadway, I went to India in 2009 and I started a 3-year teacher training process. So I graduated almost two years ago, and when I graduated I started Ziva, which is Ziva is a Sanskrit word that means bliss and it’s also a Hebrew name that means one who is radiant or kind. And since bliss, radiance and kind are pretty common side effects of meditation, I thought it’d be a good fit. Plus, it looks good on a t-shirt.

So that’s a little bit of my journey from Broadway performer to meditation teacher, and to be honest it’s the single best thing I ever done. I wake up every single morning to emails from people being like, I don’t have migraines anymore, my insomnia has gone away, I stopped drinking, I enjoy my job again. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. People are like, well don’t you miss acting? The thing I loved about acting was the sense of community that I had and the sense I had of constantly being challenged to create new things and to grow myself as an artist, and I feel like I get that. I’ve created a community in New York and L.A. and now online all over the world, and so I feel like I’m still creating, just in a very different way. So it’s been a really beautiful journey that I’m incredibly thankful for.


It’s interesting. I know a lot of people listening right now are thinking I’m too stressed to meditation, I’m too drunk to meditate, my relationship’s too bad to meditate. The biggest misconception, I think, about any mind/body practice is people come to it balanced. The whole deal is you go into this stuff because you’re imbalanced. Like you said, you were going grey and feeling lost in your late 20s. I got into yoga and meditation because I was really sick in my early 20s, and that’s kind of the reason you get into it. If you were balanced and everything was fine, maybe you’re naturally in this kind of state, and so a lot of people resist meditation and mind/body practices and yoga or whatever it is because they think it’s not for them or they think they’re not the right type. But my experience has been that it’s just the obvious. The people who need these kinds of things are the people who are imbalanced, and that’s why we have these practices.


Yeah, I totally agree.


Let’s talk more about that. (07:38) Tell me more about some of the stereotypes about meditation, your probably antithesis of a stereotypical meditation teacher. So what’s your take on stereotypes about what meditation is and is not, about what meditation teachers are and are not?


Well, I think meditation is this old and irrelevant stigma of you have to wear robes or sit in weird positions or eat granola, and certainly meditation teachers that are all hippy dippy are somehow more enlightened than the rest of the land, and I don’t think any of those old misconceptions are serving us. (08:21) This is one of the things that I think is unique about the style of meditation that I teach, is that it was actually made for people like us, people with busy minds and busy lives.

And so the style of meditation I teach is incredibly practical and easy to do. All you really need is a chair. And just like you said, you don’t have to wait until you’re feeling like you have tons of time and that you’re totally calm and your life is all sunshine and roses before you start meditating, because I hear this every day. I’d love to meditate, I know that I need it but I’m so busy right now, my life is just too crazy to meditate. And what they don’t understand is that once you start practicing you actually end up having more time. It’s this weird paradox that happens. Even though you’re making a pretty significant time contribution to your day to meditation, because it in turn makes your brain function so much better, that you end up accomplishing your tasks much faster and so you end up with more time in your day and your sleep becomes more efficient because you’re using your sleep as a time for sleep because you use the meditation as a time for stress relief.

Before we start meditating, we have to use our sleep as a time for stress relief, which is why people end up waking up throughout the night and their sleep is not as restful. But if you enter a meditation practice into the game, then your sleep actually becomes deeper and more restful so you need less of it. So that actually becomes a pretty exponential return on investment, just in terms of time.

(09:48) But I will tell you the single number one misconception about meditation, there’s like this one dude running around telling everybody that in order to be able to meditate you have to stop your mind from thinking. I wish I could find him and teach him to meditate, because it’s impossible. No one can give their mind a command to stop thinking. And so I hear so often people say, Emily, I want to meditate, I’ve tried to meditate but I can’t stop my mind from thinking. You don’t understand my brain. It’s so crazy. Everyone’s mind is crazy. We have like 75,000 thoughts a day, and the only time the brain actually flat lines is when we’re dead. The point of meditation is not to stop your mind from thinking. The point of meditation is to be a stress relieving tool, and the way that we do that in this style is that we de-excite the nervous system which creates order and we give the body very deep rest. The body wants to thank us for that, and it thanks us by dissolving our stress.

So it’s not that you have to stop your mind from thinking in order to experience bliss. It’s actually the other way around. When you de-excite the nervous system, create order and experience deep rest, you experience bliss inside of you and that in turn helps the mind to fall silent. But you can’t make that happen. You can’t just be like, mind stop thinking, because then it’s going to fight back and it’s going to win.


Yeah, it’s amazing. When I first got into yoga and meditation, I always assumed deep, deep meditation was kind of this psychedelic, tripped out experience, and I’ve gone on a bunch of kind of long, intense meditation retreats and the first one I was on, of course you do have these sort of MDMA moments but they’re really kind of few and far between and most of the moments where you’re really, really deep in meditation, you’re just extremely, extremely crisp and clear and it’s almost boring how clear it is. It’s the antithesis of what I thought. When I was much younger and getting into this I thought I was going to be floating in clouds and lose control of my body and have these — there are ways that people do that with different breath techniques and things, but most of the time when I had really great meditations as I got more and more advanced, I just became really, really aware of absolutely everything, including the way the guy next to me smelled, including little ticks in the room and everything from bugs landing on the window. It was really a state of hyper-awareness.

Coincidentally, that feels quite amazing and there’s all kind of biochemical, hormonal benefits that come from that, but it was really the polar opposite of what I thought meditation was all about. Like you said, it just seemed like a real life skill that everyone should have.


Yeah, I agree. And you know, we used to all have it. We used to sleep differently. Before we had industrial farming and agriculture, we would sleep when the sun went down — and electricity, too. When the sun went down we would sleep, and then when the sun came up we would get up. But it was 12 hours of inactivity time, and so we could actually sleep in two cycles. We would sleep for five, six hours and then we’d wake up around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and be awake for about an hour and they called this the watch. And then you’d go back to sleep and sleep until the sun came up.

And in that hour where it’s dark, no one’s really doing anything but you’re awake, you’re not quite sleeping, you’re not quite awake, you’re in this sort of fourth state of consciousness, and in that state of consciousness the brain is producing different alpha waves and theta waves and different chemicals and different hormones, and actually there’s a dance happening between the right and left brain. People ask, well if meditation is so great then why can’t we just naturally do it? Why can’t we all just do it? And we sort of used to. We used to sort of naturally access that thing in the middle of the night when we weren’t quite sleeping or awake, but now we have electricity and we have alarm clocks and we have shades on our windows and we have times we have to be at work. So we sleep for this eight-hour thing, which is not necessarily natural, and it’s robbed us of that in between time.

So really what we’re doing in meditation is we’re bringing the body and the brain back to something that it already knows how to do.


Yeah, it’s amazing. I lived in Thailand for many years and I still spend a few months of the year there, and close enough to the equator so it’s about 6:00 at night until 6:00 in the morning light and dark. It’s pretty much even. And I’m a terrible sleeper, have been my whole life, and that’s part of the reason I do yoga and meditation and things. Thailand just fixes me. That sun going down and it’s dark so early and then the sun coming up and it’s light so early, it’s just interesting how there’s just a biological wiring that we all have that you can feel it when you’re in a place where it’s that regulated.




This is a common thing that I get. We teach these yoga teacher training courses, and in many of our courses we teach meditation as part of it. And due to the nature of our courses, we tend to attract type A people, people like me, and they often say I’d rather just go for a run, I’d rather just go to — we have a fitness room, too, I’d rather just go spend some time in the fitness room. I don’t want to sit for 20 minutes.

(15:00) And so I can certainly relate to that and I can certainly appreciate that, but what would you say to somebody who has that impulse to dealing with feelings of overwhelm and stress and anxiety with actually being — it’s not just a resistance, they’re actually fearful of sitting still. How would you approach something like that?


Yeah, such a good question. I’m glad you brought it up. Think about it when you were a kid and your parents if you got in trouble, they would make you sit still and go in the corner by yourself. That used to be a form of punishment. And so it’s like well now you want me to do that and enjoy it and even pay you for it? Are you kidding me? Sit in a chair by myself? That sounds awful. And I think that it can be torturous. I think that if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you haven’t been taught how to meditate and if you’re not given a tool or system that’s meant for you, I think that it can be very challenging and I understand resistance to it, which I’ll talk about why this style of meditation I teach is not like that. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

But first I’ll talk about what you said about exercise. Well, I’d rather just go exercise. (16:09) When I tell people I’m a meditation teacher, I hear all kinds of things like, oh that’s cool, cooking is my meditation or exercise is my meditation or Facebook is my meditation, and it’s like no, no, Facebook is no one’s meditation. The reason why people think that cooking or exercise is their meditation is because it provides relaxation for them. It’s calming for them. Which is great, obviously anything that brings you joy or calmness or relaxation, great, let’s do more of that.

(16:37) But exercise is very different than meditation and here’s why. Think about if you were to run a seven-minute mile. Your metabolic rate would increase. Your heart rate increases, metabolic rate increases, body temperature increases and your body actually gets very excited. Now, when we meditate we’re doing the exact opposite. Within 30 to 45 seconds of starting this style of meditation, your metabolic rate drops precipitously. Your heart rate slows, body temperature cools, all of which is giving you that deep rest that I was talking about. Rest that’s actually two to five times deeper than sleep.

(17:11) And when you give your body that deep rest, it wants to thank you, like I was saying, and it thanks you by releasing stress, which in turn makes you perform better in your waking state. So it’s not about how deep you go during a practice. It’s not about what even you experience while you’re in the chair. It’s about giving your body that rest. You’re creating order in the nervous system, and then the body starts getting rid of old, irrelevant stuff. It’s like defragging your computer so that then when you come into your waking state you can function at 100% of your potential.

(17:41) So the difference between meditation and exercise is that exercise absolutely will relieve stress. If you were to run, it’s like engaging in the fight or flight. You go to a boxing class and you get to engage in the fight. You get to burn off the stress chemicals that are in your body. Anything you’ve accumulated in that day, you could burn off in that day. But exercise is not powerful enough to get rid of the stresses that you’ve been accumulating your whole life. So your boss yells at you at work and then you go to the gym that night and run for three miles and run it off, yes that will absolutely take care of the stresses from today. But what we’re doing when we meditate is that we de-excite the nervous system, give the body very deep rest and that gets rid of not only the stresses from today but also the backlog of stresses that we’ve all been accumulating for the past few decades.

So if stagnation is your goal, as far as stress relief is concerned, then exercise will be fine. But if you actually want to up level and increase your consciousness and get rid of stresses from the past, then you’ve got to de-excite the nervous system. You’ve got to give it deep rest.


That’s interesting. It’s almost like reactive versus proactive. So many of us are just so reactive with our stress, even like alcohol, beer or wine or whatever it is, it’s just reaction. Yeah, it does work in the short term but it’s a couple of hours and then your cortisol levels actually go up, so it is interesting.


Yeah, and the thing there is that anything we reach to externally for our happiness, that includes alcohol, drugs, shopping, sex, cars, money, relationships, anything that we think is going to make us happy outside of us is not sustainable. It’s ineffective, because no matter how much we try and no matter how much money we get, no matter how much sex we have, no matter how many pair of shoes we buy, none of those things have the ability to make us happy. The only place you can experience happiness is inside of you, and the only time you can experience it is now. And yet we’re all so entrenched in this I’ll be happy when, I’ll be happy when, I’ll be happy when syndrome.

And so what meditation does, it actually turns that whole paradigm on its head. It allows you to access your bliss and fulfillment inside of you, and then it’s not that your desires go away, it’s just those desires start to become an indicator of where nature is trying to use you to deliver your fulfillment. Because you already meditated that morning and you’re good, you know your happiness is inside of you and now your desires are simply like nature’s GPS. Like who needs me today? Who needs my help today? And paradoxically, then all that stuff, all the shoes and the people and the sex and relationships and the money and all that stuff that we want starts to show up by accident, because we’re no longer needy, we’re no longer approaching it with this sense of hyper-attachment.


So let’s talk about different meditation techniques. Most people listening have heard of Zen meditation or Vipassana or Transcendental meditation, there’s all these different approaches. Some of them freak people out, they feel like it’s a cult. Some of them are just so esoteric that they get lost in it. (20:48) What is the technique that you teach, or is there a specific technique? How can people understand what it is that Ziva meditation, what is it about?


Yeah, great question. (21:01) So the style of meditation I teach is 5,000 or 6,000 years old, we’re not totally sure because we didn’t have Facebook timeline and things, but it’s old. People think meditation is new age. There’s nothing new age about it, but it’s certainly having a reawakening right now. But in India there’s a very rudimentary description, but there are basically two different branches of meditation. There are styles of meditation that were made for monks, and there are styles of meditation that were made for people who live in society. In India they call them householders. So you’re either a monk or you’re a householder. It doesn’t do you any good to pretend to be one or the other if you’re not. It doesn’t make you any holier to swear off sex and alcohol and your job and live in a cave for a month, if you’re meant to be a householder. And if you’re a monk, then living in the land and having a job and cuddling next to someone at night is not your preference. You generally know you’re a monk by the time you’re seven or eight. You’re like I got to go, I don’t want to be in society anymore. And it’s less than 1% of the world’s population that is monastic by nature.

So I think this is a really important distinction to make, because different styles of meditation are made for different styles of people. And what’s happening as of late is that there have been adaptations of meditation that were actually made for monks, and that’s some of the stuff that’s becoming really popular and I think that that’s why people have a misconception that meditation is hard or that you have to focus or concentrate or sit in weird positions, because those are different styles of meditation and they’re not meant for you if you have a job to go to and kids to handle.

(22:36) The style of meditation I teach is called Vedic meditation. It comes from the Sanskrit word Veda, which means knowledge. Knowledge of what? Knowledge of nature. It’s like hey, nature’s going to do its nature thing and we can either get in flow with that, we can either get in line with that and allow nature to help us get to where we want to go or we can hold ourselves against the sidelines and be rigidly attached to how we think nature should go and then let nature bash us against the rocks. One is infinitely more elegant than the other.

All this meditation style is meant to do is really help you to get into that flow, to tune into how nature’s actually trying to use you anyway. It’s funny, people start practicing this and they start reporting that they find themselves in the right place at the right time more often than not. We all know what it feels like to be in the flow.

So the style I’m teaching is what I would call the branch of a self-induced transcendence. That’s the practice itself. And there’s a few other styles that also have that and were also made for householders. So it’s similar to transcendental meditation in that it’s 20 minutes twice a day, you’re given your own mantra which is actually mantra is a Sanskrit word. Man means mind and tra means vehicle. So the mantra is actually a mind vehicle, custom designed to take you from active growth layers of thinking down into more subtle states of thinking, that de-excitation of the nervous system that I keep talking about.

Then when you do that, when you give your body that deep rest, it’s like taking an hour and-a-half nap in only 20 minutes, and then you come out on the other side and you feel much more refreshed and clear headed and bright and almost hyper-conscious, like you were saying, like you have Spidy senses and like you’ve had a little mini vaca in the middle of your day. So that’s the practice in a nutshell. It’s 20 minutes twice a day.

And the way that the course works, I teach live in New York and L.A. and sometimes Toronto. It’s four days, the course, it’s an hour and-a-half a day and then people graduate and they’re an expert meditator. They have the practice to take with them for life. They’re not dependent on me. It’s not like acupuncture or even yoga or therapy where you have to keep coming back. We believe that any teaching worth its salt makes you self-sufficient. So after those four days, an hour and-a-half a day, you really are an expert meditator.

What started happening was that so many of my students and clients were taking the course and loving it and wanting to share it with their mom who lives in Rio or their cousin who lives in Idaho or their boyfriend who was on tour or something, and those people didn’t have access to an in-person teacher. Now, I do think that learning meditation in person is the best way to do it, but for a lot of us that’s not an option and that’s why I created Ziva Mind. The difference between Ziva meditation which is the live course and then Ziva Mind is the online meditation training, and it really is the first of its kind. And I’m super proud of it, because me and my team, we spent about nine months creating the program, because you know, no one said that birthing was easy and I’m certainly not a technologist. But we’re really proud of the program that we’ve created, and people are having beautiful results.

And the way that the online training works is that it’s eight in-depth training videos. We actually teach you how to meditate. It’s not just like a challenge. It’s not a 21-day challenge that’s like, hey commit to meditating even though you don’t know how. It’s like no, I’m going to walk you through step-by-step. I’ll give you a choice of a few different mantras, I’ll teach you how to use it most efficiently and then we give you guided visualizations to help with sleep and traveling and stress release and actually guided visualizations for performance anxiety. And then there’s Q&A calls and then we have a Facebook group where people can all support each other and ask questions.

So that’s Ziva Mind online training. People can access that from anywhere in the world, just at ZivaMind.com. And then the live training I generally do in New York and L.A.


Sounds great. And so for your live trainings, do you hold them in like a conference hotel, do you hold them in a temple, like what kind of situation are people getting into?


(26:38) I actually have a studio, Ziva Meditation has a home here in Manhattan. It’s on 38th Street between 7th and 8th, and it’s really great to have a home for meditators. There’s a lot of meditators in New York who haven’t necessarily had a place or a home to come and meditate. Regardless of your practice, if you want to come by and meditate, if you have an eyes closed silent practice, you’re welcome to join in New York. And then in Las Angeles I teach at an acting studio out there. I teach acting one night a week as well, and the studio is Bicoastal. It’s the number one acting studio in L.A., and since I teach there they let me use space which is real nice.


That’s great. Another one of the stereotypes of meditation is that you have to be in the middle of nowhere, in the Himalayas or something, and I’ve done that and a lot of the meditation I’ve done has been in really remote places in the U.S., but also in Southeast Asia and parts of India, but my favorite meditation place is in Fleshing Queens in the middle of a very big Asian market there’s a really great sit that happens every Saturday.


That’s so great. I want to check it out.


Yeah, I’ll send you the information. But it’s one of those things that a space where people meditate in and the group energy is always so powerful, so that’s awesome that you’re doing that and bringing people together, bringing actors together, bringing people of all different walks of life together.


Thanks. (28:11) And on that note, I’m going to quickly mention that we’re starting something called the PDM Campaign, which is a Public Display of Meditation Campaign, which I’m really, really excited about and we’re about to launch in the next few days. But it’s basically going to be a two-fold. One is going to be a social media campaign where we’re reaching out to all kinds of CEOs and celebrities and every famous meditator who we know meditates but maybe the world doesn’t and ask them to post pictures of themselves meditating, and then posting it on Instagram with the hash tag PDM. And we’ve already got hundreds from our Ziva people, and they’re hilarious pictures of them meditating with their dog or on the subway or in their bathroom at work or at the gym. All these hilarious public locations. So I highly encourage everyone, if they’re meditating, either take a selfie or have someone take a picture of you and then post it on Instagram with the hash tag PDM, and then we’re going to have an actual launch party in New York and L.A.

My goal with the PDM campaign is to let meditation have the coming out party that it deserves. It’s been a secret weapon for too long, and I want to take away this old stigma that it’s just weird people in robes that are meditating. Because if people knew the list of celebrities and CEOs who meditate, the stigma would be gone by now.


No, it’s one of these things, it’s totally fine for somebody to pray, like I travel a lot in Southeast Asia and they’ll always have Muslim prayer rooms and I’m so jealous. I’m just like, can I go in there? Am I allowed to go in there? I just think it’s the most amazing thing. They have these prayer rooms. It’s cool to pray, but am I allowed in there? It’s amazing if people could just meditate and it wouldn’t be a weird thing. It would be a publicly accepted thing. And I guess the Muslim prayer room is the closest thing to it, but I feel like it’s not that far off.


Yeah, not that far off. And now even in San Francisco in the airport there, they have a yoga room and places are starting to have meditation rooms, and this is one of my goals with Ziva is that I want to have actual meditation centers where people can just drop in and meditate and just do a one-off, almost like soul cycle but for meditation. I want to start them all over the world.


Sounds great. So for people who are listening, Emily, and they want to learn about Ziva Meditation, your live in-person events and workshops or Ziva Mind, your virtual training, how can they find you online? How can they connect with you?


(30:32) The live training, they can learn all kinds about that is ZivaMeditation.com, and then the online training is at ZivaMind.com. And of course we’re all over Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. I’m Emily Ziva on Instagram, which is where we’re going to be doing the PDM Campaign. And actually on the ZivaMeditation.com site I have about 108 videos there from basically every lecture I’ve given for the past year. So if people want to learn a little bit more about the style, that’s a great place to do it.


Well cool. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and your teaching, and I know that I’ve learned a lot and I know that a lot of our listeners are going to be excited to come out with their meditation, do it in public, take some photos and just kind of utilize this for what it is, just a really effective tool for all of us. For people, for stress relief, for human consciousness and so thanks so much. I appreciate it.


It has really been a pleasure. I look forward to meeting you in person.

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. Welcome to the FAQ round. If you’ve got something that you want to ask, send your questions to podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com. And now, let’s hear what’s going on with our listeners.

Kristen asks:

(31:59) Where can I get the yoga handbook with 20% of the poses that increase flexibility? Also, is it truly possible for me to eventually get my chest to touch my thighs? Is it so far and I suck at yoga.

Kristen, first of all, you don’t suck at yoga. Everybody struggles with flexibility, so don’t get down on yourself. So what Kristen’s referring to is I talk about the 80/20 rule in relation to yoga. If you’ve never heard about the 80/20 rule, it’s admittedly a pretty geeky thing, but if you’re listening to this show that’s probably fair game. Most of what we talk about is pretty geeky. But there’s a book called the 80/20 principle by a guy named Richard Koch. It’s a very, very interesting book. It’s called the pareto principle, and it’s basically research done on leverage points in anything.

When you look at the world and you look at the way things break down, there’s usually an 80/20 relationship with everything. Let me give you an example. If you were to pick a room full of people, let’s say there was a room full of 100 people, 20 people in that room would have 80% of the wealth, for example. If you were to look at a number of activities you do in a day, 80% of the money you earn comes from 20% of your activities. If you were to look at your yoga practice, 80% of the benefits come from 20% of what you’re doing.

So with everything we do in YOGABODY, I’m kind of obsessed with this 80/20 principle. I learned about it from a teacher of mine about 10 years ago, 8 years ago, and I’ve just started to apply it to everything that I can, because I just think it’s really fun when life becomes efficient and when you do little things that have big impact is just a lot of fun. With yoga, there’s a whole lot of poses that are demonstrative, meaning they demonstrate flexibility but they don’t build flexibility. So a lot of poses that are demonstrative in that they demonstrate strength but they don’t build strength. For example, a lot of inverted poses on your hands aren’t really that great for building strength, where as certain variations of pushups and press ups and handstand pushups at the wall can be very, very effective and much more effective than traditional yoga poses for building strength.

So when we talk about flexibility, the Gravity Yoga Series that I teach, we have a DVD, we also have the YOGABODY Handbook. They’re both available on the site, YogaBodyNaturals.com. There’s other systems, there’s other things, too. Everybody’s a little bit different, but for the most part there’s a certain number of poses that are very, very effective for increasing your flexibility. Sounds like you’re working on your hamstrings. Take a look at the hamstrings poses. They’re very, very simple. It’s 15 minutes a day, and you’ll find really great results. Everybody sucks at yoga when they first start. Everybody can make progress. The interesting thing, that same 80/20 rule if you apply it to your progress, 80% of your benefits you’re going to get are going to happen in that first 1 to 2 years, and that’s really exciting for a lot of people because you can make massive, massive gains very quickly.

Christopher asks:

(35:14) You know, Lucas, it’s kind of funny these caffeine emails. (I do a lot of emails bashing coffee) He says I drink coffee, usually one to three a day. I also drink green tea sometimes. Sometimes for fun I won’t drink any for two to three days and I’ve never been jittery or experienced a headache. It seems to me you were on the bandwagon with this a bit because you are a reformed coffee addict. I’m skeptical to say the least, because from my own experience it does not affect me negatively. My mother’s 97 and she drank coffee all her life. She owned a diner and drank it a lot. Now she only has one or two a day.

I would say that alcohol is a far greater problem in the world, and it is very hard on the liver, kidneys and the stomach, not to mention making people loud, stupid, obnoxious and self-centered. Just curious on why you don’t warn people about alcohol. I’m a reformed heavy alcohol user and it caused a bunch of problems.

This is a really great question. Christopher, the main reason I don’t really harp on alcohol is because everybody knows alcohol is bad for them. There is of course the sort of one red wine a day is supposed to make you live longer. That’s a load of crap. People telling you good things about bad habits, that’s really not true. Even more harmful than the alcohol, which of course is toxic, is the sugar, the huge amounts of sugar. But everything in moderation can be okay, and that’s certainly true with coffee.

It sounds like you have a system where every drug, whether it’s nicotine or heroin or caffeine has a certain addiction percentage. The interesting thing about alcohol is it’s really low. The statistics that I’ve heard are around 10% of people are prone to alcohol abuse. And so lots of people can drink every day for 20 years and then not drink for a week and nothing happens. That’s very, very unique to alcohol. Something like coffee is much, much more addictive. Something like nicotine is the highest on the addictive scale, where 80% of regular users will just become uncontrollably addicted.

The thing about coffee for me, is that again there’s this huge movement in the health movement to drinking coffee, and suddenly it’s not that coffee’s bad it’s just that certain coffee is bad. We need to top grade our coffee and we need to eat amazing mycotoxin-free coffee beans. This is really bullshit. I think if you wake up in the morning and you’re so tired you need a coffee to wake up, you need to really check things out. Caffeine is incredibly effective and if you use it once in a while, a few times a year when you need to stay up late for a flight or a drive or whatever it is, it’s really, really effective. I’ll use it once in a while to overcome jetlag. But when you need some kind of amphetamine to wake up in the morning, it’s really a big problem and it screws up your blood sugar, screws up your energy, simply because you have this energy crash and the tendency is to mitigate that with more caffeine or more sugar. Either of those options are really crap.

And so it sounds like you have absolutely no problem at all. Doesn’t sound like you drink that much. I don’t think it’s a big deal. Most people over time as they age, as stress increases, as the demands on their time go up and as their nightly sleep and quality of sleep goes down, their coffee consumption goes up and it’s really crap. A lot of Paleo guys and Dave Asprey, who I really think very highly of, really great information out there, but a lot of these guys are telling you to wake up in the morning and just crank down a bunch of really strong coffee. To me that doesn’t really make sense, and so I can’t get behind that.

From a yoga perspective, for your nervous system perspective it’s really crap. It’s not doing good things for your nervous system, which a lot of what we’re doing in yoga, maybe half of it, is nervous system entrainment. The dehydration thing is a big issue, yeah so that’s the big deal. There are interesting things in coffee. There’s very, very interesting antioxidants. I’d be more interested in dark chocolate than I am in caffeine. The caffeine levels in dark chocolate are much, much lower, it’s not nearly as addictive and these kinds of things.

Krishna asks:

(39:20) I want to learn yoga but I’m recently pregnant. How can I?

Krishna, first of all, take it really easy. Work with a prenatal teacher. That’s the best thing. There’s this trend on the internet where pregnant ladies are doing really extreme yoga poses, deep backbends and handstands, and that looks really amazing and it’s cool but I don’t think it’s really smart. Miscarriages are not just common, they’re more common than not, meaning most women who have children have had a miscarriage. And I just don’t think that’s really worth it. It’s nine months of your life. I don’t know why — I totally think it’s awesome the amount of things that women can do these days. It’s almost scary raising three children and having a career. It’s pretty shocking. I don’t think modern men even compare to the workload and the responsibility load that modern women take on.

I don’t think you need to go standing on your hands. I think you’re already kicking ass as it is. So I would just say take it really easy. Yoga is fantastic. Prenatal yoga is great. We have a prenatal program actually with Mel Campbell. You can check it out in our store, YogaBodyNaturals.com/store. It’s created all around this principle that pregnancy is a time of turning in, of withdrawing, of stepping back from your practice rather than trying to do 30 backbends and this kind of thing. So that would be my recommendation. If you want to learn at home, check out that program. I think it will be interesting.

Rahul asks:

(40:47) I have been using YOGABODY for a while. I have a question regarding my right leg going numb while sitting in meditation. Is there a stretch or a pose that will help alleviate this?

Rahul, I’ve done tons and tons of meditation, 10 and 12 days at a time, meditating all day long kind of thing. Your legs keep falling asleep. That’s the bad news. The kind of weird good news is you get used to it. You get used to it and you stop even being irritated by it. Now the one thing I will warn you of is your leg falling asleep is your nervous system telling you, hey you need to move. You’re cutting off circulation, whatever it is, you’re impinging a nerve, whatever it is, you need to move. And a big part of yoga and a big part of meditation is training your nervous system so that you’re in control. It’s taking control of what would normally be uncontrollable, emotions, thoughts and reflexes and taking control over them.

You can take it a little bit too far, and what I mean by this is I was in a really long meditation in Central Thailand at one point and my leg kept falling asleep during meditation practices. We would go one hour at a time. One hour without moving, get up, walk around for five minutes, go again for one hour and my leg kept falling asleep and I stopped noticing it really. And it was really weird, and I was on a bus when I left the retreat center and I turned around to the guy behind me and I said hey, my leg is asleep and he’s like oh yeah mine’s been falling asleep. And I said no, no, my leg is still asleep.

I couldn’t feel it, and it took three months to get better. It was pretty extreme. I had done some kind of nervous system damage. The nerve was inflamed, whatever it was. When I would sit down on the toilet it would really trigger it. The pressure of the toilet seat on the back of my hamstring, the leg would just disappear. It was like a ghosted leg. In yoga I would do a triangle or a Parsvakonasana pose and I was too scared to put the weight on my leg for about three months. After about six weeks it was usable, but it took three months for all the tingling to go away. I could have done some damage there.

So I would be cautious, but of course this was extreme. I was doing 12 days of all day sits. If you’re getting a little bit of numbness it’s pretty normal, and ironically your body will often learn a way to work around it. Again, it’s nervous system training. Kind of a long, freaky answer but hopefully that’s helpful.

I appreciate you all sending in your questions, and feel free to send them to me at Podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com,and I’d love to hear from you.

The food you eat affects your body and mind every day. Welcome to the nutritional tip of the week, where we explore plant-based diets, super food nutrition, edible insects and tropics. The goal here is mind/body biohacking for a better you and a better planet. So hey, let’s talk nutrition.

(43:45) For today’s nutritional tip of the day, I wanted to talk about Stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener, it’s a plant, it’s an herb, you can grow it on your windowsill. It’s very, very easy to grow. It has essentially no calories, and it’s 300 times as sweet as sugar. The way that Stevia works, the way that all these artificial or sweet substitutes work is they find the same receptors on your tongue that sugars do. And so it makes your body felt that sweet taste, without necessarily having the sugar.

(44:18) Now, a lot of people hate Stevia. They feel like it tastes chemically and that it tastes weird, and this is for sure true. Most Stevia tastes like crap. But here’s what’s going on. This is really important. I always hated Stevia, never paid attention to it for 10 years. I never, ever wanted anything to do with Stevia. Here’s the thing. It’s processed often in very, very poor manner. So a common way that Stevia is now is it’s dried and put in a packet. The dries stuff is very, very astringent and I find it tastes very chemically as well.

(44:53) There’s two ways that make it really, really delicious. The first way is the best way, and this is fresh Stevia. I don’t know why nobody has fresh Stevia. I never had fresh Stevia. I went to this farmer’s market guy that I go to locally, he had this little plant growing there and I always like to take home new herbs and I was like hey what’s that? And he’s like try it. You take a leaf of this, it tastes delicious, absolutely delicious. This is fresh Stevia. If you take fresh Stevia and you use it in a salad, it’s really, really great in place of a sweet salad dressing. So a lot of people like to add sweeteners to salad dressing. I don’t. But sometimes it’s nice to have that sweet taste, especially if you’re doing a bitter salad like a cabbage salad or if you’re doing a wilted kale salad or something like that. To have a little bit of sweet in there is fantastic. To sprinkle dried Stevia, that’s going to taste so chemically and weird and gross. It’s going to make you sick. But to take fresh Stevia leaf, absolutely fantastic. So fresh is the best. It’s very, very potent. One leaf can do a whole salad. It’s really, really that strong. So that’s the first way that’s really great.

(45:57) The second way is Stevia extract in liquid form, the one that needs to be refrigerated. This is really good stuff, too. The only thing I would tell you is try different brands. Some brands also have that chemical weirdness taste. My guess is that they were first turned into powder and then rehydrated. I’m not really sure. I don’t know enough about the processing. It’s relatively simple. But some of the liquids taste really great, and you can add it to tea. This is a really great thing I often recommend for coaching clients, is add a drop of Stevia extract to your tea. The liquid form can be a really, really great way to get over the habit of using sugar.

(46:33) Now the best thing, the best thing is when you use Stevia to wean yourself off sugar all together, because if you use Stevia to increase your sweet tooth you’re not really doing yourself any favors. So you want to be sure that you are trying to use Stevia as a transition to less and less sweet, but it can be a really, really great alternative. I’d encourage you to try it. I’d especially encourage you to try it on the fresh plant. I think you’ll find it’s very, very healthful and very, very easy and safe to use.

So that’s my take on Stevia. Love to hear your experience and your questions. Please feel free to send them in or post in the comments section. Thanks for listening. I hope that’s helpful.

You’ve been listening to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood. If you like this show, I always appreciate reviews and ratings on the iTunes Store. It helps other listeners find out about what we’re doing, and it keeps me motivated to dig around and find new and diverse topics to share with you. For complete show notes, links to everything discussed in the show, along with a ton of other free yoga videos and online resources, please head over to YogaBodyNaturals.com. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll talk to you very soon.