Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation offering courses in Vedic Meditation to all levels of mediators in NYC and LA. She is also the creator of zivaMIND the world’s first online meditation training. She’s also taught at Google as well as conferences worldwide. Emily became a meditation teacher after seeing how much meditation improved her mental and physical performance. She told us about her experiences in meditation and gave tips for how you can incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your work life.
Why did you start meditating? What was your goal?
I started meditating during my 10 year career on Broadway. My last job was incredibly intense and required me to understudy three of the lead roles in A Chorus Line, which left me in a constant state of anxiety. I started having insomnia and going gray at the tender age of 26. I was also getting sick and injured way more often than I wanted. Thankfully an amazing woman sitting next to me in the dressing room recommended meditation and she managed to make her job look effortless. Here is the crazy thing. On the first day of the first course, I slept through the night for the first time in 18 months. I have every night since and that was 9 years ago.
My only ‘goal’ when I started was to stop going gray and start sleeping again. I had no idea it was going to change my life so dramatically. It up-leveled my performance and my life so profoundly that I felt compelled to share it with others. So I left Broadway, went to India and then trained for three years to become a meditation teacher. To be a teacher of Vedic meditation you move through a program that is similar to getting a PhD in neuroscience according to the Veda.
What is your meditation routine?
My usual is 20 min in the am and 20 min sometime mid afternoon. When I am feeling fancy or leading retreats I will do some advanced techniques. They take about an hour and feel like industrial strength meditation. Quite intense but you feel squeaky clean afterwards. My first priority is my students, so if I have five classes a day I will meditate five times a day. That is usually not recommended unless you have been practicing for quite some time.
Can you tell me a story about how meditation improved your performance?
How long do you have? It has increased all of the above by 1000 fold. I wrote a whole book about it. It is called, “From Vodka to Veda” and I am working on the final edits and finding a publisher now (shameless plug). The point of the book is to illustrate that the desire for vodka and the desire for meditation are the same. It is just that one is destructive and one is constructive. Running Ziva Meditation and handling the level of demand that is constantly streaming in while creating new programs, online meditation training, writing, hiring employees, training new teachers and traveling around the world to teach would not be possible without my daily practice. I am endlessly grateful for it and all it allows me to give back to the world.
Do you think meditation gives you a competitive edge? Why?
Most people who have never meditated think that stress gives them their edge. I teach a lot of CEO’s and a lot of celebrities. Both can be addicted to their stress but in different ways. My business folk think that the stress is the thing that keeps them driven and ahead of the next guy. But if you are looking at how you perform as compared to the next stressed out human instead of stepping into the limitless energy that meditation provides, then you will never know your full potential.
The artists and actors that I work with often confuse their former pain or life circumstances as the source of their creativity. This is not the truth. Former trauma does not make you more creative. If anything it robs you from it by forcing you to protect yourself from potential dangers which rob you of the ability to access the full creative potential in the right now. There is a whole field of neuroscience emerging around this topic; how meditation increases the size of the corpus callosom which is the bridge between the left and right brains, aka the analytical and creative mind. Meditation helps you to access both simultaneously which means that even in a high demand situation you still have access to limitless creative problem solving ideas. If that doesn’t give you a competitive edge then I don’t know what will.
What is the #1 misconception about meditation?
That the point is to give your mind a command to stop thinking. The mind thinks involuntarily, just like the heart beats involuntarily. This is why most people think they “can’t” meditate. Because they heard someone say on Youtube or a yoga class to ‘clear your mind’ which is 100% impossible. Instead you need to give your mind a tool and/or some training to help it de-excite. The deep rest that you give your body during meditation is what induces the healing and the stress release. Less stress in your body is the thing that helps you perform better at life. No one cares if you are a good meditator. Everyone cares if you are good at life.
Do you have tips for people who want to incorporate mindfulness into their work lives?
One thing I have found helpful over the last several years in terms of bringing your meditation practice into the workplace is to return to your body and the breath over and over again throughout your day. I often set a timer when I know I am going to be working for many hours straight. Every hour when it goes off I close my laptop, raise my gaze, and practice shamatha. After a minute or so I return to my work, setting the timer again for another hour. Doing so breaks up the work routine and habitual stressful momentum, and allows me to return to what’s going on right now, several times throughout my work day.
What if I told you that doing this one activity for 10-20 minutes per day could result in less stress, more joy, better focus, amazing sex, and more mindfulness?
If we’re talking about meditation, then it’s the truth!
I’ve personally been meditating for the past couple of years and can testify to the amazing benefits it brings to my own life.
If I’m anxious or worried? A couple minutes of meditation is all it takes to ground me and make me feel secure.
If I’m unfocused or unmotivated? Meditation rejuvenates my spirit.
And when I just want to feel like a happier, better version of myself? Meditation brings me closer to who I am.
So, it’s no surprise why I had to have Emily Fletcher, founder of Ziva Meditation, on the podcast. And trust me, she’s a woman you definitely wanna get to know.
Emily spent 10 years of her life performing on Broadway and began using meditation as a way to heal from the immense stress that she was feeling as a performer. Inspired by the physical and mental changes taking place from her practice, she traveled abroad to India for over 10 years (!) to study meditation.
Now, Emily teaches her innovative methods to companies like Google and Viacom, NBA players, full-time Moms, as well as thousands of other people around the world at conferences, live events, and through her online courses.
Emily’s mission in life is to make meditation attractive, accessible and easy to adopt into modern life. She says that she wants to make meditation as normal as brushing your teeth — that leaving the house without meditating should be just as taboo as leaving the house with bad breath. I’m with it!
During this hilarious and super informative interview, she shares her special “Ziva Meditation Technique” that teaches you how to feel happier, calmer and less stressed out.
Plus, Emily also has a free guided meditation to help you get ready for any big event – sweet right?! You can download it over here.
See below for our roundup of recent podcast that Emily has been delighted to be a guest on. Want to learn more about adopting a meditation practice of your own? Check out Emily’s debut book, Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance, which breaks down the neuroscience of meditation and teaches a daily practice that you can use from day one – no clearing your mind necessary.
Emily on The Doctor’s Farmacy with Mark Hyman
Emily joins zivaGRAD and friend, Mark Hyman to discuss all about meditation. In the episode, they address meditation as the new medicine and why Mark couldn’t live without the Ziva Technique after learning it. They cover the benefits of the practice, including its ability to boost your focus and productivity, feel energized, reduce stress, sleep better, maintain a positive outlook and support whole-body health.
Emily on Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey
Emily joins Dave to discuss how releasing the stress from your past is essential and why controlling your way through life doesn’t get you to where you want to be. They have a fascinating and entertaining discussion, covering how meditation encompasses the art, beauty and power of surrender.
Emily on Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik
Emily talks Jim through some simple, yet powerful tips on reducing stress so you can perform at the top of your game.
Emily on Broken Brain with Dhru Purohit
Dhru and Emily talk how to supercharge your love life and career through the practice of meditation. Learn how this practice will help you achieve more than ever before while improving every relationship you hold in your life. Love this episode? You’re in luck! This is the second time Emily was on Broken Brain – listen to their last episode here.
Emily on The Meathead Hippie with Emily Schromm
Emily x Emily talk all things stress, meditation and manifesting. They touched on the stress epidemic, how meditation helps with adrenal health, the neurological effects of stress on our brains and bodies (and how meditation reverses them), and why meditation might just give you superpowers.
Emily on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast
In this powerhouse podcast episode, Emily discusses mindfulness, meditation and manifesting. They walk through all 3, explaining each and how they fit into the Ziva Technique. They also dive into why these concepts often get mixed up in the pursuit of spiritual wellness.
Emily on The Genius Life with Max Lugavere
What’s the simple skill that makes you both sexier and healthier? You guessed it – meditation. Max and Emily cover topics from life, death, brain health and beyond.
Emily on You Turn with Ashley Stahl
Emily sits down with Ashley Stahl to talk about about the impacts of meditation, how it can improve your performance, and the science behind it all. They discuss the difference between meditation and mindfulness, the real-life benefits of true meditation, and why stress makes you stupid, sick an
Reviewing the M Word Meditation Quest – with Emily Fletcher
What really interested me about Emily Fletcher was her backstory.
Emily went from Broadway actress – Chicago, The Producers & A Chorus Line – to meditation teacher, swapping the glitz and the glamour for what one might say is more of a middle path.
Of course like any transition there are a lot of details in between reasons for the journey, but what has transpired, perhaps inevitably, is that she has become somewhat of meditation personality, so to speak – she is a meditation advisor for Google, among others.
Like so many, Broadway ended up taking its toll.
She suffered from the usual afflictions: insomnia, lack of energy and zest for life, and apparently even grey hair, at just 27 years old – though genetically this is not uncommon, I might add.
She discovered meditation through a fellow stage actress who always seemed so calm and composed and youthful.
She wondered why everyone wasn’t meditating, but quickly found out that the traditional style of meditation really isn’t that easy and certainly not suited to everyone.
And this is where Emily’s quest to develop an accessible type of meditation began.
What inspired me to reach out to Vishen at Mind valley and ask if I could take the Quest with Emily was the fact that many of the people I speak to – especially my readers – are often people who are attracted to mindfulness but not so enthralled with the thought of meditation – at least not in the traditional sense.
Emily Fletcher transcends the traditional meditation experience and re-packages it; bringing it more in line with modern living and utilizing it as a life support mechanism
Listen as Blake interviews meditation guru, author, and founder of Ziva Meditation, Emily Fletcher. Together, they dive deep into the physiological impacts of stress, the difference between mindfulness and meditation, and why effort—not thought—is the enemy of meditating. To Emily, meditation isn’t just another “hippy-dippy thing,” but the key to increased productivity, creativity, and compassion.