When your kids are calmer and learning how to work with their thoughts and emotions, your quality of life as a parent goes way up. In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, Ziva meditation creator Emily Fletcher joins me to talk about helping kids learn to meditate and her new zivaKIDS program that gives kids new superpowers.
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For over a decade Emily has been teaching her own ZIVA meditation technique. She’s reached more than 40,000 students so far, including Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winners, Navy SEALS, NBA players, entrepreneurs and anyone looking to make their life better. Busy parents, too.
“I wanted to take the pressure off of parents,” Emily says. “Especially right now, parents are being asked to do an extraordinary amount of things: homeschool their kids, learn to become science teachers, deal with the emotional and psychological ramifications of isolation,” she says. “The last thing I wanted parents to do was have to become a meditation salesperson or a meditation police officer.”
She’s worked with Sesame Street, leading child psychologists and professors from Harvard, to create zivaKIDS. Emily knows that getting your kid to meditate is no easy feat, so we talk a lot about how to encourage them to take that next step in an open, honest and age-appropriate way. She has a practice for 4-to 8-year-olds and 9-to 14-year-olds. She also offers training for parents or other adults in the child’s life on how to be a good sidekick.
The Ziva technique de-excites the nervous system to induce deep rest, so much so that it can heal stresses from both the present and the past. These stresses apply to humans of all ages, and that’s why Emily is so passionate about her practice.
“If you learn these tools at [a young] age, your resilience and your ability to metabolize high demand situations for the rest of your life will be better,” she says.
She says meditation is not a magic pill to bury your emotions. When you’re sad or angry you can’t fix it by just counting your breaths, but instead meditation can teach us how to change our state when we’re ready.
Emily’s view of meditation, for both kids and adults, is practical and flexible. On this episode you’ll learn how your practice (and your kids’!) will ebb and flow, but how you will always carry the power of the practice within you and have the tools you need to feel safe with your body, your emotions and yourself.
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Follow Along with the Transcript
Book: “Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance”
- For a decade, she’s reached about 40,000 students, including Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winners, Navy Seals, NBA players, CEOs of big companies, she’s taught me meditation techniques, and she also works with busy parents. – 1:06
- I find that that’s the biggest obstacle that parents are facing is that you’re competing with robots, you’re competing with virtual reality, and one of the most addictive things in the world at their fingertips, video games or social media. – 3:01
- What I teach when couples come to me is I say, you just deal with you, you clean your own house, you be in charge of your practice. And actually, neither one of you is allowed to be the meditation police. – 4:00
- Rather than framing meditation as something that they have to do, or a discipline, or something’s wrong with them that they need to fix, it’s like, no, this is a tool that’s going to help you be better at whatever it is that you love. And that applies for all ages. – 5:23
- I’ve been studying a lot like preparing for creating Ziva Kids, I studied something called RIE, which is basically respectful parenting. And one of the fundamental premises of it is authenticity and honesty. – 8:13
- The first time you came on the show was hundreds of episodes ago, you came on using meditation for performance. You talk about the power of sex for adults in meditation. And at the same time, you’re talking about kids. What’s the connection there? – 10:12
- Meditation to me is like putting deposits in your bank account, so that you can make the withdrawals when you come into high demand phases of life. – 13:45
- You can have capital T trauma, or little T trauma, but your 100% is your 100%. And so it doesn’t matter that there are children, soldiers somewhere, if you’re five, and you had a sibling, that can be a traumatic event for you. – 16:10
- A lot of people think like, stress is just in my mind, or meditation is just a mental tool. Not true at all. Your brain is responsible for printing every single cell in your body. So if your brain is stressed, this is going to compromise the quality of cells that it is printing. – 17:48
- I feel like it could be an opener. Like if you have permission to have that conversation with your child, it could be a question, but you certainly wouldn’t want to end there. You would want to say, okay, well what are you enjoying about your life? What is challenging about your life? – 19:42
- Turns out stress is a curable disease. There is a there is a cure for it. It’s called meditation. – 21:41
- What’s the difference between Ziva Kids and whatever you find on YouTube? – 22:42
- There also is an adult training inside of the course where I’m training the adults on how to be a good sidekick. And that includes not being meditation police, that includes not forcing your kids to meditate, and also when they have these big emotions to let them feel it – 25:15
- For adults and parents especially, it’s really important that we clean our own house, that we manage our own stress. – 29:37
- There’s two courses. One is called Play, and that’s for four to eight. And there’s one called Grow, which is for 9 to 14-year-olds. – 31:11
- I’m basically just giving them like all their coolest idols are meditating. Because I know when I was at age, I didn’t care about what my parents wanted. I just wanted to know if the cool kids were doing it. – 32:16
- It’s about leverage. And it’s about inspiring your kids to meditate and knowing like what leverage you have. Because as your kids get older, you do have less and less leverage. – 35:29
- The mindfulness piece for kids does include movement. So for the preteens, we start with something called squeeze me. And they’re actually going through and pressing and releasing every single part in their body. It’s like they’re giving themself a hug almost – 37:01
- I invite them to have a sense of humor about how stress shows up for them. And then to get really clear on which attributes they want to dial up or down inside of themselves. And then teach them the science of how meditation gives them the ability to choose. – 38:44
- Another thing that I teach in the adult training is like, please don’t expect your child to wake up every day at 6:00 a.m. and sit down in lotus position and do 15 minutes of meditation. That’s your plan, that’s your program.
- You as an adult can be disciplined. with children, we’re really just planting the seed, we’re reminding them that they can turn inward for their own happiness instead of turning to external screens. – 41:34
- I have two 15-year-olds also. Do you think that teens would benefit from the adult program or they’re kind of … They’re a little too old for the Bunny. But do you think they can hang with the grownups? – 48:24
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