One of our incredible zivaGRADs, Maria Zamarripa of Food Farmacist R.D. wrote a review of Ziva. She goes into detail on:
- How the Ziva Technique affected her acne, sugar cravings, relationships and more
- Her thoughts on meditation and religion and how they aren’t in competition.
- Some of her key takeaways from zivaONLINE
Read on for her unfiltered thoughts of her experience with zivaONLINE!
When you hear the word “meditation”, what comes to mind? If you said monks, hippies, or gongs, then you were like me 6 months ago. Yet, daily meditation is gaining in popularity – and for good reason! In this article, I’ll share my experience with the Ziva Meditation course, and how it has changed my life, career, and more.
Stress makes us sick, sad, and stupid.
I was fortunate and privileged enough to never really experience true stress growing up. I had a supportive family, good grades, and no health issues.
However, I have a gift for over-reacting, stressing about things that haven’t even happened (anyone else have made-up arguments in the shower?), and organizing things to a ridiculous level (can the real Type A’s please stand up).
About three years ago, I started noticing the physiological effects of stress for the first time. We were planning our wedding, which was a happy yet stressful time. But, I also was extremely unhappy in my job, lacking any feelings of passion for my work, and was scared that I made the wrong career choice.
I started getting jaw pain. It got progressively worse, until I could barely open my mouth to eat a sandwich. My husband told me that I was grinding my teeth so loud that it would actually wake him up multiple times a night. I even grinded through the retainer the dentist gave me!
I also started experiencing shortness of breath. “It’s like someone is standing on top of my chest, and I can’t get enough air”, I remember telling people.
I eventually moved into a different position at work, which relieved some of my stress, although I was still feeling completely uninspired. Long story short, that’s where this passion project, Food Farmacist RD, was born!
For any of you who own a business or work multiple jobs, man, I feel for you. The stress is unreal. For over a year, I worked my 40-hour day job plus 20 or so hours on nights and weekends for my own biz. I had completely unrealistic expectations for myself. I would constantly compare myself to more successful entrepreneurs, and I was always afraid of offending or allowing people to see “the real me”.
On top of the teeth grinding and shortness of breath, I was also experiencing terrible acne, increased sugar cravings, irritability, and lack of focus. I started to recognize that all of these symptoms had one root cause: stress.
Something had to change. Enter: Ziva Meditation.
About a year ago, I started doing daily “meditations” on my phone. (I later learned that these apps are actually mindfulness exercises, not meditations). While this helped a bit, I could never truly “clear my mind”, and I would go weeks without doing it, often giving up.
I stumbled across a podcast episode that had Emily Fletcher as a guest. Emily spoke about her experience with stress as a Broadway performer, and how she eventually found meditation, and spent years training to be meditation teacher. She eventually founded Ziva Meditation.
I was so intrigued. She made some powerful promises. Less stress. Better sleep. More productivity and creativity. Less reactivity and more emotional connection in your relationships. Whoa.
So naturally, I dove deep into research, and would go back to the Ziva Website multiple times a week, but never take the plunge.
Finally, after a long, stressful 70-hour week, face full of acne, and post-blow up at my husband over something small (I can’t even remember what it was now), I woke up Sunday morning and bought the 15-day online Ziva Meditation course.
What is Ziva Meditation?
Ziva was started by meditation expert Emily Fletcher. She teaches meditation to companies like Google, Harvard Business School, NBA players, busy parents, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
Ziva Meditation is actually a technique – a way to meditate. You meditate twice a day, for 15-minutes each. It incorporates 3 main aspects.
I tried to research an official definition of meditation, but found a bunch of varying answers. I think it’s because meditation means something different to everyone. But, put into my own very simplified, non-expert definition: meditation is a state of heightened awareness, connecting the body and mind in effort to find a state of calming “bliss”.
The research about the benefits of meditation keep rolling in. Studies point to benefits like:
- Anti-aging. Your brain starts to naturally deteriorate after the first two decades of life. Research shows that long-term, daily meditation slows this process down.
- Enhanced attention and creativity. Meditation increases blood flow to many areas of your brain, and “lights up” areas involved with attention and creativity. Studies show that meditators are able to generate more new ideas and focus much better
- More empathy. Meditation increases the grey matter volume in your brain. This may explain why daily meditation leads to increased empathy for others – I.e. understanding what it may be like to “walk a mile in their shoes.”
- Lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone. When we are chronically stressed, our cortisol levels rise, leading to not-so-fun side-effects like weight gain, sugar cravings, insomnia, high blood pressure, acne, and more. Meditation can lower your body’s cortisol levels.
- Respond, not react. Because daily meditation increases grey matter in the brain, it also helps us regulate our emotional responses. So, the next time your boss, spouse, or kid does something that makes you angry, you can respond, instead of react.
There are SO many more benefits of meditation, but you probably get the gist by now! The Ziva Meditation course teaches you how to do it.
Mindfulness focuses on breath and physical awareness with the goal to expand focus on the present moment. My favorite part: there is no judgement whatsoever. You then take this practice into your real life. Here’s an example.
Think of the last time you got really annoyed or angry. Practicing mindfulness instructs you to:
- Recognize the feeling (angry? frustrated? overwhelmed?).
- Allow the feelings, without any judgement.
- Investigate how your body feels in the moment (hot face, heart racing, etc.).
- Disassociate yourself from the feeling (just because you feel angry does not make you an angry person – the feeling is fleeting).
The Ziva Meditation course teaches you how to incorporate mindfulness as part of the Ziva technique. Each meditation session starts with mindfulness exercises.
Put simply, manifesting is intentionally creating what you want in life. Our thoughts can shape our future. Thanks to a scientific process called neuroplasticity, we can actually rewire our brain with our thoughts.
Have you ever written down a goal on a post-it note so you can see it every day? This is a type of manifesting! Reminding ourself of what we want to create in life.
There’s no point in worrying about the things we cannot change. There is also no point in worrying about the things we CAN change.
– Dan Harris, 10% Happier
As a Christian, I did struggle a bit with the idea of manifesting. Am I discounting God’s plan if I try to manifest my future? Well, first of all, I’m no religion expert. All I know is my personal experience and that is this: daily meditation quiets my mind, so I am better able to hear God. If this resonates with you, then you may find the below helpful. For the manifest portion of meditation, I modify it a tinsy bit:.
- Gratitude is a big portion of this part. I focus my gratitude by giving thanks to God about whatever resonates with me most that day.
- What do I want in life? I still manifest my goals and picture what I want in life, but I recognize how God’s plan is so much better (and cooler) than my own – even if I may not realize it at first.
- I use the last few minutes in prayer, praying for whatever or whomever is heaviest on my mind that day.
My point in sharing this is that meditation and/or manifesting is not reserved for a certain type of person, religion, or belief system. You can tailor this meditation course to how it applies to your values and beliefs.
How does the meditation course tie these all together?
Mindfulness helps deal with stress in the present moment. Meditation helps to rid the body of stress from the past. And manifesting helps you clarify goals for the future.
This all inclusive technique makes Ziva the best meditation course – in my opinion!
My experience in the 15-Day Ziva Meditation Course.
Emily teaches you this best meditation technique in 15 days. Each day, she sends you a video to your inbox. The videos are about 15 minutes long at first. Once you really get into the meat and potatoes, the daily videos are closer to 20-25 minutes.
She starts by teaching you mindfulness exercises. Then, she moves on to teach you how exactly to meditate. It does involve picking a “mantra”, basically a word that helps take you deeper into a state of meditation. Don’t worry – there’s no weird chanting of mantras or anything like that! Emily gives you a few choices of words to choose from, and you plant it in your mind during meditation.
Finally, she discusses the last aspect, manifesting, and ties it all together. I loved the organized nature of the meditation course, and how she slowly guides you into meditating twice per day. Throughout the videos, she gives awesome advice and feedback on common meditation misconceptions. Here are a few that really resonated with me.
- Thoughts are not the enemy A common misconception is that daily meditation should include “clearing your mind”. This is bogus! You can’t stop your thoughts. It’s like trying to stop your heart. You can’t do it. Before this meditation course, I would always feel defeated during my previous attempts because I could never stop my thoughts. It’s normal to have thoughts during meditation. However, Emily gives some tips on how to deal with distracting or unhelpful thoughts.
- You don’t do daily meditation to get good at meditating. You meditate to get good at life. A few times during the meditation course, I would have thoughts like: “Am I even meditating? Wow, i’m terrible at this. I wish I was good at meditating”. But, Emily enforces the fact that the whole purpose of meditating isn’t to get good at meditating. It’s to improve your life and your health. So, give yourself some grace 😊.
- Meditation doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t need a special room, or incense, or $90 salt crystals. Sure, you can have all that if you want! But, most days I meditate in my comfy chair in sweats or pajamas – with no fancy props. You can even meditate in airplanes, subways, or on your lunch break. Seriously – since there’s no weird props or “ohmmmms” it just looks like you’re sleeping!
My life & career as result of daily meditation.
Since finishing the Ziva Meditation course (called zivaONLINE), I’ve definitely experienced positive benefits on my health, career, and relationships. While, I must admit that I sometimes forget to do the second meditation or go a full weekend without meditating, I am proud of myself for my overall consistency with the practice.
I no longer grind my teeth like a maniac. While I still preventatively wear my retainer, if I forget for a few days, I don’t have jaw pain anymore.
I haven’t experienced the “tight chest” shortness of breath once.
My sugar cravings I.e. stress eating has gone down. I’ve spoken about my history with sugar cravings here. While there are many things that may cause cravings, stress is a huge factor.
I am less reactive at work and at home. The things that used to set me off on an angry or panicked tangent no longer affect me that way. While I still get upset (come on it’s real life), I feel I am much more able to see the big picture. I think my husband can testify to this change.
I’m happy with where I’m at in life and business. I don’t feel the pains of comparison as much, and I find myself feeling more grateful for the present moment.
I feel more creative and inspired than ever. Just one month after finishing the course, I had my best financial month for Food Farm, ever.
My skin is improving, and I have less breakouts overall. Acne is multifaceted – so it usually isn’t due to ONE reason. But, I do believe that daily meditation played a huge role in my skin’s improvement.
Ending thoughts about Ziva Meditation.
I wanted to share my experience with daily meditation, and specifically the Ziva Meditation course (zivaONLINE), because I truly believe that anyone can benefit from this program.
Now, if you’re like me, then you may naturally have some hesitancy. Such as…
I don’t have enough time to meditate.
I felt this way too. And there is some validity to that feeling! But, before you shrug it off, know this: meditation makes you MORE productive. You really don’t have time to NOT meditate. The hours in productivity that meditation gives you back means you’re wasting time by not meditating.
I tried meditating before, and I couldn’t do it.
This was me! Before Ziva, I thought I was one of the people who “just couldn’t meditate”. But, I soon learned that a) I wasn’t properly taught how to meditate, b) it’s OK to have thoughts during meditation, and c) a shallow meditation is just as good as a deep meditation.
A few times, I’ve experienced what I believe to be a deep meditation – where I feel an overwhelming wave of tingling calmness (it sounds weird, but it’s true). On these days, the meditations fly by so quickly! But other days, my meditations are more shallow. 15 minutes feels like an eternity! But guess what? Both types of meditations still give me deep rest and clarity.
What’s included in zivaONLINE?.
Besides the 15-day online course, you’ll also get access to live, monthly group coaching calls from Emily, access to their Facebook group for support, and bonus videos, trainings, and worksheets (like a meditation specifically for sleep!).
PLUS – (this wasn’t the case when I signed up), you’ll now receive Emily’s new book Stress Less, Accomplish More: Meditation for Extraordinary Performance for free when you buy the course. So jelly!