How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Improve Your Sleep Health with Eve Lewis Prieto [Episode #595]
This week’s topic is: How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Improve Your Sleep Health with Eve Lewis Prieto
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Eve Lewis Prieto, who is the Director of Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher at Headspace, the global leader in meditation and mindfulness. Listen in as Eve shares how to connect to your own truth, her go-to guide for healthy sleep and practices to wind down before bed.
Eve shares how she started down the path of meditation and mindfulness…
We discuss connecting to your own state and your own truth…
Loss and how to support ourselves and others…
Getting past perfecting meditation and understanding the mind’s tendencies…
How to make meditation practices accessible to the next generation…
Eve talks about the Headspace guide to sleep and the different relationships with sleep…
Practices to wind down before bed…
About Eve Lewis Prieto
Eve is Director of Meditation and a mindfulness teacher who has been with Headspace since 2013. Eve oversees Headspace’s meditation curriculum and the introduction of new meditation teachers onto the Headspace platform. She leads many of the in-app meditations, regularly leads live sessions and teaches people about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Restless sleepers may also recognize Eve as the voice of many of Headspace’s sleepcasts.
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Kimberly : Hi Beauties. Welcome back for our Monday interview podcast. We have a very special guest for you today with amazing energy, very relaxing, soothing vibe. Her name is Eve Lewis Prieto, and she’s the Director of Meditation at Headspace, and she is the voice of many of Headspace’s sleep casts. So today in particular, we talk about establishing healthy patterns, particularly in the evening for sleep and how we can incorporate mindfulness and meditation to really help to deepen our sleep and to get really healthy sleep as a long-term pattern in our lives. I really enjoyed our interview and I just loved being with Eve and her energy. So I think you’ll really enjoy today’s show.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly : But before we get into it, I’m going to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week and his or her name is asiamahy. She writes or he writes, “Love this podcast. This has been a really tough year as it has been for so many. Listening to Kimberly’s podcast has become a ritual for me and has helped me work through and process events that have unfolded and challenged me this year. This podcast also inspired me to live a plant-based lifestyle and to really prioritize my health. Thank you, Kimberly, I needed this.” Well, asiamahy, thank you so much for being our fan of the week. I am so honored to be part of your journey, your wellness journey, your day-to-day journey, as we all are on just going forward and working to live our best, most meaningful lives. So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you so much, my love for being part of our community and I send you a big virtual hug wherever you are, because we know love transcends time and space.
Kimberly : I have my hand on my heart right now, and I thank you so much my love. And remember my loves, we have a very special new program that we’ve incorporated. When you leave us a review, please take a screenshot of it on your phone and then just email it straight over to email@example.com and we will send you a free mini course. It is the Seven Self-Love Affirmation Series, the program I’ve created for you. It’s very powerful. It’s something that you can incorporate into your practice. You can incorporate it in your morning after your meditations. It’s a really great way to start shifting limiting beliefs, and to expand and to open up your life. So again, just take a screenshot of your review, send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org. And while you’re over there, please be sure to subscribe to our show, that way you don’t miss out on any of these interviews or equally amazing Thursday show, which is our Q&A community podcast. And I love that show as well because the questions come right from us, right from our community. And it’s amazing to hear what’s going on with everybody.
Kimberly : All right. All that being said, let’s get right into our show today with the amazing Eve Lewis Prieto.
Interview with Eve Lewis Prieto
Eve: 00:19 Hi, Kimberly. Yeah. So nice to be here with you as well. Thank you so much for having me on
Kimberly : 00:38 Where you based. I, uh, you know, you never know who’s going to have a fun accent
Kimberly: 00:44 And I definitely love your British accent a year. It is
Eve: 00:46 A British accent. Yes. Uh, I am from the UK, grew up in Scotland actually. Uh, but I am now based in LA.
Kimberly: 00:55 Oh really? Oh, we should have done this in person. I know.
Eve: 01:00 Um, and it was nice waking up to some rain this morning. Um, I’m on the, on the west side and, uh, it’s been really hot the last few days. And so cloudy, gray, rainy skies was very welcome. Wow.
Kimberly : 01:14 Yes, I know. I was surprised as well. I’m in a Topanga where,
Eve: 01:19 Uh, so we’re in marina Del Ray. So just by, by the sea, which is nice. Um,
Kimberly : 01:24 It is, it is nice to get a little rain, especially in the summer. Just like all that picks up, all that heat starts. Yeah.
Eve: 01:31 Pretty closely. Yes. We needed it here. We need the rain.
Kimberly : 01:36 I spent a summer, um, four months, I think in, in, uh, in London. Well, I studied there for a summer and then I went back to work with some clients and I was in, uh, oh my gosh. I just blanked on the name.
Eve: 01:50 Oh, lovely. Yes. Very nice. Yeah. Richmond park. Beautiful place of London. Yeah, I actually haven’t no, no, I have, I have a just saying I was, I haven’t actually been back to the UK since the start of the pandemic, so, uh, we’re going back in August next month. Oh, wow. For the first time. Yeah. In over 18 months. So I can’t wait.
Kimberly : 02:16 I won’t be a good time to go in the summer.
Eve: 02:19 Yeah. Yeah. Everything will be nice. And green and lush.
Kimberly : 02:22 Yeah. What a, what a funny time it’s been, we had a baby during the pandemic. Even our parents haven’t met our son because my husband’s family’s in Canada. And then my dad was traveling in Thailand and he started, I’ve
Eve: 02:36 Got stuck there. So I know. So, so many people have been separated from, from loved ones. I’ve same situation. So many friends have had babies that haven’t met grandparents or nieces and nephews and, and all they’re like. So I think, uh, now that travel will hopefully be a little bit easier. Um, we can having those connections again because I have a twin sister. Um, we promised each other when I moved out here four years ago that we were trying not to go longer than four or five months without seeing each other. And obviously this past year, it was totally out of our control. Um, but yeah, I just miss her so much and I know so many people are in the same situation. So back in the UK, she is, yes, she’s in London. Uh, so really looking forward to seeing her and just having some hugs.
How Eve started down the path of meditation and mindfulness
Kimberly : 03:33 Um, my gosh, well, it’s been this interesting time because we haven’t been able to see a lot of loved ones, but at the same time, it’s been a great time to work on our own relationship with self. You know, there was so much fear at the beginning of the pandemic, so much unknown, uh, so much was unknown. It’s still unknown, but then it’s an opportunity to really go into practices like meditation to go into mindfulness. Um, and so I want to get into some of the amazing work that you do Eve, but can you tell us a little bit about how you even got interested in this path of meditation and mindfulness? We all have our own stories, how we come to the practice. So I’d love to hear a little bit about yours.
Eve: 04:15 Yeah, absolutely. So my journey into meditation mindfulness started around gosh, about a decade ago now 10 years. And I used to work in advertising and undone and was experiencing huge levels of stress and anxiety, not necessarily just down to work. Um, I’d had a pretty turbulent time in my twenties. I’d been in a very manipulative relationship. My dad had been unwell for a number of years, uh, but I wasn’t really identifying that. I was really struggling with my mental health. Uh, I just thought that’s how you felt when things were a bit rubbish. Uh, and, uh, a friend had actually recommended, I try some meditation and I actually was pretty dismissive of it. At first. I immediately associated it with being very religious and that I had to make some huge changes to my life. Uh, and so kind of cast it aside. And then one day I, I woke up from yet another really bad night’s sleep.
Eve: 05:21 And I had this awful rash over my like neck, my hands, my arms, and it was from stress. Um, my body was literally saying stop. And so combined with some therapy and some other, um, you know, approaches to sort of taking care of myself, doing more exercise, looking at what I was eating. I did give meditation a go. And I was really surprised at how it was nothing. Like I thought it was going to be a, I still remember doing my first session. I went to a class with a friend in London, uh, and from that moment on, I realized and knew that meditation would be a part of my life. Did I think I would end up moving to LA working for a meditation company training as a teacher? Definitely not. Uh, but, uh, through getting into meditation and taking my mental health more seriously, dealing with some, well, a lot of baggage from some, some challenges that were happening in my life. I, I actually decided to quit advertising and I was going to go and train as a teacher. Actually,
Kimberly: 06:34 I had always
Eve: 06:34 Been really interested in, in some, you know, exercise and movement. Uh, and it was through having a conversation with one of my closest friends telling her what I was doing. I think she was a bit like Eve’s having a moment. She’s quitting her full-time job
Kimberly: 06:51 And she’s gone off the rails a little bit here,
Eve: 06:55 But, uh, but she, she got it. She understood it. And it was through this conversation that I just happened to mention I’ve been using Headspace, that I was really interested in working with a company like that. And unbeknownst to me, she knew which person who’s one of our founders. Uh, and so let’s just say, I never did my party’s training. Kimberly : 07:16 Well, I just got goosebumps. You know, it’s amazing because so many people ask me, oh, well, how do you change your career? Or how do you go create what you want? And I say the truth, which is, you know, for me, I was backpacking. And then I just, I did one step at a time. I was just, you know, organically talking about it in a blog and that led to a book deal. And so it’s, it’s like when, when we live our passion, when we naturally talk about things in the universe provides these.
Eve: 07:41 Absolutely. And it, you know, even when I took the job at Headspace and at the time, I think there was maybe 12 people that were at Headspace. Uh, I remember thinking, wow, not in, in a, I’d never, ever, ever would have thought that this would be the path I was on. And I think we have, particularly in, you know, Western cultures, so much pressure to do and be a certain way, takes own jobs, perform at a certain level. And that doesn’t allow any space for much change. We can be quite rigid with our expectations around what would she be doing at what point in our life, uh, and you know, even my mum and dad, I think at the time thought, oh God, uh, but obviously over the years, you know, we’re very, very supportive. Uh, and it’s, I don’t see my work ahead. Obviously it’s a job, but it’s, it’s part of my life and it’s, it’s who I am and it it’s what I do. So I feel really, really fortunate and grateful that I can do something that AI really enjoy means a lot to me helps me in my own life. And then hopefully helps others at the same, same time. So quite fortunate, beautiful.
We discuss connecting to your own state and your own truth
Kimberly : 08:52 Even, you know, when you were talking about, you know, parents, people wondering what you’re doing with your life. I went through that same experience when I went, I actually backpacked for three years and everybody thought I was nuts and they had just paid for this education. But one of the things I’ve noticed, the deeper I go into my meditation practice is you, you just have a different orientation. You are so connected to your own state and to your own truth, you really do care less and less about what other people think. It’s not that you don’t care at all, but it doesn’t define you. And I used to be someone that cared so much about external validation and being the top of my class and having the grades and having the achievements. And it’s not that I don’t care about those things, but it doesn’t drive me in this same way.
Kimberly : 09:36 And my goals are very different. They are, you know, more intangible about the state of peace, the state of unconditional law, which I can say is my primary goal. I worked, I’m working towards in life is embodying unconditional love. And before that, before I started meditating, I was really thinking in a much more linear way. I don’t know if you’ve had the same experience of saying, well, I’m going to have this job title. I’m going to make this amount of money and things really shift when you start to go into this energy field, which isn’t about labels and it’s not about right wrong. It has to look a certain way.
Eve: 10:11 Yeah. I mean, definitely. I think that the biggest lesson I learned was the more pressure and, and, uh, you know, resistance you put on to change, uh, the harder, um, you know, in a way life becomes, I mean, as you know, part of the meditation practices is really trying to remember that life is constantly changing. Uh, you know, impermanence, you know, we, we often don’t know what’s going to happen most of the time. Of course we can put in some, you know, we can still plan. You know, I often say to folks, just because you meditate, it doesn’t mean you have to, you know, forget all responsibilities and, uh, and, and not plan for the future, you know, planning and worrying. It’s two very different, different things. And I think that the thing that has been a huge support to me is, is recognizing and times when things change in a way that is beneficial to you, having that sense of gratitude sense of appreciation, but at the same time, when things change and, and go in a direction that maybe you didn’t want, that was unexpected, uh, you know, that’s also an opportunity to pause and step back and to really assess, you know, well, what is it that I can do in this situation, that’s going to help me or someone else.
Eve: 11:35 Uh, and, you know, as you know, being think humans complex, we are complex creatures and being humans really hard times. Uh, and I think the more we’re able to remember that there is so much about life that we just can’t control. Yes, it, it helps to take some of the pressure off. Um, but as I said, it doesn’t mean that in doing that, that we can’t, um, you know, be held accountable to a certain goals or certain expectations that we have of ourselves. I think it’s just doing it in a way that is a bit more open, a bit kinder and just understanding that life doesn’t necessarily always pan out how you might expect don’t put it lightly.
Loss and how to support ourselves and others
Kimberly : 12:20 Well, when you were talking earlier, Eve about going through a lot of turbulence in your twenties and sort of that dark night of the soul brought you to the practice. I think a lot of people can relate to that, right? Because when things are going well, you have, you know, your time with your friends, you go out to dinner, maybe you go to the pub or you have cocktails or whatever it is. Um, but it’s those moments where you had that choice. You can go into introspection and healing, or you can numb and you can keep drinking more or whatever it is for me Eve, I started meditating now over, um, uh, like what years? I think 12 years ago when I, when I was in India, um, I really started to learn about meditation for the first time. And I practice Kriya yoga from, uh, which is taught by paramount Honsa, yoga, Nanda.
Kimberly : 13:10 And I was going along and I had a lot of, um, I was improving and then it, but for me, it was non-linear right. There was, there was years. There were times where I pulled back from my practice and it would be shorter. Things were going great. But then I had a moment actually, almost exactly five years ago where my mom passed, no, sorry. It was four years ago because my oldest son is five. My son was about to turn one and my mom passed away. Very suddenly. You see, within six weeks of her cancer diagnosis, and then it was a waking up point. Thank you love. But it was that moment where I woke up and then some months later I ended up breaking apart from that partner realized, oh, this isn’t right. And I was like down on my knees, that was the dark night of the soul.
Kimberly : 13:54 And I was alone. I didn’t think I’d be a single mom. I lost my mom, all these, I was a new mom and that’s when I got really deep into my practice. And then when my work started shifting all these things started shifting outwardly what I’m writing about my books that I’m talking about. It started to really shift from that moment of crisis for whatever we want to call it. So I think there’s been that global opportunity. Now we seem to the pandemic for all of us to take that opportunity. Are we going to go in, and now it’s still going on. Right. Things are kind of normal, but not completely. Things are always changed. So from your side, if you’ve seen a tremendous growth in interest in meditation during the pandemic, you know, similarly to experiences after you and I had a lot of turbulence a lot going on, so where do we go? We go deeper or there’s the opportunity to go deeper.
Eve: 14:46 I mean, absolutely. And thank you for sharing. I mean, gosh, it must’ve been so incredibly challenging. I’m so sorry that that was my experience, but his and
Kimberly : 14:57 Her soul is, you know, has transcended and I feel very close to her actually, and look at how much growth. So a couple of years later, I can say that.
Eve: 15:06 Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I, I, I lost my dad by Sunday, three years ago as well. And it’s in moments of crisis when, you know, we experienced dark times that even though it can feel like I’ll never feel normal, again, I’ll never get over this. Um, those are moments that can, can offer real, real healing and real growth. And I think this, this past year in particular, the entire world was shaken by there has been shaken and we’ve all experienced this. And obviously we’ve seen it develop in different ways, depending on which country, um, you know, as being is being looked at. But it really, really highlighted a couple of things, not only the importance of our physical health, but our mental health. Uh, and it’s just, I mean, there’s a mental health crisis, pre pandemic, you know, levels of stress, anxiety, depression, they’ve been going up and up and up, um, feelings of loneliness.
Eve: 16:11 Self-esteem all of these things, uh, which perhaps can lay, but it believe the surface, uh, uh, are just as important as our, as our physical health. In fact, I would go as far as saying, you know, the, the quality of, of, of your mind and, and, and how you take care of your mind actually really influences how you then take care of your body. Um, obviously, you know, not everyone is, is, um, is going to be, um, as equipped to, to take care of their mental health. And that’s why I’m so pleased to see that there are so many, um, charities now coming out and really putting the emphasis on support around mental health is becoming less to be. Uh, and I think that’s just so, so important because so many people suffer in silence, uh, and you know, meditation, mindfulness is one way of, of helping to support your mental health, where really starting to as might one of my teachers would say, learn to have a conference with yourself.
Eve: 17:11 Uh, and when I first heard that I was like, what was, I mean, become friends with myself. Uh, and it, it was only in reflecting and, and seeing how, how hard and horrible I used to be to myself sometimes. I mean, it’s a journey, isn’t it? You know, sometimes the way I speak to myself, I will never speak to a friend like that. Uh, and you know, this, this past year has tested us in more ways than I think we could ever have, imagine that sense of separation of isolation, but also deep, deep anxiety around what’s going to right. Exactly. And I don’t think we should discount that because none of us, you know, I, I think now with the vaccine rolled out, there is, um, perhaps a little bit more security around the fact that we can control this disease and the stillness, but it still is going to bring about a lot of, uh, thoughts and feelings around, you know, our own, uh, mortality.
Eve: 18:16 Um, it puts a lot of things into perspective. Honestly, the things that we used to think were really, really important, are they as important anymore? And do we, how do we start to, to think about those people closest to us, but also those people who don’t have the same access to healthcare to, you know, you see what’s happened in countries like India, even in Brazil. Um, uh, and so that this, the pandemic has been a very different experience depending on where you are in the world, um, and the resources that you have. So, yeah, it’s, I think I, I sort of have been thinking about this as it’s not that we’re, we’re coming to the, to, to the end of this pandemic. I think it’s, how do we live in this world with this being a part of it and how can we then support ourselves, but also those people who, who perhaps are having a very different experience?
Kimberly : 19:14 Well, I, I think it, you know, when you were talking about mental and emotional health being primary, and you hesitated a little bit, when you said may be more important, and I just want you to know, I wholeheartedly agree. Um, it’s funny when I started my career and you know, this is, I’ll say the shorter version, but I was known as a nutritionist and I was talking about food a lot. And then what I started to see along the way, this is by my third book, I realized, oh, well, we can take care of our diets. Usually the first part where people, you know, the first pathway into wellness is food, because it’s physical, you can pick it up, you can touch it, you can smell it, but that doesn’t stop there. The journey can start there, sort of how the yoga masters talk about diet.
Kimberly : 19:57 They talk about vegetarianism as a helpful way to help meditation, for instance. Um, but then now I talk about my four cornerstones, which are food body, emotional wellbeing and spiritual growth, because to your point, the emotional mental part of us, that’s where food cravings come from. Largely, it’s really not about nutritional deficiencies, but it’s about the psychosomatic connotations. The way we try to shift our mood, the way we’re trying to self-sooth, if we don’t have tools to feel our feelings and process them and digest them, if we don’t have spiritual growth, which I define as simply like more awareness, then we tend to output all that into our that’s. Why, you know, dieting is billions and billions of dollars because we still look at the food versus the mindfulness versus how am I feeling inside. Um, and that’s one of the biggest issues I think in societies is fragmentation instead of treating ourselves as whole beings, because we’re mental and emotional and spiritual and physical, we just focus on one part or the other. And to your point, the physical part is so influenced by the mental parts inflammation. One of the biggest causes of inflammation is stress. Yes,
Eve: 21:01 Absolutely. You know, and I, uh, the way, you know, in, in my training, we we’ve looked at particularly around stress reduction is that we have adaptive ways of coping and then, you know, maladaptive ways. And, uh, you know, I use myself as an example, when I, you know, 10, 12 years ago it was, had several maladaptive ways of dealing with my stress, working harder, you know, going out drinking, trying to kind of bury my head in the sand. And it’s not that going out, drinking those things, aren’t aren’t bad, but if we’re using them as a way to, uh, cover a thing, you know, if we’re using them as a way to, you know, try to deal with a situation that we’re not actually facing, that’s when it becomes, can become harmful. So, you know, food can be wine and alcohol drugs. I mean, all these things, which, uh, again, you know, not necessarily bad, but if we do it in a way that is, is harmful to us and recognizing that, um, by not actually dealing with and, and addressing the root causes, um, it can lead to very, very harmful effects. Of
Kimberly : 22:16 Course. I mean, he goes deeper and deeper. So Eve do you believe, um, or I guess, you know, I think of myself, I’m a recovering perfect same here. Yeah.
Kimberly: 22:30 A lot of us have this, you know, attitude,
How to get past perfecting meditation and understanding the mind’s tendencies
Kimberly : 22:34 Or, you know, it’s, sometimes people are like, I’m either on this diet or I’m off. And some people are like, I’m really bad at yoga, bad being, I’m not flexible. I’m like, first of all, yoga is not really just about poses, but that’s another conversation too, but people may think, oh, well, I tried meditation. And then I just thought the whole time, and then this didn’t go so well for me, you know, it’s going to be up and down some days it’s easier to drop in some days it’s a little bit harder, but we keep going and it builds over time. Can you tell a little bit about, you know, what would you say to someone, I guess that says, Hey, Eve, I try, it’s hard. I don’t know if I’m good at it. What should I do? What would you say to that?
Eve: 23:11 Yeah, I mean, that, that’s such great questions because I’ve experienced them. You’ve I think probably experienced it, experienced them as well. You know, I think with, with meditation, uh, the first thing to say is this there’s there tends to be this, like, am I doing it right? Or am I doing it wrong? And a lot of that comes from, in order to, or this preconceived idea that in order to meditate, you have to completely clear the mind of all thoughts, feelings, emotions, and that you can embody this blissful state. Uh, I mean, that would be a great output, but it’s not, not necessarily that the, the only goal really in meditation, mindfulness meditation, we’re actually taking some intentional time to learn, to understand the mind’s tendencies. And so in order to do that, it’s less about trying to resist or push thoughts away. It’s more about actually seeing the activity in the mind for what it is.
Eve: 24:09 So if on one day, like you said, it’s, it’s harder to drop in. The mind is just super active. There’s a lot of thoughts. Maybe there’s a lot of emotion present. Uh, it’s, it’s not about trying to suppress that actually we’re opening space and allow what is around to, to surface. And the reason we’ll use a, an object of focus, often, something like the breath is that we are intentionally bringing our mind, uh, onto, uh, onto an object into the present moment. And so that when the mind wanders, when it does get distracted, when, uh, perhaps emotion becomes very present, uh, we recognize it’s there, give it some space to be present and then gently let it go. And then really the training and the skill is bringing the mind back, bringing the mind back. And if that happens every two seconds, every second, it’s okay.
Eve: 25:02 That’s, that’s really where your, your, your, a few things are happening. You’re starting to understand and see those thoughts and those feelings with perhaps a little bit more perspective that thoughts are so transient. We might become very attached to a specific thought. There might be a thought that repeats itself time and time again, but it’s still a new thought that emerges each time. Uh, and so trying to have that sense of not, not trying to create a certain experience, not trying to create a certain feeling, but more giving space and allowing space for whatever arises and using, you know, whether it’s the breath or an object, maybe a visualization as a way of, of training the mind. Uh, so that’s really where you start to develop the skill. And, and I would say start small, maybe maybe five minutes to start with, um, you know, I immediately thought of meditation that I had to sit for, you know, a minimum of an hour, uh, and, you know, as you’ve experienced, sometimes sitting with the mind, isn’t always that easy.
Eve: 26:08 And so starting small learning to be familiar with the practice, uh, learning to become familiar with the activity in the mind. I think another thing that can put folks off is, is that they’ll sit to meditate and they’ve maybe come from a very busy day. They’re thinking a lot about what they have to do for the rest of the day. And it’s the first time in maybe a really long time or whatever. They’ve actually just sat down and I’m paused with the mind and it can feel even busier. So it’s not that the meditation’s making it busier. It’s that it’s actually the first time you’re just allowing the activity and the mind to be actually present with no other distractions.
Kimberly : 26:52 Exactly. I think you hit it on the head when you said distractions, how most of us aren’t taught to just be, and to sit in stillness and to seek stillness. A lot of times we’re taught, oh, you’re wasting your time or pack more in or do more, do more when I lived in New York city. Oh my gosh. And when I go back there now, I mean, it’s packed and it’s like crazy. And I’m like, I used to live in this for, you know, six or seven years. My life is a lot more slow paced. Shall we say that I’m here in the mountains, but it’s still that, um, it’s ingrained in us. I think like when we’re students we’re packing in a lot and then adults. So just this idea at the new concept for a lot of us, like being as not wasting your time being is getting to connect to know the true self to go inward. And so that in of itself is sort of turning our ideas about how we use our time upside down in the first place.
Eve: 27:46 Oh, totally. I mean, we’re human beings, not human doings. Right. You know, we’re, we’re so often in doing mode autopilot. Uh, and you know, I was thinking about this yesterday actually, as I was washing the dishes, you know, which is such a mundane task and you just bounced from, you know, household responsibilities. And, uh, but at the same time when we’re thinking about, you know, I was like, okay, I’ve got to do this. And then I’ve got to do this and this and this. And I just used it as an opportunity to just, okay, you’re washing the dishes. So really mundane task. You don’t necessarily enjoy it, but use it as a moment to just come into the present, connect with the senses. And I’ve found that even though that might sound like a ridiculous example, uh, I find it really, I find it. I really find it helpful because so often we come at things that we maybe don’t want to do, whether it’s washing the dishes or taking the trash out or whatever it is with some resentment and oh, so far there’s a hate to Venice. And if we can learn to practice in those moments, shifting the balance of mind in those moments so that when we perhaps need that sense of patient was going to read those. So it’s looking for those moments where we can just, am I in a doing mode or am I in a being mode? Uh, and I found that so helpful. Don’t always get it right. I’ll be honest, but I can catch myself a little bit more often than, than I perhaps used to. Oh yeah.
Kimberly : 29:25 It goes back that not fragmentation, but wholeness. And so if we take some of those practices out and it does, it does happen naturally, the more you meditate, I find that you think, oh, like, I can take a breath here. I have tools. I can go and process this and still say something I can still be composed. Whereas if we don’t have those tools, it does feel like life can be so much more arduous. And, you know, it just feels, feels so much harder.
Eve: 29:56 Definitely. I mean, you know, when we’re stressed, uh, you know, the stress response in the body, a lot of physiological things happen. You know, body pumps out hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, heart rate increases, blood pressure increases. And actually, you know, our digestive system shuts down, uh, you know, this is the fight or flight response, but really our fight or flight response, it doesn’t take much for it to be triggered. You know, unfortunately that part of our, our nervous system, our brain doesn’t really necessarily differentiate between a physical threat or say a difficult email from your boss. Uh, um, what tends to happen in those situations or what always happens is the part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for sort of rational, critical thinking, planning, shuts down, which is often why in the heat of the moment, we might say something that we just regret because we’re just simply not thinking.
Eve: 30:57 And so I, I like to think of meditation as, as my pause button, not just as an intentional time to pause when I sit to meditate, but that pause button that I can hopefully just get to in time before I do act on something or react, uh, uh, and then just gives me that moment to just step back, even if it’s just a couple of seconds and go, what’s going to serve me in this moment is shouting at this person or, or sending that really cross email, is that going to be supportive to me in the future? Probably not. Uh, so it, it there’s, you know, there’s, there’s a real benefit to, to not only our, our, you know, psych psychological part of how we respond to things, but also the physiological part as well.
Kimberly : 31:47 Well, Paramahansa Yogananda talks about one of the most important qualities to develop is that calmness is that equanimity, because then we can hear our intuition more to your point where the less we respond versus react. And I feel like that quality isn’t always valued in modern life. When you go on take talk, and it’s like loud music dancing, let me get your attention for 10 seconds. And same thing, lets you know, news cycles, social media, everything is, is loud. It feels like grabbing for attention. And yet there’s a different kind of power, a much deeper power in that really sitting and being centered. And it gives you so much even though, you know, not all society really values it. There’s so much strength in that.
Eve: 32:34 Yeah. I mean it’s why when you know, you look at all the news streams, social media, there, there is also, yeah. That’s why there’s a lot of hate and anger that’s present. I mean the platforms can be so, so beneficial to help, you know, communicate, uh, and, and spread, uh, you know, real news about situations that need attention that need that need action. Uh, and when I say, I mean, skillful action, uh, you know, taking to social media and, and you know, slighting and criticizing and abusing folks, it just spreads more hate. And we’ve seen that on a scale of, I mean, epic portions, particularly this past this past year, but I think we, you know, we live in a society of instant gratification and, and you know, I think the dark side of social media is that there is also this desire to present your best self all the time.
Eve: 33:36 Uh, uh, and that you have to, you know, with all these filters and things, you know, particularly for younger, you know, the younger generations, I mean it’s pretty harmful and damaging because again, I’m, I, you know, I use social and, and it’s a great platform to, to, you know, get views out and share and share topics. But I, there’s a reason why I think six, you know, was it a study I saw in loneliness? Um, this was pre pandemic. I think the, the younger teenagers that the most lonely people on the planet and a huge part of that is because they’re hiding behind these images, which they think they should be. And, and of course COVID has, has, has definitely, um, you know, exacerbated that. Uh, but which is why I bring it back to you that making friends with yourself that’s so important, like accepting yourself for who you are, you know, none of us are perfect. Um, and it’s a journey. I, I don’t say these things lightly because it took me years. I’m still working on it. Honestly, of course we all are. We always, we all will be. Uh, but I think it’s about meeting yourself where you are and, and recognizing what’s helpful and supportive and maybe what’s causing you either harm or, or, um, or distress.
How to make meditation practices accessible to the next generation
Kimberly : 35:01 Well, when we were talking about the emotional part in the, you know, in the, in our cornerstones, the spiritual growth, the real connection when we connect, when we make friends, when we accept, when we self realize all these different ways that we’re talking about the same thing, like you said, it doesn’t mean things work out all the time. It doesn’t mean things are perfect, but what it means is you are centered in yourself. So there isn’t this gap, like you said, being like, oh, here’s this image of me and I’m going, it’s not me. So I have all this like scrutiny and fraud syndrome. And I feel really tortured by this. It’s really just being okay, your, you know, the title of my last book, your perfectly imperfect self, that really, um, being okay in the messiness. And I think, you know, you’re referring to all this hate on social media.
Kimberly : 35:48 It’s just this outlet. People have to project their own turmoil and their own pain. And so when I see some of those comments on YouTube or whatever people are leaving now, you know, 10 years ago, I would have been like, what an a-hole. And sometimes I still think that, but underneath, I think also, wow, like I have compassion like this person for them to take the time out of their day to actually write all this stuff means there’s a lot of pain in there and this person needs tools. We need to show up for this person. This person is not in a good place and you can just see how much of that is out there. And, um, you know, people need more tools, they need more access to this. They need to learn about meditation. They need to learn, they don’t need to buy and it’s not outside of them. It’s inside.
Eve: 36:33 I mean, I definitely, I mean, almost always when, when there is someone who’s, whether it’s citing hurtful messages or, or, um, you know, treating someone or someone badly there’s, I mean, almost always, there’s going to be deep pain and suffering, uh, beneath the surface. Uh, and, and, you know, I was talking about this with someone the other day, actually, when they were asking me a question of how do you, how do you, you know, maintain those feelings of, you know, empathy, compassion when someone’s perhaps taking advantage of you? Uh, and you know, it’s a, it’s a multi-layered question, but my first thought was, well, if someone is acting out or someone is doing something that is causing harm, something’s going on with them. And so, you know, in this instance, whether it was, do you have, do you feel you have the tools to, I mean, I’m talking about maybe an in-person interaction here, less around social, but, uh, you know, I often get asked, uh, around meditation mindfulness.
Eve: 37:41 Well, does that mean that you can’t ever get cross or that you can’t be angry? Uh, and I said, well, no, because you know, this isn’t about, um, just letting people walk over you. Um, it’s how you take skillful action. And sometimes skillful, actual skillful action is, is having a really difficult and, um, you know, decisive conversation with someone about your boundaries about what’s acceptable about how you would like to be treated social. I mean, you can get into, you know, difficult conversations that aren’t necessarily that helpful, but you’re right. This is on a broader level on a, on a, you know, social level. How do, how do we make practices like this really accessible, um, for all audiences, uh, in a way that isn’t judgemental or, uh, or criticizes, you know, people’s, um, you know, different outlooks are on and also the upbringings in life.
Eve: 38:44 Um, you know, I think that’s why we’ve had space where we’re spending a lot of time looking at how we can incorporate mindfulness into schools. Uh, beautiful. Uh, cause I think, you know, I look back to, you know, my time at school and I think God, would’ve been amazing to have resources like this. Uh, uh, and, but you know, we, we, we also recognize that meditation mindfulness will, won’t be for everyone. Uh, and it’s how do we create, uh, tools, uh, and, and services that can support the needs of, of, you know, everyone, uh, but done so in a way that feels approachable and, uh, and, and then, um, accessible.
Kimberly : 39:29 Well, that makes me so happy to hear that you’re going into the schools to think about the next generations and think about a whole generation of people equipped with this. So I meditate with my five-year-old.
Kimberly: 39:41 It’s amazing when you
Kimberly : 39:44 See his face, like the way he does is his breath, his breath he’s, you know, it’s still like, it has a lot of noise to it, but I notice when he has a tantrum, you know, he gets mad and like, you know, his brother takes one of his toys and just remind him, you know, take that breath. And I noticed him incorporate a little bit at a time. He still has tantrums. He’s still five, but you can see it’s the beginning of having a very deep, rich toolbox on which to call on of like inner resource. It’s really beautiful. And going back to what you said about, you know, thinking, oh, I can’t be mad. You know, it’s not that we deny any part of this, you know, human experience. Um, I like to really look at the archetypes in Hinduism. I, I like to learn about them, the symbology.
Kimberly : 40:30 And I think about Cali, you know, this God is, she’s the most fear. She has skulls around her neck and she has her tongue out and she’s very scary, but they say she’s also the most compassionate. So that, that strength that rises up is for cutting through ignorance and delusion. And so sometimes we need to be strong, but we can still stay connected. We, we can sense when something is off, like you said, someone’s trying to take advantage or a healthy boundary line has been crossed and we can still hold that space, but we can also do it in a way that’s very loving.
Eve: 41:01 Right? Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just compassion can still surface when there is, you know, anger present and actually, you know, sometimes feeling anger leads you to take action. Uh, but again, it’s how are you manifesting and embodying the anger? Um, is it, is it, uh, leaning into those feelings of, you know, aggression of, uh, you know, um, aggressive behavior, that’s probably not going to serve you or anyone else very well, but if you can lean into those qualities of skillful action, whether that’s a conversation, whether that’s actually going and physically doing something about situation. Um, so it’s that it’s like recognizing the different sides to these emotions. Anger is not a bad emotion in any way. It’s just, how do you embody the energy of the anger that’s where it can become harmful, uh, in some cases?
Eve talks about the Headspace guide to sleep and the different relationships with sleep
Kimberly : 42:02 Well, so let’s talk about sleep now, Eve, which is a big issue for a lot of people. And I know that you did some, was it two Netflix shows that included sleep that you, yes,
Eve: 42:14 Yes. Uh, we have a Headspace guide to sleep, which came out at the end of April, which was the follow on to the Headspace guide to meditation, which came out in January, which Andy pretty coma, founder, uh, novated and guided members through or viewers through. Should I say? So Headspace guide to sleep is a seven part series and it really focuses on the science behind sleep and our relationship to sleep. I think sleep’s universal to start with. We all need to feel healthy and happy. It’s a critical part of all of that. And if we’re not getting enough sleep or we’re not getting restorative sleep well, I mean, that can lead to, um, not only obviously feeling feelings of irritability, but also health issues. Uh, so it, it felt like, uh, the most natural place for us to go from meditation and sleep is actually a big focus for us in the app because of the fact that, you know, you talked about, um, there’s core components of, of, um, you know, what really constitutes a healthy mind and healthy body and well taking care of the mind and meditation is one making sure that you are getting enough sleep, looking at your, you know, relationship with, with, um, movement and exercise, you know, and that isn’t just about pounding the gym, but how we actually physically taking care of our body, uh, you know, food and how we eat the choices we make again, not about diets.
Eve: 43:51 Um, and then how do we have plays so play in our lives and, and so sleep, uh, because so many people struggle with sleep have particularly this past year struggled with sleep. Um, it was such a fun show to work on, and I learned so much in the process. So we have each episode dives into different relationships with sleep. So, oh yeah. Tell
Kimberly: 44:16 Us some of the facts I can’t sit here, so,
Eve: 44:20 Okay. Yeah. I, I was, I was surprised by so many, so many things I learned. I was, I was quite set in my ways around what I thought made up or constituted a good night’s sleep. So this myth around you have to have eight hours of sleep at night. I swore to that, I was like, if I’m not getting eight hours, I’m not going to function properly the next day. And I’d often get a little bit stressed if I knew that I wasn’t going to get eight hours turns out that’s not exactly true. Uh, the sweet spot is around seven to nine hours, but that’s going to change over our lifetime. So when we’re kids, when we’re babies, we obviously need a lot more than that. Um, but as we, you know, uh, develop into adults, uh, again, it, it will, it will change. So I, and also it would depend on what you’re doing in, in, you know, in your day.
Eve: 45:15 Um, but it’s more about recognizing what the body needs. Like I have a friend who can, she thrives on five or six hours a night asleep, so five or six hours of sleep a night. And I’m like, how, and she’s just recognized what her body needs. She will occasionally have a nap may maybe less during the week, but, uh, over the weekend. Uh, but the point of this, of this fact really is, is less about the number. It’s more about tuning in to what the body needs. Now parents would be maybe listening to this and going seven hours of sleep a night. Are you crazy? Um, during the
Kimberly : 45:57 First year it’s yeah, I laugh. It’s, you know, sometimes you’re lucky if you get four.
Eve: 46:03 Exactly. So this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Uh, and I, I think if we, if, if it takes some of the pressure off that, uh, and, and knowing that there’s going to be situations, whether it’s through the early stages of parenthood, whether it’s through illness, where those things aren’t possible, but more about doing what is best for the body as best you can. Um, the other, the other one, which I was quite surprised by, um, was this around, this is more around our sweeping rhythms. Uh, and I had always, again, sort of taught myself that it was really important to try to go to bed at the same time every night, whilst that is definitely helpful. What’s more important. And actually, uh, for our circadian rhythm, you know, which regulates, um, you know, when we sleep and how we wake up is actually waking up at the same time every day. So less important around the same bedtime, more important around the wake-up time, even at the weekends, which might be hard for some folks here, but I have put this to the test and I can verify that this does help you wake up faster. And this is my own experience. So obviously I’m only one person, but I was like, I don’t believe that I’m, I’m fine. I’ll give it. And I will admit it is actually more effective for helping you wake up and get your body to a, to a more wakeful state faster.
Kimberly : 47:39 I, I th even if I tried Eve, I couldn’t sleep past, I mean, of course we have a baby now, but before that, my body wakes up between six and seven every day, I find it very hard to sleep in, even if I try. So
Kimberly: 47:55 The doer, like I know,
Eve: 47:58 But I I’ve told this to various friends and they’re like, what? So I can’t lie in that’s, that’s not what it’s the saying. It it’s, it’s that, you know, in an ideal world, you have a regular, uh, you know, sweeper wake up rhythm, of course, you know, when you have things like jet lag, um, that’s, you know, again, this isn’t a hard and fast rules. Um, so the show really, really dives into, you know, the science, the facts around sleep. Uh, and then what’s, what’s really cool about it is that, uh, we actually put into practice a lot of, of what I talk about in the show that, you know, regular meditation practice is obviously really beneficial to helping you get a more restful sleep at night, and that’s done during the day. Um, and also some tips and tools for helping you have a more mindful approach to bedtime.
Eve: 48:52 So how do you look at what’s your wind down routine? I think so many of us will finish the day, you know, dinner, household chores, kids to bed. And then when we get into bed, we’ve had no space between the end of the day and bedtime, so that when we get into bed, our mind is still very active. The body, in some cases can feel very restless. So a lot of the show really focuses on trying to put into place some, uh, some wind down routines. And so we actually need to do a wind down exercise at the end of every episode. So there, and then I will guide guide folks through an actual wind down. And so we joked about this with, with Netflix, uh, and Vox media studios saying this might be the first show where we hope you don’t make it to the credit’s awake. Ah,
Kimberly: 49:51 Oh my gosh, I love
Kimberly : 49:52 That. And it is true. You can’t go from 60 miles an hour to zero and as a parent. Yeah. But you know, kids need, if I was just a plot, my baby in his crib, he wouldn’t sleep. He would cry. He needs to have his massage and his bath and his books. It all big.
Kimberly: 50:12 And we need that too, just because we’re adults
Kimberly : 50:15 Doesn’t mean we don’t need that period of transition.
Eve: 50:18 Absolutely. Absolutely. And I, you know, another thing that, you know, I’ve been guilty of myself is, you know, maybe trying to off some emails right before bedtime, again, you know, those, there’s going to be situations that call for us to need to do that sometimes. Uh, but if we’re at we’ve, we’re actively engaging the mind right before bedtime, whether that’s through emails or messages or social media, that’s actually signaling to the brain, uh, to stay awake. Um, you know, the reward system in the brain is going to be triggered. You know, dopamine will be released into, into, into the body actually trying to get you to stay on the device for longer or to, you know, engage the brain longer. So it can, can be really helpful to just put in that intentional space, uh, before bedtime and stress is one of the biggest causes of our sleep difficulties. It’s actually designed to keep us awake. So if we can do some things, not only during the day, whether that’s your meditation or maybe some exercise, but right before bedtime, putting that intentional pause, pause in before you sleep can mean that you not only fall asleep faster, but actually stay asleep. And that’s the really important part for restorative sleep well,
Practices to wind down before bed
Kimberly : 51:36 Eve, I love to hear some of your practices besides meditation to help you wind down. Do you have any personal faves?
Eve: 51:44 Yes. So, uh, one of my face less so in the, in the summer is it’s warmer, but I love taking a bath. I’m a big, big, uh, fan of, of, uh, of a book, a bubble. Uh, uh, I just find that even if I’ve had a particularly challenging day, that time in the bathtub, whether it’s reading a book, maybe it’s listening to some music or maybe a podcast that just helps to level set me. I’m also a big fan of doing some breathing exercises. Um, actually deep breathing can signal to the nervous system all as well to calm down, um, but also, uh, relaxing music. It might sound a bit cheesy, soothing music, um,
Kimberly : 52:34 Cheesy. I love it intense.
Eve: 52:36 It just slows things down. And that’s really what we’re looking to do before bedtime. Even if you do have to do tasks before bedtime, like last night I was doing some laundry. I just sat down on the bed and just slowed the process down. Even though I was like, I’m still doing something, I’m just doing it in a way that is signaling to the body, to the bind that I’m starting to slow down. Love it rather than trying to like quick, quick, quick, do it for four fold. Um, and, and for me, reading, unfortunately reading at bedtime does make me very sleepy. So I find it really hard to finish a book. It’s, it’s a, it’s a great way to a paper copy. Not, yes. Not reading on your phone if possible. Those, those are my kind of go-to methods. I
Kimberly : 53:30 Love all those. I totally vibe with the music. I think everything is vibration. So it is helping us sync a page to a slower pattern. And also one I do eat, we have dimmers in all our rooms and put them in. And so it’s just like night time, you know, for the children and for us, Hey, it’s going to be softer light, none of this bright light business.
Eve: 53:53 That’s actually really important for the deduction of melatonin. Um, if you’ve got again, which is, you know, if you are working late, trying to use a, um, uh, you can download it. I think there’s one called flux or something where flux and it just, it, it takes some of the blue light out, but yeah, I’m a big fan of candles, dimming lights, cause that is signaling to the, to the body to start producing melatonin, which is again really important for, um, but I suppose, sleep restorative sleep. Uh, so yeah, dim those lights, get the, the candles out, uh, listen to the music really, really great ways to help, uh, end the day.
Kimberly : 54:35 Beautiful. Well, Eve I could, I could talk to you forever. Um, I really love honestly, like your voice is amazing. You can tell that you meditate. I remember Deepak Chopra told me that, you know, they did a study with scripts and duke. There was actually a blood marker to show meditators, and sometimes you can tell when someone meditates by their vibe and I got to tell you even I love your vibe. Okay. Oh,
Eve: 55:02 I love the five two. Thank you. Thank you so much. My, my husband jokes that I, uh, I send people to sleep by talking to them. So I’m glad that I haven’t sent it to them
Kimberly : 55:21 In some of them the, um, headspaces sleep casts. Is
Eve: 55:25 That right? Yes, I am. You can find, find Sam’s and speak Costus and speak meditations. Uh, and then on, on, on the meditate side of the app, uh, lots of courses, introduction to meditation as well. So yeah, take a peak if you’re interested,
Kimberly : 55:43 Amazing love, well Beauties, we will link directly to some of those resources over in the show notes at mysolluna.com. You can check it all out as well headspace.com. And thank you so much, Eve, it’s been such a pleasure being in your vibration, hearing some of your wisdom. We appreciate you so much.
Eve: 56:00 Oh, thank you so much, Kimberly. Likewise, I’ve really, really enjoyed this conversation and have felt the, the, the kindness, uh, the kind waves coming through the zoom, the zoom recording. Thank you so much. All right. You take care.
Kimberly : All right, well, I hope you enjoyed our podcast today, our interview with Eve as much as I loved being part of the interview. For more information, please head over to our show notes at mysolluna.com, where we will also link to other shows I think you would like, other resources, articles, recipes, and so on. And while we’re on this topic, I want to also bring up that we have our weekly now meditation’s coming out on the website at mysolluna.com. They are also loaded into our app, into our free Solluna app. If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, please check it out in the app store. So there’s a whole section for meditations, all the guided meditations that I’m producing out regularly, that I’m so excited to share with you. So please check it out over there.
Kimberly : I’m also on social @_kimberlysnyder. I look forward to connecting with you more. Thank you so much for being part of our community. We’ll be back here Thursday for our next Q&A community show. Until then, take great care of yourself. Remember, you are completely unique and special. The world needs you. I love you very much, and I will see you back here soon.