Interview with Yoga Lifestyle expert Mira Binzen sharing practical guidance for whole families through nervous system regulation.
Mira Binzen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in child psychology. She received her teacher’s training certificate from Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram in India in 1999. She is certified to teach both children and adults, and is registered with Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500 and RCYT). She is also a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and a Certified iRest® Yoga Nidra Teacher. Mira has worked as a Yoga Therapist with the Integrative Medicine Program at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and has been teaching classes to children, families and adults for decades. She is the co-founder (with her mom and sister) of Global Family Yoga and the author of Anxious to Awesome: A Practical Guide for the Whole Family.
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Welcome to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I’m here with Mira Binn. She is just a woman with so many skills, such an amazing background. I’m super excited for everyone to get to know her, but I’d love to just introduce her to everyone listening. Uh, Mira graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in child psychology.
She received her teacher’s training certificate. While she was in India in 1999 and she is certified to teach both children and adults. She is registered with Yoga Alliance and is a certified yoga therapist and a certified iRest Yoga Nera teacher. Mes worked with. A worked as a yoga therapist with the integrative medicine program at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and has been teaching classes to children, families, and adults for decades.
She is the co-founder with her mom and sister of Global Family Yoga, and the author of Anxious to Awesome, A Practical Guide for the whole Family. Welcome to the podcast Mirror. Hi, Cynthia. So happy to be here with you. Yeah. Super grateful that we can have you, uh, I mean just, just reading through your bio, there’s so much there, but I’d love to zero in on what you’re currently working on.
Uh, you know, you are currently working at Global Family Yoga, where you founded that with your family and also your book, Anxious to. Awesome. I’d love to hear more about that journey and, and what, what it is. You’ve got going on right now. What we’re currently working on is this mental health crisis that children are facing.
So we’ve been teaching children yoga, and I like to say yoga with a capital Y. So oftentimes when people think of yoga, they think of the physical postures and. That’s part of it, but ultimately yoga is the original psychology. So it’s a wonderful tool for developing awareness of the mind and developing the mind, and this is what kids need.
So we’ve been teaching kids mindfulness yoga since 1999 and just in the last couple of years we’ve pulled out of our programming from our Therapeutic Yoga for Children training program we have called Anxious to Awesome. So I wrote a book last year that’s really directed to families. It’s very practical.
It’s for families who don’t really care that much about yoga, but are dealing with a lot of anxious feelings. So a lot of the, the jargon and the lingo has been removed, and it’s very practical. It’s very accessible, and it helps families. Recognize that there’s so much we can do. We have so much agency.
When it comes to our mind, and this is something that was written in great detail thousands of years ago, and just now, like right now, modern science, Neuroscience is starting to be able to measure it. You know, they’re talking about neuroplasticity. When I was going to school, you know, they used to tell you, Oh, if you drink, the alcohol will destroy your brain cells and they can’t ever grow back again.
Well, it turns out that the brain has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself and and to develop itself, and that we are actually creating our reality with our thoughts. We are actually influencing how our brain functions. We have agency over that. So it’s, it’s very exciting and I just really, I just want families to understand, like we can make choices.
We do have the capacity to influence the functioning of our mind, which influences our day to day experiences. Hmm. Beautiful. And I could not agree more about, Currently the mental health crisis happening. Uh, I mean, gosh, this pandemic was a lot and just all the shifting, um, all of the time and isolation and reformatting.
So I appreciate also you sharing, you know, yoga with a capital Y as a fellow yoga instructor, I can totally resonate with that, where it’s not just about the postures that we typically see. In like yoga ads, It’s the practice. It’s living day to day with that yoga philosophy and it’s so amazing that you’ve got some resources for families to start integrating that into their lives.
Hmm. And you also actually started global family yoga with your family. So what is it like working with your mom, your sister, and you know, how has this company, this work, really influenced your own family dynamic? Working with my mom and my sister is such a joy. They have amazing skills and resources that are absolutely complimentary to the work that I do, and so I’m the yoga expert
And they’re the expert of everything else. The, the title that my sister holds in our business is Princess of Everything . So she really takes care of everything that has to do with running a business. And my mom is great with details and numbers and people. She’s a, she’s, um, always present in our retreats and our, uh, multi-day trainings and people love her.
It’s great to have a mom. On campus with us, you know, so mm-hmm. . Um, it’s been great. We all get along really well. We all compliment each other really well. As far as, as far as our skills. And my sister and I, Stephanie, we write together really well, which is fun, you know, because people have different writing styles.
We do a lot of writing in addition to the book, you know, the manuals and articles and blogs. All of this. And so I can start a piece and then she can edit it or she can start a piece and I can edit it. Typically, I start because I’ve got the content knowledge, but it’s just, it’s a really fun process to have someone, um, To write with.
And then our mom, oh my gosh, she is the grammar queen. It’s rare that you’ll find any typos of any kind In our work, because of Cheryl, she really understands language and grammar and so it’s just, it’s a, it’s a fun team for everything that we do. That’s amazing. Such a, such a powerful community. You got that right there.
Just built in . Yeah. Yeah. And we’re lucky because we travel together a lot. My sister has chosen to live in places like The Bahamas and Hawaii and Florida. And so we’re like, We’ll be visiting you for two weeks over the holidays. And of course we can’t spend that much time together without doing some business, you know?
So, The ideas are flowing as we’re out, you know, visiting the waterfalls and stuff. So it’s, we mix work and family maybe a little bit too much, but sounds like it’s working out for you, so . Yeah, I love it. Well, you know, you’ve got such a great connection with your own family and uh, I wonder, you know, what, from your teachings, do you feel like you’re applying day to day in your own family unit?
When I was a child, I was, I was the kind of kid that I now serve. I was a dysregulated kid. I had anxious feelings. I had a lot of sensory integration issues, which I still have, but I have a much better tools and a lifestyle to support them, so I don’t disrupt my quality of life. So I was the kid who is.
You know, going to the counselor and the counseling sessions and sitting out in the hallway because I was getting in trouble in the classroom typically for talking too much. Right. So I, I’m a teacher, so I found my, my zone . Perfect . But yeah, my mom was a single mom working very hard to keep food on the table with two girls and.
It was a lot. So I, part of the work that I do is really to honor my mom. I couldn’t, I can’t go back in reverse time and help her. We didn’t have these resources available to us, The eastern psychology and these mindfulness principles and these holistic lifestyle. Strategies just were unknown to us. And so I’d really like to work with families who were just like we were when we were growing up because now these tools are available and now people love to have western science prove things.
Well, here you go. Neuroscience is proving all of the things that yoga has been talking about and teaching for literally thousands of years. Yeah, it, it went from observational science to like the hard data now is there and we can look at brain scans. We can look at just all the data that shows that yoga, mindfulness, these, these tools, these.
Lifestyles really, um, make a huge, huge difference. Awesome. And that’s actually answers a little bit about my question too, about, you know, what drew you to working with children, cuz it sounds like you had your own experience in childhood and I love that you’re doing this. In part to honor your own mother and to kind of provide the tools that she couldn’t have quite yet.
Um, so yeah. I’m curious if there’s more you can add to what is it about children that made you go, Yes, this is where I belong. It’s a great question because I’ve been working with children and studying yoga for so long. It’s hard to find the origin point, but I’ve, I’ve always worked with kids as a kid. I was baby, older kid, babysitting younger kids.
I’ve always worked with kids and I think what I like about kids is it’s like, It’s like organic farming is, there’s this fresh black dirt that’s just ready to receive seeds and is gonna nurture them and really get them to grow. So kids are wide open. They’re not, there’s not a lot of armoring and layering and.
All this stuff that as adults we almost have to have in order to like stay safe and make it out in the world, that kind of thing. And so they’re just super smart and super funny and super original and, and this is what our future is, you know, The more resourced our children are, the more healthy all of society will be.
Hmm. And kids are fun
Yes. Yes. Oh, well I’m so glad that you were called to do this work, cuz it is super important. Um, you know, I, I got to teach yoga to kids for a while and it was very fun. Uh, but yeah, eventually shifted my direction. But I can definitely feel that just the open book, the, the Fresh Soil, they. Ready to receive without judgment, right?
Mm-hmm. . Yeah, and they’re real adaptable. When I teach them something, they will immediately incorporate it into their daily routines. It’s so great. You know, I teach a lot of hand gestures. We call them moodra. This is one of the most effective tools for kids. They love to use them, and they get a good benefit from them.
They’re quick, they’re easy, they’re handy. You know, you’ve always got your hands in your pockets. You can use these and I’ll teach them and they’ll be like, Oh, this feels great. I know where in my life I’m gonna use this hand gesture. And then they’ll teach their friend how to do it, and then they’ll teach their sister how to do it.
So it’s, they’re so adaptable. It’s just, it’s easy to get them to adopt a holistic lifestyle. . And again, with adults it’s like, Oh, I’ve been doing it this way for so long. It’s, it is harder for adults to change. It’s much easier to develop a new habit than to change an old habit to something new. Yeah. It’s the unlearning before you have to relearn something else.
Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Uh, well, I know you also offer yoga and these self-regulation tools, not just to kids, but for the entire family. Uh, can you share more about the importance of that in your experience? Yes, we are each one of us an ecosystem, and my ecosystem meets your ecosystem and we influence each other.
Another way to talk about that is that we’re always co-regulating. So the, the state of mind nervous system, the level of arousal in my nervous system, which means how calm or or anxious or nervous or stressed out I am, is being received by your nervous system. You’re not just. Cognitively thinking about, Oh, she looks pretty stressed out today.
But your nervous system is, is receiving information and emitting a response in your own body. So my calm and regulated nervous system is one of the most powerful tools I have to help somebody else be calm and regulated. I often say anxiety is contagious. So if one family member. Is dealing with anxious feelings.
All members of that family and everybody in their office and everybody made at the grocery store is experiencing anxiety. So look what’s going on in our world today. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and uncertainty is immediately gonna make us feel less calm because there could be a potential threat. We don’t know.
The route isn’t familiar. And so working with family systems, Is one of the most effective ways to support a child. And I think most parents listening to this right now who have an anxious kid are nodding their heads like, Oh yeah, I’ve got some anxious feelings too. And we all do. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, and when it starts to disrupt our quality of life, that’s where it becomes, you know, quote unquote disordered.
I think we’ve over pathologized our human experiences. Not to minimize it in any way, but you know, anxiety is part of being a human. It’s when we think a lot about what’s causing us anxiety and that worry and the worry takes over, then it starts to become, you know, generalized anxiety disorder or however, I don’t think it actually needs to be diagnosed and in order to come to an effective, um, Outcome of, of integrating it into your life so that yes, I have anxious feelings, but those anxious feelings are not preventing me from attending the school play or getting out of the car and going into the classroom today, that kind of a thing.
And so to normalize the human condition, Which includes anxious feelings, which includes low moods, and to learn ways to understand yourself better and where you’re at on this scale of emotions. And then to have tools that you can use to get in there and get your hands on the dial of your fluctuating moods and experiences.
And then as parents learn to do that, kids are gonna automatically benefit. Kids can learn to do it for themselves too. And then all of a sudden you’ve got this ecosystem of calm, regulated, and aware people, like that’s my mission in life. . Yeah. I love that concept that we’re creating ecosystems for each other, right?
Creating that environment. And so if you can anchor yourself in. Something really steady and calm and, and powerful, right? Like, you’re in, you’re in the seat of power when it comes to how you’re experiencing your life or how you’re moving forward in your life. And I, I love this analogy or metaphor that you use with the kids, um, that, that they are the captains of their own ship and their own lives.
I think that’s just, just wonderful. And you use that in relation to them developing their mind with meditation. Uh, you’ve used Moodra, you’ve told us about that. What does mindfulness with kids look like? Mindfulness is being aware of what is as it is. We’re oftentimes fighting with reality. We want it to be different.
A little more of this, little less of that, and mindfulness is noticing, Ah, I’ve got a little bit of a tingly feeling in my tummy. Oh, when I am in this situation, I feel my hands start to clench up. Ooh, When I’m outside with the trees, I really feel like myself. So mindfulness is paying attention less in our head with our thoughts about what’s been or what’s going to be and more with our felt experience.
So body awareness is a huge part of mindfulness, and that’s a big part of what we’re teaching children and families, is to pay more attention to what’s going on inside. Then what’s going on outside? Where our culture draws us out. There’s a lot of stimuli pulling us out of ourselves. And so to take a moment, any moment, anytime, anywhere, and be with what is, What am I noticing?
Oh gosh. Now that I notice my shoulders are completely scrunched up around my ears. Oh, I wasn’t even breathing. You know, all this is going on and we don’t notice, and it’s sending a message to our nervous system, like, Wow, there must be something really threatening out there because otherwise, why would this person be holding their breath and have their shoulders clenched up when really it’s just a habitual pattern that we’ve developed.
And so the mindfulness is, Paying attention and it becomes a way of life. And again, for kids, they’re like, Oh yeah, that’s just what we do. We just sit quiet and pay attention. I teach these classes and they’re really fun. We play games, we do partner poses, we become animals in the forest. And then I also teach the children a deep guided relaxation, and I teach them how to meditate.
I ring a bell and I challenge them to sit tall, like a king or a queen on their own throne. And experience their breath for one minute and then afterwards, almost always when we end the class, I like to go around and ask the kids what they liked best about the class or what they wanna take with them for the week.
Just to help them integrate the experience a little bit more. And so many of the kids say, Oh, I liked the meditation. I was like, Really? You’re like, Oh yeah, no, it was great. Because they’re being led , they’re being led into this experience of, ah, Here I am with myself. I’m, I’m peaceful. It’s quiet, I’m happy, but it’s hard to get there on our own.
So to be guided to meditation, the kids are like, Oh, yeah, more of that, please. Yeah. And it’s so funny cuz I feel like in our society, especially with kids, it’s like, Oh, what’s the most stimulating, exciting, colorful flash in your face? Like, that’s what’s gonna get their attention. And yet in this class where you have games and activities, it’s that moment of quiet silence, introspection piece that actually they’re most excited.
Yeah. And, and up to that point there are a lot of kids yoga styles that are very razzled dazzle, and that’s not how I teach kids yoga. They, they are so overstimulated that there’s quiet throughout the class. You know, we are, we are playing games, we are doing partner poses and throughout the class, and this is the tradition of yoga that I was taught.
You do a posture and then you rest. And it’s in that rest where the integration and the benefits of that posture are, are realized. And so, and kids love it, and I sometimes I’m like, Is this entertaining enough for the kids? It’s like, No, they totally need this. And I think about Mr. Rogers, like he was so chill.
He wasn’t doing a lot of circusy stuff. He had puppets and all that fun. But this is, I think, what’s really needed. Kids need a place where it’s okay to be quiet. It’s okay to be bored. I mean, kids don’t know how to be bored. I would say boredom is an aversion to your own mind. So boredom is like the opposite of mindfulness, and we feel like we have to constantly be entertaining our kids and have them constantly on task.
Now again, modern neuroscience imaging techniques are showing that we have this aspect of our brain called the default mode network. And what they’re finding, and I think this comes from the Dai Lama, he’s like, Oh, you guys are always study. What’s wrong? Can you study what’s right? You guys are always studying, um, what the brain’s doing on task.
What about what the brain’s doing off task? So it turns out that there’s more novel connections being made in the brain off task than on task. So your brain has to daydream. It has to be lost in Rey, it has to stare out the window at the raindrops, racing down the window pan. In order for our brains to function, and so we just had this overpacked over stimulated life.
No wonder kids are having this mental health crisis because their brains don’t have room to breathe. They don’t have room to breathe, and so. Any chance, regardless of if you’re a school teacher or a mental health professional or yoga teacher, teaching kids, kids really need space and they’ll say, I’m bored.
When is this class gonna be over? Sometimes because they’re so used to like, What’s next? What’s next? What’s next? And when they’re given a chance to be in the woods to wait until the next thing without their phone to distract them, their brains are gonna be more healthy. Mm. Mm-hmm. . It’s not what they want, but it’s what they need.
it’s not what they’re used to, I would say. Yeah. Cause once they get used to it, then they’re like, Oh yeah, this stuff, this is good stuff. . Yeah. Yeah. I’ve never seen kids complain about spending the day playing outside. You know, at first they’re like, We don’t wanna go outside. There’s nothing to do. It’s boring.
But if they’re out in the woods and they’re having a good time, They’re gonna feel better and they’re gonna notice that they feel better and they’re gonna be like, okay. It’s just, it’s just like getting over the hump, like getting them out there. is the work. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Exactly. Uh, and you know, you, you have a lot of different ways you work with kids.
You know, if someone, let’s say, wanted, uh, their child to work with you, you know, what are all the different ways that they can make that happen? I work with families individually, and it’s a package, so it’s a series of sessions where we start by really looking at what’s working and where they want to have the biggest impact or change.
Every family is unique. What matters. And what areas of your life are working and what areas are not. Like for some people, mornings are total chaos. Other people, people just sail through their mornings, it’s no problem. So there’s this assessment phase where we look at what’s gonna make a difference for you, because people need to be motivated to do it themselves.
This is self-directed. And so, um, You know, to talk about like, yeah, we really need to dial in the after school time. Kids are working so hard to stay on task and they’re dealing with so much pressure from their peers, from the kind of homework and school work they’re doing, that when they come home from school, they oftentimes just lose it.
And it’s a, it’s a challenging time for families. For some it’s bedtime. So, um, I have a family package that I work with families individually, and that can be in person if you’re in the southwest metro of Min. Or online? It’s been online for a long time, even before the pandemic. And then also I do group classes, family classes, and those are really fun.
And I think parents are a little bit hesitant to bring their kids to a family yoga class because they think, Oh, my kid’s not gonna sit still. My kid’s not gonna be quiet. They think their kids gonna be disrupting because they’ve been to an adult yoga class where everybody follows along, nobody says anything.
But in kids yoga classes, the kids are encouraged to. Say what’s on their mind to bark like a dog, to run around the room and fly like an eagle after doing eagle pose. And so I’ve got 20 plus years of teaching yoga to families where there’s a five year old and a 12 year old. And a dad who didn’t even realize he was being brought to a family yoga class, and the mom who’s really into vinyasa flu yoga.
And so I can have them all have a great experience, really aware of their different levels of. Interests and ability, and then everyone has this shared experience of connecting. We all went on the magic carpet ride together. We all, you know, sat back to back and felt each other’s breath and feeling our own breath.
They might not go home and practice those tools, but they can always reference back to that shared experience. So, I’m starting to teach family yoga classes again, uh, in the Southwest Metro, so that’s all on my website. Those are fun to go to because it’s just, it’s um, there’s a lot of activity, but there’s also a lot of quiet and rest and families will walk away feeling really balanced and it was a nice tech free activity.
That’s amazing. I’ve gotta say the skill to manage a family. That dynamic is incredible. just teacher to teacher, I’m like, That is. Amazing that you can do that, because I feel like it’s challenging even if like advanced yogis and beginners are in the same class, let alone completely different ages and developmental stages.
Developmental stages, yeah. It is challenging, but it’s so fun and it’s so rewarding and it’s such a community service because the other families are then connecting with each other like, Oh, you’re also heading down this wellness. Lifestyles. It’s kind of swimming upstream still to say, You know what?
We’re gonna take a break. You know what? We’re gonna choose healthier food. You know what? We’re not gonna schedule our Sundays, That kind of thing. And so to meet other families is also super supportive. So the coolest thing we have available right now is our 21 day journey from anxious to Awesome. It’s community based, so all it’s per household.
So families join. Regardless of who’s in their household. And day by day over 21 days, we’re helping families implement holistic lifestyle strategies and like little bite size pieces, like six minutes. If you press play on this video, that’s six minutes long to start your day, You’re gonna shift the trajectory of your day.
We also help with sweet sleeps because poor sleep is directly associated to anxious feelings. The very next day. And so that’s for, uh, families all over the world can do this, which is really fun. And then there’s, again, there’s that community support where like, Oh, your family is dealing with anxious feelings too.
Or your, your kid won’t go to school either. You know, these are really serious. He concerns that families have. And it can feel isolating, you know, like, Oh, my friends’ kids are doing great and my kids really struggling. I think a lot of families are struggling. And it’s, um, You know, it’s, it’s comforting to know that you can have these challenges and still.
Have a have a great experience. There’s always something that’s working well in your family. So we focus on the positive and we address the real, serious health concerns that people have in this. You know, it takes 21 days to make a habit. Honestly, it’s longer than 21 days. I’m just telling you. Um, but once you’ve gone 21 days, you’ve created some momentum that little seedling has started to sprout and take root.
And then you can just repeat, just repeat, repeat. Just do the activities you like the best. And a big part of this 21 day journey is the captain’s log, right? Mm-hmm. . So you’re taking notes. Journaling is a very effective tool for. Healthy, healthy, mentally emotional and spiritual wellbeing. And so there’s little journal prompts every single day.
And it can just be, write this one word down or draw a picture of this, whatever. So it’s child friendly, it’s simple, it’s accessible, it’s approachable, and it’s community based, which I, I think people wanna be connected and get along more than. Not. Yeah, that’s for sure. Well, so it sounds like there’s the 21 day challenge and you know, we’ll be able to link everything in the show notes, but, uh, super excited that that’s available and.
Also, you’ve got your book, Anxious to Awesome. A Practical Guide for the whole family. And you’ve mentioned that that’s like a, something people can always refer back to and, and, and work with in their family. So is it like a bunch of exercises or like what, what, what does your book consist of? . Yeah. It’s the, the subtitle is a practical guide for the whole family, and, and people come up to me, Oh, I read your book.
It’s so practical. . I read your book. It’s like a guide book. I can keep referring back to it. I’m like, Yep, yep. That’s exactly what it is. . And so it’s divided into five areas of life, five areas of life where we wanna feel more connected and more aware. First is body more connected and more aware of your physical body.
So there’s a whole chapter on. Things you can do to feel more connected and aware of your body. And you know, spoiler, go jump on your trampoline if that’s what you like to do. If you like to play basketball, do that. Do something that you enjoy For physical movement. We also talk about yoga postures.
They’re very effective for regulating and strengthening the nervous system specifically, which is the home base of anxious feelings, which is what we’re addressing specifically. And then the second chapter is breath. Your breath is direct access to your nervous system, and both. Most of us aren’t aware of how our breath is working or how to move it.
I just did a video on our YouTube channel when taking deep breath just doesn’t work because you’re stressed out, you’re having a panic attack, and someone says, Take a deep breath. You’re like, I. I can’t take a deep breath, and there’s a lot of reasons for this. And so educating people about how the breath works and how to have a fuller breath and practice breathing every day by basically laying on the floor belly down so your whole belly is spread out on the floor.
That makes it easier to feel a deeper breath. And a deeper breath is gonna send a message to your nervous system to relax. So practicing that every day is gonna make it way more accessible than. Out in the field when you need to take a deep breath, you’re like, Oh, I know how to do that. I do that every day.
So that’s the second chapter and the third chapter is the mind. Which is the biggest and funnest chapter, and the last two chapters are nature and people. So we wanna feel connected and aware of our body, breath, mind, the natural world around us and other people. We’re social creatures. We are hard hardwired to connect and this is a big thing of what’s going on.
Um, the polyvagal theory addresses. A little more specifically, basically saying safe and social. We’re always looking, Are you going to invite me to dinner or are you gonna eat me for dinner? ? So we’re looking to see , if people are safe, Are you safe? Yeah. Are you in my tribe or are you a waring tribe? And so the more anxious we feel, the more we misinterpret.
Another person as a potential threat. So there’s been research that shows that when people are in states of arousal, you know, cortisol levels are up in the bloodstream, that they will rate a neutral face as a angry or mad face, right? So people out there are neutral, but you’re saying, Oh, that person’s scary.
That person’s dangerous. Which then is like a feedback loop where you start feeling more stressed. Because you’re around all these dangerous people, but they’re really not dangerous. They’re neutral. Mm-hmm. . But your nervous system is hypersensitive. And so it’s so fascinating, right? And if every morning you spend six minutes telling your nervous system, Hey, everything’s cool.
Then when you get out into the world, the people you meet are like, Hey, that looks like a friendly person. I live in a really great place. You know, it’s, it’s this cascading. in one direction or the other, and I just want people to know that you have agency over which direction that goes. Mmm. Mm-hmm. . Yeah, there’s, I know that there’s actually a part of the brain, I’m blanking on the name, but it actually is the center for manifestation, right?
Like the more we anticipate something, the more likely our brain picks up on that and is gonna validate you because you. It wants you to be right. ? Yeah. I write about this in my book, it’s called the Rec particular Activating System, the RAs, and it’s like the bouncer at the door, of the nightclub. And it’s not gonna let very many people in, so, So you’re filtering your brain because literally like there’s gajillions of pieces of information coming at us that we cannot possibly.
Make meaning of. And so the brain filters literally almost everything, like almost everything, but we set the filter. What does your brain filter for? Your brain filters for what you’ve told. It matters what’s important to you, and it reads what’s important to you by repetition and by emotion. So strong emotion.
Positive or negative is going to increase your experience of that thing. So if you’re shouting no at something all the time, you’re giving it energy. You’re telling your brain, Give me more of this, please. And when you’re enjoying something like, Oh, this is wonderful. Those emotions send a signal to this part of your brain.
More of this, please. That’s why gratitude. It’s such an effective practice because you’re saying, This is wonderful. I like this. This is great. And the brain’s like, Good. We will filter for more of that. So we’ve all had experiences where, Oh, I didn’t even see that it was right there. Well, because it doesn’t matter to you.
And people can argue this all they like, but the fact is your brain has a filtering system and you are experiencing based on your preferences, based on your beliefs, and you can influence that. Hmm. Yeah. I mean, talk about power. And I love that concept that it’s a bouncer in your brain telling you, Okay, this is, this thought is worthy and this one is not.
And, uh, it’s so true. Uh, well, you have so much that you offer. I wonder, Mira, you know, what is it that excites you most about what you do? I believe in the human potential. I believe that our minds are truly unlimited and that we can become able captains of our ship. Doesn’t mean we’re not gonna sales stormy seas.
It means that we can. Have the courage and the capacity and the humility and the dedication to sail through that storm and get to the next beautiful sunny beach that we will also encounter on our journey of life. And so what excites me is that, It’s a simple choice. Now, making lifestyle habit changes isn’t simple.
I myself am like, I’m gonna do this, and I don’t do it because my habits are like driving me to what’s easiest, what’s gonna keep me alive, not what’s gonna make me the most realized person on earth. Again, this is why working with kids is so, so. Significant because they’re developing these habits, so our minds are unlimited.
Our potential is unlimited. We’re living very small versions of ourselves, and I’m excited because I believe. That this crisis, you know, the Chinese symbol for crisis is two symbols. One is danger and the other is opportunity. So this mental health crisis that was going on before the pandemic started is an opportunity for us to up our game to up level.
I think children are coming in much more sensitive than we are as adults, and that alls we need to do. Have a safe container for them and give them the tools that they need to run this energy to evolve to the next level of this game, right? Kids can relate to that language. And so I’m super excited because I see a very hopeful and expansive future, and it’s a little bit of a, a rough and tumble path sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it’s always gonna be this.
Mm, mm-hmm. . Yeah. Oh gosh. And as we go down this path and open up all these opportunities, I, I love the opportunity and danger kind of two sides of the same coin, right? Yes. Um, what’s one simple tool that you would recommend just generally, that people even listening now can apply? Um. Because there’s, there’s a lot out there, but what would you say is one simple one that’s just the go to , lay on the floor and breathe.
If people do that every day, , do it in the morning to start your day. Do it when you get home from work or school. Do it before bed, not on your bed because your bed is squishy, but on a firm surface, a carpeted floor or put a blanket down on your wooden floors and set your timer for two minutes. Stack one hand on top of the other.
Turn your head to rest a cheek on your stacked hands and relax. Let the weight of your body be held by the floor and. Let your breath soften. You’ll notice how much physical tension that we all hold in our abdominal area, which prevents us from taking a full breath, which prevents the nervous system from going into the rest mode, which is where we rest and digest and repair and rebuild the immune system, the digestive system.
All of this only works at full capacity when we’re in a state of calm. The easiest way to become into, to come into a state of calm is with slow, deep breathing. But again, it’s not that accessible. Oh, I, I can’t take a deep breath. So every day, grant yourself two minutes of laying on your belly and breathing in.
Maybe you’re counting to the count of four, breathing out a little bit longer. The count of six or the count of eight, don’t. Make an effort, Don’t strain, let it happen. And over a two minute period, you, you will free your breath. And when you do that on a daily basis, you’re resetting your nervous system, you’re changing your set point for anxious feelings.
Everybody can do it. Everybody can do it. It’s just a matter of saying, You know what, I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna set my timer for two minutes and lay on the floor and I’m not gonna, you know, turn your, turn your, uh, notifications off your phone and stuff and put on some relaxing music if you like to. But honestly, if you really did this every single day, you would change the set point of your nervous system and then you would have this nice, calm, regulated nervous system out there co-regulating with everybody else.
And that’s a ripple of peace. Mm. Yeah. being a part of a more peaceful environment for others. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And Mira, what is one message, one takeaway that you’d want listeners to walk away with after listening into this conversation? You are the captain of your own ship. . Yeah. We had an agency, you know, we’re, we’re taught to go to the doctor and here, fix it.
Fix it for me. And we really need to become, um, an active participant in our own rescue. Kids can do it. Absolutely. They wanna do it. Look at a three year old, they’re like, I’ll do it myself, , insist on dressing themselves. You know, and it’s like, you know, I could do it better, I could do it faster, but they, they’re like, I, I must do it.
Toddlers and teenagers are fighting for their independence. They’re like, I will do it myself. You have to let me do it for myself. And this is true throughout development, throughout childhood development. So kids wanna be an active participant in their own rescue. And, and the anxious kids that I see, they don’t do anything for themselves.
They’re like, I can’t, And, and parents. With very good intentions are protecting them from challenges, but it’s only through the challenge that they’ll grow. The butterfly struggling to get out of the cocoon, develops the strength to fly, and if we help that butterfly by cutting open the cocoon, it won’t survive because it didn’t develop the strength it needs through the struggle.
So our kids have to struggle. Our ha our kids have to get comfortable with discomfort and that’s. That’s uncomfortable , You know, we don’t want our kids to struggle. Of course. So the challenge is to find safe and appropriate ways for kids to experience discomfort. Like, Yeah, you failed that test. Yep. You did not win that soccer game.
Yep. That’s, you know, how you, how you gonna manage these feelings because this is life. So that agency and being the captain of your own ship is. The big message. Mm. Beautiful. Well, thank you so much Mira, for your time, your energy, for everything that you do. And you are, um, I will make sure all the, in the show notes, we’re gonna have your website and uh, you had something to offer our listeners as well, right?
Yeah, we have a really fun guide, five surprisingly simple ways to help your children feel less anxious and more Awesome. So we’ll leave a link to that, that people can grab. Right. Perfect. Love it. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Well, you have a wonderful day. Thank you all for listening in. Until next time, .