(This review contains affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you buy the course. However, this didn’t stop me from sharing the good and the bad about it. You can read my affiliate disclosure here).
In case you haven’t noticed, the world is a stressful place. With the Coronavirus causing economic upheaval and making us all home bound, it can all be completely overwhelming.
The stress can have a lot of negative mental and physical consequences.
With this in mind, I set out to find something to bring my stress levels down a few (ok ten) notches. On my quest, I started to check out meditation, which has been noted for centuries for its abilities to induce calm and transcendental states of consciousness.
I couldn’t make a pilgrimage to an isolated mountaintop on my quest for meditation, so I decided on a more DIY approach.
That’s right, I went for online classes.
Through that, I found The M Word: a meditation masterclass series offered through Mindvalley. It’s a pretty compelling series that offers practical meditation for the 21st century.
What is The M Word?
The M Word is a 33-day curated course built around 20-minute meditation segments that one is to complete in the morning. This is critical. According to the instructor, Emily Fletcher, completing these meditation segments during the evening could severely affect your energy levels, causing insomnia.
The course itself (the quest) is divided into two parts: Part one is where Emily teaches you her M Word Meditation style, which she calls “up-leveling your meditation.”
In these first 17 days, you learn:
- The basics of meditation
- The importance of meditation
- The biology of meditation
- How to manage your relationship with stress
- How to calm a wandering mind
- How to add stillness into your frantic day.
Part two, which she calls “up-leveling your life” is about implementing the benefits of meditation into your everyday life. This up-leveling focuses more on visualizing everyday challenges, and learning how to use meditation to head them off.
This part runs 16 days.
The course itself starts several different times throughout the year. You are more than welcome to start the course late (and catch up) or pay to do the course at a later date, but you lose the benefit of having Emily’s curated updates and messages sent directly to you.
Who is the instructor?
Emily Fletcher is the creator of The M Word. She is also the instructor (which is a nice feature — great to have the creator be the teacher).
Emily is the founder of Ziva Meditation and author of Stress Less, Accomplish More.
Before becoming a master of meditation, she worked for 10 years as a Broadway actress.
In her interview on Mindvalley, she explains that she came to meditation through developing an overwhelming level of anxiety while working on Broadway. Often, she would understudy for 3+ characters on a show, and not know which character she would portray until moments before she stepped on stage. This manifested itself as anxiety that left her feeling miserable.
During one of her shows, she ran into another actress who was understudying for five parts. When Emily asked her the secret for remaining calm, the actress replied: “meditation.”
This struck me as vulnerable and appreciative. The instructor is a person who came to meditation after seeing her life needed orienting. Meditation worked for her, and she is committed to sharing her secrets with the world.
Who is The M Word for?
Emily makes it clear: her meditation is not “monk meditation.” Her meditation is for every day, 21st century people.
This meditation is for people who like the idea of a calm mind, but are uneasy with the concept of sitting in silence for hours. With each lesson lasting from 10-20 minutes a day, and being structured over 33 days, M Word is for open-minded individuals hoping to add a positive habit to their daily routine.
The meditation candidly targets things like:
- Decreasing anxiety
- Improving sex life
- Managing stress
- Decreasing migraine intensity
- Reducing insomnia
- Reducing ADHD symptoms
- Overcoming sadness
- Being present
It does not promise or focus on elements like becoming one with the universe.
The M Word is not about dissolution of the ego, connecting with an ever-present life force, or more metaphysical elements. Instead, it is much more about improving your overall mental and physical health so that your quality of life improves.
It’s self-improvement, 20 minutes a day.
So, if you’re dealing with a high-pressure job, or perhaps you’ve got to balance multiple kids’ social lives + your own side hustle as a budding stand up comedian, and you’re feeling that stress is overwhelming you to the point of inaction, then M Word meditation is probably a great fit for you.
For a sneak peak into what you’ll get in the course, check out Emily’s free masterclass here.
What are classes like?
Classes are structured so that everyone goes on the journey together. By that, I mean that classes technically start on March 9th (this Monday) and then end 33 days later.
You can start later, or start without taking them at the same time as everyone else, but the course is intended to be started on March 9th.
Classes are up to 20 minutes in length, and they build upon the previous lessons (particularly in part one) to help you craft a solid foundation for meditation. Early on, these lessons may be as simple as proper breathing before moving on to more complicated lessons such as visualizations.
Critically, all of the material is available to you after the course ends. Once you get it, it’s yours.
However, while you’re doing the course, you only have access to the materials that you’ve been given by Emily. She’s a strong believer in learning at a proper pace.
I really appreciated being slowed down and not presented with every bit of possible information all at once. It’s mindful in its learning and teaching, as it should be.
How much does it cost?
Technically the course costs $1095, but it seems to always be marked down to $299.
I’m not quite sure if this is a Jos. A. Bank situation, where the marked down price is always the standard price and the higher one is a marketing gimmick, but $299 is the price you’ll pay for access to this 33-day course.
Critically, you do get a 10-day money-back guarantee. This is a pretty awesome deal; you can complete up to about a third of the entire course, and still get your money back if you feel it’s not for you.
This lower level of commitment really put me at ease when deciding to try the course out. If I didn’t like it, I could always quit and get my money back!
Is it worth your money?
If you’re looking for a professional, guided meditation masterclass for over a month, you’re looking at less than 10 bucks a day.
Plus, you get access to the materials for life. So you can keep referring back to it.
Should you sign up? It really depends upon your needs, your financial situation, and your level of commitment.
If, for example, your anxiety comes from “oh God, I’m constantly running out of money,” then perhaps this meditation masterclass isn’t for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a lifestyle change (meditation is best when consistently integrated into your life), and you’re looking to bring a more calm, structured approach to your thinking, then yes — this definitely is worth your money.
What makes The M Word different?
Again, one of the great selling points of The M Word is its commitment to the “we all start together, we all finish together mentality.” This is a standout feature.
Along with this, you get access to official M Word social media (Facebook) groups, where participants can speak about their experiences and help each other out.
The other major competitor to The M Word is actually another Emily Fletcher program called ZivaOnline. ZivaOnline is a 15-day course of a similar style of 21st-century meditation, broken up into 10-25 minute micro-learning lessons.
The total price for ZivaOnline is $399.
When I first read that, I had to blink a few times. 100 dollars more for less than half the days? I didn’t understand it.
I’ve since done some digging to discover that The M Word is about learning how to meditate and then doing guided visualizations. ZivaOnline focuses on mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation + it has some more hands-on experiences (like monthly coaching calls with Emily herself).
Honestly, it seems like a lot of the same content. With The M Word, you get more of it and it costs less.
That’s a win.
With The M Word, you get meditation that focuses on real results. It’s a dedicated program that doesn’t steer toward the metaphysical, but keeps it grounded on how it can improve your life and your relationships.
This is all positive stuff!
On top of that, I really like:
- The amount of content. 33 days is a great course length that allows you to fully incorporate meditation into your daily routine
- The length of the lessons. 10-20 minutes is a small commitment.
- The specialized nature of the meditation. It’s impressive that this is specifically for the morning! This way, it helps you prime your day
- Webinars hosted by Emily Fletcher
- Access to content for an eternity (or at least until the internet dies).
- Meditation specifically curated for individuals who want to make positive changes in their lives
- Bifurcated nature of the course allows you to create a meditation foundation before pushing it into practical applications.
One of my biggest hang-ups is actually The M Word’s biggest selling point: it’s 21st-century marketing.
Emily says “this is not for monks,” which is fine, but it sort of does a disservice to the long and beautiful history of meditation that men and women of varying faiths have been practicing for thousands of years.
The M Word strips away this interconnected beauty and treats meditation as a “what can it offer me?” form of self-medicine. It’s a tad selfish if you ask me.
In its marketing, there’s nothing about “how can I be better for the world?”. It’s “how can I increase my paycheck through meditation?”
Yes, meditation can be very therapeutic and powerful, but by focusing on it as a way to “get what you want,” you completely remove an element of meditation that focuses on “you aren’t the most important thing.” It’s surprising that this beautiful meaning would be stripped away.
Additionally, a lot of its health claims are dubious. While there have been studies that show that stress can be managed by meditating, Emily claims that “meditation” will lengthen your life, improve the brain’s ability to make new memories, make you more fertile, and reverse aging.
Look, the course is a great primer to meditation. I enjoyed it immensely and have been recommending it to my friends.
However, I doubt it will reverse the greying process of your hair. These silly health claims are bit of a bummer.
My verdict: Is the M Word worth it?
With a course like The M Word, it’s important to define the parameters.
Is The M Word worth 300 dollars if you’d like to learn the basics of meditation in 20-minute chunks of time? Hell yes.
Is The M Word worth it as an anti-aging aid? No.
Will it help you commune with the universe? Admittedly no. That’s not its goal.
The M Word is about empowering you through practical meditation. The lessons are practical, calming, well structured, and very helpful. With 33 days of content along with webinars hosted by Emily herself, you have ample content to build a strong foundation of meditation for self-improvement.
When compared to the listed price of $1095, the $299 sale seems great. When you weigh $299 against tons of free, practical meditation advice available on the internet + the library, it becomes less of a sure thing.
Really, it depends upon what you want. If you want that curated, calm course that offers daily material, delivered directly to you, then you’ll love the M Word.
If, on the other hand, you’re happy to figure out meditation through a more DIY model, then you won’t want The M Word to have the last word.
Alternatively, you can get a lot of great insights from her free masterclass here.