(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 homebound, 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.
What is The M Word?
The M Word is a 33-day course designed by Emily Fletcher and Mindvalley around 20-minute meditation segments that are meant to be completed in the morning.
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 the author of Stress Less, Accomplish More.
To be honest, her backstory is what really interested me in giving The M Word a try.
Before becoming a master of meditation, she worked for 10 years as a Broadway actress.
Like many before her, Broadway took its toll on her. She suffered from insomnia, lack of energy, and an overwhelming level of anxiety.
Amazingly she would study for at least 3 characters for a show without knowing which character she would portray before she stepped on stage.
Understandably this stress 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.”
And her journey begun.
Years later Emily is now a certified meditation expert and meditation advisor to big companies like Google.
Meditation has worked for her, and now she is determined to bring it to the world.
In fact, meditation had such a profound effect on her that she wondered why everyone wasn’t meditating.
But she quickly found out that the traditional style of meditation isn’t easy for most and definitely not suited to everyone.
And this is what led her to create The M Word – an accessible type of meditation that anyone can benefit from.
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 want to learn to calm their mind, without sitting in silence for hours.
The M Word is designed to teach you quick and easy meditation techniques that calm your mind, reduce your stress, and stop you from overthinking.
With each lesson lasting from 10-20 minutes a day and being structured over 33 days, M Word is for open-minded individuals that want to add life-changing meditation techniques to their daily routine.
The meditation techniques that Emily teaches targets things like:
- Decreasing anxiety
- Improving sex life
- Managing stress
- Decreasing migraine intensity
- Reducing insomnia
- Reducing ADHD symptoms
- Overcoming sadness
- Being present
But here’s what I loved most about this meditation course:
It does not promise or focus on elements like “becoming one with the universe” or “The Law of Attraction.”
The M Word is not about the dissolution of the ego, connecting with an ever-present life force, or more metaphysical elements.
Instead, it is much more practical. It’s about improving your overall mental and physical health with proper meditation techniques you can use daily 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.
As the founder of Hack Spirit, a site on mindfulness and eastern philosophy wisdom, I was especially interested in this course from Mindvalley.
While many readers of Hack Spirit are interested in mindfulness, they often complain that practicing meditation is difficult and boring – at least in the traditional sense.
But Emily Fletcher transforms how to practice meditation, bringing it more in touch with modern living.
For a sneak peak into what you’ll get in the course, check out Emily’s free masterclass.
This will give you an idea of how Emily teaches and what you’ll get if you sign up for the course.
What are classes like?
Classes are structured so that everyone goes on the journey together.
By that, I mean that classes technically start on a certain date 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 a particular date that Mindvalley sets.
It’s up to you and what type of learner you are. If you’re a solo-type operator then you might be fine doing it at whatever date you like.
But if you want to communicate with others in an online chat discussion format who are undertaking the course on the same schedule, then you might choose to do the course on the dates that Mindvalley sets.
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.
I go into what I learned in detail below.
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.
What content the course covers
The M Word is separated into two different sections. There is a huge amount of content in both sections, so I’m going to summarize what I learned in each section so you can get an idea of what you’ll learn if you take the course.
The course itself comes with 33 video lessons, a workbook, prerecorded Q&A Sessions with Emily, and four guided meditations with Emily.
Part 1: Up leveling your meditation practice
This first section covers a step-by-step guide through a series of M Word techniques to install in your morning practice.
This section goes for 17 days, with a video lesson every day.
Here’s what you learn:
– First off, we get some handy hints to manage your relationship and attitude towards stress. I learned a lot about how stress can manifest itself in your life, and what you can do about it.
– Emily teaches a technique called The Balancing Breath Meditation. This is a great technique to learn. In fact, I’ve been using it daily since I took this course. I’ve found it very calming and an excellent kickstart to the day.
– Emily also discusses a simple practice that helps snap your mind back into the present moment, no matter what you’re doing. It’s all about activating your senses. I’ll be honest, I’ve forgotten to use this technique, but when you remember to do it, it can certainly activate your mindful awareness.
– There is also a lesson where Emily teaches a “lazy person’s meditation” which can ease you into a state of pinpoint awareness. If you’re the type of person who gets bored during meditation, this one is for you.
– You’ll also learn about the Effortless Silence technique. This is a great, quick, and easy meditation technique to instantly douse your flickering awareness. It enables you to get to focus on whatever task you’re doing. If you suffer from ADHD, this may be especially beneficial.
– You also learn about “the beginner’s mind”. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mindset that allows you to see something for the very first time. It sparks your curiosity and opens your mind.
– There’s also a useful “Love Bomb” technique that’s a simple 2-minute practice designed to believe in yourself and boost your confidence.
I personally like this technique, and it could very useful for those with self-esteem issues.
– This section also discusses another mindful technique to inject stillness into your day.
Part 2 – Up leveling your life
Now that we’ve learned a lot of meditation techniques and mindful practices, the 2nd section talks more about using mindfulness in daily situations to improve your life.
This section lasts for 16 days.
Here’s what I learned:
– This section teaches some great life advice about how to overcome real-life problems. Highly practical, and useful for your professional and personal life.
– Emily discusses how to use breathwork and a power pose practice to boost your self-confidence. It was fun to try these, and I’ve read from several scientific studies that they could be useful in real life, but I’m yet to try these practices before a professional meeting.
– Emily also takes us through a visualization to envision your future. Definitely a clarity imposing practice that I think a lot of people will find useful. It helped me structure some thoughts in my mind about what’s important in my life and what I need to work on.
– There’s also a great video in this section where Emily talks about our mind’s fight or flight triggers and how you can use certain loopholes to bypass stress.
– My favorite video in this section is the Body-Feeling practice that Emily shows us. It will help you identify any source of stress in your body, as well as get into touch mindfully with yourself.
– Emily also shares a meditation technique to use before you sleep. The moment I learned this I tried it before sleeping and I definitely fell asleep more quickly each time. If you suffer from insomnia, this may be well worth learning and trying.
– Emily also discusses a system for emotional detox in your life. This can be helpful if you feel like you’ve got anything slowing you down in life.
My 4 key takeaways from The M Word
1. I’ve learned some great meditation techniques that have changed my daily routine
If you’re new to meditation, I can’t recommend M-Word enough.
The guided meditation and videos Emily provides are so helpful.
Instead of feeling lost and confused when you start meditation, you’ll feel like you’re being led down this eye-opening path by a wise friend.
Emily will give you a good sense of what to do and how to do it, in particular, by following 2 meditation practices she takes you through.
The first technique is the idea of thoughts being like clouds in the sky. The clouds are there, but they move along the sky.
Like those, it’s okay to have thoughts go through your mind while you’re meditating.
Understanding this lesson will be a huge relief to many of you who feel like you’re screwing up when thoughts bubble up during your meditation practice.
Second is the technique of “noting”. This is the basic idea of instead of fixating on an emotion, you simply note what you’re feeling. This is a great technique to separate some space between emotions and self.
I also can’t speak highly enough of Emily’s Balancing Breath Meditation. I find it very calming, and using it allows my mind to snap back in the present moment.
2. The M Word structured format got me into a nice routine
Because there are daily lessons and practices to undertake, it can really get you in a “streak” for meditation.
This was super helpful for me because it made me hold myself accountable.
It was two-fold in that, the more days I did, the more I was encouraged by a wise friend named Emily to continue.
And the more days I practiced meditation, the easier it became to do and remember.
Honestly, I wanted to do it every day because it made me feel so much better.
Now, several of Emily’s techniques have become a certified habit for me.
3. The Beginner’s Mind lesson enhanced my mindset a great deal
Emily’s lesson on The Beginner’s Mind was very insightful for me. In practice, it means accepting things the way they are, without layering on our own preconceptions.
Emily helped me understand that I had a lot of negative preconceptions that were severely limiting my day-to-day life.
And when it came to mindfulness and meditation, I’ve had preconceptions about what works and what doesn’t which has limited my growth as a person.
But I learned that without our mind interrupting the flow of our attention, we can focus on connecting with the mind and body within our practice.
4. My sleep has improved thanks to Emily’s teachings
I’ve suffered from insomnia my whole life and one of the main reasons I wanted to give The M Word a shot is because of the meditation techniques to she advises to use before sleeping.
And I’m very glad I’ve given it a go.
Emily’s technique to relieve insomnia has been extremely beneficial to me. It has helped me to break the train of everyday thoughts to evoke the relaxation response.
Emily also taught me that meditation for sleep should be approached with the same way we approach meditation during the day, with a relaxed focus and an attitude of letting go.
When we allow the body to relax and allow the mind to drift off, we do so in a soft, gentle way, that doesn’t involve trying to force sleep.
This may sound obvious but it has helped me a great deal to relax at night and get a good night’s sleep.
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 practical and useful course that doesn’t steer toward the metaphysical but keeps it grounded on how it can improve your life and your relationships.
Honestly, if you want to learn how to properly meditation and you want to implement mindfulness into your daily life, then this course will help out a lot.
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 meditation techniques you learn are really helpful in learning how to meditate.
- 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
- The 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.
Look, the course is a great primer to meditation. I enjoyed it immensely and have been recommending it to my friends.
But it can help to learn about the history of meditation and why you shouldn’t always focus on yourself.
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.