Ann Swanson
Join us in The Underdog episode as Ann Swanson embarks on a transformative journey, empowering through yoga and mind-body practices. From crafting tales amidst her parents’ divorce to capturing Andean village life in documentaries, Ann’s odyssey blends creativity, fortitude, and serenity. Transitioning from novelist to filmmaker and author, her latest book, “Meditation for the Real World,” guides readers to find calm amidst chaos, offering a captivating narrative of resilience and discovery.

Ann Swanson is not just a meditation teacher but a guide for those navigating the chaos of modern life. With her bestselling book Science of Yoga, translated into over 15 languages, and her latest offering, Meditation for the Real World, she delves deep into the science behind meditation, offering practical steps to infuse tranquility into daily routines. Yet, Ann’s journey wasn’t one of innate calmness; she battled chronic pain and anxiety, leading her to explore yoga in India, tai chi in China, anatomy in the cadaver lab, and massage therapy in night school, culminating in a Master of Science in Yoga Therapy. Blending modern research with ancient practices, Ann’s approach offers not just learning but a lifestyle to embrace with love and dedication.

Key Takeaways:

  • Finding Peace Amidst Chaos: Acknowledgment of the importance of finding tranquility in the midst of life’s chaos.
  • Childhood Dream vs. Reality: Ann Swanson’s childhood dream of becoming a novelist evolved into a journey of artistic expression through documentary filmmaking and eventually writing books.
  • Resilience in Adversity: Highlighting the resilience of children facing adversity, as seen in Ann’s documentaries in Peru and the Andes village.
  • Pivots and Rejections: Embracing rejection as redirection, leads to unexpected but fulfilling paths, like diving into mind-body practices in response to depression in China.
  • Intersecting Passions: The convergence of Ann’s diverse interests—art, science, yoga, and storytelling—into her current career path. The journey from studying art to pursuing a Master’s in yoga therapy, integrating Eastern and Western perspectives on health and wellness.
  • Embracing Diverse Paths: Encouragement to embrace diverse interests, as they may eventually align and contribute to a unique life journey.
  • Lessons from Life’s Unpredictability: Recognizing that life’s twists and turns may not make sense at the moment but can lead to unexpected opportunities and growth. Follow one’s inner calling (dharma) despite external skepticism or confusion, trusting that it will eventually make sense in hindsight.

Discover the power of meditation and how to find your peace amidst chaos. Take a moment to listen to Ann’s journey, and be inspired to embrace the unpredictable turns of life and trust that it will eventually align.

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The Underdog Podcast host is none other than Pamela Bardhi. She’s rocking the Real Estate Realm and has dedicated her life as a Life Coach. She is also in the Forbes Real Estate Council. To know more about Pam, check out the following:

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Ann Swanson’s Journey of Self-Discovery Through Yoga, Meditation and Overcoming Challenges

Pamela Bardhi: Hello everyone and welcome to the Underdog podcast. Today I have an incredible guest here with me, Anne, how are you?

Ann Swanson: I’m doing well. How are you doing?

Pamela Bardhi: I am doing so awesome, I came on the screen today, and it’s like I felt your energy. Like, flow and you’re just so calm and peaceful, relaxed. Can’t wait to get into your story today, it’s going to be awesome.

Ann Swanson: Well, we got to find peace amidst the chaos. Like, everyone scrambling to get into the zoom room and arrive at meetings, but you just take that. That deep breath that moment before, and you can practice and learn how to come into that place. But, you know, we all live that chaotic life, things are going on all around us. And so it’s all about finding peace amidst the chaos.

Pamela Bardhi: Amen. Absolutely, and I can absolutely relate to that as an entrepreneur. I’m so excited to hear about your journey because you’ve had quite an interesting one. And then your most recent books, which I’m so excited about, like, meditation of the real world. Like, I can’t wait to hear all about how that all came about in your life, journey through that.

What inspired you to want to be a novelist as a young kid

But before we get into all of that, I want to reel it in quite a bit and kind of back it all the way up. And this is one of my favorite places to start. Which is, what did you want to be as a kid when you grew up? Like, what was the dream? What was the thing?

Ann Swanson: Yeah, I wanted to be a writer, but I thought I’d be a novelist. So I was always, like, writing novels in my little notebooks, I’m not a novelist. I ultimately became an author, now I have two books, one that is brand new meditation for the real world. And then my first book, which has been translated into over 15 languages. I’m working on a second edition of that right now so I have become an author. It was just in a very different way than I had expected.

Pamela Bardhi: That’s incredible, what inspired you to want to be a novelist as a young kid? Like, what’s behind that?

Ann Swanson: You know, I remember I was writing a novel about my parents divorce and them getting back together. I look back at that, I mean I just wanted to write stories and be creative. Ultimately, I ended up doing my undergrad in art, so I went into the creativity field. But more the visual arts, and I did documentary films travelling the world, you know, storytelling in a different way. And in South America, Peru and Guatemala, it was like a different path than I expected. Once again, that’s incredible.

Pamela Bardhi: Oh, my goodness.

You studied abroad in China and then started making documentary films

So in college, when you were working on art, like, what was the main focus and the main arena in that space for you?

Ann Swanson: Well, I went into college thinking that I would be something with drawing, painting, illustration, because that was where I really thrived. That’s how I got a scholarship, I was natural at it. But then when I got there, I just loved the documentary side of it and the sculpture, creating an environment. You know, when you go into these interactive museums where you’re like, immersive in an environment. That was the kind of sculpture that I studied, so I loved that sort of artistic experience. Ultimately, I ended up using it as an excuse to travel. Travel, as I mentioned, to South and Central America, to Asia. I studied abroad in China, and so I just used it as an excuse to travel and do documentary films.

Pamela Bardhi: That’s incredible, and with the documentary films, like, what were some of your favorites that you created with that? Because I love the whole storytelling vibe, so I definitely want to hear about that.

Ann Swanson: Yeah, so I went for a service project in Peru, and we were working with children. Who, you know, a lot of them were at very young ages dealing with child labor in a brick factory. What we, our goal was to create a library, a place, a community built library. Where they could go learn, study, have computers and have activities, so I was teaching art classes and sustainability. And we were physically building the library. I filmed that whole experience, just brought a camera and filmed it, and it went really well. The pilot documentary did really well and won a lot of awards. Ended up figuring out a way to go back and study abroad longer, to finish up the library and do projects. So I got a grant to go back and then I made a longer documentary that was featured on PBS.

Pamela Bardhi: Wow, oh, my God, that’s so amazing, and so this documentary that was featured on PBS, what was that? The whole premise? I love this, I love storytelling, I love documentaries.

Ann Swanson: It was just about the children’s resilience. You know, them being involved in the building of the library, with their parents and taking ownership of it. Them saying what they wanted to be when they grew up and believing in themselves. Interviews with the teachers just really told the story, there were a lot of interesting stories amidst the community too. That kind of came forward in the documentary and it had beautiful music in it. And really sparked a lot of hope, that was the intention of the documentary. Then while I was there, my friends, they were like, you know what? We’re going deep into the mountains, into the andes. To this village that, you know, hardly ever sees anybody that’s from the outside. They speak their own language that less than a thousand people in the whole world know, and it’s a dying language.

We’re going there because they just had an earthquake and we need to deliver supplies. You want to come and bring your camera? So I came, I brought my camera, we had to hike, we had to take donkeys and climb to get there. And that was shorter. A ten minute documentary that I did about that village, bringing them supplies and what they were doing in their language. That led me to say, you know, I want to come back again and make a longer documentary about this. My friend was an anthropologist, so we thought we would get a grant, and I applied and went big. I applied to National Geographic for the grant, and at this time I was waiting, I was in China.

After I studied abroad and graduated, you know it was a recession, so there weren’t any jobs in the US. I moved to China, so I was living in China, teaching. It was a long process to figure out if we got the grant from National Geographic to continue this documentary film. We kept getting to the next stage and the next stage and the next stage. And I remember the first day that I was about to teach at the university there. So this, I’m like 21 years old, and I’m about to teach a bunch of 20 year olds at university, English. I’m sitting in an Internet cafe surrounded by all these young guys. Chinese guys playing video games with their drinks, with their caffeine drinks and chips.

I’m looking at my email for the final notice from National Geographic, that’s when I found out I didn’t get it. And I just cried, I was such a shock because that was what I was planning on doing next. Had to suck it up, you know, picture me amidst all of these, Internet cafe video game dudes. I sucked it up, I wiped my tears and I walked into this room of 100 students. It was really an auditorium of students, and I taught my first day of college. So it was a real pivot for me. Felt very lost while I was in China, actually, it was very isolating there.

Pamela Bardhi: Oh, my gosh. Wow. Wow.

How did all your disparate interests come together to become a yoga teacher

Your experience in all of these different realms and then like putting these documentaries together and all of that stuff. I mean, this is fascinating, and so from that moment where you basically were teaching in China at colleges. Like, how did that, how did that all lead you into this realm where you are now? What were some of the biggest challenges? And what were some of the biggest accomplishments kind of along the way, like the biggest highlights?

Ann Swanson: You know, I think rejection is protection, I think if I had continued on that path of just working with NgO’s. What I felt was like selfless giving, I would have given all of myself, I wasn’t ready to give in the way I was. It was like pulling all nighters constantly and it wasn’t a healthy lifestyle. So I just started to reflect about what I wanted and I was feeling really depressed. I mean, it’s so polluted where I was and people point at me in the streets because I look so different. And that time was so depressing that I turned to mind body practices, yoga and Tai Chi in the parks. With the older people and just doing these practices that have that meditative component in order to find ease. Actually, I got really into yoga at that time, even though it’s from India.

I was in China, I did my teacher training in China and half the teachers were Chinese. So half of it was in Chinese and then half of it was in English with Indian teachers. And when I completed that training, they encouraged me to go to India to continue my studies. From China, I went to India to study yoga and meditation as well as ayurvedic massage and sound healing and all these modalities. It really opened my mind. Had been an artist and in that art perspective for so long, but my teacher, my guru in India, Yogi Shivadas. He was very into the philosophy and the tradition, but also the anatomy, physiology and science behind it. That sparked an interest, I thought if I could understand how the science in the west is supporting these practices. Then I could merge the east and west.

So I came back to the United States, ready for my vision to continue on. I thought the best way to be the best yoga teacher possible is to go into the medical field. Like, I will do all the pre med course load, I had to start over from ground zero. Spent all my twenties doing that and getting prepared to go into something in the medical field. And at this point I finally decided, be a physical therapist and I was applying to physical therapy school. The first masters of science in yoga therapy popped up, and that was exactly what I wanted to do. Was like, well, that’s even better, so I joined that. Like, I was the last person to join a week before it started. That was a two year master’s degree that I did.

Pamela Bardhi: Wow, oh my gosh, and you started everything from ground zero, that’s amazing, oh, my goodness. And to be able to pivot in that way is definitely huge and in totally different realms, too, like, that’s.

Ann Swanson: Yeah, it seems so disparate. But it’s funny how all your disparate interests come together, because at the time, I was studying the human body. You know, from the science perspective, but I was also working in a cadaver lab and becoming a massage therapist at night. Understanding the body from that perspective to that more eastern perspective as well, so I thought everything was so disparate. And I think a lot of my friends, you know, who had careers as lawyers and doctors at this point. They were looking at me like, wow, you’re really lost, you’re into so many different things that they’re not coming together.

But, you know, what? They did all come together. And, you know, I spent my late twenties, living in my mother’s basement to do that pre med course load. That was not where I thought I’d be, and I felt a little behind. Now that I have seen it all come together, which we’ll get to soon, in this story. A lot of my friends that are doctors, dentists, lawyers, they’re, like, about to pivot in their career. They’re like, how do I find my passion, career now? You know, they’re looking at me and what I did and how I persevered through that and how it’s come to be.

Pamela Bardhi: I absolutely love that you said something super important, like, all of our life journeys are so different. We feel like there’s so many different pieces in our lives, but they actually do come together. Like, if you don’t understand it right now, it’s okay, give it a little bit of time. Because you’re gonna see the reasons why it all intersects. I’m at that moment in my life right now where everything I’ve ever done makes sense because it’s all coming together. And it’s coming full circle, I’m like, whoa, I understand why I had to go through that to get to this.

Ann Swanson: Absolutely, and you look at people throughout history, it’s like Steve Jobs of apple. He was really into, like, taking calligraphy classes, how random is that? But what Apple is known for is the beautiful font it started with and the typography. The design elements that he learned from taking those classes where people were like, why are you taking that class? That’s like, a waste of your time, so people are not going to understand it. And you may not fully understand it, but if it feels like, you know your path. In yoga, we call this, your dharma, what’s pulling you, what feels right for you, what really interests you, then do it. Because as you said, it’s going to all come together and you’ll see it, hindsight is 2020, this is why.

Pamela Bardhi: Absolutely, and this is why it looks so different for everybody, right? So if you’re listening and you’re at that point where you’re like, I don’t understand what is happening. Remember, it’s all happening for you, not to you, it’s kind of stepping back and understanding what the pieces are. Because there’s lessons in absolutely everything that you learn and every experience that you go through. That’s why we’re here, right? Put on planet Earth to learn our lessons. We have specific missions on our way here and all of the things, so it’s just, it’s.

What inspired your first book, the science of yoga

I loved hearing your background in all of this, and just, like, how you got to this point is absolutely incredible. And what really inspired your first book, the science of yoga?

Ann Swanson: Well, that’s actually where the story gets interesting, oh yeah, this is where it gets interesting, you think she’s overcome. But, like, I did my Math master’s degree, and I came out, and like many people with higher education. As I was applying for jobs, I was getting rejection after rejection after rejection, and I had a unique degree. A masters of science in yoga therapy, so I thought, maybe I’ll teach at a university. I’ll teach a course, or perhaps I will work in a spa as a director, integrating yoga and massage. Since I had that under my belt too, so I was applying for all these different jobs, rejection. Over a hundred rejections at this point. And it was, I remember winter time, December, January, February, like that darkness of winter.

And I went into a place where I was very reflective. You know in my field, we have less clients in, like, December, November. December, that dark time, it’s just people going to less yoga classes. So I had more time to think, and I was reading a lot of self help books. Was meditating a lot, and as I was getting these rejections, yeah, they stunk, and I could feel it. But I bounced back, I’d be like, all right, time to apply for another one, I just kept bouncing back. Because I knew that there was a job out there that brought together all that I had learned. From travelling the world, India, China, South America, and to studying science and getting my degree. I knew there was something that brought it all together,

Just kept waiting and persevering and applying for more and more jobs. Funny enough, none of the jobs I applied for went through. Instead, during this time, I was so focused on finding a job. Had an email in my inbox that I had ignored for weeks and they had to follow up. They actually followed up on Valentine’s Day, and they were like, hey, so are you interested in this? And I looked closer, and it was an email from DK, my publisher, who’s part of Penguin Random House. The largest publishing house, one in the whole world, and they were offering me a book contract. I didn’t have an agent, a book proposal, or a large social media following. Didn’t even think, I’m going to write a book, right?

Like, that wasn’t my idea of the type of jobs I was applying for, right? That wasn’t my idea. But my idea was, you know, as I was writing words in the mirror, I wanted to create an opportunity. I want something that feels like a union, it feels just right, feels like it’s bringing everything together. All these disparate interests, I was just writing all these words and phrases all over my mirror. Later, my friends, who, you know, went to graduate school for me and are very science minded. They said that it was to the point they were considering having an intervention with me. Because I was getting like, oh, I’m going to bring it into my life, I’ll manifest it into my life. It’s coming. You know, I’ve been meditating on it, they were just like, I think we need to have an intervention with her. She’s not being realistic.

Pamela Bardhi: But it did.

Ann Swanson: It came into my life in the most serendipitous of ways, so that was my first book, Science of Yoga. Which, as you hear the title, it’s the perfect combination of East and West. Studying, getting a master’s of science in yoga therapy and studying in India and bringing it all together. So I worked with some of the best illustrators and designers in the world to create this book, it is a mess. Masterpiece of illustrations and very in depth with the research and the anatomy and physiology to support yoga. That was my first book, and it ultimately got translated into 15 languages. There is more to the story, but I will pause for a moment.

Pamela Bardhi: That is incredible, oh, my God, well I love that you manifested it, right? You wrote it all down, you wrote it on the mirror, and it’s like, you know. I hear this all the time where it’s like, you ask for certain things and then, the spirit delivers and we ignore it. Because we don’t think, it doesn’t look like what we asked, but it’s really what we asked. But it doesn’t look like what we asked.

Ann Swanson: It’s better.

Pamela Bardhi: Exactly, so I love that that came into your life, and it was the one email that was unanswered. Oh, my goodness, I love that, wow.

Ann Swanson: Yeah, and so you know, I sold everything I owned to travel the world on a book tour. You know, I knew I was going to be translated into Japanese, so I was going to Japan and Germany. I was set to go to Germany. Had this whole year-long book tour planned, and I did make it back to South America a full circle. While I was there, things were unfolding in China. As I left South America, I came back to the US as a transition before I went to Europe. That’s when the pandemic hit and everything got what I thought was delayed. It wasn’t delayed, everything was cancelled obviously, so my entire tour plan was cancelled. And now I was left with, you know, nothing and no place to live. So back to my mother’s basement.

Which is not where I thought I’d be in my early thirties either. During that time, it was also, you know, a hard time, it pivoted, and I did online courses. Have a science of yoga certification course. And I did a lot more online, as many people did, then from there I decided to go on vacation. I was like, I need to get away, to go somewhere sunny, I’m going to Hawaii for two, three weeks. So I decided to go on vacation, it’s been three years now, I haven’t left. Met the love of my life here in Hawaii, and we got married. You know, I’m living by the beach now, so it just led me here somehow. Never would have imagined, never dreamt oh, I’m going to live in Hawaii, but here I am.

Michelle Mildenberg says meditation helped her through some difficult times in life

Pamela Bardhi: Oh, my goodness, I’m wondering too. So did you set an intention before you left that maybe that, like, this whole magicalness came together? That’s amazing.

Ann Swanson: You know, I mean, I think I always kind of set that intention, nothing in specific. It was just like, I’m going to figure out where I only had the suitcase of stuff. I didn’t have any furniture and stuff to worry about, so when I arrived, it was a one way ticket. In a way, it was an attention, but I thought I would go. Honestly, I thought I’d go back to South America or somewhere else, like, I didn’t imagine I would stay here. Thought this was just a vacation, but then I kept having invites. To do something next Wednesday and an activity next Thursday, and I was just like, well, I got to stay till next week. And then, you know, it’s been years later and here I am.

Pamela Bardhi: Wow, oh, my goodness, that is so amazing. And then how did it lead into your second book now? With. Yeah.

Ann Swanson: During my journey of the first book coming out and the trials and tribulations. With that I had some dark times and some dark nights of my soul. You know, we all did during the pandemic, and I turned to meditation, I’m not a natural meditator. I feel like when I would go to the yoga classes, I would be there for the physical practice, at the beginning stages at least. And I’d be looking at my watch like it is time to go, I have things to do. This is a waste of my time. By the time they got to the meditation portion of the class and when we really looked at yoga. Like, the majority of the practice is meditation, only one 8th of yoga is the physical poses. Even though that’s what we think of as yoga in the west.

As I’ve experienced it myself and dove in deeper, you know, meditation has become a greater part of my life. Gotten me through those dark times. You know, during those dark times, I had a hard time meditating. Even though I had practice, I had a hard time being alone with my thoughts or sleeping. And so I find myself clicking on the instagram or gmail icons on my phone. On the homepage, I moved them to the last page, I moved meditation apps and resources on the home page. So when my finger would want to go to something, I’d go and be like, I’m doing a three minute meditation. I’ll do a five minute meditation, and then I do want to get a hit of dopamine.

I get that release of serotonin, endorphins, those feel good chemicals, and I’d be like, back for more and back for more. And then all of a sudden, I’m like, wow, I’m meditating 40 minutes a day. It’s just because I’m doing these little breaks through the day to get me through it. So meditation has really gotten me through a lot of hard times and through some struggles, too. As a very anxious person, I tend to pass out at the doctor’s office. I’ve used meditation to get me through that, and I haven’t actually passed out at the doctor’s office for years. Been getting blood taken a lot recently, and I haven’t passed out, so I’m very proud. But meditation has been my resource to get me through these real life situations, even like, 1 minute meditations.

You know, right before I come on that Zoom call to gather myself and have that calm amidst the chaos. So that’s what I really wanted to portray in meditation for the real world. Is that it doesn’t have to be this, like, sitting on a cushion for 20 minutes a day. It can be integrated into your life at your desk chair, you know, on the COVID of the book. There’s a woman sitting on a subway, and I had an amazing illustrator for the book. Michelle Mildenberg Laura, she does work for the New York Times and the New Yorker. And so it’s got a lot of relaxing illustrations in it, and on the COVID she’s sitting on a subway. She is sitting tall, she’s listening to perhaps a guided meditation, perhaps a song that’s relaxing her.

She’s the only one that looks Zen and relaxed amidst all these people hunched over their phones, scrolling, right? We scroll while we wait, we have these minutes, these like pauses, we can turn them into a powerful pause. And rather than scrolling while you wait, meditate while you wait. So that’s what this book is all about. Making it accessible for people who maybe even feel like they can’t meditate, it’s the perfect gift book for them.

Pamela Bardhi: I absolutely love this for so many reasons, and because right before this call, I was telling you. I’m like one of those people that whenever anyone would bring me into meditation, my mind would just start spiralling. And I’m like, How do people sit here? It doesn’t work for me, and I was like, is my brain not functioning or something? Because I’m like, this doesn’t work, you know? So I love that you break it up into saying, like, there’s different ways to meditate, there’s different methods. You’re not crazy if it doesn’t work for you, right? There’s different kinds of techniques, and the other thing I really appreciate with your book is it’s very visual. Which I love, because it helps me kind of walk through it, which is amazing.

I would love it if you could do a couple of exercises for anyone who’s listening right now that may be interested. Yes, because it’s amazing, I know the book is on, I love it. For the reason of the illustrations and in a really simplistic way. And I would love for it, you know, if we could do something right now, that’d be awesome. That anyone who’s listening might be able to, tune in. Like, what’s the most simple one that you could do that’s like a minute or two. Because people feel like they have to be in for 30 minutes, an hour. So it’s like, what’s something simple that can really give you that power pause, as you were mentioning?

Ann Swanson: Yes.

Do what I call the five senses meditation. So, notice what you see around you

So one thing you can do is, you know, you’re answering a stressful email before you press send. You know, you’re waiting for your children to arrive after picking them up from school, you have that minute. Rather than scrolling, sit. There is in these moments to check in and do what I call the five senses meditation. Let’s do it right now, notice what you see around you. I recommend, you know, if you’re looking at a screen right now, look away. Look out a window, if possible, look outside, broaden your vision, we, our brains love to see an expansive view. They’re not used to these narrow views of little screens all the time, so broaden, take in. If you’re in a room, just take it all in without judgement, notice the shapes, the lights, the colors. And you’re welcome to close your eyes.

Or you can totally meditate with your eyes open, and even if you close your eyes, notice what you see. Notice the colors, the lights, and then bring your attention to what you hear. Hearing my voice, hearing noises in the background, even far away, up close in your room. Maybe you can even hear the sound of your own breath in the foreground. Take a deep inhale through the nose, notice any smells, exhale through the nose and bring your attention to your mouth. Taste any taste, and then feel your physical body, feel all the sensations inside your mouth.

Feel your face releasing shoulders drop, notice how your physical body feels. You might even feel like sitting, a little taller, moving a little. That’s totally fine, your body might be asking you to move, to take a sip of water. Listen to your intuition, and then take all these five senses simultaneously. Notice as you gently open your eyes, what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Bringing that with you as you continue listening to this podcast and continuing through your day.

Pamela Bardhi: That was such a beautiful moment of Zen, I love that. Oh my gosh. It like, yeah, but like, it’s really slows you down, you know?

Ann Swanson: It does, yeah, you’re getting immediate physiological effects, your heart rate is lowering, your blood pressure is lowering. You are changing your brain waves, you’re releasing those endorphins, all of these things happen immediately, right? You’re probably starting to feel those effects, and I have more kind of guided meditations that go with the book. As well as info from the book at meditation for the realworld.com. So you get, as a gift to your listeners, like these guided meditations, less than ten minutes a day. Incorporating tips on how to integrate them into these 1 minute meditations. It’s a five day challenge and you get that for free when you go to meditation for the realworld.com. And check out the book.

Pamela Bardhi: Absolutely love that and oh my gosh, it’s amazing, I’m going to check that out myself, personally, too. Read the book too, but guided meditations are always really helpful for me. I love that in such a great way for anyone, I mean, just anyone in general, because life is so chaotic. But especially if you’re dealing with anxiety or anything like that, it just could really help you slow down. Really brace yourself, which would be amazing, and get yourself through the day slowly and slowly and slowly. And kind of just, you know, with all the things, with all of life’s things, if you will be able to.

Ann Swanson: Yeah, I love guided meditations, but sometimes I can get a little overwhelmed. I’ve heard this from other people who like the apps and looking on YouTube and trying to find. I’m like, okay, I spent 20 minutes trying to find one for anxiety, I found one. Feel a little more anxious now that I spent 20 minutes looking for one and wasting my time. Then I do the meditation, I’m relaxed, and all of a sudden I pull out a green sword. And I’m fighting the archangel Michael, and I’m like, how did I get here? This is not what I signed up for, so if you want science backed meditations that integrate. I integrate music and sounds of nature that have been, like, integrated and engineered to optimize your brain waves. You know, these meditations have the science to support them.

Definitely, worth that, rather than seeking and searching, but a physical book. There’s something about holding a physical book and getting away from tech, too. The smell of a book, the feel of the pages, if you love books like me. If you know DK books, they’re books for your coffee table, this is a book to put by your bedside. It’s a gift book because it’s a physical hardcover, beautiful colors, saturated on the pages, you can read and meditate. That’s not something we often think of because most meditation books just talk about the theory. This book, you know, it has this step by step, and as you’re reading it, you feel it. You can pause, close your eyes and experience what I just wrote. And finding the meditation, as we talked about earlier, that works for you.

If you’ve ever done a meditation before and it didn’t work for you, it’s not because you’re bad at meditating. It makes me feel so sad, the story you said is like, oh, you know, you’re not bad at meditating. You were just doing the wrong meditation for you or for that situation, right? The meditation technique I’d give for anxiety is very different, than depression or for grieving. The loss of a loved one is very different, than you find yourself doom scrolling on social media or feeling foMo.

Pamela Bardhi: Right?

Ann Swanson: There’s meditations for those things, too, in the text section of the book. So there’s like, meditations that can be therapeutically adapted for every situation. And I just want to help people feel like they can do it because if I can do it, anyone can do it.

Pamela Bardhi: Totally. I love that.

And I love that. I love all of this. I can’t wait to dig into it for myself personally

And I love that, oh, my gosh. I love all of this, and I can’t wait to dig into it for myself personally, like, in full detail. Amazing, oh, my goodness.

What would you tell your younger self based on what you know now

Then, you know, this is one of my favorite questions, and I always save the best for last. Because, you know, through your life experiences and all the different things that you’ve experienced in this beautiful life. What would your older self tell your younger self based on what you know now?

Ann Swanson: I got asked this question actually yesterday in an interview, but they said it had to be in three words. So what I said to them was, it works out, but it all works out, basically. And that’s to speak to what we talked about earlier, how those disparate interests everybody around you is going to be like. What are you doing that’s not related. It seems so unrelated that you’re working in a cadaver lab and also doing Reiki and, like, sound healing. These things seem so unrelated, but they’re truly related. Because now I’m really into the science of sound and how it affects us physiologically. Like I said, I integrated those into the meditation challenge, it all comes together would be my other answer. Perhaps, yeah, it all works out, it all comes together.

Pamela Bardhi: I absolutely love that.

Anne, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today

Oh, my gosh, and in your world, I mean, you mentioned you’re in Hawaii. Is what’s coming up for you in the next two to three months, we’re in the next month or whatever. Like, what’s going on in Anne’s world.

Ann Swanson: Yeah. So, really just focusing on meditation for the real world. Getting it out there, and getting it in the hands of more people who feel like they can’t meditate. I want to empower people like I was, to know that these tools can help them through those challenging times. And that they can find calm amidst the chaos, so that’s my focus, I have a meditation for the real world. Teacher training for wellness coaches, medical professionals, therapists, yoga teachers who want to be able to guide others through meditation.

Skillfully, because we need more meditation in the world and more people guiding others in a science backed. Informed way, so that’s coming out too. But really, the last thing, I guess, is I’m working on an update to the science of yoga, too. So we are diving in, and we’re doing an updated version of my first book. And I do have a secret third book coming out, but I’m not allowed to say what it is.

Pamela Bardhi: I love that there’s that little surprise teaser, though, oh, my goodness, that all sounds so exciting and amazing. And I am so grateful to you for taking the time to share your story today and all this impactful knowledge. Taking us through that amazing exercise together and also for writing these books. Helping empower so many people out there who, like me, is kind of thing. So I’m just super grateful for you and all the incredible work that you’re doing and thank you so much. Thank you.

Ann Swanson: Thanks for telling the stories of people who, you know, felt like underdogs or who had these setbacks. Because if you really look at it, rejection is protection, and it’s all pointing you in the right direction. And it doesn’t feel like that when you’re in the thick of it. But I think these stories help illuminate that, and I hope my story illuminates that for your listeners.

Pamela Bardhi: Absolutely, it did, and you’re helping more and more people through your work. Basically being able to empower themselves and get to that level so that they can overcome. So thank you so much, your work is incredible, and thank you. Thank you.

Underdog is always dropping on Thursdays. Catch us next week

So that’s it for today’s episode of Underdog, catch us next week, always dropping on Thursdays. And remember, if you’re interested in real estate or want to learn how to create more money and magic in your life. Check out meetwithpamala.com dot and let’s chat, sending you so much love. 

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with Ann Swanson. If you found this story worth your time and made changes in your life, we’d love to hear from you! Subscribe and leave a review. The Underdog Podcast host is none other than Pamela Bardhi. She’s rocking the Real Estate Realm and has dedicated her life as a Life Coach. She is also Forbes Real Estate Council. To know more about Pam, check out the following:

If you’re interested in elevating your life 10x, and owning your power, Pamela invites you to join her for a 15-minute call to set your goals straight and get clarity. Start building your game plan now: meetwithpamela.com