Biohacking Joy With Radha Agrawal


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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from and That’s Wellnesse with an E on the end, my new personal care line. And this episode is all about creating joy and strong community with someone who has done this in various different ways and is certainly an expert. I’m here with Radha Agarwal, who is a force for community building in the world. She is the co-founder, CEO, and chief community architect of a company called Daybreaker, which is an early morning dance and wellness movement company that’s in 28 cities and 5 continents, also now digital. And she and her team launched something called DOSE by Daybreaker, which is a science-backed platform and even a membership community to cultivate the practice of joy in a science-backed way.

She’s also a successful entrepreneur, is the co-founder of Thinx. You probably heard of those. She’s an author, a speaker, a DJ, an inventor, and an investor in many female-owned businesses. She’s also a mom. And in this episode, we go deep on how to build strong community, how to create and curate more joy in your life, why having poor connections and lack of community is more harmful than alcoholism or obesity, and how to create a solid plan for nurturing those things in your life. So without further ado, let’s join Radha. Radha, welcome to the podcast.

Radha: Thank you, Katie, for having me.

Katie: I am excited to chat about so many things with you today. You’re a new friend. And I feel like in our first conversation, we found probably a dozen synergies to talk about and we’ll try to stick to just a couple of those today. But to start broad, I would love for you to give us an intro to one of your newer projects called Daybreaker. And explain what this is. I have a feeling it’s going to lead us down a lot of topics of conversation, including creating strong community, which I think is more important than ever right now, but let’s start broad.

Radha: Yeah. So, Daybreaker is a global dance movement. And we launched here in New York City seven years ago really as a social experiment to see if people would be willing to have fun and party across all ages, all generations at a time of day when our energy is the most full, which is the morning. So, Daybreaker is an early morning dance party series. And no alcohol, no substances. So really taking away all the negativity, all the things that make you feel yucky the next day and kept all the fun stuff, the cool venue, the lighting, the music, the exciting performances, the fire spinners, the aerialist, the dueling sax players, and all the fun stuff of nightlife, but replaced the alcohol with green juice and coffee and tea, and replaced the mean bouncer with a hugging committee and really made nightlife, morning life. And now morning life and, you know, making friends and building community at an hour of the day when we don’t have to, again, hop ourselves up on caffeine or alcohol to stay awake, that’s where we think the new cool is. And we think that it’s really more fun to make friends in the morning, when, again, our brain says we’re more optimistic, more ready to connect, and meet people more joyful naturally. And we just got out of the same place, all of us, our beds.

So, that’s Daybreaker nutshell. We launched as, again, an experiment seven years ago at sunrise in New York City. And 200 people came out to that very first one. And after that, it just took off. We had, you know, hundreds of people come to the next one. And then someone was moving to San Francisco and said, “Hey, Radha, can you open it in San Francisco?” So we launched in San Francisco. And someone says, “I love this, I want you in L.A.,” and just organically we launched it and now we’re in 28 cities around the world. We’re a community of 500,000 members. And then when COVID happened, we pivoted to virtual dance parties. So we launched virtually. And that expanded our community to everyone, elder community members all the way to little babies. So we grew that community so exponentially just by the intergenerational nature of it and all across the world.

So we, you know, did these virtual dance parties, 22 episodes so far, during COVID and served about 300,000 community members. And in that time, notice that we were getting so many letters of people just saying how their mental health was struggling and they’re going through so much in their well-being needs. And then we pivoted to launch DOSE, which is our third pivot of the year, which was all-around day-to-day, kind of, on-demand joy practices, and to really connect people to the anatomy of joy, and how to really, you know, holistically understand the brain-body connection between…yeah, the brain-body connection, to be truly happy, to be truly functionally happy. And so we launched with a series of classes and exercises that we created and developed with the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, California, to really build first of its kind joy practices that fuse all the most potent, kind of, healing modalities that we researched all around the world connected to joy.

Katie: It’s so fascinating, and I love the idea of, kind of, applying, like you said, the science of joy. And I know DOSE stands for something. It’s an acronym, correct?

Radha: Yes. So DOSE stands for dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. And these are our four happy neurochemicals that our brains naturally create. And what’s ironic is it spells out the word DOSE. So when I discovered that, when I was writing my book, I just couldn’t believe that here we are taking all of these pharmaceuticals to make our brains happier but we can actually train our brains to release them naturally. And we just have gotten pretty lazy or have not learned how to do that. And so my entire raison d’etre is to get people off SSRIs, get people turning to joy practices first, as a first line of defense before they get to antidepressants, SSRI medications. Like, let’s get you to actually learn how to tickle your brain chemistry and really learn how to unlock your happy hormones, your happy neurochemicals in ways that are movement-driven, that are very gentle and fun, that are community-driven, and from the comfort of your own home. And so, that’s been a big, big project of ours. And really, really cool to see what’s happening in the first few months, and with all the research that we’re doing with our initial members, and the level of change that we’re seeing in our community members before and after is astonishing.

Katie: I love that. I love taking the scientific approach, and especially it’s certainly no secret that this past year has been tough on a lot of people and we are certainly seeing a rise in mental health issues almost across the board. And you’re right, I think more and more people are turning to pharmaceuticals for this without maybe really considering some of these other science-backed ways. Certainly, a lot of people listening have probably taken or tried to take a lot of the natural routes. But even this is a new area for me. Like, I’ve tried many things like supplements and sunlight and things that I think are super important. But the joy practices that you recommend, and especially things like dance, I don’t think they’re on most people’s shortlist of things they do as part of their daily practice or as part of self-care. But you make a strong case for truly, like, incorporating this can very much be part of a mental health self-care practice. Can you go a little bit deeper on the dance side as well because I feel like this is such a unique way of tackling this problem?

Radha: Absolutely. So, dance is, you know, it’s such an interesting word because people have so many different judgments around that word dance. Like, I’m not a dancer, or I don’t know how to dance, or I have judgment on how I look when I move my body. But really, if we’re walking down the street, we’re literally dancing, right? It’s just essentially adding a beat, a natural heartbeat is literally the first musical note that we’ve ever heard in our lives, which is our mother’s heartbeat. And yet we call ourselves, you know, names. I’m not a dancer. So, our goal with Daybreaker is to help everyone return to the dancer in them and to really recognize that there isn’t…Like, it’s not dance choreography. Like, we don’t teach choreography. We just literally help you connect to your self-expression, help you connect to music, and help you connect to your essence.

We have blindfolded moments in our dance experience to really, again, get you to go in, move through any trauma, self-judgments, any past kind of preconditioning that you’ve had to really reprogram yourself. So much of this blindfolded meditation that you see, it’s seeded and still is very potent but when you add movement to it, when you actually invite blindfolded movement modality, when you invite guided visualization practices, as you safely, low and slow I always say, move just with a depth of connection to your self-expression while you’re going in, not going out to on a dance floor where you’re, you know, kind of, shy or nervous about what other people think of you, this is a moment where you get to actually move your body and go in, and really get between your ears, get between your body energy levels, and connect to yourself from, again, this movement space. And I guide you through the super gentle, yet potent way of going into the dancer inside of you. And we invite breath into it. We invite, again, visualization practices. We invite play and creative expression. And it really is for all ages.

Our community at Daybreaker and DOSE ranges from young middle schoolers all the way up to people in their 80s and 90s. And the whole idea is that joy can be practiced across all levels, all ages, all shapes. It’s not high-intensity interval training that spikes your cortisol. And that’s a big thing that I talk about that I’m gonna be coming out with quite a bit, which is we need to break up with our cortisol addiction. And 80% of us who practice exercise and who are in, you know, high-intensity exercise move modalities, we’re creating often more cortisol spikes, more stress in our lives that isn’t actually inviting us to reclaim our joy and retrain our brains, retrain our body-brain to actually remember to unlock your happy neurochemicals. So our entire entrainment process is to break up with a spike of cortisol and to retrain your body and your brain to move towards modalities that look at the net mind-body score. Right?

Because when you work out, you’re just looking at the body score, “Oh, my abs are tighter. My butt is tighter. You know, my arms are a little bit less flabby” or whatever. You’re looking at your body score. But what is the mind-body score when you’re exhausted after a workout, when you’re, you know, maybe binge eating afterwards, or judging yourself in the mirror every day, right? And so, the whole thing that we look at is how do we actually look at the brain-body score, the mind-body score, and look at what is happening in your brain. Are you spiking cortisol and stress in your body when you’re doing high-intensity workouts or are you actually inviting your happy neurochemicals from coming out, which makes you more happy and lasts for longer times, longer hours throughout the day? So you don’t have to get that fixed day in day out that you’re getting your brain entrained by these joyful movement modalities that, again, we look at the net brain-body score and leave you with a much, much higher net brain-body score, as any traditional high-intensity workout will do.

Katie: That’s a great point. And especially for women who are so much more sensitive to hormone fluctuations related to that. And, like, that cortisol cascade can affect everything from your melatonin production, which affects your sleep to metabolism, like, every hormone.

Radha: Absolutely. And even your skin, even your skin. Like, I see, you know, joy practice is good for your skin, good for anti-aging. And when you practice joy, when you practice how to release your happy neurochemicals, you’re relaxing your skin. You’re creating more oxygen. You’re creating just better elasticity through this sort of breathing. Your serotonin levels are created in your gut. And 80% of serotonin is created in your gut, what you put in your body, that then translates up into your brain. And serotonin is all about anti-anxiety, anti-depression, really connected to relaxation, connected to awe, connected to ease and comfort. And you can get that, of course, you know, when you eat the right foods. We can get that when you practice joy as well. And we have so many modalities that we’ve fused together, from qigong to tai chi, to breathwork, to pranayama, to visualization practices, to mindfulness blindfolded practices, to self-massage practices, to just dance, of course, lots and lots of different dance and movement. But I call it, you know, move meditation, dance modalities that we invite in. And it fuses all of these different potent practices together to get you the most connected to happy neurochemistry.

Katie: And you’re right. I think dance can be a difficult thing for a lot of people. There’s a lot wrapped up into that, like you mentioned, and how we feel about our bodies. I think it forces us to face some of our filters. Although, as a mom, I see that kids don’t have that and they seem to develop it as they get older. But my younger kids just naturally move. And I know you’re a mom as well. I feel like this is a fun thing, like, the idea of incorporating dance with our families as well. Is that something that you guys do and any suggestions for, kind of, building that into a family environment?

Radha: Absolutely. So, every single morning, my daughter runs into our room. Well, actually I take her out of the crib. And she’s 2. She just turned 2. And the first thing she says is “Oh, oh, oh, oh, dance,” which is Shakira’s song from this wonderful movie “Zootopia.” And we just sing the song. We dance and we sing the song every single morning. She just jumps up and down. And we now have a full playlist of dance music and dance songs that she loves that we incorporate also into our DOSE practices. So then we do a DOSE dance class together, move and practice, and she just…again, it’s because like so much with our eyes are closed in this dance movements, you’re really looking inward, again, safely doing movement with your eyes closed with a blindfold on, or just gentle dance movements where we actually invite affirmations into our brain-bodies.

So we have so many different movements that Soleil can do. Her name is Soleil, my daughter, and she’s 2. And so she’s learning so many…her vocabulary is growing like crazy. So we’ll say, “Soleil, you know, I am powerful,” and she’ll just say, “I’m powerful,” And, you know, so around our classes, the video frame, we have eight affirmations around the frame so that, you know, while you’re taking the joy practice, you have all of these affirmations subconsciously entering your brain-body. So even if you’re not necessarily focusing on them for most of the class, though, we have parts of the class where we invite you to literally physically bring in the affirmations into your physical space as you dance and move. But outside of that, affirmations are a really important part of our joy practice. And so, Soleil, and us, and my husband will dance around and do a joy class, but really recite these affirmations, and then she just feels…And I just watch my daughter gain confidence as she says words like, “I am powerful. I am beautiful. I am connected. I am a dancer. I am strong,” you know.

And so, each DOSE class has eight different affirmations around the perimeter of the video frame. And so, every class, you get to invite new affirmations into your joy space. I mean, it’s just…and you do that for 11 minutes every morning. We call micro-dosing. So you micro-DOSE on joy. So that we have an 11-minute class that you can do every morning. We have a 33-minute class that you can do in the mornings. And it just, again, sets your day off with joyful affirmations, gentle movements. I say that you glisten after class, you don’t sweat. So you’re, like, shining and shimmering versus sweating and red-faced. And it just creates a completely different just level of energy for your day. It’s a smoother ride.

Katie: I love the idea of micro-dosing. That’s so much fun. And yeah, I wish I had thought to do that with my kids when they were really young because now my older ones, I’m having to, like, learn to help them break out of their shells just like I’m having to learn to do myself when it comes to dance. But it’s a fun synergy because that was on my list to tackle for this year. Last year, singing in public was the scariest thing I could imagine. So I just started taking voice lessons and tackled that one. And this year, one of my focuses is to learn how to dance, not in a specific way, but just to be able to have fun and not be self-conscious while dancing. So…

Radha: Okay. I’ll gift you a membership. As soon as we’re done this podcast, I’ll send you a membership so you can try it out and really practice joy in the comfort of your living room. So, it’ll be a good first step before I invite you to Daybreaker in the real world.

Katie: Awesome. I’m excited to jump in. Another area that I know you have a lot of experience with and you’ve even written about in your book is the idea of growing and cultivating strong community. And I think this is so incredibly important, even more so than it ever has been after this past year. And I know many, many people are reeling from feeling that lack of community. I know I felt that for a long time. And I had to be very conscious about creating a strong community. Because in today’s world, it doesn’t seem to happen quite as naturally as it once did. So, I’d love to hear from you on the topic of community, both on the importance…I know you’ve researched just how vitally important it is to every aspect of our lives. And then from a practical standpoint, how can we build it, especially in such unusual times?

Radha: Absolutely. So just, you know, two stats for you. You know, before COVID, one in four Americans had zero friends to confide in. And that number had tripled in 30 years. And now, with COVID, one in two are experiencing social isolation. And that number goes up when you’re looking at, you know, elder community members. So it’s a very, very wild time. Another stat to share is, you know, having poor social connections is as harmful to your physical health as being an alcoholic and twice as harmful as obesity. So, paying attention to your friendships, and your connections, and relationships, if you don’t pay attention to it is as harmful to your physical health as being obese or an alcoholic. And it’s wild to think about because we don’t put those in the same category. But all of that ladders up to our mental health.

And yeah, so, the first thing I say in my book is you have to go in to go out. And I think, you know, we often will be so in grasping mode that we don’t get intentional about our own, sort of, values, our own interest, our own, sort of, where we are authentically showing up in the world. And so, you know, in my 20s, I used to fall into friendships and stumble into these friend groups because I was just so eager to make friends. I didn’t get intentional and/or look inside to what I needed. I just was, kind of, looking at what society thought was cool or, you know, what closest friends I could make by someone sitting next to me at my desk at work or whatever, you know. And so, step one for me in my journey of building community was to really do an audit of my own self. And so I call that in my book “gentle self-awareness” because awareness can be pretty harsh sometimes. But if we can be gently self-aware and really come home to how we’re showing up for the world and begin auditing what qualities we want in our own friendships.

So, the first thing I did was…Yeah, I plotted my own history. I actually took the time, and it is all my book too, but really take time to recognize where I was in my life throughout my life when I was feeling the most belonging, when I felt the most connected, when I was fist-pumping to life. Like, when were those moments in my life? And to draw a timeline out of that. And I realized the reason why I was so lonely in my 20s is because I moved 11 times, apartments, neighborhoods, cities, you know, for jobs and relationships, and whatever it was. So, it was no wonder I was living this nomadic life and I felt so unmoored. And so, just in doing that audit made me realize, “Oh, wow. I was so happy my childhood because I had roots and I was able to really develop friendships, you know, around areas.” And I love it. I played soccer because I loved soccer. I loved language and art. So I was in language school and all of these different things.

And so, you know, when you begin doing this audit for yourself, you begin seeing all these clues. Oh, maybe I shouldn’t be living this nomadic lifestyle, backpack living, which is so cool with the millennials these days. How can we actually audit moments in our lives where the most…? When was I running away? When was I feeling the most bullied? When was I feeling the most, you know, embarrassed about moments in my life? Just audit those moments and then recognize, okay, what are the qualities now that I’m looking for in a friend at this phase in my life? As a new mom, or for you, as a mom with, you know, multiple children, it’s like, we have different values and we have different qualities we are looking for a friend today. So, I actually wrote down for the first time in my life what qualities I was looking for in a friend. And we do this type of audit for our work careers. We do this audit for our loved ones and our romantic relationships but rarely do we do this type of audit for our friendships.

So, column one is like, what qualities am I looking for in a friend? Like, really take the time to write that down. I want friends to talk about ideas and not each other. I want friends who like to work out and be healthy. I want friends who love to travel. I want friends who love music festivals. And I want friends who love to maybe get curious about trying out different things like dance, you know, in the morning, you know. And then column two is, like, what are the qualities that I don’t want in a friend? Like, really take the time to write that out. Like, what…I don’t want friends who are competitive with each other. I don’t want friends who shoulder shrug when I have a big victory and I call my friend, I’m like, “You know, like, Stacy, whatever, I had this amazing thing happened to me,” and then they’re like, “Oh, cool, cool. I gotta go. My kid’s screaming at me. I need to run,” versus, like, celebrating wholeheartedly for you, you know. So really, like, taking time to audit the qualities that you’re looking for in a friend, that you don’t want in a friend. You don’t want negative Nellies, like, people who are backseat drivers who are constantly, like, you know, just grandfathered in from your old life, just like really taking that time.

And then column number three is what are the qualities that I need to embody in order to attract the friends that I want? So, I want friends who are…I need to be, you know, less of a workaholic. I need to cancel less on friends. I need to be less judgy of the way someone whatever. You know, I need to…You know, so really taking the time to look at how I’m showing up and how I’m radiating my own authenticity. And when I began to do that audit and that real thoughtful thinking, that was the first time I let…at 30 years old, I did that for the very first time, it changed my life, Katie. It really just allowed me to…Like, it gave boundaries. It created very, very easy guardrails for the type of friends that I would look for. So then after that…And then there’s a bunch more exercises in the going in part of the book.

But after I did all these exercises, I went to go out, which was really…So, I call it the four stages of community. So you have the exploratory phase of community. Like, imagine like a bullseye, there’s the outside and then it goes further and further in on a ring of the bullseye. So the outside ring is an exploratory phase, where based on your current today’s…what you value today in a friend or in a community or, you know, in what you’re interested in exploring, you begin exploring, sort of, those communities. So now, okay, I want travel community. I want festival community. I want entrepreneurial community. I want wellness community. Let me go and find all these types of communities online, in, you know, meetup groups and Facebook groups, by asking friends of friends, by just, like, beginning that curious inquiry, you know, by really reaching out what I call courageous inquiry, really getting courageous about doing this research, around not just, like, you know, necessarily going on social media, “Does anyone have any friends for me? Like, how do I…?” You know, it’s like really taking time to research and seeing what communities exist in my area or online that I can really begin aligning with, that align with the qualities I’m looking for in a friend, or as I say in my book, the values, interests, and abilities that I want in my own life.

So, exploratory becomes participatory. So one ring in, you now begin participating as you get connected…Let’s say you pick one or two of those exploratory communities and you’re like, “Oh, I really like these two communities. Let me begin volunteering my time. Let me just say that, ‘Oh, I’ll volunteer the door check,’ or you know, ‘I’d love to be part of the hosting committee,’ or whatever it is.” So now you start participating in these communities. Or can I help, you know, with meal planning or whatever it may be, really think about, you know, what your abilities are and how you can show up for that community to participate in making the community better. And then in doing that, you go from exploratory to participatory to then outer core community, which is sort of maybe, like, a few hundred people that are, sort of, in this outer core, bigger, larger pool of people who are interested in the same areas of participation that you’re a part of. So the festival community members, or entrepreneur community members.

And then from that outer core community membership, you’ll find your five to seven inner core community members who really give you wings, who celebrate your victories, who are not competitive with you, who really show up and high five you, who you can cry with when you’re having a bad day, who always say, “Oh my God, that’s a great idea, Katie. You should totally do this, really dope product company, and get it started. It sounds awesome. I’m gonna buy your…I’ll be your first customer and I’ll tell 10 of my friends.” You know, like, that’s what you’re looking for in the end. You know, and you do that by going through and really getting intentional about that journey. And honestly, on either side of whatever thing that you build, you know, for me as an entrepreneur, when I built my underwear company, or with Daybreaker, or DOSE, as we grew and became more and more successful, I had people and friends to celebrate it with. I had my inner core community who I could celebrate it with. And, Katie, I gotta tell you, there’s so many friends of mine who have sold their businesses, who have made hundreds of millions of dollars, and they have no community with whom to share that joy with or share that major milestone in their lives because they spent all of their life heads down working or just being parents and working, and didn’t cultivate any community.

And I think it’s so important, especially as parents today to really make sure you have that third arm in your life, which is, it could be a small inner core, but a core community that really you can celebrate with and take…You know, Mickey and I, my twin sister and I, we sold one of our first businesses. We flew 40 of our friends out…We took 40 of our friends out on an all-expenses-paid vacation to Colombia and we just said, “Hey, you know, you have been with us for, you know, our entire, you know, eight-year run as we built this business. And now on the other side of it when we sold it and we had our own amazing, life-changing moment, we wanna thank you for it, and let’s have a party over four days in Colombia.” And all 40 friends showed up and came, and we just had the best time. And we cried together. They cried for us and with us. And it was one of the most magical moments of my life because I had friends with whom we celebrate with. Does that make sense?

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. And I love your point about being intentional about that and even, like, writing out what you’re looking for because I think so often, maybe because in childhood friendships tend to be more situational and happen based on your parents and your social group or your school but we never really curate the idea of intentionally choosing and building community and friendships. But in today’s world, I think that’s really, really necessary. And many people…you’re right, I think people do this when they’re considering, like, a significant other or certainly a business relationship. But our friendships are just as important. The community is just as important. And I know firsthand, like, how different it feels to have that strong community. And I get asked that all the time, like, “How did you find the community?” And I’m like, “Well, I didn’t find it. I built it.” Especially in today’s world, you have to be the proactive one.

And even for my kids, I’ve always wanted it to be the house where all of their friends could always feel welcome. And I’ll feed any kids who are in my house any day, anytime, and just giving them opportunities for those same experiences for community, for learning, for getting to work on projects together, whatever it may be. But I love that. Like, to your point, we have to be very intentional and nurture these things and make them as much of a priority as work or all of the other things that make themselves priorities in our life for us.

Radha: Absolutely. I mean, Katie, and I’ll share one story that might make you giggle as a mom. Like, here in New York City, you know, we’re kind of all alone together in many ways. Like, you know, my daughter’s 2 and she’s, you know, in COVID, not been going to daycare or anything. And so I was like, “I need to have her make friends.” So I kind of lurked around the park around the corner from our house, and I just observed one afternoon, just a group of kids playing. And the ones that I felt like were the most joyful, energetic, and were the most, you know, kind of, looked like they were sharing with each other and supporting each other, and were the same age as Soleil, I approached the nannies and I just said, “Excuse me, how old are these kids?” And they said, “Oh, they’re, you know, just under 2.” And I said, “Oh my gosh, my daughter is just under 2 also. Is it weird to ask for your phone number? I’d love to invite y’all over for a playdate safely, you know, blah, blah?” So I got together with the mothers, I got connected to the mothers via the nannies on text. I started texting the moms and next thing I know, Soleil has these two best friends now that she sees, you know, every other day. And it takes also parental coordination sometimes and that intentional observation.

So, you know, I get to now community build for my daughter and she’s only 2. But, you know, she’s now so happy with her two best friends and she sees them all the time. And I got to meet the moms and the parents, and the parents are wonderful, wonderful people. And I’ve made new, you know, mom friends in the process. And I just think that we can do that as moms too and not just let our kids, sort of, like, figure it out on their own and come home bullied, but we can actually really support our kids in helping them get intentional about how they choose their friends, and why they choose their friends, and where they find their friends by doing these types of via charts. Like, you know, ask your kids like, what do you value? Oh, you like sports? Oh, you like, you know, singing, or oh you like, you know, dancing? Okay. Great. Let’s find all these communities. And let’s find all the kids who, you know, yeah, are willing to share or are, like, happy-go-lucky. Like, let’s find, you know, like, really right mix that will give you wings in the end.

And I think there’s so much that can be done in the parenting space that I don’t think is being taught just yet from a community perspective through the lens of making friends and helping your kids make friends, not to do their work for them and make it easy for them. And, you know, you’re teaching them the why. Like, you know, why are these friends meaningful? You know, why do you wanna pick…? You know, what qualities do you wanna look at in a friendship that makes them worthy of spending time with? So, giving our kids those types of lessons early on will pay dividends for the rest of their lives.

Katie: Absolutely. And being willing to be the one to go first, and to be the place for the community, and to initiate those conversations and initiate those experiences. Especially now I feel like things are seeming to get more open in a lot of places or people are more willing to at least spend time together in small groups in different ways. And so I think it’s a beautiful time to start that process in our local areas. And yeah, it’s just night and day difference to have someone have that small group. And you’re right, it does not have to be a big group. It can be just a few core people and that can be absolutely life-changing. I’m 100% on board with you about that.

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You’re also a mom. You’ve mentioned your little one. And I’d love any other tips for building in some of these joy practices and teaching these things early on with our kids. It’s something I know when we spoke before I’m very intentional about passing on certain core things to my children. I know you are too. So I’d love to hear from your personal experience any other ways that you’re doing this in your family.

Radha: Yeah. I mean, you know, my advice might not be just so popular. But I really think that, you know, some routine is good but I also think it’s so important to not change your life as parents to cater to your children’s needs. And I think for me what’s made Soleil…I would say she literally can recite 14, sorry, 27 states in the American, like, map and she knows these…She’s just so, like, intellectually curious because we never change and she’s so happy. And she’s the kid that walks down the street and says hello to everyone. And the corner store lady always gives her chocolates and candy because she’s so friendly and warm. And I think it’s because we have always said, you know, we’re not gonna change our lives for our daughter. We are going to invite her into our life to experience our intentional way of living, and she can pick up on that. Kids are such sponges.

So instead of having the routine where, you know, mothers and fathers, like, sacrifice their whole entire authentic selves for the sake of these, you know, books that exist out there that tell you that the kids have to go down at this time, have to go at this time, da, da, da, da, you know, everything has to be done so perfectly. And as moms, we love to follow rules. I just think that it sets us up for a really monotonous and often frustrated, you know, kind of life. And so I think with Soleil, like, I’ve taken her…she’s been in 45 cities and, you know, over 10 countries in her first 2 years of life. I take her…She went on our Oprah tour…We had a nine-stadium Oprah tour. This past year, she was the only baby on the tour. Oprah held her for the tour photo with, like, 200 people there and she became friends with everyone on tour. And it was just so cool to watch the entire community wherever she went become her parent too. So, as a mom, instead of just being a nuclear, one mother, one father, mine, mine, mine, I was super open and generous about other, you know, friends and family members becoming parental figures for her too.

And whether it was on tour, whether it’s with my, you know, best friends here in New York, you know, just being super open to her socialization and being really adventurous about bringing…And it takes extra energy and effort and it can be sometimes, you know, tiring but actually, it ended up…During COVID when I was home with her, the same routine every day, it was more exhausting than traveling with her on the road, going to new places, seeing new faces, having new energy coming at her that she could learn. And work, fortunately, took me there. I know not everyone listening has those means that you could travel everywhere. But I’m just saying, like, change it up. Like, allow other friends and friend figures to really support in your parenting and being, you know, generous about allowing multiple types of energies into your child’s life because they’re so much richer for it.

Katie: I agree. That’s another great piece of advice. And as we get close to the end of our time today, I have a couple of other questions I’d love to ask. The first being if there is a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life, and if so what they are and why?

Radha: Yeah. So I actually just finishing reading “The Book of Joy.” It’s called “The Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. And I have never felt more vindicated. And just my passion and my career path is, like, really doubling down on supporting the movement for joy. These two spiritual leaders, I couldn’t believe it, but they actually talk about joy practices, and practicing joy, and how happiness is not guaranteed. And you have to work at it every day. And so they share a series of joy practices as well in their book. And they just talk about, you know, what it means to be courageously joyful today. And so that book was such a beautiful, just value add. And as I, you know, developed our curriculum for functional happiness teacher training, we’re developing a whole functional happiness coaching program to teach people how to be, you know, sort of, facilitators for joy and how to really teach brain-body happiness biohacking. Anyway, and so that book really gave me just so many ideas, and thoughts, and downloads around what more we could do in this space from two incredibly spiritual leaders.

And the other book actually is interesting, just as an entrepreneur, is “Shoe Dog,” which is Nike’s founder’s book, Phil Knight, who basically built Nike from scratch. And the grit and the level of work ethic…Like, you know, today’s entrepreneur, they often think you just throw some things up on social media and it’s done. But, you know, it’s like real institutions are built from the back of your truck, slinging shoes for years. Like, being on…You know, it’s like his story of grit and almost going out of business a dozen times and having to fly back and forth to Japan to make new deals and to just how he signed his first, you know, sort of, face of Nike, just every level of his journey, he deserves to be where he is. And it will teach entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs and seasoned entrepreneurs, really what grit and what effort it takes to get to the top and get to change in industry and change the world. And I think his book really, really impacted me and I loved it. So I would say those two books, one for entrepreneurship and one for spirituality would be two books that I would start with.

Katie: Love it. I’ll put both of those in the show notes at And any parting advice for the mostly women that are listening today? Lots of women and moms, any parting words you wanna leave with them?

Radha: Yeah, I think it’s so important for moms, especially, to remember their authentic joy. I mean, it’s so important for you to remember that our lives…if we make ourselves happy first, our children will be happy also. And so we get to decide and our energy is what they feel the most, not even our words, but they feel when we’re exhausted. They feel when we’re hiding our frustration around not living our own authentic lives and really carving out our own me time. Like, I’ll just share one more quick story. I just did my first solo week by myself, no kid, no partner, no husband, no one, just me by myself. And she’s 2 years old. I wish I would have done it sooner. And when most mothers as I’ve interviewed have taken almost 18 years to give themselves that type of gift but giving yourselves, all the moms out there listening, giving yourselves time, like three days, four days, five days, you’re gonna record and share this recording of mine to your husbands to ask them to give you that week off to recharge your own batteries that you’d show up as a better wife, a better partner, a better mother, when you get to just recharge your own batteries.

And that joy should really be as mothers who are teaching our children how to be joyous in the real world. You know, I really encourage you to invest in it. And whether it’s with us on DOSE…And by the way, the first two weeks are on us too to try it out. But if not us, to just really find and write down what are the things that bring you joy in your life? And can you invite that more into your life, day to day, week to week, month to month? And I think that’s the best gift we can give for ourselves for our own life to not sacrifice for, you know, the benefit of our child. But also, in the end, it will benefit the child with that more joyous energy. And energy is something that we forget about, but it is everything in life.

Katie: Absolutely. And yeah, and I always end the podcast by thanking everyone for sharing their most valuable resources, their time and their energy with us today. And I know that you would echo that as well. But thanks also to you for sharing your valuable time and energy with us, and for all this work you’re doing to support women and mothers everywhere.

Radha: Thank you, Katie, and right back at you. It takes a village. It really does.

Katie: It does. And hopefully, we’ve inspired you guys to build and continue cultivating your own villages wherever you are. I appreciate your time. I appreciate all of you for listening, for sharing your time with us today, and I hope that you’ll join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.


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