If you were ever in a position of starting to put together meditation classes, you may have experienced that it isn’t an easy task. Guiding a meditation class can actually be quite intimidating and daunting, even for a seasoned teacher! To help you with this, I’ve put together my top 3 best practices on how to guide meditation classes.
When I was starting to lead meditation classes at a Yoga and Wellness Center in Thailand, I was extremely nervous and scared. I was responsible for leading many of the morning meditation classes for all the guests who were there for their wellness retreats, for students who were learning yoga, as well as outside random drop-in students.
I would say that for at least the first entire year, I continued to feel nervous before teaching each class. It did get easier over time, but depending on the class and the setting, the nerves don’t seem to completely go away.
For those of you who are yoga teachers, you may remember teaching your very first yoga class and how nervous and scared you were. But the more you teach classes, the easier it becomes.
You figure out how to instruct certain poses, transitions, etc. You still may get the nerves, but that subsides over time and with more practice, and teaching classes become easier and more natural.
But HOW do you deliver a good guided meditation class?
1. Choose a Meditation Style
First, you have to choose what kind of meditation you will offer.
There are tons of different meditations styles you can choose from, so which one will you decide on?
Will it be a mindfulness meditation? Silent meditation? Breathwork incorporated meditation? Mantra meditation? Visualization meditation? Body scan meditation? Etc.
With so many options, how do you even choose?
When you’re teaching classes, you have to start from where you are at, with what you know.
So, consider these questions:
- What are the meditations you’ve tried or learned about?
- What are the meditations you enjoy and resonate with?
- Which meditation teachers do you follow and respect?
Asking yourself these questions will help you hone in on what you are already familiar with, what you know, and what you can offer as your meditation class(es).
Deciding on a particular style of meditation is going to be your starting point or baseline for your preparation for your class.
2. Structure Your Class
Now that you’ve figured out which style of meditation you will offer, the next step is to plan out the actual structure of the class.
What will you include as the contents of your class? How will your class flow?
You’ll want to consider various aspects of the class you are going to lead.
For instance: How much time do you have for this class? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? 60 minutes? How much time you have can determine what you can include and how you’ll put together the meditation class.
Another thing to consider is, are you leading just a meditation class? Or is it something you’ll offer as a blend of meditation & yoga class? If it’s going to be a part of your yoga class, how will you make the transition flow smoothly from meditation to the yoga asanas or vice versa?
Now, think of what exactly you will want to cover in your meditation class.
Create a bullet-point outline for your class.
- An Intro
- The Middle (Main Body) of Class
- A Closing
Introduce what you will be offering for the meditation & explain the basics of how to sit, how to use the props (if needed), etc.
Help people to get into a more relaxed state and to being more connected to the present moment. You can use tools like yogic breathing, pranayama, and instructions for your students to pay attention to their senses.
Then, follow that up with the main part of your meditation class. This can simply be just sitting and observing. You can use other methods depending on which style of meditation you have decided on offering. (mindfulness, loving-kindness, mantra, visualization, etc.)
Allow people to sit in silence for some time. Even if you are offering a short meditation, be sure you include at least a little bit of time dedicated to silence.
You will feel as if you’ll need to talk the whole time, but this is actually not so beneficial when it comes to leading meditations.
Depending on who you’re working with, you may choose to speak a little more, but try to keep your speaking to a minimum, only what’s absolutely necessary to provide enough guidance.
To close out the meditation class, gently bring people back from silence into being back in their physical body and into the room. Give thanks to all the participants. Allow some time for Questions if you are able to.
3. Don’t Over Complicate Things. Keep It Simple
As mentioned before, guiding meditation can be intimidating and it’s easy to start to overthink everything.
So the third and final best tip I have for you is to always remember to go back to the basics and to KEEP. IT. SIMPLE!
The problems come up because: You may find yourself wanting to incorporate EVERYTHING you’ve learned in the past. You might feel overwhelmed and confused. You might feel like you don’t know enough or that you are not good enough in one way or another. You might also feel like an imposter or a fraud for even trying to lead a meditation class. But, please know that these are all normal things any teacher will go through when they are starting out or teaching anything new.
It’s not too much different from when you were first starting to put together your yoga asana classes. Do you remember? You probably wanted to teach ALL THE THINGS, you had doubts, you felt overwhelmed, you felt underqualified, etc.
But you knew that in order for you to share yoga with others and also to grow as a yoga teacher, you had to start.
So, if you are feeling overwhelmed or confused as you are preparing your class, take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and use these 3 questions:
- What is the main point of this meditation class I want to offer?
- And how can I deliver this as simply as possible?
- How would I instruct myself through this class? (to gain clarity on the words you can use as your instructions)
Keep it Simple to Stay Sane.
Best Practices for Guiding Meditation
There’s one last thing I want to talk to you about, if you are feeling very overwhelmed or you feel a lack of confidence in your abilities. Think of some of your favorite teachers you had decided to learn from in the past. Why did you choose them as your teacher(s)?
You didn’t choose to learn from them solely for the reason of how much they knew, how many degrees they had, or how many years they had been teaching. The choice was based on more than just their knowledge or experience. It also wasn’t because they did everything perfectly.
They appeared in your life and they were accessible to you during that specific time when you wanted to learn about that specific topic. And something about them, who they were, how they spoke, what they said, their approach, and their energy was right for you. So you made a decision based on a collection of factors, and a “gut feeling”.
Different teachers appear in our lives at different times for different reasons.
As teachers or guides, we never know how what we offer can impact the lives of others.
The smallest things can make a world of difference. So what we CAN do is to strive to bring our very best to each class and each interaction.
- Teach from what you know.
- Continue to learn, grow, and expand.
- Continue to hone your skills as a teacher/guide.
- Show up as the best version of you as much as possible.
The best version of you in any given moment doesn’t mean you have to know everything or that you have to be perfect.
You got this!
Feel free to get in touch with me. I will be sharing more tips about guiding meditations on this site.
A question for you:
What is the biggest hurdle for you when it comes to guiding meditation classes?
As always, sending you all the best!
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