In order to learn how to meditate, should you take a meditation class?
Without a doubt, if you wish to learn this way. Though there are other successful means of learning to meditate.
Instruction in traditional meditation techniques can be extremely valuable as many beginners struggle with simply getting control of their wandering minds.
This alone can be a challenging exercise in frustration, that often leaves a new meditator wondering if they’re doing it right.
Because some traditional meditation practices require a little more focus than others, many people quit before fully mastering the technique, let alone practicing it and thus miss out on the truly rewarding benefits of meditation.
This is where a meditation class would prove invaluable as you would benefit from the encouragement of a teacher and a group that you would feel accountable to.
For those who do like the idea of enrolling in a meditation class, be assured, classes come in a huge variety of styles and intentions so the only way to discover which one is best for you, is to try them!
Most teachers of meditation are more than happy (often encourage you) for you sit in during a class absolutely free of charge, to give you an idea of what you’ll be enrolling in.
Below are just a few key points to keep in mind before committing yourself to any meditation class:
- What is your intention with meditation?
It’s important for you to get clear on WHY you want to meditate so that you can find a class that suits you and your lifestyle.
- Where to begin?
Inquire about the meditation class level. Is it geared toward beginners? Advanced meditators? Everyone? Is the instructor going to enhance your meditation skills, or simply guide you through a relaxing visualization?
- What goes on?
Do the activities during the meditation class complement your intention and needs? For example, do you want guided meditation for relaxation, but the class offers instruction in transcending thought?
Is the class affiliated with a particular religious practice and is this what you’re looking for? There are religious meditation classes, spiritual meditation classes and secular meditation classes. Find the one that ‘speaks’ to you.
- Physical comfort:
This is very important. It’s hard to meditate if you’re intensely uncomfortable, for example, if you have bad knees and the teacher insists everyone sit on the ground cross-legged or in Lotus, you will probably not enjoy the class at all.
- Silent, or guided?
Is the teacher talking most of the time, or do they offer simple instructions at the beginning, with the remainder of the class held in silence? Some people don’t enjoy being guided through meditation and some do. Some people like to chant as a group, and some feel uncomfortable doing that. Be true to what you prefer!
Do not believe any teacher who will tell you that you will experience instant results. Sure, you may become “instantly” more relaxed but true lasting results do take time and of course commitment!
- The teacher’s vibe:
Do you enjoy the sound of their voice and speaking style, if it’s a guided meditation class? Do you resonate with their approach?
Do you feel genuinely welcomed, nurtured and is the teacher confident in their knowledge and skills?
Do they ‘speak down’ to you using words and phrases that you don’t understand, or do they take the time to explain everything? Do not force yourself into working with a teacher you don’t instinctively feel at ease with, even if they’re the only teacher in town. At that point it’s far better to use a home study product (and if you really want to practice with others, invite a few friends to join you!).
Do you actually enjoy sitting in silence with others? Some find it comforting, while others can find it most uncomfortable, even irritating.
Check the reviews of the meditation class you’re looking at! Have others had a positive experience?
For those who don’t like the idea of enrolling in a meditation class, be assured, there are many, many meditation programs out there.
Just like with a physical meditation class, it’s a good idea to try out a few (most have sample downloads) different ones.
You’ll find that each home study class can vary in style and intention.
Some may be guided meditations; some only have meditation music; some are strictly products with little or no instruction, while others are products complete with a comprehensive meditation course. Then there are whole brain synchronization programs like Lifeflow Audio Technology, designed to actually speed up the process (hence benefits) of meditation.
Again, do your homework before investing. For home study, here are a few tips to help you:
Make sure you have a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. It can be any corner of your home. You don’t need a dedicated meditation space but it should be free of distractions (including pets).
Amend the practice to suit your needs and preferences. If you can’t sit in Lotus, don’t! There is nothing wrong with meditating while sitting on the sofa.
If you don’t want to hold your hands in a Sanskrit mudra, don’t!
You won’t be “less than” spiritual or “less than” enlightened if you simply sit comfortably. While there’s something to be said for the physical discipline of certain types of meditation, it’s just not realistic to expect most people to want to be uncomfortable in their practice – they simply won’t do it!
Be very honest with yourself about your intentions for meditation and choose a product or program that is aligned with what you want.
Meditation is the ultimate journey within – so there’s truly no “wrong” way to meditate, despite what some teachers may tell you.
There are many, many different intentions and different styles, and not all will appeal to you. That’s okay!
Explore each type of meditation class and/or online products/programs and choose one or several you like.
Then simply start with one and take your time doing this, so that you find the “best way into yourself,” for you!