If you are wondering how to teach meditation to beginners, this is the blog post to answer that question for you! As a meditation coach and trainer myself, I have been training other coaches and trainers how to teach meditation for over a decade. We provide certification through our training course, Liberate. I am the founder of Sura Flow, a simple 3-step process for meditation.
We are so glad you want to become a meditation teacher or coach. I began coaching as a beginner myself. I was asked to lead and started making things up as I went. I loved it! This is why I encourage you to feel confident in leading others, even if you don’t have that much experience yourself. You are bringing people together in a protected space of silence to meditate. You can feel good about doing that!
Now more than ever, people are weighed down from sickness, financial stress, relationship stress, and other worries. They are hungry for a space where they can find peace and calm. They need a meditation for overwhelm. When you are learning how to teach mindfulness, know that it is a gift for others that they so need! It is likely there are people just like you who need the space you can provide. But there are others you may not have thought of who need meditation coaching as well, whether young parents, office professionals, or those working on the road. Be open to offering space for all of them as part of your coaching.
A willing heart is the number one thing you need to lead meditation! People receive that.
There are some important things to know as you teach beginners.
These Are My 9 Best Tips About How to Teach Meditation to Beginners
1) Deepen Your Own Practice
If you feel called to lead others, this is the perfect time to deepen your own practice. If you have listened to a lot of guided meditations, this is a great time to go deeper in your own meditations without that external guidance. Go deep into yourself and focus on what inspires you — all with the goal of learning more about the practice of meditation.
Some great ways to learn include books, meditation with other teachers, or training. This will add to your teaching experience. It will help you decide what your style will be as you teach, the types of meditations you will use, and the benefits your style will provide to others.
2) Remember Back to When You First Started Learning Meditation
Consider these questions: What was it like for you when you first began meditation? What were the insecurities or challenges that you struggled with? What worked for you? What didn’t work for you?
Write the answers to these questions down to help you remember. Then, as you approach people who are just starting out in their practice, you can connect with them better. Put yourself into their shoes. Strive for a compassionate awareness of them as they go through this journey.
3) Be Ready to Address Their Questions and Concerns and All of Those That You Had Trouble With
Beginners are going to have a lot of questions and self-doubts along the way. Some of their concerns may include:
- I am having trouble meditating
- I am having trouble emptying my mind
- I am not sure I am good at this
They will have some specific questions about meditation in general, and you as a leader. Consider these possible questions. People are trying new things. They may be trying different meditation styles and even teachers to try and find the best fit.
- What are the different types of meditation?
- How is meditation going to help me?
- What is the style that you are teaching?
- How is your style going to help me?
Be prepared to answer these questions in a compassionate, affirming way.
4) Lead With a Meditation That is Secular and Simple
Start with a meditation that will be easy for anyone to absorb — no matter their faith, beliefs, background, experience, or tradition. Start with something universal that doesn’t require something specific to believe. This way, it does not require them to believe in angels or God or Buddha or yoga because your guided meditation is for everyone. Some wonder if they have to adopt a faith or believe something to practice meditation, so if you start with the basics you will practically be more open to larger groups of people.
I usually start with one of these two meditations:
Use your body as the guide. I always start with the feet and move up. The goal is to move up the body and bring focus on each part, relaxing as you go. I usually progress feet, legs, knees, upper legs, hips, buttocks by saying, “bring your awareness to your feet. Now your legs, and so on….” Body scans are great because they help you move out of your head and down into your body, grounding you.
Lead the group to focus on a sound (for example, a bell) or affirmation (for example, a mantra), or object (for example, a flame) in the present moment. It can be external or internal. I also love to start with 10 and ask them to count their breaths back down to 1. It may seem simple, but being simple is effective. The brain gravitates toward simplicity and finds calm and comfort there. Just breathing and counting with them is calming to the body and mind. Your voice will lead them in a calming way. Another is saying as you breathe: “Breathe in calm, breathe out peace.”
These practices can both be done later by the participant at home by themselves. The more simple the meditation, the easier it will be for them to remember. They can start their own practice this way. A long guided meditation won’t be as easy to recall or integrate into their own practice.
For more tips on meditation, read https://suraflow.org/how-to-help-others-with-overwhelm/
5) Use Your Voice as a Queue to Provide the Energy of Meditation
Your voice will actually become the focus of their thoughts in their head rather than their own voice. That will keep them from being distracted into other things.
You will also have a faster cadence, talking more than usual for beginners because their minds are going fast.
You will be an anchor for them as they hear your voice in their head. You keep them engaged through your voice. It becomes the vibration for the meditation and will help settle them into the practice.
6) Address People’s Blocks, Resistances, Struggles, and Hangups About Meditation Through the Queues You Provide
You provide the vibration of meditation through your voice and presence. I may add several different queues, such as:
- It’s normal to have a lot of thoughts as you try to meditate
- It’s normal to feel frustrated and think you are not doing it right
- Try to observe around you without judging
- Everything you are experiencing is perfectly okay
You are affirming them and answering doubts and concerns they may have through your affirmations.
7) Give Them Permission and Space to Have Their Own Experience, no Matter if it is Good or Bad
Have compassionate awareness around their experience. Meditation is a process and awakening. Tell them they can fully trust their experience. Whatever they are feeling around them is okay. You are their guide and coach and can assure them that whatever they feel is normal.
8) Talk About the Purpose of Meditation
As you lead, talk about the purpose of meditation and how it benefits them and the people around them. The goal is to raise self-awareness, become self-realized, to become liberated, to live their true self.
Teach them about the benefits they will receive as a result of meditation, such as:
- Reduced stress
- Better sleep
- More calm
- More focus
- More creative expression
- Bliss consciousness
- A deep sense of well-being, peace, and contentment more and more of the time
When they show up, ask them what their intention is for learning meditation. Always be open to learn, as this will help you get in touch with them during that session and gauge how they are doing. Keep this timed and limited.
9) Structure Your Meditation Session With a Beginning, Middle, and End
Consider the following for your beginning, middle, and end.
Introduce yourself, what you do, how you got started in meditation, and how that influenced you. Be brief but give enough so that people know who they are practicing with. People are always curious about your personal experience with meditation, and it is a great way to connect. After the first week, when you have a more established group, this is a perfect time to work in some of the purposes of meditation and its benefits, as noted in the last point.
The middle part is your guided meditation itself, which could be the body scan or focused meditation.
Start by telling them the length of today’s meditation. Lead them to find a comfortable seat, close their eyes, and sit with a straight spine. Start to help them find their positioning. Your voice begins to lead them in these very first moments, and it is easier to follow you into meditation after giving them the body queues to help them get set up.
Keep your meditation short. I recommend teaching beginning learners for 5 to 10 minutes. If you stretch it too long, it can create even more resistance and agitation. It can actually cause anxiety, making people wonder if they can make it that long.
The end of the meditation might be ringing a bell or chime, a reading of poetry, or an intention of healing for the day — whatever feels like an appropriate way to close this time of meditation. Many choose to keep this consistent throughout their sessions, so that their group begins to expect the way you will close.
For more specifics on how to lead a meditation class, read https://suraflow.org/how-to-lead-a-meditation-class/
In conclusion, I encourage you to feel confident in leading others, even if you don’t have that much experience. You are bringing people together in a protected space of silence to meditate. You can feel good about doing that! When you are learning how to teach mindfulness and meditation, it is a gift for others that they so need!
How to Teach Meditation to Beginners
Remember the 9 key points of this article.
- Deepen your own practice
- Remember back to when you first started learning meditation
- Be ready to address their concerns and all of those that you had trouble with
- Lead with a meditation that is secular and simple
- Use your voice as a queue to provide the energy of meditation
- Address people’s blocks, resistances, struggles, and hangups about meditation through the queues you provide
- Give them permission and space to have their own experience, no matter if it is good or bad
- Talk about the purpose of meditation
- Structure your meditation session with a beginning, middle, and end
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do You Teach Mindfulness?
Follow these 7 mindfulness tools:
- Become aware of what triggers your anxiety. Limit your time and engagement with that activity
- If you are distracted when practicing mindfulness, try shifting your focus and attention into the present moment
- Focus your attention to your breath. Say to yourself, “I’m breathing in, I’m breathing out”
- When you have thoughts, observe them come and go. Stay detached, as if you were watching a movie
- Practice visualization. Think about your favorite nature place and imagine everything you enjoy about it
- Use affirmations. For example, “Right now, I’m okay.” It’s a simple affirmation but it can be powerful to say something as simple as “It’s okay”
- Take up journaling. Write down what you fear or are secretly worried about. Naming our fears lessen their grip on us
What is the Role of a Meditation Teacher?
A meditation teacher may have a more structured approach, teaching from the background of a particular tradition or technique. For example, “zen meditation” or “yogic meditation.” A meditation coach may also teach a particular type of meditation, but will also be equipped in guiding meditations that are crafted individually for the client. This is because a coach will take into consideration the background and lifestyle needs of a client and create a meditation program that is suitable for their personal needs.
A meditation teacher tends to teach their approach to meditation without a thorough “intake” of their client’s background or lifestyle habits. This is because a teacher tends to teach within a group setting and cannot possibly take into account each individual’s constituent needs.
A meditation teacher’s role is akin to an expert or an authority. This tends to create a sense of hierarchy in the learning experience because the teacher is assumed to have a higher level of knowledge than the student. The teacher-student relationship tends to be more of a one-way exchange where the teacher is imparting their knowledge and information onto the student.
For more, read https://suraflow.org/meditation-teacher-coach-difference/