As part of LIBERATE, our meditation trainer program, perhaps the number one question I heard during the COVID epidemic was, “How do I teach meditation online?” Well, this is the correct place to find the answer to that question. Through this article, I will show you how to teach meditation online successfully.
Let me begin with a story first – my story. Many find it fascinating that I left a job on Wall Street to travel to India and study meditation. Although I was there to learn everything I could to help me personally, at that point I had no intention of becoming a meditation coach. But I didn’t want to go back to my previous work lifestyle. That led me to leading meditation because I was asked to teach others based on my own meditation practice. I had not been trained in coaching at all at that point.
Since that time, I have built my own business and founded Sura Flow entirely online, where I have trained other coaches for over 12 years now. If you are a meditation beginner or have been meditating for some time, you will find this information helpful in starting your own online meditation business.
I will start with some information about how I taught myself meditation. I began with Zen meditation: learning how to count my breaths from 10 to 1, counting every breath. That’s where I began when I led my first group — with something I loved and felt strongly about, and something that really worked for me. I started to add in other ways to guide meditation. The more I led, the easier it became – all through practice. Soon, I was asked to teach others how to coach and did so internationally. I taught online, by telephone, and through email, so I have lots of ideas for how you can teach!
There are many benefits to teaching online that I would love to share with you:
Benefits of Teaching Meditation Online
1. Teaching Meditation is Incredibly Joyful and Fulfilling — Even Online!
About 4 years ago, I began teaching online via video conferencing and doing online video presentations. People were still questioning whether you could effectively teach meditation online by video then. But we found there were many advantages. After teaching through telephone and email, video felt like an exciting opportunity.
Through video, like Zoom, you’re able to connect with others amazingly well. This is how I got started in leading online meditation coaching training.
2. Teaching Online has Incredible Flexibility
These three aspects of flexibility make the appeal clear:
- You can teach from anywhere.
- You can teach according to your schedule.
- You can teach students worldwide.
This is an incredible opportunity! The global reach alone shows that meditation’s reach is limitless. Meditation is expected to be a $2 billion dollar industry soon. The pandemic is a time when people are socially isolating themselves and unable to take classes in person. People are incredibly stressed, isolated, lonely, and in need of help. It opened the doors for online meditation teaching even more.
How You Can Get Started
1. The best Teachers Start With Their Own Personal Practice
I started that way. As I shared in the introduction, I did not intend to teach meditation. Starting your own personal practice first is helpful because teaching is a way to create a space for others just as you do for yourself in your own meditation practice. This will strengthen your practice when you take this approach.
Becoming a successful meditation teacher is not necessarily about what you know. You don’t have to go to school or meditate for many years to become a meditation teacher like you might have to for other professions.
When you teach, you empower yourself to go deeper in your own personal practice as well. It becomes easier to teach that to others when you can demonstrate it and not rely on trying to describe it alone. As you build a connection with those you teach, it will become real to you how joyful and blissful it is to meditate with others. Meditation increasingly transforms your life as you experience and live in this vibration.
It is interesting how meditation has impacted other areas of therapy and practice. Yoga teachers are increasingly adding meditation to the beginning and ending of their yoga practice and have seen how it benefits their class. Meditation helps get participants grounded and centered in their bodies before they enter the portion of the class that is rigorous exercise. Then they ground and center participants again as they cool down physically, then mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
There is a greater sense of flow, connection, and peace that happens between teachers and their students as well when they are led in meditation in addition to yoga. The same is true for other professions: massage therapy, aromatherapy, psychotherapy, and so on.
One trend that is becoming more evident is that most people have their own open practice, rather than a specific school or style of practice they stay in. They may start with silence in the morning, but over time, their practice may shift to something different.
2. Go Deeper
When you have a flow in your own personal practice, there are several ways you can go deeper. You can look at online platforms, such as Insight Timer meditations. If you’re doing that, I highly recommend you start with one class, one meditation, one approach and focus on that.
You don’t have to be perfect, be an expert, or get all your training first before you begin. As you teach, you will be driven to learn more and practice to develop your approach. That happens naturally. You can also enroll in meditation teacher training or coaching classes or enroll to get a meditation certificate. So, go on a retreat, start a class online, or dig deeper for yourself to see what the best fit is for you.
Check out our online training program, LIBERATE, at https://suraflow.org/liberate-meditation-coach-training-course.
Tips for Teaching
1. Plan Your First Class
An easy baby step to get started is to lead your own 5-minute video. You can invite a few friends and record yourself. Use a platform like Insight Timer to post your video. The goal is to begin with these things in mind: what is my intention, what is the theme, who is it for, and how will it help them. Think about your intention as you start your guided meditation.
You might say, “This is a meditation for pregnant moms. Our goal is to get more in touch with your baby in utero. These are the benefits (and list those).” This approach makes it clear who the class is for.
Then get into the meditation practice itself. There are three general types:
- Focus meditation promotes concentration.
- Awareness/Insight meditation where you allow everything to rise.
- Visualization promotes relaxation.
One encouragement: teach from your “go to” in your own private meditation as well. You can finish with a contemplation, affirmation, or intention to end your teaching. This is a general shape your meditation can take.
2. Follow Your Dharma!
When people start leading meditation classes, usually they want to do the most practical thing (e.g., make money, meet the most number of needs, etc.). But I encourage people to start with their passion (i.e., what you love, your personal passion, or who you like to work with and help).
Don’t make it complicated or get in your head about the technology, how you look, or what you wear. Join a platform and upload it to an online system. You can help many people at once when you take this approach and find different income streams.
There is no limit to what you can do. Teach on a platform. Coach individuals. Teach in a corporation. There are many possibilities!
How To Teach Meditation Online
How Do I Start an Online Meditation Practice?
When I talk with people about how to teach meditation online, I usually begin with three categories of information: what is great about teaching online, how to get started, and practical instruction about teaching online.
First, there are great things about teaching online I want everyone to know.
- Teaching meditation is incredibly joyful and fulfilling — even online!
- Teaching online has incredible flexibility with locations, times, and people you can teach.
Second, I direct those who are getting started teaching online to do the following:
Third, there are practical tips I like to give while others get started teaching online:
- Plan your first class. Consider your purpose, target group, and the beginning, middle, and end of your class.
- Follow your dharma! That’s your dream, not a set program, style, or technique.
What is the Difference Between Online Meditation Teaching Versus in Person?
I like to emphasize the freedom that teaching online offers. You can teach from anywhere. You can teach according to your schedule. You can teach students worldwide. Together, those are some incredible opportunities to consider to teach online! The pandemic showed us that people are incredibly stressed, isolated, lonely, and in need of ways to help them and opened the doors for online meditation coaching.
In both types of meditation teaching, I encourage you to follow the same techniques for leading from your own personal practice and carefully planning your purpose, target audience, and the aspects of your class.
How do I Start Teaching Meditation Online?
I advise the following for any beginning teacher: Simply with your own personal practice. I started that way. In fact, I did not intend to teach meditation. I was asked to teach my first class rather than seek it out. But that is helpful because teaching is to create a space for others just as you do for yourself in your own meditation practice. This will strengthen your practice when you take this approach.
Notice what it is not as well. Becoming a successful meditation teacher is not necessarily about what you know either. You don’t have to go to school to become a meditation teacher like you might for other professions. For more information on training, see this article that discusses the reasons why you would want to obtain a certification: https://suraflow.org/do-you-need-a-certificate-to-teach-meditation/
Also, there are practical tips I like to give others when getting started teaching online:
- Plan your first class. Consider your purpose, target group, and the beginning, middle, and end of your class.
- Follow your dharma! That’s your dream, not a set program, style, or technique. Teach from your “go to” meditation as well.
Where Can I Study Meditation?
At Sura Flow, we have our own training program for leaders and coaches. You will receive essential coaching tools for progress and success, and learn how to provide insight, reframing, feedback, and reflection.
This includes learning about 4 meditation techniques. Learn the best approach for you to develop your own daily meditation practice. You will learn practices that use concentration, awareness, visualization, and intention-based meditations.
You will learn about 4 approaches to energy healing. Learn how to enhance meditation through essential healing practices including: self-healing, hands-on healing, auric healing, and distance healing.
In this program, you learn about the energetics of meditation and energy management. Learn about the importance of energetic boundaries, how to increase your energy, and how to consistently maintain your energy while seeing client after client.
You’ll also learn about the essentials of leadership coaching, how to ask the right questions, and cultivate leadership presence for optimal results.
Learn how to bring your personal intentions to life through meditation. Receive insight on the intimate connection between healing, creativity, and manifestation.
Our program includes webinar training videos, one-on-one and group practice sessions, handouts, meditation, and coaching assignments. It requires approximately 8 to 10 hours a week to fully participate in the intensive training. As part of the curriculum, participants engage in various exercises, including meditation, writing, facilitating meditation, and observing sessions. In the LIBERATE training, you’ll learn how to:
- Guide calming meditations for others.
- Teach from your own personal experience.
- Become a more conscious leader.
- Be “in the flow” and guide sessions intuitively.
- Help others develop a daily practice.
- Find your voice in guiding meditation.
How Do You Lead a Meditation Group Online?
To lead a meditation group, I encourage people to ask the basic questions that reporters ask when investigating a story and then consider the practical aspects of a session.
Why may seem like a rhetorical question but take some time to think it through. Identify and connect to a deeper meaning when you create a meditation class because it can be challenging. A higher purpose will anchor and ground you, giving you the confidence you need to move forward when things aren’t certain. It takes courage to start a meditation group and that courage will carry you through the ups and downs you will face. Maybe it is the sense of connection you feel through meditation or the way you can help others.
What matters most is what works best for you. Find a good time when you are not stressed and can make it every week. That is the best time for you to set up your class.
Taking into consideration the higher purpose for your meditation circle and who it is for will help you decide when to offer it: once a week? twice a week? once a month?
A busy professional and a parent with young kids might be able to meet at different times of the day. That will also help you decide for how long to meet (30 minutes? 1 hour?) and how long your circle will last (6 weeks? 12 weeks?).
The most important thing is that you’re consistent. For professionals, you may find that lunch breaks, after work, and weekends are the primary times available. For busy moms, you will need to consider if kids are in school or if you offer your class at times when a partner is home from work to watch the kids.
After identifying your intention for starting a meditation class and when you are available, think about who you want to serve. Who are your people? Who will be in your group?
You will want the circle to be open to everyone and for them to feel accepted. However, it will help if you can let people know how they’re going to benefit from this experience so they can see if it is for them.
For example, you could identify your meditation circle for healing, stress reduction, or working through painful experiences. You can offer a meditation circle for busy professionals, moms needing a break, or anyone needing to step away from the challenges of life on the weekend.
Those who most identify with the group of people you describe will be naturally drawn to your class more than others.
Part of your marketing should also include benefits — what people are going to receive through the circle experience. How are they going to be changed? What will they learn? What can they practically take away to implement on their own?
The name of your circle matters too. You can communicate your purpose and who it is for even in the title of your class or group. Be sure to include whether it is a beginner level or for all levels. So, your class could be Young Professionals Beginner’s Guide to Stress Reduction or Mom’s Break Away to Find Inner Peace for All Levels. The more information you include, the more you will answer people’s questions ahead of time.
The online teaching platform you choose matters, but many of them offer the same features. Use the tool you are most comfortable with.
To learn more, please check our blog on “How to Take Your Work Online and Expand Your Business”.
Set the tone for your circle each week. Plan the rhythm and structure you’d like to create in your circle. Think of something that’s fun and joyful for you, as somebody who’s leading and facilitating. If it’s something that you love, that you yourself are passionate about, that’s really going to shine through and touch the people you’re connecting with. When developing your structure, think of what you have enjoyed in other classes and why.
How to Lead a Meditation Class: Class Format
When considering the logistics of how to lead a meditation class, think of the format of hosting a circle as having a beginning, middle, and end. As you structure your session and teach meditation techniques and tools, plan your meetings consistently each time. Teach the same techniques and tools every week. That’s the way people learn — through repetition and practice. Structure and familiarity bring comfort to your circle experience, no matter what age group you are leading.
Start of the Class
Introduce yourself briefly. You may give a brief introduction, also known as a dharma talk. You can focus on a theme for that day’s meditation. If you’re building upon a theme each week, this is the time to introduce it, to focus everyone’s thinking. You might also read poetry or from a book, such as ancient texts. You will find it beneficial to talk with your clients about what inspires them, and this may help give you ideas of other sources for this time.
Your middle section will be a guided meditation. Focus on those tools and practices that you want to emphasize. Let your participants know from the beginning how long the meditation is going to last, how much of it will be guided, and how much of it will be silence. That way people can relax if they know what to expect. Remind them what is next as you transition from one portion of the guided meditation to the next.
Have some consistency in your meditation guidance. If you’re teaching awareness meditation, always have that element of awareness throughout your meditation practice. Set them up with their posture, eye gaze, connecting them to their breath, and helping them feel grounded in their body.
Practice the same meditation prompts or cues each week. You can always build upon these basic techniques down the line, but practicing the same techniques allows your participants to develop their core practice.
How to End the Meditation Class
Always have a consistent close to the practice. You might say the same words each time as well: “Your guided meditation is complete. Let’s take the energy from this guided practice and invite it into our hearts, into the center of our being, and send it as blessings to everyone.” Consistency is the key.
Many times, I find that it is helpful to also have a space for discussion afterwards. You can invite anyone to share what their experience was like or if they have any questions. It opens up the space for connection and community.
Show Up With an Open Heart
My advice to you is to come with an open heart. That means starting each group with no expectations or attachments to how your circle needs to be. Begin with your pure intention and what you’d like to create with your community. If only one person comes, that’s okay. It really doesn’t matter what those numbers are. What matters is that you show up, that you stay dedicated, that you commit to the process and practice.
It may take time to build a class or circle. What’s required is patience, perseverance, humility, and faith. Remember these qualities, how important they are, and they’ll give you the strength and resilience to have the confidence to keep inviting people. Be open to having a new experience every time, no matter who shows up. We all start somewhere. Stay true to your intention and you’ll soon discover the joy of hosting meditation groups.