How To Become A Meditation Teacher (And Why It May Be Simpler Than You Think)
When someone mentions the words "meditation" and "teacher" in the same sentence, an image of a long-bearded sage sitting cross-legged in the mountains of Rajasthan might spring to mind. While there are probably a few teachers out there who fit this rather stereotypical bill, these days, the path to becoming a meditation teacher is likely much closer than you might think and possibly even being tread by your co-worker, neighbor, favorite barista, or your taxi driver. Wondering how you can begin your journey down the path to teaching others how to develop their practice?
Here are six steps to making that happen:
1. Do your research.
If you’re interested in meditation, this part should be easy—take some time to learn as much as you can about it. Study, take a class, speak to people who teach, and get a regular practice going—dive into the different types and determine which is best suited to you. With all of the resources available both on- and offline, or even via apps, there’s no reason not to be well-versed.
2. Develop a regular practice.
The most basic requirement for becoming a teacher is to walk the walk. If you’re going to teach others how to meditate, you absolutely need to have a solid practice of your own. To start, I highly recommend setting aside a specific time of day, every day, to meditate (a 10-minute morning session works best for me). You can also attend retreats, take classes, meditate with friends, and, most importantly, talk to people in the meditation community—really listen to what they have to say about their experiences, why they practice, how they practice, and what they get out of it. This will expose you to differing perspectives on meditation and will only help you better understand your students in the future.
3. Make sure you're going into it for the right reasons.
One big question you need to ask yourself is why you want to be a meditation teacher in the first place. If your goal is to become a world-famous, super-rich meditation guru, you might be in this for the wrong reasons. However, if you fall into one of these three categories, your intentions are probably more in line with what this journey entails:
- You’re a knowledge-seeker. You want to become a master meditator but have no aspirations to teach regularly. You want to know much more about the four central types of meditation and push your daily meditation practice to a deeper level.
- You’re a wellness expert. Maybe you're a yoga teacher or a mental health professional. You know how powerful meditation can be, and you want your clients to sleep more soundly, live with less stress or anxiety, and enjoy a deep quality of living that only meditating can provide.
- Teaching meditation is your calling. You've experienced the profound effects meditation has in your own life and are eager to share the practice with as many people as possible
Whichever category you fall into, as long as your intentions are pure, this path is one that will welcome you with open arms.
4. Participate in an immersive teacher training with a credible instructor.
To get good at anything, you need plenty of practice. Taking an immersive training is a great way to accelerate your learning and the most effective option for truly understanding the ins and outs of teaching. Be sure to choose your program wisely—meet with the instructor beforehand, and make sure you vibe well. This person will be with you throughout your training, guiding you, answering your questions, and presenting you with feedback—both good and bad. Try not to take criticism personally, as it’s the most effective way to learn where you may be lacking in your teaching and where there is room for improvement.
5. Prep yourself.
Teaching others can seem daunting at first, but like anything else, it takes practice. Start with a small group of friends or co-workers, and keep each session to just 10 or 15 minutes. Feel free to lead in your preferred style, and make sure to speak clearly, skillfully, and in a soothing manner so as to promote relaxation of the mind. Starting with people you know is a great way to ease into teaching those you don’t.
6. Share the gift of meditation with the world.
It’s time to find your students and start sharing this gift! A few great ways to do this:
- Start a meditation group on meetup.com.
- Record a series of meditations and put them on Insight Timer or YouTube.
- Put up fliers around your neighborhood and host a group meditation in a park or community center.
- Start a Facebook group to advertise your sittings and attract more meditators.
- Talk to a local yoga or wellness studio about setting up a session or two per week.
However you decide to start teaching others, remember to always be accepting and understanding of the struggles your students may be facing, and try to leave your own at the door. This time is for your students—and time for you to help give them peace of mind.
A note about certifications:
While there is no official board that certifies all meditation teachers, there are many certifications that you can acquire. A few I love right now include the 100-Hour Teacher Training at The Path in NYC (Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, The Path and Pure Yoga) and Journey Meditation’s 100-Hour Teacher Training in NYC (Journey Meditation Teacher Training Program).
Whether you’re just starting out, want to deepen your practice, or ready to become a teacher, meditation is a gift for everyone—a gift to the world—and we hope you decide to keep spreading this gift of inner peace.
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