This informal CPD article, ‘5 Qualities to Look for in a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher’, was provided by Mindfulness Exercises, who offer mindfulness teacher training for those who want to teach mindfulness in professional contexts with confidence, compassion and credibility.
Mindfulness meditation offers countless benefits. A calm, steady, and spacious mind helps us focus, lets us see things from a wider perspective, and improves emotional intelligence. We can access some of these benefits by dabbling in meditation on our own or by following guided practices. To develop change that lasts, however, it helps to find a meditation teacher.
Finding a Meditation Teacher
When we learn directly from a skilled, compassionate meditation teacher, we develop a relationship with a mentor who can help our practice grow in ways that are personally meaningful for us. A mindfulness meditation teacher can help us develop a more consistent, beneficial practice by introducing us to more than just guided meditation. A comprehensive understanding of what mindfulness is, how it works, and how it can benefit us in our daily lives motivates us to practice. When theory and experiential understanding come together, we are transformed.
Whether you’re looking for in-person or online meditation instruction, find the meditation teacher, instructor, or coach that is the best match for you by asking yourself the following 5 questions.
1. Does this person have the knowledge & wisdom I seek?
If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, it’s important that your teacher deeply understands this same subject. There are many different styles of meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of being present with this moment, just as it is. Ask your potential instructor about the style of meditation they practice and teach. Do they seem to be experts on the subject?
2. Do they share what they know in a way that’s accessible to me?
Does your teacher offer classes and programs you can afford, and at a time and place that is convenient for you? The meaning of accessibility extends to language and culture, as well as subjective traits such as personality. There are many knowledgeable mindfulness meditation teachers. Find one who communicates in a style you connect with.
3. Do I feel safe and inspired in their presence?
Turning our attention inward in mindfulness meditation is not always easy. We’re more likely to benefit from the practice when we’re held in a safe, supportive environment by someone who inspires us to take on the challenge of personal growth. Take note of how you feel in your teacher’s presence. Ideally, you feel welcomed, safe, and inspired when they are around.
4. Does their behavior reflect their values?
A teacher with an experiential understanding of mindfulness meditation will embody mindful presence. Note how your teacher behaves in and outside of the teaching space. Emotional reactivity, divisive speech, or other harmful behavior may be a sign that a teacher has more healing to do before they can effectively hold space for others.
5. Do their students reflect their values?
Mindfulness meditation is often taught in community spaces, either in person or online. We can learn something about what is being taught by observing the students who have come before us. We may each be a work in progress, but we can still be kind, honest, and accepting. If you’ll be learning in a group environment, let your fellow students help you choose a setting that feels conducive to growth.
Aspiring mindfulness meditation teachers may notice these questions also offer insight into the qualities that attract curious, committed students. If you aren’t connecting to the students you had hoped for, ask yourself the following:
- Do you have knowledge and wisdom to share?
- Can you share what you know in a way that’s accessible?
- Do others feel safe and inspired in your presence?
- Does your behavior reflect your values?
- Do your classes and programs reflect your values?
Both students and aspiring teachers can benefit by exploring what makes a mindfulness meditation teacher effective, and what helps students thrive.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Mindfulness Exercises, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.