What is guided meditation?
Guided meditations are any meditations that are led by a teacher or an experienced meditator. The instructions of a guided meditation include verbal guidance and they can take place through audio or audio-visual mediums and in physical settings.
Guided meditations include instructions, so it’s recommended that a novice practitioner follow along as they take their first steps in this practice. Guided meditations are essential for beginners because they teach the nature and goal of the practice. They also provide a step by step explanation of what to do during meditation, how to count your breaths, where to focus, what to do when attention falls away, etc. It’s crucial to learn these foundational aspects as we embark on our new practice.
Observing and understanding the mind's tendencies is an important part of the meditation practice because with that, we cultivate the ability to integrate what we experience during meditation into our daily lives. The mind’s response is different in various situations, so guidance in meditation can help you better understand how your mind may respond during your practice.
How do you practice guided meditation?
You can start guided meditations right now by finding yourself the best platform (online or live classes) with which to practice. As the importance of meditation in our overall health and well-being is supported by a great deal of empirical research, guided meditations are now quite easily within reach. You can use apps, like Meditopia, or you can find the closest meditation class available to you where you live. Whichever you prefer, you’ll get to the basics of experiencing this practice.
Before starting guided meditation, first identify how you’d like to practice. Whether it be through an app or with guidance in person, it’s important to find the method that’s right for you.
Here’s how you can practice guided meditation, if you’re practicing by yourself using online platforms.
- Find yourself an area where you won’t be disturbed (though, you can also meditate during your commute or when surrounded by others too). You can meditate anywhere and everywhere, but this step applies to your more formal meditation practice.
- Find a comfortable seated position. It doesn’t matter how you sit, (you don’t need to be sitting in a lotus pose!). What's important is that you are comfortable and that your spine is straight, as this upright position also helps to prevent falling asleep. You can also lie down for meditation if that’s what works best for you.
- Investigate and pay attention to your surroundings. Is this environment safe and silent enough to close your eyes and turn inwards? If you feel like you don’t want to close your eyes today, then don't. Just let your gaze focus on a point on the floor.
- Then, you can start the guided meditation of your preference.
How long is a guided meditation?
Guided meditations vary in length. It could be just as short as 3 minutes or it could be up to 40 minutes, or even longer. You can practice the length that’s best for you in the moment as there are different meditations for different occasions and emotions.