Updated: May 17
Here are three ways that new meditation teachers or teachers-in-training can start to develop a general architecture— pacing, timing, speaking versus quiet, and energetic exchange— in their classes and workshops. A student from the CNTRD Meditation Teacher Training asked me to help define this. There are certainly more ways, and I encourage you to add to the comments. For now, here are a few that I find stand out the most.
1) Your Own Practice: Your consistent personal meditation practice will powerfully inform the timing of your sessions when you lead others. Study with various teachers, and practice various styles. Pay attention to the classes that feel most comfortable to you as well as those that feel more challenging, and you’ll begin to learn what timing, spacing and cues feel most natural to you and allow you to really explore and be ‘in’ the practice. In my trainings I talk about how your vibe attracts your tribe— and it’s often the case that the students you will attract will appreciate the techniques and styles that YOU most resonate with. By trying different things though, you’ll also have information about how to switch things up or make them more or less challenging *if* that’s what you desire when you create your class or workshop.
2) Do the Practice with Your Students: When you’re teaching, it helps to imagine yourself doing the practice alongside the class. That doesn’t mean you stop being the guide. It means that you practice giving part of your attention to imagining yourself going through the motions of the exercise while part of your attention still observes, cues, and guides the students. Again, ‘practice’ is the keyword here, and this action of splitting your awareness into ‘teacher holding space’ and ‘practitioner experiencing the activity’ becomes easier and more natural each time you teach. When part of your awareness is going through the session with them you can better gauge the length of activities, when to give more space and allow them to have their own experience, when to give more cues to help keep their attention in the desired place, and you’ll be better able to empathize and intuit what might be coming up for them and what direction to take the session in.
3) Observe the Class: While part of you is imagining (or literally doing) the exercise, the other part is holding space observing with an open and alert awareness. As you become more sensitive to your students (by practicing teaching more and more), you may see people opening their eyes and looking around for guidance or clarity, or more subtle cues like people readjusting their posture over and over, fidgeting, making faces that seem tense, worried, confused, or uncomfortable. Sometimes the signals are subtler and more energetic. With experience you’ll gain an intuitive sense of what and when to add more context or instruction, or when to let things be, so that you help create the best atmosphere for their process.
Want to learn more about different methods and how to begin a practice on your own, before joining a class or training? Pick up my book The Power of Guided Meditation and then come back here to download a few of my favorite audio meditations.
*This is a sponsored post, and all opinions and suggestions are those of CNTRD Wellness.
Jessica Crow helps people harness the power of meditation and mindfulness to change their lives and the lives of others for the better through practical courses for the everyday practitioner, teacher trainings, and personalized mentorship.