You may have wondered how to find a meditation teacher online or near you. I mean, it’s not like you can walk into your local shopping mall and ask for some mindfulness lessons.
Where do meditation teachers hang out? Where is your nearest studio? And another question: How do you find a meditation teacher you will actually get along with and who will legitimately help you to learn meditation properly. Is there such a thing as a good meditation teacher and a bad one…? So confused…!
Guys, I am about to answer all your questions. As a teacher who gives meditation lessons online, I’ve come to understand the difference between a good, a bad, and a great teacher.
I know what it is like to need to find a meditation teacher.
Years ago, I had a major stress-related illness. I was in personal hell; I needed help and I wanted to find a meditation teacher.
Personally, I believe educating ourselves about the mind is the best thing we can do. Most people don’t want to be monks. They just want a little wisdom. And as Brooklyn teacher Sebene Selassie [author of You Belong: A Call for Connection] says, “We’re not practising to become super-meditators. We’re practising to gain some insight and wisdom. So, I’ve found it’s definitely helpful to have some insightful and wise people around.”
Years ago, I suffered from terrible anxiety and stress. And I myself wanted to find a meditation teacher. And honestly, it was the best thing I have ever done. I cured my mind and fell in love with meditation. Indeed, I became a meditation teacher myself, and now I even help other people to become meditation teachers.
My experience has taught me one thing. The key to finding a meditation teacher that works for you is finding a personality you jive with.
With that in mind, here is how to find a meditation teacher.
How To Find A Meditation Teacher
In many ways, meditation teachers are not different to your high school or college educators. They are experts and tutors who have studied their craft in-depth and give lessons to help you learn.
But there are some differences between a meditation teacher and your university lecturer. Meditation teachers are rarer, they teach a very personal thing, and they also vary massively in quality.
Let’s look at how to find a meditation teacher online or near you first, and then how to judge the quality of their tuition before you book a lesson.
Where to find a meditation teacher?
Finding a meditation teacher could either be easy or incredibly difficult, depending on where you live and the style of meditation you want to learn.
If you live in a big city, there are probably at least a few meditation teachers nearby who you could connect with. If you live in a rural area, you will probably need to travel or find a meditation teacher online (more on this in just a moment).
Try searching on Google for mindfulness instructors first to see what comes up.
If you’re like me, you will probably find yoga studios where you can take group sessions.
If Google comes up with nothing, you may need to do a little bit of investigative research to find a meditation teacher near you.
I’d advise you to look for a meditation teacher in these places:
Where you find yoga teachers, a meditation / mindfulness teacher won’t be far behind.
Call your local yoga studio and see if they offer lessons. A lot do. Then, if you prefer to take one on one lessons, ask the yoga studio for their meditation teacher’s number, call them, and see if they would be happy to give you some private tuition.
If you specifically want to learn Buddhist meditation, go to the source: Buddhist communities.
I’m personally blessed to have a Buddhist temple very nearby at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Sarira Stupa in Niagara Falls (and there are smaller ones even in my city of Hamilton).
Naturally, Buddhist temples are full of Buddhists who meditate every day as part of their religion. Not only do they meditate, but many of them also like to pass on what they have learned (unless they have taken a vow of silence, of course).
You’ll also find meditation teachers who are happy to teach you for free because they are not interested in financial gain; they teach for spiritual rewards. And they also happen to be some of the best meditation teachers in the world.
Ask your doctor:
Mindfulness is steadily becoming more and more integrated into mainstream society and is now taken seriously as a form of therapy. For this reason, your doctor might be happy to help you find a meditation teacher.
The average doctor won’t exactly have a long list of meditation teachers. However, they can point you in the direction of holistic health practitioners and spiritual healers, who in turn will help you to connect with an instructor.
Definitely the most fun way to learn meditation is at a retreat. These are holiday destinations where you can immerse yourself in mindfulness, learn from various educators (some of them true gurus), and also socialise with fellow students. Thoroughly enjoyable.
What type of meditation teacher should you use?
Believe it or not, there are lots of different types of meditation teachers. Finding a meditation teacher for you will be a matter of personal taste (and may depend on your religious and spiritual beliefs).
Meditation lessons lie somewhere in between an intellectual pursuit and skills training. And there are experts who are more studious than others, and some who are less learned but more practical. Bear this in mind when seeking coaching.
Some of the different types of meditation teacher you’ll find include:
Online meditation teachers
By far the easiest way to find meditation teachers is online. However, it should be noted that the quality of tuition varies massively.
If you want to hire a meditation teacher online, you definitely need to check their credentials. The easiest way to do this is to read some of the articles they have published. Are they informative? Do they genuinely seem to know their stuff? Take a look at some of my articles on this site and I am confident you will see that I am personally an online meditation expert, but a lot of others are not.
Some online instructors will come from an institutionalized lineage, some will be self-taught, and some will have certification from an officially recognise institute. There isn’t anything wrong with any of these types provide the tutors knows their stuff.
Strictly spiritual meditation teachers:
Meditation might not need to be spiritual, but it sometimes is spiritual anyway. And some of the meditation teachers you find will be very spiritual people. These are the ones who will teach you more than the sheer mechanics of the practice. They will teach you the spiritual and philosophical aspects too.
These types of meditation teachers do not care about religion or spirituality. They are often strictly just mindfulness teachers and do not do other types.
These teachers are not going to tell you about the philosophical aspects. They are just going to teach you how to use meditation for health. And to be frank, this is what the average person wants.
Many of these types only give guided meditations, which, research shows, are not at helpful as traditional practices.
The at-the-gym teachers:
You can find meditation teachers at some gyms. These guys tend to believe that the practice is just an exercise, like yoga and cardio. And they’re right, to a degree. It certainly is an exercise for the mind.
These are the guys who will motivate you to meditate every day and to “train your mind”. They’re generally more positive and energetic than other meditation teachers, but they also tend to know less about the science and the philosophy of the practice.
The “guru” style meditation teacher wants you to look up to them. They want to be revered. They are natural leaders who have absolute belief in themselves and in their ability to help you. And they can be incredibly inspiring. If you go with this type of teacher, just make sure they don’t step over the line.
Gurus often like to provide leadership and mentorship, a closer relationship that helps you to gradually develop your skills in your continued learning.
Conferences and lectures
You don’t always need private or group tuition. Sometimes you can learn at lectures or conferences. At such educative events, there will be many experts giving lectures and speeches that you can use for studying. Many of them provide the latest research or give instructions on various techniques. It’s an alternative way of studying.
Check with local universities, Shambhala Centers, yoga studios, and festivals, to see if there are any lectures or presentations coming up.
Do bear in mind, however, that meditation is not really a search for knowledge as such. It is more about the actual psychological practice of exercising the mind in awareness, consciousness, and non-judgment. Wisdom is one thing. Application is another. A private lesson will provide you with more education than a lecture.
Every year, more and more people are taking meditation teacher training, so you can full expert to see more types of mindfulness teachers as time progresses.
How to find a meditation teacher that is right for you
So, you now know how to find a meditation teacher online or near you, and the different types of meditation teachers available. But how do you know if an instructor is actually any good?
Well, for starters, there is no such thing as a good tutor, there are just ones that work well for you personally and ones who do not.
Here are some tips on finding a good meditation teacher:
Don’t ever take an instructor at their word. Lots of people think they know about the practice without actually being trained in it. Ask them where they studied, who they learned from, how long they’ve been meditating, how many different types of techniques they know… grill them.
If they genuinely know their stuff, they won’t mind. I’m always happy when a prospective student asks me about my skills and knowledge. Any legitimately good meditation instructor will be.
Check their energy:
A good meditation teacher will have a certain vibe about them. They will be calm and relaxing with a soothing presence; gentle but strong, wise but humble. You will know when you are in the presence of a good meditation teacher. Trust your instincts.
If it’s for your health:
A lot of people have mental health conditions. If you are looking for a meditation teacher online or in-person to help you with a mental health condition, they should have officially recognised qualifications. This is different to most instructors. You don’t usually need a specific qualification to teach meditation. But you should never ask for someone’s help with a mental health condition unless they have some officially recognised qualifications to prove they know their stuff.
Sympathy and empathy:
Make sure you find a meditation teacher who is compassionate. Any good mindfulness instructor, online or offline, should be incredibly compassionate. After all, this is a person whom you want to help you relax and perhaps even help you face some of the serious issues in your life.
You need to know that they are kind, compassionate, sympathetic and empathetic. Sadly, you can’t test this. You just have to make a judgement call.
While you’re finding a meditation teacher, find yourself too.
Instructors can definitely help you to relax, to overcome stress and, of course, to learn how to meditate. But no meditation teacher will ever be as good as you yourself can be.
You are the master of your own mind. A meditation teacher can help you to use your mind in healthy ways, but it really all comes down to you. So, while you’re looking for an instructor, also be looking inwards to yourself, to your inner sage, to the part of your mind that is both wise and compassionate, the part that can be your own internal guru.
I also recommend connecting with fellow meditation students to learn off of one another in a sort of mindfulness sorority as it were. Friends will motivate you.
Education is an important part of mindfulness. Our practice is about self-growth as much as anything else. And as Zen monk and mindfulness master Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.”