Learn about the benefits of guided meditation, how to get started, and find free scripts to help you get comfortable with this practice.
Meditation is an ancient practice of self-awareness, relaxation, clearing the mind and connecting to the universal energies within and outside the body. It originates in Biddhist and Hindu teachings and has been passed down for generations in writing and aural tradition. It is commonly seen as a spiritual practice, but not only. It can be a unique and personal way of connecting with oneself, both on the physical and emotional levels, as well as spiritual.
In most meditation exercises, the attention is focused on one point, then gradually leaving it behind, staying calm within the tranquil and still moments of the practice. This point of focus, or theme, can vary. Depending on what you wish to achieve, the theme of your meditation could be conscious breathing, mantra repetition, candlelight gazing, connecting to a deity, energy or anything else.
There are many schools of meditation and many meditation teachers from which we can gain knowledge of what meditation is actually about and how to meditate. But the ultimate answer to both of these questions is found inside of you. The guidance of a meditation teacher is like a light shed on an unknown path; it is there to lead us on and make us feel safe. But ultimately, it is your journey and you are the one taking the steps.
Below we will delve into guided meditation and the benefits you can expect with regular practice.
What Is Guided Meditation?
A meditation teacher leads or accompanies you in a meditative and relaxed state in guided meditation. The practice uses another person’s voice, sometimes accompanied by relaxing sounds, such as the vibrations of Tibetan singing bowls.
Guided meditation is commonly used by meditation practitioners, both beginners and experienced. For beginners, it is a great way to start your meditation journey; for advanced meditators, it is a supportive tool in deepening your already regular practice.
A guided meditation script is usually prepared before the class, and each session targets a specific theme and relaxation technique. Guided meditation comes in various forms: body relaxation, pranayama breathwork, finding a focus point, using visualizations, mantra chanting, storytelling, guiding through emotional states from a distance and more.
Depending on one’s needs, it is good to find a guided meditation to help us relax and gaze more deeply into the spaces that need our attention and care.
Various types of Guided Meditation:
- Visualization meditation
- Devotional meditation
- Vipassana meditation
- Yoga meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Focused meditation
- Chakra meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving-kindness meditation
A guided meditation class or practice can take a few minutes or as long as a few hours. In either case, the purpose is to relax, clear your mind and thoughts, ease emotional and physical tensions or take time for self-care and gain insight.
Benefits Of Guided Meditation
As mentioned earlier, meditation heightens your power to listen to yourself – to hear what needs to be heard and feel what needs to be handled. This allows you to go deeper into a relaxation and mindful state of self-awareness in the meditation practice. Sometimes at the beginning of your meditation session, you might feel tired and even emotional – especially if you have just begun to practice yoga meditation and certain spaces inside you that need care and clearance are only starting to open up.
When your natural and spontaneous reactions surface, it is a good thing. Once meditation and relaxation practices become a part of our routine, you will learn how to go through such emotional states with equanimity.
The benefits of guided meditation include the following:
- Relaxes your body and mind
- Helps you breathe consciously
- Learn about your true nature
- Learn to listen to yourself
- Achieve higher self-awareness
- Helps you focus on the present moment
- Builds self-trust
- Develops patience with yourself and external situations
- Reduces stress hormone levels
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- Better sleep
- Relief of headaches and tensions
- Lowers anxiety levels
What Makes A Good Guided Meditation Script
Meditation is a very individual and personal thing. Writing meditation scripts and preparing a guided meditation class is an art. Remember a few points to create a relaxing and insightful experience.
Even though each meditation teacher will have their style and methods, there are a few rules of thumb in writing a guided meditation script.
1. Think About The Purpose Of Your Meditation
Each guided meditation should have a specific purpose and outcome for the practitioners. Even though the meditator will come away with a unique experience, the core theme behind the meditation script should be clear.
The way you structure your meditation script is important. Look at it as a journey you wish to take your students on; You can make your students’ experience as comfortable or challenging as you like. A good script has both elements.
2. Make time for body relaxation
One of the crucial moments of guided meditation is at the beginning, when you help your student relax their bodies. To ease them into a meditative and conscious practice, you first need to help them leave behind any physical and emotional tensions. Body relaxation techniques, such as body scanning, pranayama breathwork, yoga, visualizations, music and aromatherapy, can help prepare your students for deep and connective meditation.
3. Use simple and calming words
The words you choose create the reality of the meditation practice. Use easy words for all your students to understand, and pay attention to what image each work provokes in your students. Sometimes in everyday conversation, we use phrases or words derogatory or negative. Avoid using them in your guided meditation script. Choose instead words that are uplifting, safe and packed with motivational energies – this is how you create a space of comfort, safety and calmness.
4. Make room for silence and insightful questions
During a guided meditation session, create space for inner reflection by posing some questions followed by a period of silence to give them time for reflection. The idea is to leave your students with their thoughts, sensations and focus. This is where they take responsibility for their own meditative experience and go into whatever area within them is calling for their attention.
5. Guided meditation teachers
Finding a guide whose voice and approach to meditation suit your personal needs is not always easy. There are plenty of guided meditation teachers available, yet not every guide might match your need. This is why it is good to try out different meditation teachers at the beginning of your meditation journey until you find someone you feel connected with.
Below is a list of guided meditation teachers, with links to their meditation practice for you to try.
- Thich Nhat Hanh – Calm, Ease – Guided Meditation | Thich Nhat Hanh
- Pema Chodron – Pema Chodron Guided Meditation Session
- Sadhguru – Isha Kriya
- Ram Dass – Meditation and Mindfulness
- Tara Brach – Meditation: Awareness is Our Home
- Sanatan Yoga Yogachariya Jnandev – Guided Breath Meditation from Tantra
Youtube vs Other Platforms For Guided Meditation
YouTube for Guided Meditation
YouTube is one of the first platforms we go to when looking for guided meditation. It has various yoga classes, guided meditation sessions, pranayama breathwork classes and more. It has become a rich source of information and can be very helpful when beginning or continuing your yoga and meditation path.
We invite you to check some free guided meditations YouTube has to offer:
- You Are Life Itself — Guided Meditation with Mooji
- Great Meditation – Guided Meditation For Feeling a Deep Connection to Everything
- Michael Sealey – Guided Meditation for Detachment From Over-Thinking
- The Copper Vessel by Susy Markoe Schieffelin – Crystal Alchemy Sound Bath & Total Body Relaxation Meditation
- Jessica Richburg – Guided Meditation For Stress and Anxiety
Online Platforms for Guided Meditation
Apart from Youtube, there are many meditation schools, communities and apps you may consider when looking for regular guided meditation practice. Each meditation space will provide new teachings, breathing techniques or online support.
Below you will find some of the best-guided meditation platforms online:
This free platform offers to teach and record lectures on meditation, mindfulness and self-awareness practices. AudioDharma provides classes, lectures and videos from their two centers – Insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz and Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City. It is a great place to begin your journey with meditation.
With plenty of audio recordings, guided meditation, insightful talks and videos, this website can become a strong base for learning and keep updated with modern teachings on self-awareness.
The platform can be accessed through the website or the AudioDharma app, where you can add notes, create playlists, and more.
Mindfulness Exercises is another great website to learn about and dive into practical teachings on mindfulness and meditation. You will find well-prepared and structured meditation classes, a mindfulness approach to eating and a special section on mindfulness for children and younger audiences.
You are welcome to access the website, blog and exercises free of charge or purchase and go through a complete course of your choice.
Calm is one of the most recommended apps for meditation, relaxation and sleep support. The full version is paid, but you may access a free seven-day trial to see if the app works for you and your needs.
Some of the main features of Calm include teachings and tips on learning meditation, audio masterclass, video sessions on stretching and movement, relaxing and focus music, storytelling for sleep and nature soundscapes.
Learning and practicing meditation can be a very new and exciting experience, especially when you have support from a teacher or school. A certain dose of discipline and regularity is needed to keep moving forward. This is where guided meditation, online classes and courses can help. If you wish to learn more, we invite you to join our Calm Your Spirit, Soothe Your Mind online meditation course to begin or deepen your practice.