Perhaps you’ve tried meditation a couple times on your own, or with an app like Headspace. The benefits of meditating are many, including stress reduction, lowering blood pressure, calming anxiety, developing self-awareness, and deepening your personal and spiritual growth. It’s an excellent practice for discovering your True Self within.
But, as you may have noticed, meditation is challenging. Even with an app to help guide you, it can be difficult to focus, especially with the many distractions around you in your home or office. We have a pile of dishes to wash and emails to respond to. Sitting down to meditate can feel like a luxury. And even when we do, we feel restless, agitated, and have a hard time sticking with it.
That’s why I recommend going to a meditation class – live, in person – on a regular basis. There are benefits to being in-person as you practice meditation that can’t be mimicked by a recording or even dedicated meditating on your own. Here are a few reasons why attending a meditation class is highly advantageous.
1. You will actually sit down and do it
You know how it is – you say you’ll meditate, you really want to, but there are so many things on your to-do list. So many distractions. Your text messages keep coming in. You sit for a couple minutes, and then remember the laundry is in the dryer. Going to a class means that you make a commitment and will actually be sitting there, exploring meditation, with other people.
2. Getting out of your routine
Going to a meditation class at a gym or a meditation center will take you out of your home and familiar surroundings, filled with your daily habits and routines. You’re likely to be in a more neutral, clear space that isn’t reinforcing some of the mental and physical habits that can hinder calming, and potentially quieting, your mind.
3. You will learn
Meditation is simple, and yet it’s difficult. There are stumbling blocks along the way, especially from your own mind. Having an experienced guide leading you, giving you tips, bringing you back when you drift off, and offering refined techniques makes a huge difference in having a fruitful experience. You can also ask questions right then, when the challenges arise, and get answers.
4. The group energy
There is nothing that compares to the energy of a group. Think about when you’ve attended a joyful or inspiring occasion, like a wedding, a moving sermon, or a stirring symphony. The happiness is contagious. A group of people meditating – or at least having the intention to quiet their thoughts and find inner peace – creates an effect. It can bolster you if you’re struggling and help you deepen into mindfulness and presence. It can support you through challenging times, building a sense of community with other like-minded people. That’s something you can’t create at home, alone.
Even if you regularly meditate by yourself, try attending a meditation class at least once a month. If you’re new to meditation, it’s all the more reason to leave the house and learn from experienced meditators. You’ll receive encouragement and connect with others who are also interested in this form of self-care and self-discovery.
Have questions about meditation? What experiences have you had meditating on your own or in a meditation class? Share them here!