Group meditation can be an incredible way to really dive into meditation - teachers to help guide and encourage you, a community of people into similar things to connect with, and self-care time set aside just for you.
We might be slightly biased, but group meditations can be an incredible experience!
There are also some really easy ways that you can deepen this experience even more and expand your practice before and after the meditation session - here are some ideas:
1. Set yourself up the night before. Put all of your things, your cushion or mat, your cozy blanket, your pillow or whatever you like for your meditation practice by your door or in your car the night before. This saves you from running around trying to find all of these things in the 5 minutes before you drive to meditation. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but that kind of chaos can be really hard to shrug off and could have an impact on your practice.
2. Turn off the radio on your drive. Meditation is a time for us to delve inward, so taking some time away from the outside world before you arrive to your group meditation can be really helpful. Instead, put on some soothing music and use this as a time to take some nice deep breaths.
3. If you’re early, go for a little walk. Movement can really help to clear our minds and let the stress and tension of the day melt away. Movement also helps to calm a busy mind, making it easier to sink into meditation when your class is ready to start.
4. Disconnect from social media an hour before your class. This really gives your mind the space and time that it needs to slow down, and makes the dive inward easier. A lot of the time, social media becomes something that we use to distract us from us. Disconnecting from this in a mindful way can have beautiful results in your practice.
5. Let go of attachment to an outcome from your practice. It’s tricky, we know, but allowing yourself the space to let what will be, just be, is so worth it. We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to meditate, and there can be a lot of judgement in there too. We can often glance around at others and feel like they are meditating better than us. There is no right outcome in meditation - whatever is, just is.Your teachers aren’t judging you (or if they are it might be time to find a new class) the other students probably aren’t judging you either. There is no award handed out for the most minutes spent in meditation. Meditation happens not when we are trying to meditate, but rather when we forget to try and meditate.
6. Ask for help. We (and any other teachers) have been doing this for a while. Believe it or not, we’ve come up against a lot (if not all) of the roadblocks that you are facing. We have either found ways to work with these roadblocks or discovered tools to help us move through them and can help you with that too! We might have some additional meditations to suggest, a few compassionate questions to help you dig deeper, or some other practices that might really help you. If you don’t feel comfortable asking at a class, you can always reach out via e-mail, or social media (just not one hour before class, see #4).
7. After your practice, allow for some reflection time. Sometimes you might just have the time in your car on your drive home before all the needs of real life come flooding in. Whatever time your have for reflection, try to look back on your practice objectively, noticing the thoughts, feelings and emotions that popped up and how you dealt with them. Journalling about this post meditation is also a really powerful practice! It can be really interesting to see which thoughts, feelings, and emotions keep popping up as your practice evolves.
8. Practice on your own. If you are really in the mood to deepen your meditation practice, consider prioritizing meditations that you do on your own. There is an incredible amount of research out there about how beneficial starting a daily practice can be. It doesn’t have to a long practice, but just taking 10 minutes a day to meditate gets your mind into the routine, making it easier to dive in when you’re in a group meditation.
Let us now how these work for you!