Meditation: Benefits of Group Practice with a Teacher
Updated: May 31
Meditation, which is Dhyana in Sanskrit is one of the eight limbs of yoga described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. These limbs provide guidelines for moral and ethical conduct along the path of a meaningful and purposeful life. Click on this link for an explanation of the eight limbs by Mara Carrico in Yoga Journal.
For many people, mediation apps such as Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, and Sattva provide easy access to different types of meditations 24 hours a day. That availability can be really helpful for sticking with a practice and making it a habit.
However, practicing with a meditation teacher can really help people increase their chances of developing an enjoyable, fruitful and sustainable practice. Why? Because with meditation, it’s pretty common for uncomfortable physical sensations and emotions to arise and a teacher can guide students through those rough patches and answer questions about all different types of experiences. If practicing one-on-one with a meditation teacher seems intimidating, fear not! For many people, group meditation classes have been found to be more enjoyable and beneficial than practicing alone.
In fact, when researchers investigated people’s responses to meditation with a group versus alone, listening to a podcast, they found that significantly more people preferred group, face-to-face classes and that they reported feeling substantially calmer and more refreshed after a group class compared to practicing with just a podcast.(1)
But what about the availability of group meditation classes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Don’t worry! Just fire up Zoom or some other platform because researchers have found that video-guided group meditation is comparable to solitary practice when it comes to enhanced levels of state mindfulness. Feelings of social connection, on the other hand were significantly higher in the group practice participants.
YogiAnatomy promotes meditation and supports people in their pursuit of developing a meditation practice in whatever ways and methods work for the individual. However, we also whole-heartedly endorse studying meditation with Paul Steinberg. Paul is a member of YogiAnatomy’s yoga teacher training faculty and a masterful meditation teacher.(2)
For the first time, you can study regularly with Paul via Zoom either one, two or three times per week for a very nominal investment. For more information Paul and his meditation schedule click check out Full Body Freedom.
1. Lauricella S. (2014, Dec). Mindfulness meditation with undergraduates in face-to-face and digital practice: a formative analysis. Mindfulness. DOI: 10.1007/s12671-013-0222-x
2. Hanley, A.W. et al. (2021). Effects of video-guided group vs. solitary meditation on mindfulness and social connectivity: a pilot study. Clinical Social Work Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10615-021-00812-0