Before I bore you with my long write-up on being a meditation teacher and how I am the best person to teach you how to become one, let me pause before I give you my not-so-humble opinion and personally extend an invite for you to join my FREE training.
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*** Story Time ***
If you ask me today “okay, Sai, what’s that one thing which has made the most impact on your personal growth”, then without having to think I would easily say that meditation is one of the best tools that I use. It has helped me become better at everything.
Everything from my personal life, relationships, work life, how active I am, everything is affected positively by my meditation routine. Every part of my daily life has had a positive impact because of it.
The most fascinating part of it all is that it is not just me, it is as if the whole world has slowly started to open up to the idea of mediation being part of your daily routine.
People used to identify meditation as this decidedly Indian activity that Gautama Buddha and his bearded disciples used to do in rainforests or mountains.
As time evolves, meditation is starting to become quite mainstream, so much so, that you don’t need to go to remote jungles to have peace in your everyday life.
But now you might be thinking something along the lines of: “Okay, Sai, I understand that the world is more open to meditation than it was ever before, but what does that MEAN for me?
How do I make a living out of it?”
I completely understand.
I understand that right now it doesn’t make sense to you, but I promise that you’ll understand when you’ve read this article.
What you should know for now is that the phenomenon of meditation going mainstream creates so many possibilities for you.
It has slowly opened up a new market space for meditation teachers who can come and dominate the market if they have the correct demographic in their mind and have well-focused marketing.
But we’ll get to that in a moment.
For now, all you have to know is that there is a billion dollar market that is open and waiting for someone like you. Someone who can come and showcase their abilities to the world and make a great living as a meditation teacher.
Oops. I meant: have a profitable career as a meditation teacher. 😀
So in this piece, I want to show you that someone like you can take your own meditation practice to a profitable place. I aim to show you exactly how to do it.
According to a recent (2012) comprehensive study done National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 8% of all U.S adults use meditation as a daily mind and body practice. This means 18 Billion or more people are relying on meditation as a daily relaxing activity.
Based on these numbers, the meditation practice is $ 1 Billion dollars + industry with books, meditation retreats, audios, videos, courses, website, mobile apps and industry-specific devices.
West saw yoga become a multibillion-dollar industry seemingly overnight. If you could learn the basic art and had a space you could teach in, you could earn a piece of the yoga pie.
Based on my research, I can say that meditation is going through the same radical expansion.
Already a lot of big and widely known players have emerged.
Market leaders like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Headspace, Inscape, unplug, Mindful, MindBodyGreen, Hayhouse, Sounds True, Gaia, and Kadampa centres, Shambala centres, Transcendental meditation centres and Jon Kabat Zinn have been in the market for quite some time now.
In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to not only get training from a reputable source, you have to make sure that your platform is unique in its own way.
Now, let’s get down to business. Let’s answer a few basic questions about this business.
What is a meditation teacher?
If you have training, space, preparation and willingness to teach meditation to people, you can be a meditation teacher. Just like yoga, your capacity to earn money in this discipline depends on how your services help your students.
Meditation, if you devote yourself to it, is a very rewarding practice, both spiritually and financially, but if your students don’t learn well from you (because of any reason), you will not be able to make money in this practice.
Until a certain point of success, most of your business will come through recommendations. Make sure that each of your students is having a rewarding experience. Take feedback, learn along the way as you teach. If you get stuck in a way of doing things early on, it will be difficult for you to a successful practice in the long run.
How can you become a meditation teacher?
Before you even think about teaching meditation, you should be an excellent student. Master meditation and develop your own way of practising it. It could take months, or even years, to master the art of meditation.
So make sure that you spend time perfecting your grasp of the art of meditation, and practice it regularly as you teach. If you recommend that your students practice daily, make sure that you follow the same directives too.
Being a meditation teacher isn’t simply sitting in a room and meditating by yourself and hope that people can follow along. Not everybody can teach. Make sure that you learn not only how to meditate, but also how to teach people to meditate.
Here are a few steps in the process of becoming a meditation teacher:
- Choose your discipline: Meditation, like yoga, has many styles that people like to practice in. Every style builds upon basic meditation practices, but every style requires different focuses and promises different results.
Like I said, there are several styles of meditation, and all require different skill sets, expertise, and may attract a different client base. Do your research, and practice several styles. Depending on how well you can teach a discipline, you can choose to become a master of any style.
- Become a master of your trade: I know I’ve said this already, but I’ll say it again: you can’t be a good meditation teacher unless you’ve become a good student of this practice. Learn from an accredited master of meditation, and observe how they teach it.
Learning from a good teacher till you maintain your discipline can take years, but you’ll need it if you are to teach it professionally for many years to come.
- Decide what class size you want to teach: I know it sounds counterintuitive, but start small. There are several benefits to limiting a class size to a single digit in the beginning. It not only allows you to really pay attention to each student, you can also start off by sectioning off a meditation area in your home itself.
You can take this time to also consider making your business aimed at individuals instead of groups. This will allow you to offer a personalized service that you can charge more for, over time.
This will save you a considerable amount of money that you would have otherwise used for studio space.
- Build a network: As you learn meditation, start building your own network within the meditation community. Talk to your own meditation teacher, and talk to other teachers, organizers, community leaders within your area and online.
As you start to build long-term relationships within the community, you’ll start not only getting clients sent our way, but also important information about the latest practices and services.
- Collaborate: Using your network, build collaborative programs within your community. For example, you may choose to collaborate with a retreat centre to offer tailored meditative retreats based on the needs of clients. You can offer your student health and wellness packages at a discounted rate by collaborating with the wellness centres in your area.
As a meditation teacher, you should serve as an example of what a healthy meditation practice can do for your students. Not many people will tell you this, but I think you need to know. If you are offering people a chance to learn a relaxing practice from you, then you need to always be learning yourself.
If your students see that you yourself are not walking the talk, then they might not want to take you seriously. If you are seen to regularly lose control of your emotions, then again, you might not seem like a good person to learn a relaxing practice from.
Always strive to become more of an expert at what you do. Go on retreats, join more classes, and keep learning. Your students will see that you are serious about your practice and they’ll want to learn from you.
The truth about becoming a meditation teacher
The truth is, that as a meditation teacher, you are part of the service industry. You’ll be subjected to the same rules and cultural scrutiny as, say, a Starbucks, but there will be added scrutiny on you and your practice because you’ll take on the burden of people’s spiritual self.
As a meditation teacher, you’ll have to take on the responsibility of your students’ relaxation, peace and spiritual journey, and you cannot shirk off this responsibility if you cannot achieve it. It is your cross to bear, so to speak. So to do that, take constant feedbacks, be available for consultation, and help your students overcome roadblocks on their journey to peace.
Unlike the businesses in the regular service industry, you’ll not only be held to a higher standard of service, you’ll also have to spend your days thinking of the well-being of your students. You are not just selling a product, you are selling a lifestyle, and hence, you are more likely to see success if your students can flourish in that lifestyle.
If you can see yourself doing all these things, if you can put the needs of your students above your own, you’ll be very successful in this industry. As I said, keep growing, keep learning, and keep teaching.
A day in the life of a meditation teacher.
As a meditation teacher, your ideal day should begin with a meditation session of own, to centre yourself for the day. You can have these sessions spaced out throughout the day, or you can move it to some other time of the day if the morning is not suitable for you, but make sure that you set some time aside for your own practice. It will slowly but steadily become a cornerstone of your daily life.
Now that you have centred yourself, take yourself through your daily rituals. Take your morning bath, burn incense, do whatever it is that you set aside for the mornings.
As part of your workday, you’ll have to do many other things other than guide people through a meditation session. You’ll have to deal with the marketing, you’ll have to constantly take care of your community links, talk to prospective new students, and give seminars and free workshops in community centres and many more things.
If you manage your time well, you’ll soon become able to peaceful navigate through the daily routine of a teacher’s life. Plus, nothing beats teaching people to relax. If you do your job correctly, all your customers will be happy campers and so yelp can eat its heart out 😛
How can you become a certified meditation teacher?
Like the life coaching industry, this industry is also self-declared and unregulated, so you don’t have to get certified or accredited. Getting that certification and training under a recognized institute, however, does help you gain credibility within your community and your client base.
People always give more value to something that they think is more valued by the world around them, so by getting your certification through a recognized institute or association, you give people all the more reason to trust you.
There are many ways that you can get certified as a meditation teacher. However, before jumping into any certification course, I recommend that you do ample research. See if what they offer is something that’ll actually help you instead of wasting your time. Not every course will be a perfect fit, so take your time and look for one that will be one.
Here’s a list of some of the best meditation teacher training courses:
- School of Positive Transformation: Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher Certification Course
- Price: $490
- Training Period: 30 sessions made available to you over the course of a month. You can spread the course out (up to a year) according to your convenience,
- Certificate: The Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher Training Certificate
- Need to pass the exam: No
- The Mindfulness Center: Meditation Teacher Training
- Price: $2200 (in person), $1700 (online)
- Training Period: multiple sessions can be taken in-person or online depending on the training type, and should amount to a total of 160 hours.
- Certificate: Certificate of Completion
- Need to pass the exam: No
- McLean Meditation Institute: Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher Certificate
- Price: $35 non-refundable application fee, $3295 tuition fee, plus a $150 for the course materials.
- Training Period: 200 hours of training, of 150 hours are done through online course materials and the rest when you complete an 8 day stay at one of the many ‘intensive’ stay locations. You can spread the course out according to your convenience,
- Certificate: The Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher Training Certificate
- Need to pass the exam: No
What type of people are hiring meditation teachers these days?
While most people who hire meditation teachers have some basic knowledge and history of meditation, it’s safe to assume that many people who will come to you will be beginners. So, it is best that the type of course you offer has space for everyone, no matter how much of an experience they have with meditation. Create a dynamic program that is flexible. If you do end up getting certified, pay attention to the structure of the program that you were attracted to, and mentally create a pro/con list of all the features of that program.
It is fair to assume that since you liked being part of a certain type of program as a student, you’d like to teach in a similar structure. If you take feedback from your students, you’d be able to change the program to best suit their needs.
What most meditation teachers don’t get about building a business.
As a meditation teacher, you are part of the service industry. The problems that plague the small business and their owners will plague you too. The problems that manifest in the small-scale service industries will make your life difficult too, they’ll just inflict you in a unique way.
- Nonpayment of bills: As most service industry people will tell you that unless people are really happy with a service, they don’t want to pay for the services at all. As a coach, you’ll be even more vulnerable to this problem because you’re invested in your client’s growth so it can be difficult for coaches to ask for their fees while feeling like they are helping their clients.
- You can bypass this cycle by implementing advance payment systems, but I understand that those can be difficult to implement if you are new to the industry.
- I recommend having a third party collect the money at the start/end of every session, so you don’t have to deal with it directly if you don’t want to.
- Don’t feel guilty about collecting your fees. If you allow clients to default on their payments, you’ll have to close your doors sooner or later. That helps no one.
- Networking and marketing: Most people look for services and then compare them online. No matter how good your business plan and the service that you offer is, you’ll be left behind if you don’t build a strong web presence. Build a good website for your business, monitor how people respond to it, and be active on social media. Being an influencer online can pay off in ways that you can’t imagine.
- If you can’t focus on your web-presence yourself, hire someone to do it. Make sure that someone is on top of it and is funneling clients to you, otherwise who will you teach?
- Manage your finances: As a coach, your time is valuable and you’ll spend most of it to make sure that your clients are peaceful and happy. But, even as you do that, you need to keep track of your finances. So, I recommend that you either learn to do it yourself or hire a CA. Just make sure that someone is taking care of it.
What qualifications do I need to have to become a meditation teacher?
As we mentioned in our other articles, this industry is self-regulated, but it always helps to get credible certification It not only makes the clients trust you, it’ll give you confidence in your own craft.
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