How to start a meditation group
Group meditation is rapidly growing in popularity. As people seek more ways to connect with one another and deal with the stress of daily life, there has never been a better time to learn how to start a meditation group.
There are many applications of group meditation & countless reasons to begin a meditation group. Perhaps the most logical reason would be demand.
Just take a look at search volume for “meditation groups near me” or “meditation groups” in Google Trends, and you’ll recognize that people have a growing desire to connect with themselves & one another in meditation groups.
There are even professional guided meditation facilitator training for those seeking to learn how to guide a group meditation session.
Getting a Meditation Group Started
Before we dive into the proposed structure of a group meditation session, there are a few tips to starting a meditation group successfully.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
#1 - A trained guided meditation facilitator:
Having a professionally trained guided meditation facilitator is essential. Leading a group meditation isn’t as simple as one might think. Meditation groups are usually held on a regular basis, so it takes someone with training to be able to consistently lead guided meditations for groups successfully.
#2 - A physical location:
Having a regular location to host your meditation group is vital. Whether you choose to host your meditation group inside or outdoors is entirely up to you and the needs of your group. However, it’s important that the location you choose is interruption-free & comfortable for all participants.
#3 - Participants:
Obviously, until you have a group of people, you can’t start a meditation group. Start off with a few friends or invite people from a social circle you are already involved in. You’ll be surprised at the willingness of people to attend a group meditation, especially if it’s well run.
Once you have all of these things, you are ready to start a meditation group. Let’s go over a proposed structure for such a group that you can copy for yourself or use to spark your own creativity!
How to Lead a Meditation Group (Template)
Knowing how to lead a meditation group begins with having a defined structure. Sticking to a structure is important if you want to build an audience.
Consistency will build comfortability within the group and a well-defined structure will relieve a ton of pressure from the leader of the group.
(Once again, I would refer you to my other articles if you want to know more about the specifics of how to lead a guided meditation.)
Structure for a Group Session:
Step 1: Welcome & Check Phones
While it’s important to welcome each participant as they come in, it’s equally important to make sure they check their phones in at the door. Phones are a major source of stress & the most probable source of interruption during a meditation. Be sure everyone turns their phone off & does not have it on them whatsoever while participating in your meditation group.
Step 2: Set the Expectation & Rules
Your meditation group should have a designated leader who sets the expectation & rules at the beginning of each & every meeting. Let the group know the exact structure of the group meditation session from start to finish & let them know what is and isn’t acceptable in your group.
Step 3: Share a Quote or Story
After clear expectations have been set, the designated group leader can begin by sharing a quote or story relevant to the group. I go over why to do this in my article on tips for leading a group meditation session. Make sure to keep this portion brief & relevant.
Step 4: Lead the Group Through a Guided Meditation
Following the advice laid out in the articles I’ve mentioned, lead your meditation group through a brief guided meditation. If you don’t have training in this area, I would highly recommend reading through our guided meditation methodology to see whether or not professional training would be in alignment with your goals as a group meditation facilitator.
Step 5: Begin Meditative Journaling
Once you’ve completed the meditation, immediately begin at least 5 minutes of writing. We call this sort of writing Meditative Journaling because your participants will still be in a meditative state. Writing at this time can produce profound insights and can be done with or without a specific writing prompt.
Step 6: Begin Sharing
If the group size permits, I highly recommend that you have each group member share about their experience during the meditation & what came up during their writing. Sharing will build camaraderie within your group, increase retention & create a more intimate experience. Be sure to set a timer for each share & do not allow people to go over the allotted time. Also, be sure to reiterate your rules before beginning this portion. Rules like “No crosstalk. No advice-giving. No interruptions.” are important to maintaining a safe and functional sharing environment.
Step 7: Closing Ritual
The way you begin & end a group should always remain the same. Routines & rituals build familiarity and ending with a closing ritual helps to unite your group one last time before you depart. This is important if you want your group to last. Consider ending each group meditation with a prayer, mantra, saying specific to the group, or some action that serves to unify everyone at the close of each meeting.
How to Grow Your Group
If you are having a tough time getting people in your immediate network to join a meditation group, I recommend creating a Facebook Group.
Within a Facebook Group, you can create events. These events can help you get the word out to people outside of your network and increase the visibility of your group locally. People often use Facebook to search for local events in the near future, so creating a group (and events within that group) is a great way to tap into the demand for group meditation that already exists.
Additionally, the group can serve as a tool to build a community around your meditation group. Your members can use the group to communicate & share with one another. And you can use the group to get the word out to your participants if any important announcements need to be made.