Guided meditation is a meditation practice led by an experienced teacher, either in person, via a live broadcast, or by means of pre-recorded audio or video. Though guided meditation can be used by anyone, it is more frequently used by those new to meditation, as the added assistance and support of a teacher can be helpful when first embarking upon the practice.
Guided meditations generally teach participants the basics of meditation techniques as well as offering instruction and insight into how the mind and thoughts work, how to better understand and relate to your thoughts and emotions, how to use meditation techniques in daily life, and how to settle the mind and body for meditation (Muse, 2020).
There are various types of guided meditation practice and each type has a specific focus or technique it promotes. Mantra guided meditations focus on the repetition of a word, phrase, sentence, or affirmation either to yourself or out loud as a means of helping to find focus, develop calm, and increase positive emotions.
Focused attention guided meditations encourage participants to focus attention on a single object (i.e. sensation, breath, or body part). As thoughts wander focus is to be redirected to the object.
This practice helps specifically with the ability to concentrate. Progressive muscle relaxation guided meditations walk participants through tensing and releasing muscles to achieve a greater level of relaxation. Whereas emotional release guided meditations help people learn to release negative emotions by locating them in the body and letting go of the tension connected to them. Thus, it is designed to help improve emotional well-being and mood (Muse, 2020).
Guided meditations can take place via in-person mediation classes (personal or group), online meditation classes and workshops, or via pre-recorded means such as YouTube, streaming music services, podcasts, and guided meditation apps.
Research has shown that meditation apps can offer great benefit for mental and emotional health and offer the added benefit of being able to be accessed endlessly for more frequent use and implementation. Examples of such apps include Headspace, Muse, Calm, Insight Timer, and Simple Habit among numerous others (Muse, 2020).
A strong guided meditation begins with the right location, the proper posture, and the correct mindset. You need to select a space that is quiet and free from distraction. Next, a comfortable position with a tall upright posture is essential to deep breathing.
Finally, a focus on the present and clearing the mind of all outside thoughts is the key to maintaining focus during the meditation practice. Other helpful tips may include keeping eyes closed as a means of maintaining better focus, using headphones to drown out other sounds, and keeping attention solely on meditation (Love Meditating, 2018).
To complete a guided meditation, you must first know why you are completing the mediation, what you intend to get from it, and what your expectations from the practice will be. As emotions arise during the meditation it’s important to identify them, understand what causes them to exist, and allow them to pass.
Next, awareness of your own senses is important for teaching you to be more concentrated and more aware. Time to relax is also essential as a means of releasing tension and inducing calm. Finally, learning to use the body as an anchor to return to when focus fades is key to being able to continue meditating when distractions creep in.
Based on this information, guided meditation can be practiced and offer benefits for many people. Someone interested in guided meditation should focus on finding the right guide for them and then begin a continual practice until they become more skilled.
Love Meditating. (2018, February 17). How to do guided meditations: A complete guide for beginners. https://lovemeditating.com/how-to-do-guided-meditations-a-complete-guide-for-beginners/
Muse. (2020, September 25). Guided meditation: Techniques, benefits, and what happens in the brain. https://choosemuse.com/guided-meditation-101