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Why You Need a Mindfulness Teacher and What Skills You Should Look For

Charlene and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Not only am I a mindfulness teacher and coach but I am also a student of mindfulness. I take courses, attend retreats and conferences and am constantly reading books by other experts in the field. All of this helps me to be the best teacher that I can be. And while there are numerous apps, podcasts and courses out there it is important to find a teacher that works for you.

Some questions to ask yourself: how do you learn the best? Do you prefer audio or video meditations? Or a combination? What kind of training and experience do I want my teacher to have? What kind of background and skills should I be looking for? (I got you covered there ⬇️⬇️)

Why You Need a Mindfulness Teacher 

Having a mindfulness teacher matters because you will most likely have questions. I’ve been teaching for years and I still have questions, lol. It’s helpful to have someone that you can turn to when you get stuck or feel like you are struggling with your practice.

I’ve had a few teachers over the years. My first teacher, Jaisa, was so impactful on my life that after working with her I knew that I wanted to become a mindfulness teacher. We had such a strong bond that even now years later we are still friends. We even worked together teaching mindfulness for 2 years.

 

Charlene and her teacher Jaisa | Why you need a mindfulness teacher

One of my other teachers was the legendary Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program. Jon created this program to help patients dealing with chronic pain and it has grown from there over the decades.

This is the program that I took and my current teaching is based off of the principles and practices that I learned at UMass when I underwent my teacher training program in 2016. Since then I have continued to practice and to learn from Jon and his teachings in the MBSR program. This program was so helpful to me that I’m actually taking it again (virtually) as a student right now. I know that not only will this help me personally but it will also make me a better teacher.

Charlene and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Charlene at UMass

why you need a mindfulness teacher and what skills you should look for

Being a mindfulness teacher is about so much more than just guiding meditations. To really be an impactful teacher you need to embody the practice. You need to live and breath mindfulness. How can I expect my students to meditate every day unless I do it myself?

So what skills should a mindfulness teacher have?

The Skills You Should Look For

  1. Organized curriculum – are they prepared? How well do they cover the content of the session? Can the balance the needs of the individual, the group and the requirements of teaching the course? 
  2. Authentic connection – consider the interpersonal connection between the participants and the teacher. A good teacher should have the following characteristics: empathy, authenticity, compassion, warmth, curiosity and respect among others. 
  3. Embodies mindfulness – this is a fancy way of saying that they bring the core attitudes of a mindfulness practice (non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go) to their teaching. 
  4. Guided practices are clear and accessible – part of my job as a teacher is to guide my students into recognizing when their minds have wandered (which they will) and how to guide them back. 
  5. Supports questions and curiosity – does the teacher make the course interactive? Are there a variety of teaching methods used to teach the themes of mindfulness? 
  6. Navigates the group dynamic – a competent teacher needs to be able to create and hold the space for the group. By holding the space they are able to shift and change the dynamic based on the groups moods and the different members. 

Teaching 1:1 and teaching in a group are very different. As a teacher I need to be able to give everyone my attention equally, to make sure that no one is pulling focus, to keep us on track, and to make sure that we end on time.

I also need to make sure that the container I create allows for people to feel safe and like they can share or ask questions. My training as a psychotherapist is invaluable in this regard. Stuff comes up when we meditate and having someone in the room (virtual or in-person) who can sit with you through it is absolutely imperative in these moments.

* Full disclosure: While I am a therapist, this website and my courses are not therapy. There are some therapeutic principles in my teaching but it is not the same thing. If you are seeking a therapist there are other organizations that are better suited to that. At The Mindfulness Journey we aim to teach you how to use meditation and skills training to help you to reduce feelings of overwhelm. *

Now that you know why you need a teacher and what to look for I would suggest spending some time testing out different meditations and teaching styles. You won’t like every voice that you hear.

My voice has been described as “magical” and I have been told that I help people feel very relaxed and calm after working with me. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Wanna find out for yourself? Click here to sign up for my FREE 7 day mindfulness program. 

Talking about mindfulness is a passion of mine. It changed my life and I hope to help others to reduce their feelings of anxiety and overwhelm by learning how to be more mindful.

I hope that this post helped you to understand a bit more about the importance of a mindfulness teacher. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Why You Need a Mindfulness Teacher and What Skills You Should Look For

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