Everything You Need to Know About Guided Meditation & Its Benefits
“True guidance is like a small torch in a dark forest. It doesn’t show everything once.
But gives enough light for the next step to be safe.”
You won’t find words wiser than these. It also stands true with Meditation. Today, we are talking about one of the most popular ways to meditate in modern times, the Guided Meditation.
So what is it, and how is it compared to the other ways of meditation? Let’s find out.
What is a Guided Meditation?
Guided Meditation is a meditation that a teacher will lead. It can be a face to face session or can be a digital medium like audio and video.
This technique is beneficial for people who are just starting. Having an expert who knows the basics and can guide you through the steps will surely help. It is important to have a teacher you can relate with or trust. After all, he/she can lead you to the results you want from your meditation.
This is where it differs from the traditional methods of meditation. Contrary to traditional meditation, where you understand what you want before going into the meditation, in Guided Meditation, your teacher will tell you the dynamics of the process during the session itself.
In traditional meditation, the actual meditation part comes after a comprehensive understanding of what you are trying to achieve. In Guided Meditation, the teacher will explain meditation practices and how to blend them into your everyday sessions during the process itself.
These are just the surface-level differences, though. Before we move ahead, let’s take a detailed look at the differences between guided and Unguided Meditation.
Guided Vs Unguided Meditation
Unguided Meditation is silent meditation. As the name suggests, you meditate on your own. You can customize it the way you want. You can set your own pace, duration, steps, whatever you want. It is done alone without a teacher, guide or mentor taking you through the process.
Choosing between guided and Unguided Meditation completely depends on you. It all boils down to personal preference. Some people may take a long time to guide them, whereas others will want to fly free! However, the Guided Meditation is not just about the teacher giving you instructions. They are there for encouragement and support, too.
For beginners, they can get comfortable with a Guided Meditation. As you get confident with the practice, you can move on to decide for yourself. Some people might want to continue with the Guided Meditation even after a while, and some would not need guidance at all.
As the skills progress, you may want to try it alone. There is always the option to try and alternate between guided and non-guided Meditation. In short, be open to all the options and understand that it is very subjective. It is like solo travelling vs travelling with a companion. Both have their benefits and vices. Personal preferences matter the most.
Benefits of Guided Meditation
Helps with Stress & Anxiety.
Be it Guided Meditation or Unguided Meditation; it helps in reducing any stress and anxiety you may have. They are often caused by cycles of harmful thoughts that overwhelm your mind. For example, when something bad happens, it can make you upset. At the same time, it induces other negative emotions like anger or blame.
Guided Meditation can benefit you by understanding what is happening from what you are adding to it. This will make your stress and anxiety more manageable and less overpowering. This is a process of focusing on the facts of the situation rather than adding your old experiences to the situation. It will help you lower your stress and anxiety and can prevent depression.
Helps With Pain
Meditation will help you lower the sensations of chronic pain. Like it helps with stress and anxiety, it can help you fend off the “add-on emotions” we always relate to our pain. A reduction in emotional stress will help you fight chronic pain. When you get rid of emotions like frustration, anger, hopelessness, or jealousy, it will help.
Meditation helps you with better emotional control and how you handle stress attached to pain. It is a skill you learn with time that will help you understand how to respond to pain. It is proven that emotional control always helps in improving the quality of life.
Helps with Emotional Eating or Overeating
When someone is in chronic stress, their bodies produce endocrine and other immune factors contributing to emotional eating and obesity. Here, the emotional control you get from meditation practices helps you. It will improve appetite regulation or can even prompt weight loss. These habits will lower your obesity risks and prevent emotional eating.
Mindfulness and other types of meditation certainly help change our eating behaviours, especially about binge-eating episodes. Emotional eating is one reason for the world’s obesity problem, and studies have shown that meditation helps target your negative eating behaviours.
Helps with Insomnia
One of the major problems in the world is insomnia—the lack of sleep or the lack of quality of sleep. Mindful Guided Meditation can improve sleep quality in senior adults who have sleep disturbances. With better sleep comes reduced depression, anxiety, fatigue, and inflammation.
Apart from all this, Meditation also helps people with serious illnesses with a sense of empowerment. It helps in improving psychological functioning and reduces stress in people with serious ailments. Many other types of research are also growing.
Guided Meditation Techniques for Beginners
Have your eyes on the Guided Meditation? Here is how to start. This is just a comprehensive guide and an idea of what would be coming your way when you start Guided Meditation. Some simple Guided Meditation exercises include:
Focus on the ‘Why’
This is the time to set your intention. As a beginner, it may all feel overwhelming. However, once you know what you want, it can get a little easier. The Guided Meditations will set you off and tell you about the benefits and goals you are about to achieve. Setting an intention before every meditation will help you remind yourself why you are meditating in the first place. This is a good starting line for anyone and helps you keep your momentum up.
Relax Your Body
Once you begin the meditation, do not forget to ‘let go’ of any tension that you feel in your body. Pay attention to the areas where you feel the tension. The seven points of meditation posture are the most important part of your position so pay attention to them. The seven points are legs, arms, back, eyes, jaw/mouth, tongue, and head.
Soften these areas if needed while you breathe in and breathe out. With every inhale and exhale, be aware of the process of breathing. You can also consciously exhale a bit more to use it as an anchor to be aware. You can try a body scan at this stage to be aware of the changes you are going through and silently sleep through the zone.
Pay Attention to the Sensations
Use all your five senses to feel what is happening internally and externally. The sensations you are feeling, the sounds you are hearing, the smells around you, everything. If you have your eyes opened, what are you seeing? And if they are closed, what visions are you getting? Please pay attention to those sensations and acknowledge them. Remember, anything you feel during the meditation does not have to be pushed away. Just acknowledge it, tap it and focus your attention back.
You Can Investigate
There is something called the ‘inquiry’ or ‘investigating’ when it comes to meditation. Ask yourself what the causes of stress and anxiety you are feeling are and when you are going through Guided Meditation, try to explore it more. If that is a recent experience, go into the details, and you can note them, too. Remember, the whole point of this Guided Meditation is to get closer to your thoughts and emotions. It can reveal a lot about yourself, your fears, your beliefs, and other emotions that can only be found with self-exploration.
Remember to Breathe
It is important to come back to your body once you are done investigating your thoughts. See them for what they are. They are thoughts, and the present is more real than them. Do not react to the thoughts. Your Guided Meditation is not about fighting the thoughts or acting on them, but get to know about them and give them the space to exist. Bottling them up creates the problem, and that causes the cycle of stress and anxiety.
Once you have done that, it is time to come back to breathing sensations, slowly returning to your environment from the thoughts you just had. Again, it is just about letting your thoughts exist and not act on them. Please get to know them and free your mind as much as you can.
Tips and Tricks to Follow
Now that you know what to do, here are some tips and tricks to ease the process that will help you.
Keep Away the Distractions
With Guided Meditations, it is always easy to pause or skip the meditation and get distracted by the things around you. Most importantly, keep your phone silent and away from you.
Being Comfortable is the Key
Sit down, on the chair, or even lie down. Whatever is comfortable for you should be your Guided Meditation position. Use cushions and yoga mats whenever you are uncomfortable to put them down under you. Close your eyes, breathe, and let the teacher guide you.
Keep Coming Back
It is important to make Guided Meditation a habit. Set a time that is the most convenient to you and make a schedule. Come back at the same time the next day and be regular with it. It may seem hard at first, but dedication will take you a long way.
Best Guided Meditation Sources+
There are several sources to find Guided Meditations or a guide if you want something more personalized. It can be pre-recorded or on-demand, or the old-fashioned face to face way of doing things. Here are some of the top Guided Meditation sources.
Subscription music services that offer music online are the best places to find some Guided Meditation sessions online. They may be a one-off thing or a series of meditations from some broadcasters that you find.
They are the new in-thing now. Many use it to learn and pass the time while driving, whereas you can use them to find time-driven meditations like 5 or 10-minute meditation.
Going purely digital, several websites offer these Guided Meditations right on their web pages. You do not have to download anything; play them in your browser and get the best out of your internet.
If you are looking to make meditation a habit, this will work best for you. Meditation Apps can help you set a routine and be regular with your session. They also help you track the goals you want to achieve with meditation.
Video streaming websites will serve you the same as the podcasts; however, this time, they will be with the visuals and demonstrations. People tend to retain more information when there are visuals to aid with auditory information.
This is your traditional, offline, face-to-face way to get into a Guided Meditation. At a yoga studio, you will find your yoga teacher/trainer just like you would find at a gym. Also, if you like being surrounded by people when you meditate, this is the best option for you.
This is all you need to know about Guided Meditation. Once again, it all boils down to your preferences if you want to go with a Guided Meditation or an unguided one. Either way, meditating can bring a lot of positive changes that should not be missed. Happy Meditating! May you achieve that peace of mind.