By Gopi Rao
Let’s look at how to teach mindfulness meditation to reduce stress. Mindfulness meditation, will teach you to help your clients or students cope with the daily challenges that create an atmosphere of stress. Stress is a part of life. To a greater or lesser extent, stress is simply pressure in the mind and body. Handled well, a managed level of stress in life can make you stronger. When stress is handled poorly, it has the unlimited potential to end relationships, friendships, families, marriages, jobs and lives.
Work with a Timer
When working with students or clients, subtle time management is critical. Using a quiet timer for stress management practices. I prefer the 15-minute sand timer. Some teachers make sure a clock is in the room. For personal practice, keeping track of time can be as simple as counting the number of deep breaths during a meditation or gentle yoga session.
Instructors may also be able to put the timer to use to better manage communication in their classes. While it’s important to allow students to ask questions, using a timer to define a “just breathe” or “restful quiet” time in a meditation or yoga class geared toward stress management may provide a break to anxious students and to the rest of the class as well.
Encourage Quiet Communication
Guidelines for conduct need to be established. The students or clients that you’re instructing may be dealing with a lot of anxiety and fear. Anxiety and fear can often manifest as frustration and even anger. Angry people can potentially be noisy, boisterous and jarring to themselves and others at any time. Learning how to teach mindfulness meditation will be a deep lesson in how to prevent volatile situations with guidelines that keep everyone safe.
No matter what, instructors need to maintain a calm and quiet communication style. Pay special attention to your own volume and tone, so your words can have a bigger impact. Students or clients may be looking for instant answers or certainty. Stressed-out people don’t want to deal with more questions and may be unable to make the connection between deep, calming breaths and facing an unreasonable boss or a difficult financial issue.
Monitor New Clients
A meditation teacher may have great communication with their established clients, but new clients will take some extra handling, especially if their stress levels are high or they may not be able to manage any stress level well. Mindful communication is key here. Make sure that as you continue to teach mindfulness meditation, you also find the best way to connect individually with new clients.
This communication could take many forms. A simple message to see if they have any questions is a good start. You might also send out an Email to let everyone know that you’ll be available for questions and what your intended office hours are. Avoid making phone calls; highly stressed people have enough distractions and they may not be able to take your call when you make it.
Employ and Encourage Centering Rituals
Teachers can also suffer from stress; in fact, some teachers are sensitive enough to the feelings of others that just being around an agitated person can actually add to their stress. To break that connection, consider a mantra or action that encapsulates you and protects you from stress, anxiety, or pressure.
Take your shoes off and grip the floor underneath your toes. Close your eyes and sniff an essential oil that you love. Some teachers might light a sandalwood candle and just gaze at the flame for 30 seconds while you breathe deeply. It’s just a matter of setting the atmosphere in the room, but I don’t light anything up, because some students get headaches from any kind of smoke, incense, or candles.
Use a phrase from an author that inspires you. From William James’ mantra for control, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another,” to Steven Pressfield’s earthier phrase, “Shut up and keep humping,” we can often find a quote or phrase that will center us, stop us for a moment, make us smile a bit, encourage the next step forward or the make it to the next rung up the ladder.
As meditation teachers note how positively their students react to these stress management techniques, it may be time to hang posters, pass out flyers, open a Facebook page, or send inspiring Emails. However, whenever possible, try to look students in the eye to see how they are managing life as they enter class. Someone being drained by stress needs restful communication, and ever student is different. Whenever possible, communicate eye to eye. Finally, if you want to learn more about how to teach mindfulness meditation, you might want to take a mindfulness meditation course.
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