Getting together in a mindfulness meditation group is a wonderful way to be able to connect with others that you work with or with your family and friends. It gives you the opportunity to share with others and to also deepen your practice of meditation by doing it with others.
Mindfulness meditation groups come in a variety of sizes and shapes and they help to provide a feeling of community, support, and accountability when connecting with others while enriching your meditation.
How – When – Where – Who
When it comes to mindfulness meditation groups, they most often start off with just a handful of your friends that often meet in a home and usually rotate their meetings to different homes. However, if the attendance starts to increase you may have to find another place to meet. You may need to meet in a conference room, meeting hall of your local church, the library or someplace else that offers more space. If you have a group of people who need meditation support but have limited access to the in-person mindfulness meditation groups you can always conduct your meditations online in a chat room you can easily set up. No matter where it is, it needs to be a place that everyone feels comfortable.
Who and How Many
When it comes to mindfulness meditation groups, the number of people in each group has no required minimum number of people. Groups can be any size you want. Whether it’s just two people or 20 people, these groups can be successful no matter what. Some people prefer smaller groups because it’s more intimate while others might prefer larger groups because they prefer the collective energy that often comes with larger groups.
Group sizes often will depend on if you plan to have an open or closed format. When it’s an open format new members and drop-ins are always welcome and at any time during the sessions. On the other hand, closed groups are ones that usually set a number spaces that are open and then stop letting new members join once they’ve reached their limit.
As for who should be invited to attend, there should be no limits put on who should attend either. It doesn’t matter what walk of life a person might come from. Almost anyone can benefit from mindfulness meditation.
Just remember that you should discuss the type of group you want with members you may already have. You want to make sure people will be comfortable with the type of group you choose to conduct.
When you hold your mindfulness meditation sessions is also important. You will want to make sure that you have a schedule that’s going to work for everyone that is in your group. You will also want to make sure that you have a set length of time for the meetings and how often you are going to meet. You will also want to make sure that you have planned activities included in the length of time.
You can choose to meet on a weekly basis, every couple of weeks or just once a month. It should all depend on what your members prefer. You can also schedule the sessions to last for an hour or they can last for several hours in order to engage in mindfulness discussions after your mindfulness meditation session. Again, it all should be something the entire group agrees on.
When it comes to putting together a mindfulness meditation group, you should have some of the basic set of guidelines written prior to starting the group. This will help to make the sessions go a lot smoother. These basic guidelines should list the purpose of your group meetings, it should include the basic structure for your meetings and they should help to orient all members including new members as they join the group. You might include the following:
- Description of the format
- Time of sessions
- How often group meets
- Whether the group is open or closed
- Source of inspiration
Meditation Group Format
Your mindfulness meditation sessions can include a variety of different activities. For example, you could just have a simple format of just meditation that can include silent and guided meditation. It can also include a simple and friendly greeting prior to starting.
Other groups might want to include some meditation readings, meditation that’s guided and some in-depth sharing time with all members. Other groups often include chanting, having a meal together or even do some walking meditations.
A popular format that many use for their mindfulness meditation sessions is one that includes the following:
- Start off with a guided silent seated meditation
- Short check-in from all members and a time to share difficulties, questions, and joys of their daily living experiences
- Close with a loving and kind meditation to foster a better sense of connection with one another and the world
When you include a sharing period for people in your group it gives them the opportunity to truly listen to each other while they pay attention to the feelings that arise within themselves during their sharing. Sometimes people like to pick a specific topic to focus on when they share, these topics can include:
- Mindfulness when working
- Dealing with anxiety
- Dealing with conflicts in life
Facilitating Your Mindfulness Meditation Sessions
When it comes to facilitating your mindfulness meditation session, it will depend on what members of your group prefer. Some groups will pick a facilitator to handle all meetings or they might want to alternate who will conduct the meetings each time. Some groups will have co-facilitators at all of their meetings, depending on the size of the group.
A facilitator doesn’t always have to lead or even teach the group each session. With some groups they do. However, quite often the facilitator is the one who takes care of arrangements for the meetings, keeping time during the meetings, setting up prior to the meeting making sure they have ample chairs and other items needed. The most important thing that a facilitator does is to make sure the sessions are conducted in a safe place that has a stable atmosphere for everyone to meditate and one that makes them feel free to engage with others in the group.
Being a facilitator of a mindfulness meditation group can actually be quite rewarding but it can also be challenging as well, depending upon the responsibilities a facilitator might have. It’s important to remember that when first starting off, every meeting is going to be a new learning experience and that’s why it’s important that the facilitator is quite open to receiving feedback from their members. Facilitators also need to be willing to adjust in accordance with the feedback they receive.
Get the Word Out About Your Group
If you want to get a good sized group going you are going to have to get the word out about your mindfulness meditation group. Here are a few things you might want to try doing:
- Make up some fliers, postcards, or leaflets that invite others to come join you. Make sure to distribute these items at places like hospitals, community centers, yoga studios, libraries, health food store bulletin boards.
- Try to get permission to list your group on various different mindfulness websites.
- Advertise on social media.
- Make sure to encourage current members, family, and friends to tell others about your group.
When your mindfulness meditation group starts to grow, you may want to organize a weekend retreat or at least a day-long retreat in order to provide members with more opportunities to make new friends and bring others with them to see what mindfulness is all about.