Meditation is a mental exercise that helps concentration and awareness. It curbs reactivity to fleeting negative thoughts and feelings that may be disturbing or upsetting you. Through this activity, one can find clarity, peace, and empathy.
When you first start your journey, a really important question to ask yourself is whether you’d like to participate in guided or unguided meditation. It’s important to know the differences between both styles. Choosing the right one will help you build a strong foundation and help you make good use of your time. In this article, we will go through both of these styles of meditation, their benefits, and which one you should choose for yourself.
What is Guided Meditation?
Guided meditation is led by an instructor, who guides you step-by-step through meditation classes or online via audio or video recordings. When you’re starting out in yoga, an expert teacher can help you develop a meditation habit that will stick. In guided meditation, students are taught the approach, the practice, and the integration of meditation by the instructor. They will also explain how the mind is likely to behave during this activity. Additionally, they’ll elaborate on meditation techniques that can be brought into your day-to-day life.
Benefits of Guided Meditation:
- Structured Framework
- Group Lessons
- Step By Step
- Variety of Instructors
- Various Techniques
- Timed Meditations
- Builds Confidence
- Strong Fundamentals
- Encourages Consistent Practice
What is Unguided Meditation?
Unguided meditation is practiced without external instructions. You are your own meditation guide. It is typically a solo activity, unlike guided meditation (which can be done solo or in a group). Unguided meditation, or silent meditation, allows you to choose your own time, space, and degree of silence. Typically, this form of meditation done without any external tools. Basic tips include finding a quiet spot, a comfortable place to sit, and a posture that is suitable for your body before beginning your session.
Benefits of Unguided Meditation:
- Untimed Meditation
- No External Distractions
- Deeper Reflection
- Deeper Spiritual Meditation
- Deeper Immersion
- Tap into Higher Vibrations
- Can be Practiced Privately
Guided or Unguided Meditation: Which One to Choose?
Choosing between guided and unguided meditation is a subjective choice. No research says guided meditation is better than unguided meditation, or vice-versa. Generally, guided meditation is used to help beginners and unguided meditation is for more advanced meditators.
If you’re a beginner, unguided meditation can sometimes lead you to feelings of frustration if you have trouble focusing. You need to choose your focus object carefully. If your mind starts to wander during meditation, you are responsible for discarding any unnecessary thoughts or distractions.
You must build up a basic foundation in concentration before you undertake unguided meditation. Practicing guided meditation first will help you hone in your focus levels and will allow you to find a consistent flow each day.
Some begin with guided meditation and then switch to unguided meditation as their skills and understanding progress, while others keep switching between both styles depending on their preference that day. Both guided and unguided meditation, however, can be therapeutic and spiritual.