Encourage Meditation—but Proceed with Caution

Meeting professionals’ jobs can be very demanding, which can create stress and lead to health problems. One of the most encouraging trends in the meetings industry is the expansion of efforts to help address this issue through health and wellness programs, including meditation at workplaces—but it’s important to proceed with caution.

Lodro Rinzler, a the co-founder and chief spiritual officer at New York City’s MNDFL meditation studio and founder of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership, described a conversation he had with another meditation teacher.

“You wouldn’t necessarily say, ‘Hey, let’s do some yoga. I invented these stretches,’” the teacher said to Rinzler. Except in situations involving very advanced teachers, inventing techniques can be not only ineffective, but also dangerous.

“There’s a million apps [for meditation] out there these days, but you should use trained instructors that come in person to guide people, at least at first, until they learn how to do it on their own,” Rinzler says.

Businesses and organizations looking to bring in a trained meditation teacher to get the ball rolling usually have many options. It’s important to do some exploring to find a teacher whose meditation technique is well-suited to the vast majority of employees who want to participate. (And yes, participating should be an option, not a requirement.)

It’s also important to find a teacher whose personality and style blends in well with your group. Even the most skilled meditation teachers won’t help your employees much unless they have an easy, comfortable rapport with them.

With business groups, teachers often are faced with the challenge of instructing people with widely varying degrees of meditation experience. So, to be as inclusive as possible, it’s usually necessary to start with very basic and accessible techniques, and for short periods—perhaps 10 minutes.

Some employees might already be very dedicated to a particular meditation practice. Of course, those who want to practice their own technique during group meditation sessions should be accommodated.

Once they start meditating, other employees might begin exploring different techniques. This should be encouraged because it indicates a desire to enhance their meditation by finding the particular practice that best suits them. After all, the ultimate objective is to provide the best practice for each person who participates.

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