With interest in spirituality surging, the need for qualified meditation teachers has grown. Is meditation teacher training right for you?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be a candidate for a certification course in meditation teacher training.
- Has meditation had a positive impact on your life?
- Are you interested in helping others use meditation to achieve greater mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health?
- Are you interested in enriching your own practice?
- Are you drawn to the deeper questions surrounding meditation, such as the history, benefits, ancient wisdom, and various practices of this time-tested method of spiritual growth?
5 Certification Programs Worth Considering
1) Masters of Wisdom & Meditation Teacher Training
Recommended for anyone with an interest in mantra meditation; those with no formal training but who are committed to a regular meditation practice; those seeking a supportive and accessible approach from a globally celebrated meditation teacher and Vedic scholar; and those looking to avoid prerequisite requirements.
Masterful teacher davidji has refined the original trainings from Drs. Deepak Chopra and David Simon into a meditation teacher training program that is always evolving. The core of the training is based on mantra meditation, a scientifically proven method to lower stress, reduce anxiety, boost mental and physical health, and help practitioners respond to challenges with calm, grace, and greater self-compassion.
Masters of Wisdom & Meditation Teacher Training, a 285-hour, 16-week certification program, is a spiritual potpourri of tools that prepare the student to confidently lead others into a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, peace, and fulfillment. This eclectic program includes teachings from the Vedas, lectures on the soul, various meditations, group interactions, chanting, and energy work, all designed to lead students toward their divine nature and prepare them to lead guided meditations. Ancient and modern philosophies are explored, from the lens of the greatest minds in Vedanta, Buddhism, spirituality, and mind-body wellness.
This meditation teacher training program is conducted via a live Zoom class each Sunday, culminating in a weeklong in-residence training that can be done virtually or in person.
Learn more here.
2) The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program
Recommended for experienced meditators who are ready to commit to a two-year program; those who prefer to study with two teachers; and those seeking training from well-regarded mindfulness leaders.
Highly respected teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield co-teach in this two-year program. With a focus on instilling more mindfulness and compassion into the world, Brach brings her psychology background, while Kornfield lends his Buddhist perspectives to inquiring students.
This certification program prepares students to teach mindfulness while espousing the virtues of compassion, lovingkindness, forgiveness, and joy. Experiential learning includes body scans, heart meditations, and mindful movement, while instructive teachings include the latest research on meditation, the ethics of teaching, and the history of emotional suffering from an evolutionary psychology perspective.
The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification program is mainly self-guided but includes two in-person, three-day events in the Washington, DC, area. Teachings arrive via online audio and video and include practice sessions with other students, select mentors for individual and group settings, and additional online sessions with Brach and Kornfield along with guest teachers. In year two of this meditation teacher training, students participate in a practicum where they initiate mindfulness classes in their community. Graduates can receive continuing education credits (CEUs).
Criteria for acceptance into the program are stringent. Students are required to have completed Brach and Kornfield’s online course “The Power of Awareness,” and they must have attended a silent meditation retreat for a minimum of six nights. Students are expected to have been regularly meditating for at least two years, and they will need a letter of recommendation from a meditation teacher or spiritual leader.
Learn more here.
3) MBSR Teacher Training and Development at Brown University
Recommended for those who desire the association with an Ivy League school; those who are ready to commit to a multiyear program; those who prefer an academic/university setting.
Brown University offers an intensive meditation teacher training program based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction method (MBSR), established in 1979. He founded the first MBSR clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical school, and his self-created, eight-week course is now taught widely throughout the world. As a molecular biology student at MIT, Kabat-Zinn focused his research on the mind/body connection and explored the role of mindfulness in chronic pain and stress-related disorders.
Today, the MBSR course is used as a way of helping students respond rather than react to their thoughts, emotions, and circumstances. Brown’s program, composed of teachings, multi-day silent retreats, and mentoring, includes group learning, time for self-reflection, and ample personal practice. Most students take three to four years to complete the program, including the prerequisites and required student teachings.
The greatest prerequisite challenge to enroll in Brown’s program is the graduate degree (or a graduate degree equivalent). Other requirements include a completed MBSR eight-week course, at least one qualifying five-to-seven-day teacher-led silent retreat, at least one year of daily meditation practice (two years preferred), and experience with a movement practice such as yoga.
Learn more here.
4) Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor Certification
Recommended for those interested in the Primordial Sound Meditation technique; those looking for a specific mantra-based program; and those looking to associate themselves with the Chopra Center or Dr. Deepak Chopra.
Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) is steeped in the Vedic tradition of using the repetition of mantras to quiet the mind and reach a state of pure awareness. Primordial Sound practice is a slightly more specific form of mantra meditation in that it draws from a set of 108 specific mantras.
A primordial sound is defined as a vibration tone found in nature, such as the sound of the wind whipping, ocean waves tumbling, or even a baby crying. Primordial Sound Meditation uses a teacher-assigned personal primordial sound mantra for each student, which is based on the day, time, and place of the student’s birth. The meditation teacher training includes the origins of PSM; proper pronunciations of the 108 variations; the philosophy of meditation; and techniques for teaching this specialized form of meditation to disparate groups such as adults, children, teens, military members, and businesspeople. Students deepen their understanding of the benefits of meditation, as taught by experts in the field.
The Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor Certification program is now only offered online. The program delves deeply into Vedic teachings, and students are required to read The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, among other texts.
To enroll in the certification course, students must either have completed or be concurrently enrolled in the Primordial Sound Meditation Enrichment program.
Learn more here.
5) Meditation Instructor Certification at the AIHCP
Recommended for those working in the healthcare field who want to add a meditation specialization; those seeking a basic nonreligious program; and those looking for association with a professional health organization.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (AIHCP) offers a meditation certification program to those who are either licensed healthcare workers; those with an undergraduate degree in a relevant field such as psychology, sociology, religious studies, or public health; those currently employed as an ordained minister or crisis counselor; corporate trainers; or wellness or fitness consultants. Other than this requirement, the meditation teacher training program is fairly straightforward and uncomplicated.
Students are required to successfully complete the continuing education program endorsed by the AIHCP, which consists of six courses equal to 190 contact hours. These classes include Relaxation Strategies, Meditation Theory & Practice I and II, Mindfulness Meditation Theory & Practice, Energy-Focused & Spiritual Meditation, and Meditation & Mind Fitness.
Upon successful completion of this meditation teacher training program, graduates are able to apply for certification, which is good for four years. After that, members can apply for recertification as long as they have acquired 50 contact hours of training within the four-year period of active certification.
Learn more here.
Meditation Teacher Training: Meeting a Growing Need
Research shows that the coronavirus pandemic has greatly increased interest in spirituality. With this surge comes the need for qualified meditation teachers. Reconsider the questions initially posed as you decide whether becoming an advocate for positive change through a meditation teacher training program is the right path for you.
Starting at the beginning? Read, “Why People Don’t Meditate ... Even If They Want To.”