Can you teach yourself mindfulness? Do you really need a mindfulness instructor? Can you learn from a few decent YouTube videos?
In short, all of these are valid ways to explore and practice mindfulness. Almost anything can be self-taught. In fact, mindfulness is built upon a foundation of self-teaching and finding a way towards self-discovery of embodied mindfulness of solitude. And yet, the benefits from learning from someone who is trained extensively is incredibly valuable and important, especially for those new to the practice.
When we learn from books – we learn intellectually. When we learn from group programs and more hands-on settings, we are learning experientially.
Each method is beneficial in different ways, however, there are certain aspects that self-taught mindfulness may lack:
If you’ve taken it upon yourself to learn about and practice mindfulness, we commend you. It’s hard to learn mindfulness skills on your own, in the same way it is to teach yourself guitar or learn a new language. There are plenty of valuable mindfulness resources available through YouTube videos, books, and podcasts. Unfortunately, not all of these resources are rooted in certified practices – which is why we recommend doing your research on the source of your material.
One benefit of learning mindfulness in a group is the sense of belonging and connection that emerges through group practice. Additionally, when you learn mindfulness practices from an extensively trained and certified facilitator, they are able to be on-hand to help guide you in your mindfulness journey and meet you exactly where you are. With most practices, having an instructor, trainer, or group to work with can be highly motivating and beneficial to your journey. Taking a mindfulness course or workshop can give you valuable hands-on experience when it comes to practicing mindfulness – which is an element that self-taught mindfulness may lack (think doing at-home workouts vs. having a knowledgeable personal trainer).
The heart, gut, and body are always talking to us. There is wisdom to get out of your head. To have a group to share these learnings with – is incredibly helpful for so many. With a group we are able to learn and challenge each other. We can grow. When someone is holding us accountable, and accepting us on our journey, we are more likely to continue forward.
At the end of the day, you know what works best for yourself. Wherever you’re at on your journey, we commend you – and if you’re ever confused or need some guidance, feel free to sign up for one of our many mindfulness programs or free monthly community workshops.