Guided meditation or self-guided meditation? Which one is better? Which one should you practice?
The answer isn’t that binary. In order to understand which one is better, and which one is for you, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
What is the difference between guided meditation and self-guided meditation?
Guided meditation is the process of meditating with an expert either in person or virtually through audio, video or text. Unguided meditation is meditating on your own without any external cues. You are your own guide and meditate based on techniques you’re familiar and comfortable with.
So which one is better? The answer is still neither! The best meditation is the one you are doing right now. It is entirely a personal choice based on your comfort level.
Here’s when you should choose guided meditation:
1. If you’re new to meditation
2. When you’re looking for variety in meditation
3. If you want to meditate with a buddy or in a group
If you’re new to meditation
Just like with any other skill, when starting out with meditation, it’s best to use guided meditation. It can be with audios or to work with a meditation teacher. The practice of staying in the present and not allowing your mind to wander takes time to cultivate. As a result, in the early days of your meditation journey, this method will help you tremendously.
When you’re looking for variety in meditation
Most meditation practitioners work on a similar meditation routine each time they meditate. For example, those who learn Vipasanna meditation practice the same technique every time. If you’re looking for a change up in your routine, then this is for you. There are many apps that offer lots of different techniques and variety for you. Like most things in life, a change once in a while is always welcome.
If you want to meditate with a buddy or in a group
Most people don’t associate meditation as a group activity but it’s a great way to meditate. It creates accountability if you’re new to meditation and want to build a habit. If you’re looking to meditate with others, then guided meditation helps everyone to follow the same practice and meditation.
Here’s when you should meditate yourself (Self-guided meditation):
1. When you want to turn full inward
2. Once you’ve got practice
3. When you want to create a meditation routine
When you want to turn full inward
Guided meditation often occurs via mobile apps, YouTube videos or in a face to face session. But in all of these, particularly technology also has its distractions and limitations. Thus, for advanced meditation practitioners or those who want to use meditation to go deep inwards, self-meditation should be your choice.
Once you’ve got practice
If you’ve been practicing guided meditation for a while, you may want to branch out. That’s when you try self-meditation. Take 5-10 minutes out of your day and try to meditate with simple breathing exercises or just stay alert about your mind and its thoughts. You can even alternate with both types of meditations. It’ll help measure your ability to stay mindful and comfort levels.
When you want to create a meditation routine
Meditation when practiced regularly comes with a load of benefits. However, getting into a routine is particularly tricky. Hence, if you’re looking to get started or create your own meditation routine, self-guided meditation is a great idea. You can do it on your own terms, at your own pace and truly connect with yourself.
Guided meditation has numerous benefits and advantages. If you’re looking to start meditating or build your practice, you should experiment with both guided and unguided meditation and see what works for you. If you want to get started on your journey of guided meditation or meditation at home, we can help.
Evolve has over 50+ guided meditation audios designed to make it light, refreshing and easy to learn. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!
Sarah Khan is pursuing CSE and is an author at Evolve.
Who strongly believes mental health is the overall strength.
Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with her.