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Self-practice or is it worth paying for meditation classes?

Self practice vs paid meditation class – is paid classes worth it and can you really practice self-meditation?

Paid Meditation Classes

Setting of intention before going into meditation

I’ve been through both free and paid meditation classes and I must say paid meditation classes do help in building up the habit of meditating. It is exceptionally useful for an urban dweller who has 101 things to do and for me, I often deprioritize the entire activity of meditating in order to “get everything running”.

What do you learn in a paid meditation class?

The interesting thing about paid meditation class is the variety of meditation techniques that you can try out with different teachers.

Different meditation techniques such as:

  • Integral meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Sound healing
  • Vipassana meditation

Given my first plunge to meditation was Vipassana, I was somehow reluctant to try out other forms of meditation. Going for classes allowed me to get exposed to different meditation methods.

Self-Practice Meditation Classes

Personally, this is a huge challenge. Even among friends who took a similar Vipassana path as me, all of them stopped their regular meditation. Self-practice meditation requires habit forming. It has to be to the extent that the action of getting into meditation becomes automated. This is such a conflicting suggestion when I have been asking you to practice mindfulness and to be acutely aware of your actions.. but when it comes to taking action, it may be better to make use of productivity techniques. I picked up the habit-forming technique by James Clear.

Below will be some tips to get into self-meditation and this is how I got into a regular practice. No matter how strange it may be, it works!

How to make self-meditation works

Finding a space for yourself

1. Define where you want to meditate.

I will suggest that that space to be solely used for meditation. It can be a seat on a particular chair or if you have space at home, a room solely used for meditation.

2. Define time and frequency

Define an allocated time and frequency you want for doing self-meditation (E.g.11PM, 3x a week)

3. Write down your commitment in paper

Write down your commitment and give it to someone who can make it accountable for you, be it your family member, friend, roommate (I (name) commit to doing meditation at 11 PM for 3 times in a week. — sign off your signature)

4. Add an accountable amount ($$)

[MOST IMPORTANT STEP] In your commitment, add in a sentence that you will pay the person helping you if you break this commitment. Make sure it is an amount that you will feel it’s a pity to part. In my case, I used $100. (I (name) commit to doing meditation at 11 PM for 15 mins for 3 times in a week. If I were to break this commitment, I will pay (name of friend) $100 with no question asked.)

5. Set up a surveillance camera

Set up a surveillance camera (yes, I really mean a camera). If not, inform the accountable person to come in at the appointed time and day.

6. Give the $$ to the accountable person

Give the accountable person the allocated $100 and tell him or her that you will be following your commitment.

Inform him/ her to check that you are meditating or show the accountable person the camera recording of your meditation.

7. Pay if you did not stick to the commitment

I am pretty sure you will stick to the meditation commitment with so many procedures in place!

By taking the action of committing and penning it down on paper, the mind will register that you are committed to an action (Think: It is like going through a formal process such as signing an employment contract).

To add on, getting an accountable person to monitor your activity and taking the “deposit amount” will make a procrastinating person take action.

If this works, you will be able to ease into a self-meditation practice. If it doesn’t, do pay your accountable friend and increase the amount. You may want to consider to go for paid classes if the amount has gone beyond a typical class fee.

Use meditation app to keep track of your progress

Make use of technology and use a meditation app to keep track of your progress. Popular apps like Headspace, Calm will do the trick.

If you are into the latest innovation, Muse will be an interest to you (I have one!). It helps to monitor your brain activities to see how much time you drifted off or if you are in the “meditation flow”. Perhaps you were sleeping all these while you are meditating? 😉

Pros and Cons of paying for Meditation classes

In a nutshell, these are the Pros and Cons of a Paid Class:

(+) Frequency to go for meditation increases
(+) A private space to do meditation during a lunch break in the city
(+) Different techniques used
(+) Community engagement

(-) Classes can be quite expensive
(-) You may join classes or try out meditation techniques that you don’t like

Average cost of meditation classes

While the price may differ from place to place, it typically ranges around USD $25 – >$100 per session, depending on what studio, group or personal session. I will give more on the Singapore context since I have been to a few of the meditation studios.

For the budget conscious:

  • Search for meditation classes that are paid by donation basis
  • Go for meet-ups
  • Set up your own meditation group

Resources for meditation class in Singapore

In Singapore, I have been to Space2B, a meditation studio in the heart of Singapore. This is where I was exposed to a different type of meditation. It fits nicely to my lunch schedule and I do feel more refreshed after the session!

A few others that I came across are:

Free or By Donation Basis

Resources for global meditation

Not that I am biased. I only know of Vipassana Meditation as an international centre. Please comment over if you know of more. I would love to feature more!

Resources for performing self-meditation

Fuss-free and easy guided meditation
A guided meditation on self-love

Conclusion

Meditation is no different from studying or taking a paid class. Assume that you don’t know how to swim, you can choose to learn swimming on your own (free) or pay someone to learn swimming. Of course, you may refute that swimming is a skill that requires teaching and meditation doesn’t exactly require the same skill imparting. Think about it, sometimes things that are perceived as simple is actually the hardest to attain.

For a novice or seasoned practitioner without much friends and family support, it’s great to go for paid and community classes to encourage and build up the habit of meditation.

For the budget conscious, try going for a community class that is donation basis or free. I would encourage giving a donation amount so that it helps to add to the commitment level.

You can certainly try out my quirky method to enforce self-practice or how Ivan did it with Headspace a couple of years back! If you are someone who is super disciplined, consider doing self-practice and probably take some newbies into your wings 🙂