Meditation classes you can take online are an amazing new development on the spiritual path. Previously in order to learn meditation, you’d need to travel - sometimes to the other side of the globe – in order to find a teacher. You’d need to spend weeks, sometimes months or even years with someone who often didn’t speak your native language in order to learn techniques they told you had been passed down from ancient times.

We have been fortunate for the last forty years to have been able to learn meditation from Western teachers who traveled to those far off places and then returned to share the practices, techniques and philosophies they learned with those back home.

But even when meditation teachers were local, learning meditation was still not an easy thing to do. A lot of teachers taught shortened versions of what they had been shown. So instead of doing a thirty-day meditation retreat in India, you could find a seven-day meditation retreat in California or Massachusetts or New York. Many teachers also offered weekend workshops, but would suggest that you return repeatedly throughout the year for more workshops in place of traveling around the globe to live in an ashram for a concentrated time.

In the past few years, however, the wonders of the Internet have brought meditation classes online. You can stay right at home in your favorite comfortable chair while learning to meditate. Often, these online meditation classes consist of recorded instructions. They can also involve sessions with the meditation teacher that are live and interactive.

Another online meditation instruction option can be teleclasses in which people from all over the world join in to practice at the same time, just as if they had all come together at the same meditation center, but while still remaining in their homes.

On one hand, these online meditation classes offer some real advantages because they make meditation instruction more accessible and convenient for people. However, this ease also means people don’t get the value of going through the challenges of taking time out of the schedule to create the space for a longer spiritual retreat. When we invest a lot of time and energy in getting to a retreat or class, it’s more apparent that being able to do a meditation retreat is a rare thing and having time with a teacher is a valuable treat. This often means that we put more energy, effort and attention into our meditation practice in these types of settings.

When we take an online meditation class, though, we aren't required to put out so much effort, and we may not take it quite so seriously as if we had traveled for a week on a rickety train in India to get there.

It’s the same sort of thing as how people may not practice as intently if the meditation course is free instead of one that required a serious investment of cash, either for the course itself or the travel to get there.

It's too soon to tell yet whether learning meditation online is actually a better method, a worse one, or simply a different one than actually going to a Zen meditation retreat or Vipassana course or yoga retreat. With so many choosing to learn meditation online, however, there is a great opportunity to gather information about this style of learning meditation and hopefully we will soon have some answers.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Sashen began meditation when he was eight years old, was one of the first biofeedback pioneers, and researched cognition and perception at Duke University. In addition to a successful career as an entrepreneur and entertainer, Steven has taught transformational techniques around the world and developed the Instant Advanced Meditation Course, which Dr. Gay Hendricks calls, "Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to relax, expand awareness, and find deep inner-peace."

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Steven Sashen, the Official Guide To Meditation