Top 5 Meditation Teacher Training Programs In The US

By: Claire Hannum, Travel & Wellness Writer

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A regular meditation routine can turn your world upside down in the best possible way, so it’s no surprise that teaching meditation can be an incredibly enriching experience as well.

If you’re thinking of embarking on a meditation teacher training program, it’s important to do some deep inner reflection first - and to make sure you’re maintaining a regular meditation practice in the process.

Ask yourself what style of meditation you want to teach, and why you want to start on this journey. Do you want to dig deeper into your own practice, or help wellness clients, or regularly lead meditation classes? These are all excellent reasons - the key is to make sure you’re willing to put in the work. Here are the top teacher training programs in the US to consider.

1. Unplug

The Unplug Meditation Teacher Training is a secular course focused on mindfulness, led by Unplug teacher davidji. The 6-week program begins with 5 weeks of online coursework. This segment of the program involves weekly lessons, webinars, practices, assignments, and an accompanying journey through the Unplug meditation app. For the 6th and final week, you’ll take part in an in-residence intensive in Los Angeles, where you’ll lead classes, attend lectures, and get one-on-one coaching. The next course cycle begins this October 7!

2. UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center

This year-long program at UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) focuses on mindfulness facilitation for people hoping to incorporate mindfulness into their workplace, local institutions, or even just the lives of their friends and family. The course involves online and phone training as well as four in-person practicums in Los Angeles throughout the year. You’ll be trained to lead mindfulness classes for groups of clients, students, and colleagues.

3. University Of Massachusetts Medical School

This training out of UMass teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR. Often used as a complement to psychological treatment and medical care in stressful situations, MBSR is all about finding more peace of mind while reducing overwhelm. It can help treat a wide range of conditions like headaches, depression, high blood pressure, chronic pain, PTSD, and many others. Once certified as a teacher, you’ll be able to teach UMass’s popular 8-week MBSR program to others.

4. The Chopra Center 

This self-paced online course, run by Deepak Chopra and Roger Gabriel, is focused on Primordial Sound Meditation, a practice derived from the Indian Vedic tradition. This course explains the method into easy-to-understand steps so you can get to know yourself better and develop a deeper path to relaxation. The course involves 6 sessions focused on helping you implement the practice into your daily life. This training is less for those who aim to be teachers and more for those who want to improve their own personal meditation habits.  

5. Jack Kornfield

Buddhist practitioner Jack Kornfield and psychologist Tara Brach teach this two-year professional training program, which focuses on mindfulness meditation. You’ll dive deep into loving-kindness, mindfulness, and compassion in your work. You’ll participate in online trainings, some featuring renowned guest teachers, as well as two in-person workshops in Washington, DC. In your second year of training, you’ll practice teaching in the field as you grow your skills. The next session of the course begins in 2021.