How to Lead a Mindfulness Practice Group at Work?

This guide aims to make it simple for you to bring a group together to practice mindfulness in your company.

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Why Start a Mindfulness Practice Group?

There are many reasons why you might start a practice group at work, including:

  • Having a group provides structure & accountability, which helps build a habit of practice
  • Practicing with others can foster the experience of a deeper practice
  • Sharing insights and/or challenges with others helps gain more perspective about the practice
  • Building a mindful community supports the sustainment of practice

Running a Group

The following is a list of details and logistics you might consider before your first meeting. Each of these may evolve once you start meeting with the group.

  • Time and Frequency: Pick a day/time that is consistent(if possible) and that is convenient for your group. Also, determine a frequency that works best for your group- we suggest weekly, but you can also do twice a week or every other week.
  • Hosting: Create a repeated calendar invite & reserve a space (if needed) to run the sessions. This can be a meeting room or quiet space.

Virtual tips:

  • If you're doing this virtually, set up a session in your desired platform (Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, etc).
  • If you plan to have any small breakout groups or dyads during the session, be sure that your platform can support this.
  • As the facilitator, be sure to be in a room that is free of distractions and outside sounds. Test the audio that you plan to use for meditations and make sure that participants will be able to hear.

Group Norms:

Create a list of norms that describe the intentions for the group. Here area few suggested norms for yourself as a group leader and to share with your group:

  • Beginner’s Mind: We al come to the group with different levels of practice or familiarity with mindfulness. See what it would be like to meet each moment with fresh eyes.
  • Be Fully Present: take a break from email or other work, snacking, and other distractions.
  • Kindness & Curiosity: invite these attitudes towards your own experience and others.
  • Confidentiality: hold what is shared in the practice session with confidentiality and agree to not share details or personally identifiable information outside of this group.

Virtual Tips:

  • Ask people to close or minimize other windows/tabs, and not do emails or other work.
  • Try to be in a space that is as free from distractions as possible.
  • Encourage people to have video on to support presence and connection.
  • If there is background noise in your space, please mute yourself. You might have everyone mute for the meditation, and unmute for discussion.

Invitation & Communication

How you invite people to join and communicate with them about the group can influence people’s interest in joining. Choose language that you believe will be most attractive to your potential audience (e.g. if people in your area tend to have resistance to the terms “mindfulness” or “meditation,”try phrases like “focus and attention practices”).

Send a general communication to share that you’ll be offering these sessions including the purpose and details, and then also send reminders prior to each session to encourage people to join. Below is an example of the email you can share:

Dear friends,

Would you like support in developing or maintaining a mindfulness practice?

I’m starting a mindfulness practice group for anyone who would like to join. We’ll meet on {Tuesday mornings} at {9am} for 30 minutes.

Each week, we’ll take a few minutes to check-in, then meditate for 8-15 minutes followed by 10-15 minutes of discussion for anyone who would like to talk about their practice experience. I’m excited to form a group because {include something personal about why are you excited to create this, and the purpose/intention}.

Interested? RSVP by {details on how to register}

Please feel free to pass this on if you know anyone else who might want to join.

Communication in-between sessions:

As the facilitator, you may suggest that people continue their own daily mindfulness practice between meetings or some other form of mindfulness practice (walking meditation, journaling, etc.).

You can share some of the guided meditation resources you’ve collected to support others in their individual practice. You may also choose to create an email group (or equivalent)that members can use to check-in about various questions or share ideas or insights they have between sessions.

Be sure to send reminder emails prior to the next session to encourage people to join!

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Mindfulness Session at Work | Suggested Agenda

Welcome (2-5 min)

  • Buffer to give people a few minutes to arrive
  • Introduce yourself + the purpose/intention for the group
  • [Optional] Group introductions
  • Give overview of session agenda
  • Share any group norms, including confidentiality

Setup the Meditation (2 min)

Say a few words about what the meditation will be, and its general process and purpose, and share any instructions for the practice

Guide the Meditation (10 min)

Guide a meditation or play a recorded meditation for the group.

Debrief / Discussion (10 min)

General Question & comment round or offer a prompt for discussion, for example:

  • What did you experience during that meditation?
  • Do you feel different now compared to before the meditation?
  • How does this topic relate to what you’re experiencing in life or at work right now?
  • When might you use this type of meditation?

Closing (2 min)

Wrap up the session and help participants transition into the next part of their day

  • Share any logistics about future sessions
  • [Optional] Each person shares one word about how they are feeling now to close