how to become a certified meditation teacher

How to become a certified meditation teacher for under $300 (2021)

There are lots of ways to become a certified meditation teacher, but most of them are either exorbitantly expensive, or require you to take a vow of celibacy, spend 200 hours wearing a mask in a yoga studio, or give up the freedom of teaching your own beautifully unique meditation style.

If you want to become a certified meditation teacher for under $300, read below to understand the state of the “meditation certification industry”… or just skim through the story and skip to the TL;DR summary at the end ๐Ÿ˜‚

Wat Suan Mokkh forest monastery, southern Thailand, 2008. It was my eighth day of silent meditation. After a week of battering my brain with anxious thoughts, my demons had finally broken down my defenses ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Frustrated and defeated, I gave up. I stopped trying to resist the demons, trying to quiet my mind, trying to find peace & happiness. I sighed deeply, accepted myself for who I was, accepted the fact that the demons weren’t going to go away, shrugged in resignation, and let go.


In that moment, the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders.

Suddenly, everything was Awake.

The sunshine was brighter, more glorious… somehow more golden than it was a moment before.

The ants marching on the ground were individual souls, each with a unique personality.

The space around me, and inside me, was all tied together. It was a joy just to move around, swimming in the fabric of the Universe.

That acute state of radiant bliss lasted for a few more days… I felt like I was walking on clouds, completely immersed and enveloped in the pure light, love and beauty of the present moment. By the tenth day, I knew that I needed to dedicate my life to sharing this type of experience with others. And thus began my journey as a meditation guide.

Should I Become A Buddhist Monk?

I inquired about meditation teacher certification at the monastery — but they required a vow of celibacy, a monastic residency of at least three years… and after that, I would only to be able to teach their specific style of Theravada Buddhist Anapanasati meditation. While maintaining the vow of celibacy, of course.

This was not what I was looking for. I wanted to live my own “middle way.” I wanted to have children and raise a family… very difficult while maintaining a vow of celibacy.

Teaching Meditation Without Certification

When I returned to New York, I started writing articles about meditation… which evolved into… which evolved into Meditation Magazine. I started teaching meditation at hospitals and universities, started meditation groups and programs that continued even after I left. I’ve been teaching meditation through various media since then, and have taught over 100k students, in 80+ countries around the world.

The thing is, I always had this nagging insecurity that stopped me from charging money (and earning a living) as a meditation teacher, because I’d never gone through a formal certification process.

No matter how many people told me that I’d changed their lives and helped them “awaken,” I always had that insecurity holding me back from pursuing a real, dedicated career as a meditation teacher. So I ended up spending most of my focus-hours working as a web developer, instead of fully giving myself over to my passion: helping people awaken through meditation.

Even as I traveled the world, interviewing and meditating with monks and gurus in California, Colorado, NY, Laos, Cambodia, India, the Himalayas, and Indonesia, I felt like all I could do was interview them & publish their wisdom. I barely had the confidence to publish anything of my own.

Should I Get My Meditation Teacher Certification From Google?

On a steamy jungle night in Bali, in the open-air co-working room at Hubud, I attended a seminar by one of the founders of Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” program. It was a Meditation Teacher Certification program. I was intrigued.

I felt like if I went through this certification course, I could finally make the leap, and go full-force into teaching meditation myself! I was super excited… until I heard the price tag. The program costs $12,000 to become a certified meditation teacher. They were offering a scholarship for us, the young backpackers, the digital nomads of Ubud: only $5,000. What a deal!

I really considered doing the program. If it meant that I could make the leap to becoming a full-time meditation teacher… that I could stop building WordPress websites for random businesses that I didn’t really care about in order to make enough money to support myself and my family, and focus full-time on being here, now, in the present moment… worth it, right?

Well, I barely had $5,000 in the bank at that time. Spending all of my savings on a meditation certification program seemed like an irresponsible move. Yes, it could be amazing, and yes, it could help me go full-force into my dream career, but who knows how long it would take for me to make that money back, let alone actually be able to support my self, my partner Jovanna, and our family? So in the end, I had to pass up on the opportunity.

Should I Get My Meditation Teacher Certification From a Yoga Course?

Fast forward to 2020. Jovanna and I were living in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. I was working as the COO at a real estate tech startup, while Jovanna was working as a nanny for a wealthy family in Battery Park City. It paid the bills. In our spare time, I was building Meditation Magazine into an international publication, and Jovanna was doing an RYT-200 course to get her yoga teacher certification, around the corner from our apartment on Bleecker Street. The course dug a bit into meditation, but 95% of the focus was on the physical yoga asanas. The course took her 200 hours in a studio (this was before the pandemic), and it cost $1,400.

Should I Become a Certified Meditation Teacher Through Udemy?

Around the same time, I found a Udemy course that was accredited to certify meditation teachers. It was only $200 to sign up! I got excited again. Maybe this was the way to finally get certified as a meditation teacher! But the course seemed kinda lame, so I decided to do some research into the CTAA, the “organization” that had “accredited” the Udemy course. After some googling, I found their website. I don’t like speaking negatively about others… I’ll let the website speak for itself:

I emailed them to ask them how I could get my own course accredited. The anonymous emailer who responded seemed like a nice enough person, but it seemed like he (or she? or they?) was more interested in collecting the fee than actually caring about quality control, due diligence, and teacher education in the accreditation process.

I tried to figure out who would actually review my course materials… was there a board of directors, someone respected in the meditation field? As far as I could tell, it was just some guy in a basement somewhere collecting fees and “accrediting” courses.

It was at that moment that I realized how primitive our western society’s meditation teacher accreditation system was, and how badly it needed a serious upgrade.

It’s 2021. Yoga teacher certification has become pretty standardized at this point, but Meditation Teacher Certification is still kind of a mess ๐Ÿ˜•

I’ve always had this idea in my head that, once Meditation Magazine is running more on auto-pilot and doesn’t take up all my time, I wanted to start a Meditation Organization. It would be a non-profit, charitable organization run by a bunch of amazing meditators & beautiful souls, to raise money and run volunteer programs for worthy meditation causes (meditation programs for homeless youths, prisons, etc).

But it dawned on me that, as a team of highly conscious meditation activists, The Meditation Organization (TMO) could do more than just fundraising and running volunteer programs. We could administer Meditation Course Accreditation and Meditation Teacher Certification programs… in exactly the same way that the Yoga Alliance does for Yoga, except without all the exorbitant fees ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was fortunate to be in a position to be able to make this happen. I’ve interviewed, collaborated with, and befriended hundreds of amazing meditators while building Meditation Magazine. So I reached out to a handful of the best, most amazing people I know and put together a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board for The Meditation Organization, including author Mark Van Buren, sound healer Ana Netanel, psychiatrist & meditation author Dr. Monisha Vasa, meditation evangelist Forrest Neal, and many more to come!

With full transparency, and a focus on ethics, accuracy, presence, and the basic fundamentals of meditation, we are are now reviewing and accrediting meditation courses, and through those courses we are certifying meditation teachers as well.

We are even working toward getting approval from insurance companies, so that TMO Certified Meditation Teachers can get paid through insurance, like “traditional” therapists!

TL;DR: If you want to become a certified meditation teacher through The Meditation Organization, all you need to do is:

  1. Take the Meditation Masterclass Teacher Training course below,
  2. Pass the quizzes,
  3. Answer the essays at the end,
  4. Fill out the certificate application on The Meditation Organization’s website (it’s free to register as long as you have the code from the end of the Masterclass course below).

That’s it! That’s all there is to it. No hidden fees, no annual fees (like pretty much every other accreditation/certification program have)… just take a beautiful, fun, easy-to-follow, powerful online course where you learn a bunch of awesome meditation (and meditation teaching) techniques, and boom, you’re done! You’re a Certified Meditation Teacher!

Click below to get started on your new career path:

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Meditation Masterclass

Accredited meditation teacher training; practice and teach a wide range of meditation techniques from around the world!

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