Similar to self-hypnosis, guided meditation techniques instruct you as to what to think about as you enter a meditative trance. This can be done in person or through the use of a pre-recorded DVD or CD. It can be done in a group or individual setting.
Guided meditation works well because you are accessing the subconscious when you enter a meditative state of mind. The filters you normally have turned on when listening consciously are bypassed when you enter a deep state of meditation. This allows your subconscious to absorb the concepts being put forth during the guided meditation.
You can expect the person guiding you to first talk you through a period of relaxation for both your body and mind. You will be instructed to relax specific body parts, listen to your breathing, pay attention to how you feel or clear your mind of all thoughts. You will then be given images to focus on, whether those images are to envision yourself in a beautiful place or imagine yourself healed, changed or achieving something significant.
The guide will help you mentally overcome challenges or release anger or practice making good choices, depending on what kind of guided meditation class you take. For example, if you are in a class aimed at losing weight, you will be guided through thoughts of choosing healthier foods and envisioning yourself lean and fit. If you are participating in meditation for relaxation purposes, the guide will lead you through a series of relaxation techniques and restful thoughts or will have you focus on your breathing.
As you learn to meditate, you will discover what props work best for you and how to best access your inner thoughts.