In today’s fast-paced world, meditation is increasing in popularity for managing mental health, navigating stress, improving self-awareness, heightening focus, and achieving a greater sense of inner peace. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow for you to attend in-person meditation classes, or you simply feel more comfortable learning from home, there has never been a better time to take an online meditation class.
In this post, we review some of the top online meditation courses. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced meditator, there are plenty of different types of meditation classes on this list to help deepen your meditation practice and enhance your overall well-being.
The Insight Meditation Society offers a wide variety of programs for learning meditation techniques, exploring Buddhist teachings, and engaging with in-depth discussion groups. They offer free and paid meditation courses.
Some meditation classes available on demand:
- “Mindfulness spearheads the path of understanding our lives by helping us to notice what causes us suffering and what brings us freedom from suffering. It is the root of living our lives more fully and more truly. This nine-month online program features IMS teachers from many generations and backgrounds.”
30-Day Meditation Challenge ($300)
- “The 30-Day Meditation Challenge will help you establish your practice by following IMS founding teacher Joseph Goldstein’s book The Experience of Insight: A Simple and Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation, which offers one practice topic per day for 30 days. IMS teachers Devon Hase, Rachel Lewis, and Tuere Sala lead guided online meditations, beginning each session with instructions and a reflection from the book.”
- “This program explores the meditative techniques of mindfulness applied in a variety of contexts, including wrestling with suffering, making ethical decisions, seeking wisdom, coping with trauma, communicating, practicing lovingkindness, exploring equanimity, the commonality of science and mindfulness, and the role of mindfulness in everyday life.”
Tara Brach is a Buddhist meditation teacher, psychologist, and author. She offers a wide range of online self-paced courses on topics such as mindfulness meditation, harmful habits, forgiveness, and happiness. 10% of the proceeds from these courses are donated to non-profit organizations supporting climate and racial justice initiatives.
Some meditation classes available on demand:
- “As taught in the beloved bestseller Radical Acceptance, mindfulness empowers us to see clearly what is happening in the moment and respond to it with skillfulness. This course will explore this pathway to compassion and freedom through engaging lectures, guided meditations (ideally used many times, going deeper each time), and question & answer sessions on how best to put the teachings into practice in everyday life.”
Mindfulness for Anxiety and Sleep ($19.99)
- “This course shows how every one of us can find reliable inner resources of safety, strength and connection. Drawing on these resources, we can stay present when fear arises and meet the situation bravely, wisely, with interest and care. We learn to respond, rather than react.”
Forgiveness and Meditation ($49.99)
- “While blame and punishment might temporarily interrupt a pattern of behavior, they do not create the grounds for deepened understanding, compassion and transformation. Only when we include ourselves and others in our heart do we serve a path of true healing, connection and freedom.”
The Wisdom Experience offers many courses, with an emphasis on the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. With prestigious facilitators and world-renowned meditation teachers, Wisdom helps you dive deeply into meditation, Buddhism, and Buddhist philosophy.
Some meditation classes available on demand:
- “We begin by exploring the styles of practice prominent in early Buddhism, and then examine the new versions of practice, including tantric approaches, that arose with the Mahāyāna, or “Great Vehicle,” in India. We then turn to the contemplative styles that these Indian approaches inspire in the traditions of Tibet, such as the nondual practice of Mahāmudrā. With the aid of acclaimed scholar John Dunne you’ll come away with a clearer understanding and appreciation—both theoretically and experientially—of the variety of Buddhist practices.”
- “It may seem odd for emptiness to serve as the central philosophy of a major religion. In fact, emptiness points to something quite different than “nothingness” or “vacancy.” And by developing a richer understanding of this complex topic, we can experience freedom as we live consciously in the world. In this course led by Guy Armstrong, you’ll look at emptiness as it affects your understanding of self, phenomena, awareness, and meditation.”
- “In this course we investigate the nature of human identity and the possibility of freedom through the Buddha’s foundational instructions on the cultivation of vipashyana, or insight. Lama Alan Wallace presents the four close applications of mindfulness—mindfulness on the body, feelings, the mind, and phenomena—through rich pith instruction on selections from the Pali canon, Mahayana sutras, and commentary from the Vajrayana and Dzogchen traditions.”
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a New York Times bestselling author, psychologist, and trailblazer in the exploration of the intersection of neuroscience and Buddhism. His online courses provide scientifically-backed techniques to help you stay calm, confident, and happy in the face of life’s challenges. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and mindfulness, these courses offer practical tools and exercises to help build resilience, manage stress, and cultivate positive emotions. Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or simply seeking to enhance your well-being, Dr. Hanson’s courses can provide you with valuable insights and guidance to live a more fulfilling life.
Some meditation classes available on demand:
Dealing with Anxiety ($29)
- “Join New York Times bestselling author and psychologist, Dr. Rick Hanson, to let go of anxiety and grow a greater sense of calm, strength, and being protected and supported by other people—to be more able to deal with threatening situations around you.”
- “Our thoughts change the structure of our brains. Everything we do creates connections within the network of our brain, and the more you repeat something, the stronger that connection gets. These connections control our reactions, emotions, and behaviors, and affect our overall well-being. Join Dr. Rick Hanson, for an experiential journey into strengthening the positive connections for lasting happiness, resilience, peace, and inner strength.”
This 12-week course in analytical meditation is specially adapted for a skeptical 21st-century audience to achieve a happy, meaningful life, fulfilling relationships, and a better world. Meditation teacher, interactive artist, and Skeptic’s Path podcast host, Scott Snibbe, brings a modern scientific approach to age-old Buddhist topics by addressing some of the thornier questions that come up for Westerners learning about the Buddhist path.
Each of the twelve classes teaches one analytical meditation technique to meet everyday challenges like distraction, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, conflict, and craving. Detailed meditation instructions proactively strengthen the best aspects of your character like self-acceptance, gratitude, compassion, openness, courage, confidence, and wonder.
This course includes a live weekly Zoom group discussion and starts a new session every 12 weeks. The next course session starts in summer of 2023.
Price: $199 (full and half scholarships available to anyone in need)
The Mind Oasis Meditation Center is an open online space for anyone interested in learning about meditation and mindfulness practices. They offer many free events, discussion groups, courses, and a Community Meditation program. The Community Meditation program is an online group meditation that supports a daily meditation practice. It is free to join and from there, add-ons are available. Mind Oasis doesn’t offer many on demand courses, but they have plenty of live programs and classes to attend. Just check their website and stay up to date to catch the latest happenings.
Price: Free or $15+
“Meditation is much more than a practice, it is a path, a way of being in the world. In addition to stress reduction and a myriad of health benefits, a steady practice shows you how to work with your mind so you are not at the mercy of harsh self-judgement, fear, anger, and procrastination.”
Susan Piver, New York Times bestselling author and Buddhist teacher, founded the Open Heart Project. This project is an international online meditation community “for anyone who wants to live in a world where peace, kindness, creativity, and sanity are prized above all.” Subscribers of the Open Heart Project receive a weekly live dharma gathering, classes, retreats, video library access, daily audio meditations, 7-day meditation quick start, and access to the sangha newsletter.
Price: $27 a month or $270 for a year
“Through daily teaching videos, guided meditations, reflections and readings, Sharon brings 40+ years of teaching experience to you, with daily lessons available to access on computer, tablet or smartphone devices. Sharon offers a robust and accessible program for a week-long dive into an often overlooked arena of life: the inner heart space that drives our actions.
World-renowned Buddhist teacher and New York Times best-selling author, Sharon Salzberg, guides a week-long program that explores freedom, clarity, intentions, and manifesting a fulfilling life.
Suggested price: $29.99
“Since there is nothing fundamentally broken in us, since our fundamental state is wide open, unbiased, extremely insightful, aware, and awake . . . In order to relax into that we can’t just want pleasure and avoid pain.” Pema Chödrön
Pema Chödrön is a world-famous ordained nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Aside from writing best-selling Buddhist books like When Things Fall Apart, she also teaches online and in-person. Her online course, Living with Vulnerability, is all about acceptance, openness, kindness, and insight.
- More than five hours of video teaching sessions
- Guided meditation audios
- Journaling questions for deep reflection
- Course workbook
- Pema Chödrön’s book, How to Meditate
- Pema Chödrön’s audio program, Walking the Walk
“Mindfulness quiets the mind and heals the heart. Systematically practicing mindfulness, we can recognize and foster positive states of mind like kindness, generosity, steadiness, and love—discovering how they are natural to us; and learn to nurture and strengthen them into a new, more gracious life of well-being.”
This five-hour self-paced program focuses on the benefits of meditation, how to live in the present moment, different meditation techniques, working through difficult emotions, and cultivating freedom. The teacher, Jack Kornfield, trained as a Buddhist monk, is a best-selling author, and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
“The headline out of this extraordinary conversation between modern science and ancient Buddhism is that the brain and the mind are trainable. In other words, happiness is not some unalterable factory setting. It’s actually a skill. And over the next ten sessions, we’re going to teach you how to train this skill for yourself.” —Dan Harris
This free 10-day course is led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dan Harris, Richard Davidson, and Roshi Joan Halifax. These classes center on shifting our perspective and learning to cultivate and maintain the skill of happiness. The ten meditation sessions focus on altruism, empathy, connection, wisdom, and happiness.
Insight Timer is one of the best meditation apps available with thousands of free guided meditations, talks, classes, and soothing soundtracks for your meditation practice. You can access many of their online meditation courses for free or pay for Member Plus, which offers subscribers premium content for $10 a month.
- “This free course is for those who are completely new to meditation. Over the next 7 days, you will explore the breath, the mind, the body and your emotional states. The meditations in this course will help you learn to calmly focus and concentrate your mind and bring your full awareness to something specific such as being more compassionate, more kind, or help in overcoming life’s difficulties. After learning a number of techniques, you will walk away ready to continue your practice using whichever method suits you best.”
- “Over the next 6 days, we will overcome some of the most common challenges faced with meditation, breaking down the misconceptions and myths and giving you the needed tools to help establish meditation as an enjoyable lifelong habit. The objective of this course is to enable you to go deeper with your practice and unlock some of the doors that may have been holding you back.”
- “You will also explore higher states of consciousness, doshas, intention setting, emotional release techniques, conscious choice-making, yoga philosophy, living with grace in the real world, and more. These sessions include both guided and silent meditations, as well as pranayama, visualizations, practical next steps to integrate into your daily life, and daily exercises to fully immerse in the teachings.”
- “Join Lama Brian for this foundational yet in-depth course, that draws on Buddhist thought to explore a traditional path of meditation. Each of the 9 stages of shamatha (resting the mind) provide extraordinary instructions that you can immediately put into practice. The goal of the course is to have glimpses of unconditional happiness and from these experiences, set out on a journey towards liberation.”
Price: Free or $10 a month
“Jon shares expert tips and guidance that meets you where you are. Let this class help you make the most of being alive.”
This MasterClass meditation course is taught by mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn. The course is aimed towards those who wish to integrate meditation exercises into their everyday lives, embrace the present moment, and reduce stress.
Price: Starting at $15 a month
This guided meditation course for beginners is offered through Udemy and focuses on heartfulness, happiness, wellness, and reducing stress.
What you’ll learn:
- FOUR key practices: Relaxation, Meditation, Cleaning and Prayer
- GUIDED learn to meditate sessions with in-depth tips and techniques
- RHYTHM and daily routine that is aligned with the biological clock
- BREATHING Techniques for anger and anxiety
- RELAXATION to help with physical posture and comfort
- MEDITATION aided by yogic transmission for focus and effectiveness
- CLEANING to detox the system and create purity and simplicity
- PRAYER for introspection and continuous improvement
- SELF-OBSERVATION to check the improvements in the behavior and overall approach