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Can Transcendental Meditation be learned from a book?

Ask the Doctors    Translate This Article
25 July 2011

The Transcendental Meditation technique is unique among forms of meditation, say experts in research on the program. The practice is natural and effortless, and it is taught in a systematic way and is easy to learn. Because every person is different, learning the technique requires personal instruction.

In a series of questions and answers, Sarina Grosswald, EdD,* and Kulreet Chaudhary, MD,** explain the necessity for learning Transcendental Meditation from a certified teacher of the technique.

Q: Can Transcendental Meditation be learned from a book or a CD? 

Dr. Sarina Grosswald:
The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught one-on-one by a trained and certified TM teacher in a standardized seven-step course of instruction. Although the process of TM instruction is highly systematized—which ensures effectiveness and makes the technique ideally suited for scientific research—TM instruction is tailored to each individual who learns the practice. Every person is different, and every person has a different pace of learning and different personal experiences.

When a person learns Transcendental Meditation, every instruction given is on the basis of the previous instruction being understood. A book or a CD can't do that. This personalized instruction ensures that everyone learns to practice meditation correctly and gain maximum benefit.

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary: The TM technique is unique among forms of meditation. It's natural and effortless, but requires personal instruction to learn. Imagine trying to learn a natural golf stroke from a book. Or if you have ever learned to play a musical instrument, you know how helpful it is to have a good teacher. The teacher is needed to show you proper technique, so you can grow in confidence that you're proceeding along correctly. Learning the TM technique is a lot easier than mastering the piano or getting a good, natural golf swing, but involves the same kind of personalized guidance.


Dr Grosswald and Dr Chaudhary are members of a panel of physicians who discuss the Transcendental Meditation technique—how it works, how it differs from other forms of meditation and relaxation, and the hundreds of scientific research studies validating the benefits of the technique. Their discussion is featured on the website Ask the Doctors.

See also 'Are all meditation techniques the same?'

Click here for more questions and answers about the Transcendental Meditation technique.

* Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D., is an expert in cognitive learning who recently directed the first-of-its-kind research study on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on children with language-based learning disabilities; she has also conducted research on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program in combat veterans with PTSD. Her work has been extensively featured in the national media, including PBS and ABC News.

** Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., graduated from Loma Linda University Medical School with Alpha Omega Alpha honors and completed her neurology residency at the University of California, San Diego. She is currently the Medical Director of Wellspring Neurology at Scripps Memorial Hospital. Dr. Chaudhary also serves on the board of directors of the Center for Neurologic Study in La Jolla, California.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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