Open Heart Project Meditation Instructor Training Program

Returning September 2017



The Open Heart Project is proud to offer its Meditation Instructor Training Program. This online program is specifically constructed to serve those who work one-to-one or in small groups with clients or patients. It was developed by Susan Piver, founder of the Open Heart Project, and Jenna Hollenstein, a meditation guide and nutrition therapist. It will help coaches, yoga teachers, therapists, counselors, managers, and others who wish to bring a mindfulness practice to their clients, students, patients, colleagues, and others.

cce_blackOur program has been recognized by the International Coaching Federation. Federation members may claim 28 CEUS (14 core and 14 resource development) toward maintaining their coaching certification.

Mindfulness meditation is now a cultural phenomenon. It may appear that teaching meditation is a simple thing—what is so complicated about sitting down and breathing?! However, 2600 years of mindfulness-awareness practice has shown us that though the technique is simple, the results it produces are not. A responsible meditation teacher has some knowledge of how to guide others as their practice takes root.

Over this nine-week program, participants will gain the necessary skills to teach the meditation technique clearly, answer the most frequently asked questions with confidence, and gain insight into the teacher-student relationship.

This program is not about becoming a spiritual guide, but about learning to impart this ancient technique responsibly, kindly, and skillfully.



We will be offering this program again in September 2017.
If you are interested in being notified when registration is open please use the form below.


  • 28 hours of class time over 9 weeks and a commitment to practice meditation daily
  • Classes will be held on nine consecutive Tuesdays from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET. Each class is recorded
  • There will be eight mid-week check-ins on Fridays from 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm ET. This is a chance to discuss your practice, share reflections about the homework, and ask questions
  • Attendance at all classes and check-ins is MANDATORY. If you foresee a conflict, please email us to discuss before completing an application


Successful completion of this program is predicated on the following:

  • Full attendance at all classes and check-ins
  • Completion of homework and exercises
  • Accepting honest feedback from your teachers and fellow classmates (you will be giving each other meditation instruction)
  • Confidently giving meditation instruction to Susan or Jenna in a 1:1 session (to be held between weeks 8 and 9)
  • The ability to answer the most frequently asked questions, to be tested during week 9

Please be advised that graduation is not guaranteed. Full attendance and completion of assignments are not the sole measures. We want to make sure you are really ready to go out and offer this practice from your heart, in your own way, but with full respect for the ancient tradition. We will do everything in our power to help you!

Week 1: Introduction 

Why is meditation important to someone working as a coach, therapist, or wellness teacher?

The foundation, process, expected outcome of this course

An overview of the three-tiered learning objectives:

  • To help clients become more mindful;
  • To develop a personal mindfulness practice, and
  • To become more present within the coaching flow

Becoming a skillful meditation instructor is the result of a strong personal practice; discussion of how this course will help you to achieve this

Introduction to shamatha (breath-awareness) meditation 

Discussion of meditation as a spiritual practice (that has nothing to do with religion) rather than self-help

Guided meditation practice by Susan

Discussion and homework

Week 2: Entering the Path

Guided meditation practice by Susan

Introduction to the philosophy and principles of mindfulness

Review of the three main cycles of Buddhist teachings, the qualities emphasized by each cycle, and where our practice fits within the arc of Buddhist meditation practices

Overview of the most common obstacles to practice and their antidotes

Discussion and homework

Week 3: Keeping it Genuine

Guided meditation practice by Susan

How to create a strong personal practice

The importance of simplicity

The secret to personal discipline

Three steps to take in your personal practice to keep it sacred (rather than self-help)

Discussion and homework

Week 4: Opening Your Heart

Guided meditation practice by Susan

How meditation opens the heart, how to support yourself and others who may feel increasingly vulnerable, and how to view vulnerability as a source of power

Insight into working with strong emotion during meditation

Introduction to the Four Immeasurables: Lovingkindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity

Making the connection between meditation practice and heart-opening and how that can influence the coaching relationship

Reflections on what may be holding you back from fully expressing your gifts as a coach and how the Four Immeasurables can help

Discussion and homework

Week 5: Turning Your Practice Outward

Guided meditation practice by Susan

Bringing mindfulness off the cushion and into real life

Creating a lifestyle of mindfulness: the importance of elegance

How your practice can benefit others, especially your clients or patients

Five steps to creating a mindful environment

Discussion and homework

Week 6: Sharing the Practice with Authenticity

Guided meditation practice by Susan

How to offer this practice to others with confidence and authority

Practicum intensive: Students break into dyads to provide meditation instruction to one another

Discussion and homework

Week 7: Teaching Skillfully

Guided meditation practice by Susan

How to give a talk on meditation to a small group

Practicum intensive: Students again break into dyads to provide meditation instruction to one another

Discussion and homework

Week 8: Creating a Strong Bond while Maintaining Boundaries

Guided meditation practice by Susan

How to establish an appropriate relationship with meditation students

How to protect the sacred nature of the practice

How to establish confidence in the mind of your student so he or she can trust you and listen to you

How to prepare to give meditation instruction

Letting go of conventional expectations of yourself as a teacher, of your student, and of the practice

Discussion and homework

Week 9: Testing Your Knowledge: The Warrior’s Circle

The “Warriors Circle” is a different way of testing knowledge. It is both more gentle than traditional testing methods and more intense. Each student must be prepared to verbally answer every one of the test questions, but only one will actually be posed to him or her.

Going forward: How to bring your new certification into your business to create more value for yourself and your clients or patients.



  • Once accepted, all successful applicants must pay in full within 10 days of acceptance.
  • Attendance at all classes and check-ins is MANDATORY. Please email us before you apply if you foresee any conflicts.
  • A commitment to your own personal practice. The most important quality of a meditation teacher is his or her own strong practice. You will receive all the instruction and support you need to establish your personal practice. The commitment to practice regularly is the strictest requirement.
  • Your understanding that acceptance and participation in the course does not guarantee you will receive certification of completion. If we foresee any issues with your readiness to provide meditation instruction, we will work with you to develop a plan for additional practice and study.



$1295 Early Bird offered, then $1495 thereafter.


Please sign up below if you would like notification when the registration for our September course is open.

Questions? Please email Michele.

spbSusan Piver is a Buddhist teacher and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books. A student of Buddhism since 1995, she graduated from a Buddhist seminary in 2004 and was authorized to teach meditation in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage in 2005.

She teaches workshops and speaks all over the world on meditation, spirituality, communication styles, relationships and creativity.

In 2011, Piver launched The Open Heart Project, an online meditation community with nearly 20,000 members who practice together and explore ways to bring spiritual values such as kindness, genuineness and fearlessness to everyday life.


Jenna-headshot3Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD, CDN, is a writer, nutrition therapist, mindfulness teacher and Open Heart Project Meditation Guide.

She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and the author of Understanding Dietary Supplements, a handy guide to the evaluation and use of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and botanicals for both consumers and clinicians, and more recently the memoir Drinking to Distraction.



The Open Heart Project’s Meditation Instructor Certification program has been a gift!  Through this program, I have grown in my own personal practice and have received the knowledge and encouragement to share this simple, yet profound, practice of Shamatha with others. The world needs gentleness and sanity. Susan and Jenna bring both to the instruction. I felt fully embraced in both my aspiration to learn and in my training of this practice so that it can be of benefit not only for me, but for others who want to learn as well.  Though this practice is for anyone from any background and one does not have to be a Buddhist, as a Buddhist I found the emphasis on lineage and transmission to be of profound importance. I am certain that the experience of this program will continue to benefit me in ways I have yet to see for years to come. Bows of gratitude for the gift of this practice and this program!  –Jaysen W.
Before beginning the Meditation Instructor Certification course, my longstanding meditation practice had become an item on a daily to-do list. I showed up, went through the motions so that I could be productive and get a gold star at the end. Through this course, I reconnected with meditation as a meaningful spiritual practice that offered me the opportunity to deepen my spirituality and open to acceptance and compassion. My practice is no longer a goal that I must achieve. Instead, it’s a space that I’ve intentionally created in my life to cultivate awareness. I also feel that the course gave me the tools to deliver meditation instruction clearly and effectively in individual and small-group settings. Susan and Jenna thoroughly covered the key components of effective meditation instruction, as well as how to harness our own meditation practice and experience to help our students as they begin a practice and encounter obstacles. There were ample opportunities to engage with Susan, Jenna, and fellow students, which contributed to a rich discussion about the practice and giving instruction. I wholeheartedly recommend the course to those committed to deepening their own practice and to bringing the practice to their clients and community. –Kristyn J.
The Open Heart Teacher Training Certification has been transformational.  Susan and Jenna’s ability to transmit an ancient practice through a modern online format is unparalleled.  I felt connected to the practice, the teachers, and the community of fellow students the entire time through weekly teachings, check-ins, mentoring, and private discussion forums.  I’m so grateful to have been a part of this training and feel confident in my abilities to share it with others moving forward. –-Angela B.
This course has helped me to realign my daily meditation practice and to learn where to let go of not-so-useful old habits. It has facilitated me in becoming more centered and discerning in my mindfulness work with others as a therapist. The course is a great vehicle for learning how to offer instruction to others in a clear, compassionate and supportive way. The fact that it is offered online made it possible for me to do the course at this time. I feel confident in recommending this course to others. –Sally J.
While I signed up for the course to primarily deepen my own practice, I came out of it feeling very comfortable with the prospect of teaching meditation someday. This course was effective at helping me commit to and strengthen my own practice. I gained a solid foundation regarding basic Shamatha Meditation instruction and theory and I am grateful for the opportunity! I will recommend this course highly to friends and family. –Sara S.