Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique,such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity, to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Meditation may reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and enhance peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being.
Although there isn't a right or wrong way to meditate, it’s important to find a practice that meets your needs and complements your personality.
There are nine popular types of meditation practice:
Mindfulness meditation: You pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don't judge the thoughts or become involved with them. You simply observe and take note of any patterns.
This practice combines concentration with awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.
This type of meditation is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily practiced alone.
Focused meditation: Involves concentration using any of the five senses.
For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention.
Try counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle flame.
This practice may be simple in theory, but it can be difficult for beginners to hold their focus for longer than a few minutes at first.
If your mind does wander, it’s important to come back to the practice and refocus.
As the name suggests, this practice is ideal for anyone who requires additional focus in their life.
Movement meditation: It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you. It can be achieved through yoga, martial arts or by walking through the woods, gardening, qigong, and other gentle forms of motion.
Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
Mantra meditation: Uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “Om.”
It doesn't matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment. This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness.
Some people enjoy mantra meditation because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. This is also a good practice for people who don't like silence and enjoy repetition.
Transcendental Meditation: It is more customizable than mantra meditation, using a mantra or series of words that are specific to each practitioner.
This practice is for those who like structure and are serious about maintaining a meditation practice.
Progressive relaxation: Also known as body scan meditation, it's a practice aimed at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation.
Oftentimes, this form of meditation involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body.
In some cases, it may also encourage you to imagine a gentle wave flowing through your body to help release any tension.
This form of meditation is often used to relieve stress and unwind before bedtime.
Loving-kindness meditation: is used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward oneself and others.
It typically involves opening the mind to receive love from others and then sending a series of well wishes to loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and all living beings.
Because this type of meditation is intended to promote compassion and kindness, it may be ideal for those holding feelings of anger or resentment. * Visualization meditation: Is a technique focused on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes or images.
With this practice, it’s important to imagine the scene vividly and use all five senses to add as much detail as possible.
Another form of visualization meditation involves imagining yourself succeeding at specific goals, which is intended to increase focus and motivation.
Many people use visualization meditation to boost their mood, reduce stress levels, and promote inner peace.
Spiritual meditation: Spiritual meditation is used in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Daoism, and in Christian faith..
It’s similar to prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with your God or Universe.
How to get started⚑
The easiest way to begin is to sit quietly and focus on your breath for 20 minutes every day. If it's too much for you, start in small moments of time, even 5 or 10 minutes, and grow from there.
- The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science by Culadasa (John Yates)