Which one is right for you?
Meditation may be an ancient tradition, but it is still practiced in cultures around the world to create a sense of calm and inner harmony.
While the practice has links to many different religious teachings, meditation is less about faith and more about changing consciousness, awareness, and achieving peace.
Nowadays, with the increased need to reduce stress in the midst of our busy schedules and demanding lives, meditation is gaining in popularity.
While there is no 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
- spiritual meditation
- targeted meditation
- moving meditation
- mantra meditation
- transcendental meditation
- progressive relaxation
- benevolent meditation
- visualization meditation
Not all styles of meditation are suitable for everyone. These practices require different skills and mentalities. How do you know which practice is right for you?
“It’s what makes you comfortable and what you feel encouraged to practice,” says Mira Dessy, meditation author and holistic nutritionist.
Read on to learn more about the different types of meditation and how to get started.
Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is the most popular meditation technique in the West.
In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge thoughts and get involved with them. You just have to observe and take note of all the models.
This practice combines concentration and awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath as you observe bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.
This type of meditation is good for people who do not have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily performed on their own.
Spiritual meditation is used in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Taoism, and in the Christian faith.
It is similar to prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with your God or your Universe.
Essential oils are commonly used to intensify the spiritual experience. Popular options include:
- palo santo
Spiritual meditation can be practiced at home or in a place of worship. This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.
Focused meditation involves concentration using one of the five senses.
For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breathing, or you can call on external influences to help focus your attention.
Try counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or looking at a candle flame.
This practice can be simple in theory, but it can be difficult for beginners to stay focused for more than a few minutes at first.
If your mind is wandering, it is important to come back to practice and refocus.
As the name suggests, this practice is ideal for anyone who needs extra focus in their life.
Although most people think of yoga when they hear meditation in motion, this practice can include walking in the woods, gardening, qigong, and other forms of gentle movement.
It is an active form of meditation where movement guides you.
Meditation in motion is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
Mantra meditation is important in many teachings, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This type of meditation uses repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, like the popular “Om”.
It doesn’t matter whether your mantra is spoken aloud or in a low voice. After chanting the mantra for a while, you will be more alert and in tune with your surroundings. It allows you to experience deeper levels of consciousness.
Some people like mantra meditation because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. It is also a good practice for people who do not like silence and like repetition.
Transcendental meditation is a popular type of meditation. This practice has been the subject of numerous studies in the scientific community.
It is more customizable than mantra meditation, using a mantra or a series of words that are specific to each practitioner.
This practice is for those who enjoy structure and are serious about maintaining a meditation practice.
Also known as body scan meditation, progressive relaxation is a practice aimed at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation.
Often times, this form of meditation involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body.
In some cases, it can also encourage you to imagine a gentle wave going through your body to help release any tension.
This form of meditation is often used to relieve stress and relax before bed.
Benevolent Love Meditation is used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance towards oneself and others.
This usually involves opening the mind to receive love from others and then sending a series of wishes for happiness to loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and all living things.
Because this type of meditation is meant to promote compassion and kindness, it may be ideal for those who have feelings of anger or resentment.
Metta meditation for mother’s day
Visualization meditation is a technique focused on improving feelings of relaxation, peace, and calm by visualizing positive scenes or images.
With this practice, it is important to imagine the scene vividly and use the five senses to add as much detail as possible.
Another form of visualization meditation involves imagining yourself successfully achieving specific goals, which is meant to increase focus and motivation.
Many people use visualization meditation to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and promote inner peace.
The easiest way to start is to sit down quietly and focus on your breathing. An old Zen saying suggests, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day, unless you are too busy.” Then you should sit for an hour.
Kidding aside, it’s best to start in small moments, even 5-10 minutes, and grow from there.
“Sit constantly for 20 minutes a day and do this for 100 days in a row,” recommends Pedram Shojai, author of “The Urban Monk ”and founder of Well.org.
“Add that with an additional 2 to 5 minutes of meditation throughout the day to break up the chaos, and you will soon feel the benefits.”
There is a lot of evidence supporting the many benefits of meditation.
Meditation can help:
Whether the benefits are anecdotal or scientifically proven, those who follow a daily meditation practice are convinced of the benefits in their lives.
Whether you are looking to reduce stress or find spiritual enlightenment, find calm or get on the move, there is a meditation practice for you.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try different types. It often takes some trial and error until you find the right one for you.
“Meditation is not meant to be a forced thing,” Dessy says. “If we force it, then it becomes a chore. Gentle and regular practice ends up being lasting, encouraging and enjoyable.
Open up to the possibilities. There are so many different forms of meditation that if one isn’t working or isn’t comfortable, try a new one.
Holly J. Bertone, CNHP, PMP, is a six-book author, blogger, healthy lifestyle advocate, and breast cancer and Hashimoto’s disease survivor. Not only is she the President and CEO of Pink Fortitude, LLC, but she has also racked up an impressive resume with accolades as an inspirational speaker for women around the world. Follow her on Twitter at @PinkFortitude.