Reducing stress and creating a sense of calm and inner harmony tops the lists of benefits that meditation offers. All it takes is a few minutes a day to enjoy these benefits. There are several different types of meditation that all help you achieve the same end result – a peaceful, calmer state of mind. Identifying the type of meditation that best suits your personality and lifestyle will help you gain the most benefits as you are more likely to continue the practice consistently.
We’ve put together 8 of the most popular meditation styles that you can choose from.
#1. Mindfulness Meditation
One of the most commonly practiced techniques, mindfulness meditation involves observing your thoughts as you sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed. You don’t judge or get involved with your thoughts. You simply pay attention to them. The idea is to stay in the present moment rather than dwelling on the past, future, or what’s going on around you. This helps you feel centered and balanced.
#2. Focused meditation
Focused meditation may be better for you if you find it difficult to sit still with just your thoughts. In this practice, you zero in on something while meditating. This could be something external such as a candle flame or something internal such as your breathing. You can even something auditory such as a recording of ocean waves – whatever works best for you. Focusing on something helps you stay in the present moment while preventing unnecessary commentary from disturbing your conscious mind. If you find your mind wandering, as it will in the beginning, you just refocus and come back to the meditation.
#3. Mantra meditation
Not everyone enjoys the absolutely silent style of meditating. If repetitive chanting helps you stay more focused, then mantra meditation may be best for you. In this technique, you meditate while chanting a word or phrase repeatedly. ‘Om’ is one of the most popular words used in mantra meditation. You can either say it out loud or under your breath – both are just as effective. This repetitive chanting creates a deeper level of awareness so you feel more peaceful and more in tune with your environment.
#4. Spiritual meditation
Meditation is a spiritual practice in general although it is not specific to any one religion. Spiritual meditation is ideal for anyone seeking spiritual growth. It helps strengthen the connection between the mind, spirit, and body. While meditating, you can focus on any one question that you are seeking the answer to or you can practice a kind of ‘acceptance’ meditation where you choose to accept whatever comes your way that day. The spiritual experience is heightened by the use of essential oils and smudges.
#5. Visualization meditation
Visualization meditation is very effective for enhancing feelings of peace and calmness. In this practice you visualize images or situations that you find relaxing and uplifting. It is based on the principle that visualizing positive scenes reduces stress levels, boosts mood, and promotes inner peace. The important thing is to use all senses to add as much detail as possible to your visualized scene. Using sounds, smells, scenes, and textures helps you imagine the scene more vividly, which is key to evoking peace and serenity in your space.
#6. Progressive relaxation
Progressive relaxation is often used to release the day’s stresses and tension, and unwind before bedtime. It involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time. This should be done intentionally as you imagine the tension leaving your body and being replaced by a gentle wave flowing through. This promotes relaxation and helps you sleep better. Progressive relaxation may be the best practice for you if you have trouble sleeping at night.
#7. Movement meditation
Can’t imagine sitting down for any length of time while trying to focus on your thoughts? Movement meditation is for you. This is an active form of meditation where you let your mind wander while engaged in some type of activity – preferably some type of gentle repetitive activity that does not require your mind to be active. You can practice movement meditation while gardening, doing yoga or qigong, or walking through the woods.
#8. Loving-kindness meditation
So many of us harbor feelings of resentment or anger. Even if we try to bury it deep down, it prevents us from giving and receiving compassion, kindness and love. This is where loving-kindness meditation can help. It involves repeating positive phrases while focusing on feelings of love, kindness, and joy. Repeating phrases along the lines of ‘May I give and receive appreciation today’ opens your mind to sending and receiving compassion, kindness and love to and from others and boosts your capacity for forgiveness and self-acceptance
As you can see, it’s the little nuances that differentiate one type of meditation from the other. It’s also these little nuances that may make one technique better for you than the others. Taking some time to understand the different types of practices and identifying one that is best suited to you will help you gain the most benefits.
Remember, consistency is key. Meditating for five minutes a day, every day is far better than twenty-minute sessions twice a week.
Written By Diana D'Souza