Types of Meditation
Deciding to meditate can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make for yourself. It can help your body and mind in many profound ways. But when you first decide to explore meditation, it’s easy to get confused by all the information out there.
There are many ways to meditate, and many different types of meditation. Read on as we examine several different types of meditation, so that you can decide which one, or ones, work best for you.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a very common form of meditation. In fact, it is now offered in over 200 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics all over the world. It was started by Jon Jabat-Zin in 1979, and is often taught by doctors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers.
This technique used two things, body scan and breath awareness. Breath awareness is exactly what it sounds like, a focus of attention on your inhalation and exhalation. Body scan is a process of focusing attention on your physical body. You start at your toes and work your way up with increasing awareness. It’s goal is relaxation and the release of tension. When you practice mindfulness based stress reduction you may be seated, laying down, or even walking, depending on how you focus your practice.
Zen can also be referred to as Zazen, which means “seated meditation”. It is derived from Buddhism. With Zen meditation you acquire insight through observing your breath and thoughts, and through the interaction with a teacher.
Zen meditation emphasizes attaining enlightenment, and the personal expression of Buddhist teaching. These teachings (or Sutras) are taught by an accomplished Zen teacher. It sometimes involves chanting.
Keep in mind that Buddhism is more of a philosophy for living than a religion. Practicing Zen meditation will not require you to change your religious beliefs.
Primordial Sound Meditation
Primordial Sound Meditation is a silent practice that uses a mantra. According to the tenants of this meditation, the mantra you receive is the vibrational sound the universe was creating at the place and time of your birth. This is calculated by following Vedic mathematic formulas. As it suggests, this sound is very specific to you.
Once you’ve received your mantra, you repeat it silently during meditation. This will help you enter into deeper levels of awareness by moving you away from the intellectual part of your brain. This meditation practice is focused on comfort, and is generally done sitting down.
Transcendental Meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, but it was made famous by some of its famous followers, such as the Beatles. It uses mantras, or a series of Sanskrit words that help you focus during meditation instead of just paying attention to your breath.
The mantra you receive will vary according to several different factors, including the year you were born and your gender (in some cases). The year the teacher was trained will also affect your mantra, as the teacher will have been given a list of mantras to use. This list varies depending on the year they received instruction. Transcendental Meditation is also done while seated.
Kundalini Yoga meditation uses specific, practical tools that support the mind, and guide your body by using breath, a mantra, mudras (hand positions), and focus. There is a very large variety and range of meditation techniques in Kundalini Yoga.
The founder of Kundalini Yoga was Yogi Bhajan, and he passed on literally hundreds of meditations, all tailored to specific applications. Some meditations help with addictions, reduce stress, increase your vitality, clear chakras, manifest what you desire in your life, an much more. Working with a teacher is also an integral part of this meditation because they are so numerous and specified.
Yoga Nidra is a Sanskrit phrase meaning yogic sleep, and it originated from the Tantra tradition in yoga. It’s a very restful and relaxing practice. It’s done lying down or in a reclined, comfortable posture. While it looks like you’re nodding off for a nap, you remain fully conscious during the practice.
Yoga Nidra involves a step by step visualization process, along with guided instructions, that lead you into a deep state of conscious relaxation. It’s a great practice for releasing stress. If you participate in Yoga Nidra in a class, you’ll want to bring blankets or other items that will help you feel as comfortable as possible during the process.
Chakras are the energetic centers in your body. We have seven of them, and they’re each located in a different area of the body. Each chakra is associated with a different color, sound, and energetic purpose. Chakra meditations can be very powerful, especially if you’re focused on one element in the physical or emotional body at a time.
Chakra meditations often use sound, the specific placement of hands, and visualization techniques. They help you connect with the chakra you’re focusing on and bring healing energy to it, or to an issue or emotion that requires your attention.
There are many different types of meditation to choose from, so try any that sound appealing to you. If any of these meditation techniques intrigue you, do a little more research or check locally to see if there are any classes being offered. Spending time in mindful meditation, whatever the form, has many benefits. It can relieve stress and anxiety, lift depression, as well as increasing creativity and vitality. You deserve to live a happy, healthy life, and meditation can help you get there.