Meditation brings a lot of benefits, and it can be practiced in different forms. Some types of meditation may feel more comfortable than others, so try a few and repeat the ones that work best for you. Meditation is a good way to calm down, but it works best when you’re not stressed.
Types of Meditation
Scientists define meditation into two categories: focused attention and open monitoring.
Focused attention meditation:
During meditation, focus on one item. This object might be breath, mantra, visualization, a bodily component, or an external item. As a practitioner improves, he can hold his concentration on the chosen item longer and interruptions are less frequent. His focus is deep and steady.
Some of the examples of focused attention meditation are Zazen, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, Qigong, and others.
Open monitoring meditation
We keep our attention open, observing all parts of our experience without judgment or attachment. All internal (thoughts, feelings, memories) and outward (sound, scent) sensations are viewed for what they are. It’s the non-reactive, moment-to-moment observation of experience material. Mindfulness, Vipassana, and Taoist meditation are among examples.
Types of Buddhist meditation
Zen Practice (Zazen)
It is commonly done in two ways:
Focus on breathing via the nose. Counting your breath helps. Starting with 10, count backward to 9, 8, 7, etc. with each breath. Begin again at 10 to 1. If you become sidetracked and lose count, softly bring it back to 10 and continue.
Shikantaza, which means “simply sitting,” is a form of meditation in which the practitioner doesn’t focus on anything in particular. Instead, they try to stay as much as possible in the present moment, observing what happens in their minds and around them without focusing on anything in particular.
Focus on your breath moment-by-moment. Feel the abdomen rise and fall. One can also focus on the sensation of air traveling through the nostrils and contacting the top lip skin, although this is more sophisticated.
As you focus on the breath, various perceptions and experiences appear: noises, physical sensations, emotions, etc. Simply observe these events as they arise, then return to breathing. These other thoughts or feelings are “background noise” when the focus is on breathing.
“Primary object” refers to the practice’s concentration (for example, abdominal movement). A “secondary object” is anything else that enters your field of perception, either through your five senses (sound, smell, physical itching, etc.) or through the mind (thought, memory, feeling, etc.). If a secondary item distracts you or produces want or aversion, focus on it for a moment or two and identify it as “thinking,” “remembering,” “hearing,” or “desiring.” It’s called “noting.”
A mental note is generic and lacks specificity. Instead of “motorcycle,” “voices,” or “barking dog,” call a sound “hearing.” Instead of “knee pain” or “my back pain,” write “pain” or “feeling.” Return to your meditation object. Say “smelling” when you notice a fragrance. You needn’t recognize the smell.
When one has “access to concentration,” focus is devoted to the goal of practice, usually thoughts or body sensations. One watches without attachment, allowing ideas and feelings to arise and fade away. People often use mental labeling, which was explained above, so they don’t get too caught up in their thoughts and can see them more clearly.
One gains a comprehensive understanding of the three “marks of existence”: impermanence (annica), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and emptiness of self (annata). These inputs produce serenity, tranquility, and inner freedom.
Mindfulness meditation focuses on the present moment, letting you feel, think, and feel without judging them.
Pay attention to the movement of your breath. Be conscious of how it feels to breathe in. Be careful of your exhalations. Focus on the breath during your meditation practice. Or, focus on sensations, ideas, and feelings.
The goal is to be aware of what is going on without becoming caught up in it.
Sounds, sensations, and ideas will distract you. When you’re distracted, gently return your focus back to your breathing or to objectively detecting the idea or experience. Being inside a thought or sensation is distinct from being aware of its presence.
Enjoy practicing. Appreciate how your body and mind feel afterward.
Everyday life mindfulness meditation
While eating, walking, and chatting, we may practice mindfulness. For “everyday life” meditation, pay attention to what is happening in the present moment and avoid “automatic mode”. If you’re speaking, that means paying attention to your words, your delivery, and your audience. If you’re walking, be mindful of your body motions, feet contacting the ground, noises, etc.
Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation)
It enhances empathy for others. Compassion increases good feelings, including self-love, self-acceptance, life competence, and purpose.
Begin with loving-kindness towards yourself, then move on to others and all beings.
The sensation to cultivate is one of universal contentment and well-being. This may be done by envisioning the situation of another being and wishing him pleasure and tranquility. The more you meditate, the more delight you will feel.
Are you harsh on yourself or others? Or do you want better relationships? Meditating on loving-kindness helps. It helps both selfless and self-centered people feel happier. You can’t simultaneously experience loving-kindness and despair.
Types of Hindu meditation (Vedic & Yogic)
Mantra-Meditation (OM Meditation)
Mantras help people focus more than breathing. Because a mantra is a word, and ideas are frequently interpreted as words, focusing on a mantra rather than breathing might be simpler. Mantra meditation requires steady focus, which is helpful when the mind is rushing.
Mantra meditation makes it easier to incorporate meditation into daily life. In any endeavor, repeating the phrase can help.
A well-known mantra is OM. Many more exist. Here are several Hindu and Buddhist mantras:
- namah shivaya
- hum mani padme hum
You may practice for a predetermined amount of time or for 108 or 1008 “repetitions.” In this scenario, beads are utilized to maintain count.
As practice deepens, the chant may continue “by itself” like mental humming. Or the chant may dissolve, leaving you calm.
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Meditation isn’t free. Only licensed teachers may teach it. But the assistance looks decent.
In general, TM is believed to require chanting a mantra for 15–20 minutes twice a day while sitting with eyes closed. The practitioner’s gender and age determine his mantra. Rather, they are Tantric names for Hindu deities. Most individuals don’t care.
Types of Yogic Meditations
Yoga meditations include the following: “Third-eye meditation” is the most popular yoga meditation. Meditations that focus on a chakra, a mantra, light, or gazing are also popular.
Third Eye Meditation:
Concentrate on the “spot between the brows” (ajna chakra or third eye).Constantly focusing on one point helps quiet the mind. Time widens and deepens “silent gaps” between ideas. This is sometimes accompanied by a physical “looking” with eyes closed.
Gazing Meditation (Trataka)
concentrating one’s attention on an external object such as a candle, image, or symbol (yantra). It is done with the eyes open and then closed to improve mental attention and imagery. Keep the thing in your “mind’s eye” after closing your eyes. This meditation is strong.
focuses on one of the seven chakras (energy centers) in the body, with visuals and mantras for each (lam, vam, ram, yam, ham, om). It is usually done on the heart, third eye, and crown chakras.
is a complicated discipline. To achieve enlightenment, the “kundalini energy” that lies asleep at the base of the spine must be awakened. This technique is dangerous without a trained yogi’s instruction.
Paramahamsa Yogananda’s energizing, breathing, and meditation routines. This is for individuals with a devotional disposition who want spiritual meditation.
Sound Meditation (Nada Yoga)
concentrating on sound. Meditation on “external noises,” such as peaceful ambient music (like Native American flute music), to quiet and gather the thoughts. The technique eventually involves hearing the body and mind’s “interior noises.” “OM” is the “Ultimate Sound” (para nada), a sound without vibration.
have nothing to do with ritualized sex, contrary to common belief in the West. Tantra is a vast tradition with several meditation techniques. Vijnanabhairava Tantra provides 108 “meditations,” most of them advanced (requiring stillness and mind control).
regulates breathing. It’s not meditation, but it prepares the mind for it. The most popular and easiest pranayama is 4-4-4-4. This implies breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, and exhaling for 4 seconds. Breathe through your nose and let your abdomen move. Repeat the cycle. This breathing technique calms the body and calms the mind.
Yoga has various practices from its diverse lineages. They are the most famous; others are more particular or intricate.
You’ll probably appreciate one of yoga’s meditations. If you are a musician, nada yoga may appeal to you. If you are a devotee, kriya yoga is suitable. Only a teacher should try Kundalini or Chakra meditation.
“Third-eye meditation” is simple and produces immediate benefits. Other sorts may require an instructor or a good book. Besides, everyone may benefit from pranayama.
Self-Enquiry and “I Am” Meditation
Atma vichara means Self-Enquiry in Sanskrit. It means “examine” our true essence, to uncover the answer to “Who am I?” It concludes in knowing our true self, our genuine being.
This basic exercise is subtle. It sounds abstract when explained.
All other styles of meditation focus on an internal or external, physical or mental object. “I” am the subject of self-enquiry. It is the focus on the source.
It’s not an academic endeavor but a query to focus on the “I” in your perception and experience. This isn’t your personality but a subjective experience of living without images or notions.
This meditation brings inner freedom and peace, but if you’ve never meditated before, it may be difficult to follow.
Types of Chinese meditation
Taoist types of meditation
Taoist meditation is categorized as “insight,” “concentrative,” and “visualization.”
- The practice of sitting quietly and emptying oneself of mental representations (thoughts, feelings, etc.) in order to experience inner silence and emptiness is known as emptiness meditation (Zuowang).This stage collects and replenishes “spirit.”
- Visualization (Cunxiang)—an esoteric technique for imagining one’s own body and self in relation to the universe.
- Zhuanqi (breathing meditation) – focus on the breath or “connect mind and qi” “Focus your vital breath till it is wonderfully gentle.” Sometimes this is done by calmly studying the breath (similar to Mindfulness Meditation in Buddhism); in other traditions, it is done by following precise patterns of expiration and inhalation, so one becomes immediately aware of the “dynamics of Heaven and Earth” through rising and descending breath (a type of Qigong, similar to Pranayama in Yoga).
- Neiguan (Inner Vision) – Seeing one’s own organs, “inner deities,” qi (vital energy), and mental processes. It’s a way to discover nature’s wisdom in your body. Following this exercise requires a good book or tutor.
- Internal Alchemy (Neidan) is an esoteric technique of self-transformation using imagination, breathing, movement, and concentration. Qigong exercises simplify internal alchemy.
Taichi (Chi Kung) types of meditation
“Life force cultivation” (Qigong) is a Chinese phrase that denotes body-mind exercise for health, meditation, and martial arts training. Slow movement, inward attention, and regulated breathing are characteristic. In Chinese Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucianist traditions, they practiced and taught it in secret.
Qigong activities use over 80 breathing techniques. Others are for health (to nourish body functions or treat ailments) and meditation and spiritual growth. Qigong can be done statically (seated or standing) or dynamically.
Qigong meditation may appeal to those who appreciate vigorous body and energy activities. If seated meditation is too difficult, consider more active techniques.
Types of guided meditation
Guided meditation is a current trend. There are different types of guided meditation based on several of the aforementioned traditions.
This type of meditation takes willpower and determination. People who meditated in the past were more dedicated and had strong ideas. Their lives had fewer distractions. Now we live in a new era. We are busy. Meditation commonly improves health, performance, or self-improvement.
Guided meditations are beneficial for these reasons. They both help you learn the practice, explore it in new ways, and maintain your concentration on meditation.
Guided meditation is generally audio (file, podcast, or CD) or audio-and-video. Any guided meditation falls into one of these groups (with some overlap, obviously).
- Traditional Meditations: In these audios, the teacher’s voice is used to “illustrate” or “lead” your attention to a meditative state; there is more quiet than speech and frequently no music. The goal is to develop and deepen the practice and its advantages.
- Guided imagery uses imagination and imagery to visualize an item, creature, scene, or adventure. It’s typically for healing or relaxation.
- Body Scans & Relaxation – Encourages complete body relaxation. It’s often accompanied by music or natural noises. Yoga nidra is a kind of yoga nidra. The goal is relaxation.
- Affirmations: By combining relaxation and guided imagery, these meditations instill a message.
If you find conventional meditation difficult or don’t know where to start, guided meditations can help. You may also locate guided meditation if you’re looking for a specific experience or benefit, like enhancing self-esteem, working through a trauma, or releasing physical tension.