Last updated on October 13, 2020.
Meditation is an ancient exercise, but it keeps growing in popularity around the globe. So what is it exactly? Meditation is a mental practice that involves relaxation, focus and awareness. There are several kinds of meditation, and in this article, we introduce 6 different types of meditation (i.e. mindfulness, focused, movement, spiritual, mantra and transcendental) so you can find the right one for yourself, your family and friends.
If you want to know more about the basic information of meditation and how to begin your mediation journey, check our beginner’s guide to meditation:
1. Mindfulness Meditation
This meditation technique is based on Buddhist teachings. It aims to help us become aware of how our minds work and be present in the moment. During the practice, you observe the feelings and thoughts passing through your mind without interacting with or judging them. Concentration is needed for this meditation. Although it does not require any external stimuli, it might be easier if you try to focus on a single thing (e.g. your breath or an object) while observing your mind. Self-knowledge gaining from this type of meditation can be the basis for conquering unwanted emotions, impulsiveness and other manners that hinder us from happier and better lives. In fact, research has found that mindfulness can:
– Boost memory
– Improve focus
– Enhance relationship satisfaction
– Relieve stress
– Reduce negative thoughts
– Reinforce control of emotional and impulsive reactions
As mindfulness meditation can be practiced alone easily, it is beneficial for people who do not have or want a teacher for guidance.
If you would like some assistance, check this article that brings you 6 best meditation apps.
2. Focused Meditation
This meditation practice is a form of mindfulness meditation. It requires concentration using any of the 5 human senses. You need to focus on a specific object, sound or stimulus in order to stay present. For example, the smell of incense, the sound of a ticking clock, the sight of a burning candle or just your breathing can be your point of focus. The objective of this meditation is to allow yourself to become aware of the sensations the stimulus provides instead of thinking about the stimulus or letting your mind wandering. Similar to mindfulness meditation, the major benefits of focused meditation include improving focus and strengthening emotional control.
This practice is perfect for beginners because you simply need a quiet place and a stimulus, which greatly helps you focus.
3. Movement Meditation
This technique is an active form of meditation that involves physical movements to guide you and clear your mind. Yoga is a great way to practice movement meditation. If you do not like yoga, there are many other activities that let you enter such a meditative state. Gentle exercises like tai chi or simply taking a walk in a park can be your options for movement meditation. Except for the benefits of meditation, such as reducing anxiety, this practice also brings you better physical health.
If you have trouble remaining still to meditate or find it easier to focus while moving, this meditation is ideal for you.
4. Spiritual Meditation
This type of meditation is more common in the East as it is practiced in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Daoism. You might spiritually meditate in a place of worship, at home or in nature. Similar to praying, spiritual meditation allows you to reflect, to seek your inner self as well as to find a deeper connection with your God or the Universe.
This practice is great for individuals who pursue spiritual growth or appreciate self-reflection.
5. Mantra Meditation
Many teachings, from Western religions to Hinduism and Buddhism, use this technique to meditate. Mantra meditation helps you clear your mind through a repetitive word, phrase or sound. “Om” is one of the most common sounds to use as a mantra. During the practice, you can either chant the mantras out loud or in your head. The goal is to focus on the mantras and to feel their vibrations as they are chanted. Let the vibrations of mantras be in sync with the vibrations of your body. As a type of spiritual meditation, it can foster deeper levels of self-awareness and connection with positive energies.
If you think that it is easier to concentrate on sounds rather than your breath, mantra meditation is very suitable for you.
6. Transcendental Meditation
It is another form of spiritual meditation. Practitioners need to remain seated, close their eyes, breathe slowly and repeat a mantra, word or phrase (which is specific to each individual) quietly in mind. You can learn this meditation technique from a licensed instructor. Regularly practicing transcendental meditation can help you gain the benefits of both mindfulness and spirituality. It clears your mind that is occupied by negative thoughts.
Transcendental meditation is for people who like structure and hope to stay consistent with a meditation practice.
The Final Word
Remember the key to meditation is discipline. At first, you may feel like it is not working. There is no need to stress yourself if you lose control of your thoughts as it is very common. You will improve with regular practice, similar to working out at the gym.
Choose the type that seems fit and try it out. It may turn out to be unsuitable for you. Taking a bit of trial and error before you find the right one is completely normal.
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