Top 14 types of meditationJan 15, 2023
Different types of meditation practices
Do you know your Vipassana from your metta?
Over the last twenty years meditation has become more popular in the West and different types of meditation are advertised but how do we find the one that is right for us?
This guide intends to give you a simple explanation of each of the types of meditation that are widely available today.
Present moment meditation where you take your awareness to what you are experiencing in the here and now, without judgement, while letting distractions come & go in the background. There are different types of mindfulness meditations such as open monitoring, focused concentration and labelling.
Also known as Insight meditation, this is traditionally done in silence. The breath is the focus for attention. Vipassana helps practitioners cultivate insight into the nature of reality by allowing them to observe their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.
During this meditation, people are prompted to bring to mind images of people or things to focus on. These can be visual images, or feelings, or sounds. The marmite of meditation that often challenges left brainers!
This is a trademarked school of meditation offered by the Maharishi foundation that is taught on a one to one basis and involves doing two 20 minute meditations per day. Mantras, traditionally sanskrit words given by the teacher, are repeated in the mind during meditation. The words are sounds rather than meaningful words & the repetition is said to invoke a higher state. This form was very popular in the 60s.
Loving kindness (Metta)
Intended to increase happiness and compassion for self and others, this meditation asks you to focus on feelings of love and thankfulness and send these to yourself and others (including to those you have neutral or negative feelings towards.)
Traditional yoga practice of 'deep sleep with awareness.' It is a lying down practice that normally includes a body scan and setting a sankalpa (intention). This deep state of relaxation helps quieten the conscious mind which allows access to the unconscious mind. It has been proven to replace lost sleep.
Yoga in itself is a form of moving meditation, and was traditionally developed to prepare the body for seated meditation practice.
Candle gazing (Trataka)
An eyes open meditation where focus is on a candle flame. This is said to open the third eye chakra, one of the spiritual centres of the body said to help increase intuition.
Chakras are 7 energy centres in the body. Chakra means wheel & in yoga & meditation the aim is to keep each chakra balanced to promote good physical & emotional health.
A mantra is used as the focus for attention, however it is different to transcendental meditation in that the mantra is an affirmation that is intended to empower you.
These encourage connection with your higher self or a greater force, creator, higher power. It may be God, the universe or nature.
The same state of mind as in still meditation is encouraged here and the only the difference is that it's done while moving. This can be yoga, walking, running or any other form of movement. The fact eyes are open also changes the experience.
Bodyscan & Progressive muscle relaxation
A body scan meditation rests focus on each body part without judgement or changing anything whereas in the progressive muscle relaxation muscles are tightened and the relaxed in turn.
Listening to soothing sounds from instruments such as gongs and singing bowls in order to relax both the body and the mind & move energy.
Qui Gong meditation
This ancient Chinese practice combines physical movement with mindfulness-based meditation that is intended to build and balance energy.
If you'd like to try a meditation, download our free guide to choosing the right meditation for you here.
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