What Are The Different Ways To Meditate – Meditation Types

How to Choose a Type of Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation 101: What Type of Meditation Is Best for You?

Which Type of Meditation Is Best for Anxiety?

How Much Should I Meditate?

What is the most effective type of meditation

What is Guided Meditation?

How to Make Mindfulness a Habit

What Techniques are Ideal for Beginners?

What are the 13 types of meditation?

Meditative techniques and mindfulness practices have huge benefits for your mental health which translates into your physical well-being. It is a way to train your brain through mental practices that results in positively transforming your; thought formation/patterns, emotional regulation, finding a sense of being and sitting still in the present moment (rather than the distractions of doing), decreases stress levels, and teaches your brain to process feelings in an active state rather than a reactive state.

For a more in-depth article on what meditation is click here

13 Types of Meditation to start your journey:

There are many different kinds of meditation (far beyond these mentioned below) and it is important to note that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to meditate. There are however different meditative techniques that can be practiced in daily life to reap the benefits of meditation or mindfulness practice.

Some of the main forms of meditation techniques and methods of meditation:

1. Basic-Mindfulness Meditation:

Often also known as ‘silent meditation’ or ‘intention meditation’. The focus here is on the mind itself. This is usually conducted in a seated or lying down position (preferably on the floor) with the eyes closed. Closing our eyes allows us to focus and tap into more of an introspective state. It allows us to notice our thoughts without attaching meaning to them and teaches us that we are not our thoughts, feelings, or emotions; we simply just experience them and let them pass through us. A great way to combat overthinking. The concept of ‘non-attachment’ and releasing control over our thoughts are often referred to when doing this type of meditation as we practice disengaging with our thoughts by vicariously peeking into the mind rather than get involved with any specific thought and try to change its outcome. 

2. Movement Meditation:

Directing all your attention and focus on a singular action you are doing to cultivate stillness in the mind. (eg. knitting, painting, walking meditation in nature, practicing yoga or qi gong). By diverting the energy into a physical action the mind almost becomes entranced by this action and therefore becomes present in the moment. Often this kind of action is a repetitive action. The repetition creates a rhythm that can be rather trance-like or allow you to enter a hypnotic-like state.

Top tip: Walking meditation getting out in nature immediately brings you into the present moment – a simple technique for a meditative practice would be to take a walk in nature and intentionally notice your surroundings. See how much detail of your environment you can become aware of.

3. Sensory Meditation:

Focuses the mind on the senses; smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing by making you aware of your environment. This can also be achieved by ‘body scans’ meditation practices as it makes you aware of your body within your surroundings and bringing awareness to your thoughts and feelings (that might be showing up as physical sensations).

4. Guided Meditation:

What is guided mediation?

Verbal instruction and guidance are given by a teacher. The instructor can guide you through many different techniques and also often includes visualization practices. Guided meditations are ideal for beginners and when you are new to meditating or if you are looking to get back into meditation. Guided meditations are popular to do to prepare the body for sleep.

Usually guided meditations are done with a specific theme, concept, or intention in mind for eg.

  • Gratitude meditations
  • Self-love or compassion mediations
  • Grounding meditations
  • Surrender mediations
  • Clarity meditations; to mention a few

Many different meditation apps provide great pre-recorded guided mediations such as:

headspace.com

insighttimer.com

calm.com

5. Visualization Meditation:

Either guided by oneself or by an instructor you move through a visualization practice where you imagine a certain experience or scenario. This is usually coupled to nature (walking in a forest, lying on warm sand on the beach, swimming in the ocean, etc.) and sounds to add to the ambiance. Visualization once again allows us to focus all our attention on a singular scenario to calm and focus the mind.

6. Transcendental Meditation:

A practice of meditation where you sit in silence and use a singular idea, thought, theme, or mantra that you repeat in your mind. Focusing all your attention on your breath is both a form of transcendental and silent meditation. This is a technique widely used in the traditions of Buddhist practices.

7. Chanting and Mantra Meditation:

Usually done in a group but can also be done alone where a specific and singular mantra would be verbally and repeatedly chanted (traditionally most mantras are in Sanskrit). This usually goes hand in hand with specific meditation postures or mudras.

8. Body scan meditation

This exercise is often used as part of a Yoga Nidra in Yoga. Most commonly done lying down (can also be done in a seated or standing position) and closing the eyes you start to bring attention to the different parts of the body mentally, without physically moving the different parts. Moving from the tips of the toes and scanning up the body towards the top of the head, trying to be as detailed as possible as to which physical sensations might be coming up, and checking in on how the physical body is feeling.

9. Pranayama or breathing exercises

In yogic philosophy pranayama refers to breathwork – Prana meaning the breath or the ‘vital life force’. Many different breathing techniques exist which are used alongside meditation. Through this type of meditation session, the awareness is once again diverted to the breath – noticing how it flows in and out of the body to detach from the ‘mental chaos’ that might be happening in the mind.

Top tip: Try deep breathing through the nose – close the eyes and seal off the lips. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold once again for 4 counts. Repeat for 5 – 10 rounds. While you breathe imagine and concentrate on how the breath is moving in and out of the lings.

10. Spiritual Meditation

Meditation is often directly related or connotated to spiritual practices. The meditation practice is rooted in Buddhism traditions as a means to reach ‘spiritual enlightenment or awakening’. Later these ideas also translated into the Western world and still exist in today’s modern world. These types of mindfulness practices are the basis of spiritual belief structures among many people. Meditation as a concept is however not exclusive to spirituality or type of religion.

11. Loving-kindness meditation:

Also referred to as kindness meditation, compassion meditation or Metta meditation

In this practice you bring your awareness to the people in your life (both near and far, known and unknown, liked or disliked) and direct positive energy and thoughts toward them. It’s a wonderful technique for decreasing anger and increasing understanding, positivity, and compassion.

mindbodygreen.com

Its goal is to cultivate an attitude of love and kindness toward everything, even a person’s enemies and sources of stress. While breathing deeply, practitioners open their minds to receiving loving kindness. They then send messages of loving kindness to the world, to specific people, or to their loved ones.

medicalnewstoday.com

12. Sound Meditation

Sound mediation uses sound produced by various types of musical instruments or sound waves to relax the body and mind. It promotes self-inquiry and overall wellbeing. Different instruments such as singing bowls, harps, chimes, and more are used to create different sounds. These instruments all create a certain frequency that alters the phases of brainwaves (certain frequencies pertain to certain brainwaves, theta, alpha, beta, delta) and calms the busyness of the brain down. A very common way of using sound for mediation is through a sound healing bath. This is typically done by using Tibetan singing bowls that produce certain frequencies and allows you to deepen into a meditative state. Sound healing baths are usually done in a room, they last around 60 minutes and are guided by an instructor that lightly taps the bowls. This type of mediation is also a form of therapy.

13. Chakra and Kundalini Meditation

 ‘Chakras’ are known as energy centers the word itself means ‘wheel’ in Sanskrit. Although it is a fairly modern concept of meditation it also shares similar themes and concepts to Kundalini Yoga. There are 7 chakras, they exist along the midline of the body (root, sacral, navel, heart, throat, third eye, crown) and each of them has a respective color associated with them. During a chakra meditation, the emphasis is put on bring your awareness and attention to each of these energy centers to align them and allow the energy to flow freely throughout the body. Each chakra is also symbolic and representative of certain aspects of life. 

Kundalini meditation works with similar concepts.

my.net/can-healing-chakras-help-fibromyalgia/

. Vipassana Meditation vs Samatha meditation

 Buddhism addresses two major types of meditation they are called Vipassana and Samatha.

Vipassana can be translated as “Insight,” a clear awareness of exactly what is happening as it happens. Samatha can be translated as “concentration” or “tranquility.” It is a state in which the mind is brought to rest, focused only on one item and not allowed to wander. When this is done, a deep calm pervades body and mind, a state of tranquility which must be experienced to be understood.

Vipassana exists as is the oldest Buddhist meditation practice. The meditators direct their attention to an intense examination of certain aspects of their own existence. The meditator is trained to notice and question more of his own life and life experiences.

This meditation technique, also called “Insight Meditation,” involves sitting in silence, focusing on the breath and noting any and all physical or mental sensations that arise. The idea is to find “insight” into the true nature of reality (which vipassana teaches is suffering), by examining all aspects of your existence. Multiday vipassana retreats are a popular way to dive deeper into this practice.

Vipassana silent retreats adopt these techniques, through a 10-day excursion where the persons taking part cannot speak or make contact with anybody else to turn inward and question their own suffering.

Samatha techniques are more commonly used in most forms of meditation

How to Make Mindfulness a Habit

Dancing on your own to your favorite song, taking a walk through nature, or sitting in stillness can all be a form of making mindfulness and meditation a daily habit. It is therefore very unique to the individual to what brings them to this state of mindfulness and serenity. As said before there is no right or wrong way to do this. Meditating for 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 20 minutes all have benefits and in the long-term when done consistently has a huge impact on the compassion and kindness you show to others and yourself.

What Techniques are Ideal for Beginners?

Many people find meditation ‘inaccessible’, difficult, and most intimidating because there is this belief that you have to be a certain type of person or be at a certain level to be able to meditate. This just simply isn’t true and these simple techniques are accessible to all if the intention and willingness are there! Again choose something that you enjoy, you don’t find overwhelming and a practice that you can stay consistent in – this is your personal journey and experimenting with different techniques helps you find that which works for you best.

How to Choose a Type of Mindfulness Meditation

The best results will come from doing any meditation style regularly. For 10 days, try a technique and see how you respond to it as a daily practice. Don’t be concerned if the mind is busy because you can’t meditate wrong. This is usual. Rather than forcing the mind to be still, meditation is about redirecting the focus and attention to give yourself a break.

Meditation 101: What Type of Meditation Is Best for You?

There is not a ‘right’ type of medicine but rather all depends on your personal preference. Reaching a meditative state has all to do with presence. Whatever brings you into a present state is the ‘right’ meditation for you.

Which Type of Meditation Is Best for Anxiety?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to meditation. It’s important to find the one that works best for your unique needs and personality. For example, the type of meditation that is most helpful against anxiety is not necessarily the best one against depression. Similarly what helps you overcome anxiety might not be the same meditation practice that helps somebody else.

How Much Should I Meditate?

Aim to find a few minutes in your day to drop into the present moment – whatever that may be. It is less about the amount of time but more about consistency to build a daily practice. Go at your own pace and simplify it. You don’t need to do anything complicated this will just leave you feeling overwhelmed. Setting an intention, while in a quiet place, before you start helps to sit in that present moment for longer.  Start with 5 minutes and increase it from there. You don’t have to sit in a specific way either – lie down if you want!

What is the most effective type of meditation

No one technique is more effective than the other. It is all about being intentional with the present moment. Realize your feelings and thoughts that might arise. Your mind will wander, so the purpose is not to force your mind to be empty or still. Rather when you feel your mind drifting slowly bring your attention and focus back to your breath. The aim is also not to analyze judge or formulate explanations for your thoughts but rather just to notice they are there and stay curious – allow the thoughts to pass through your mind rather than attaching to them.

About bianca

Yoga and meditation instructor, holistic personal trainer, nutritional advisor, website and content designer, blog writer, professional dancer, performing artist, voice-over actor, and choreographer.

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