When you’re starting to meditate, you need to be comfortable, know that you won’t be disturbed and know that there is no right or wrong way to do it. As you practice, become more confident and start to feel the benefits of meditation, you may want to start exploring different types of meditation and different types of meditation techniques.
Here are just a few of the many types of meditation with a brief explanation of each one.
This meditation could be where the phrase “take a breather” originated.
It’s a very simple and easy meditation where you sit comfortably and just focus on your breathing. You can breathe normally or breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This is a useful little meditation to do if you get a few quiet moments during a busy day and need to calm down or recharge your batteries.
If all else fails – lock yourself in the loo at work and take those breaths. You’ll feel much better for it!
Buddhist meditations encourage and develop concentration and clarity. They focus on gaining emotional positivity, and a calmness which allows you to see the true nature of things. If practiced regularly, these nurtured states of mind can help you to feel deeply peaceful and yet energized. People who practice Buddhism meditation say that it can be life transforming and it gives them a new understanding of life.
In this chakra balancing meditation, you start with the first chakra, the root and work your way slowly up to your crown chakra. At every chakra, you visualize the spinning energy wheel and focus on healing and aligning it. Once you’re happy that it’s done, move up to the next one.
This is a powerful meditation which leaves you feeling energized, balanced and connected.
Well now there’s colouring for grown-ups. Amazon has got an amazing selection of books with outlines of mandalas, stained glass windows, abstract patters and more so if it appeals to you, then you will be spoiled for choice.
Most of them have been compiled by Art Therapists and reviewers are reporting stress relief and a joyous zoning out.
Just get some coloured pencils and lose yourself in the meditative practice of colouring.
This is the goal that you are working towards. When your meditations become deeper, you will be less aware of your surroundings and will be able to focus on where the meditation takes you. It’s a bit like learning to drive. One day you wonder how you’ll ever do it – and then suddenly, you can drive the car and look where you’re going at the same time!
After a deep meditation, you actually “come back to Earth with a bump” and your physical body feels extremely heavy, restrictive and burdonsome.
In this meditation, you listen to a voice that guides you through from start to finish. Guided meditations are ideal for beginners. It’s totally normal to feel a little intimidated when you first start to meditate. After all, if you’ve never done it before – you’re not quite sure what to expect. Listening to a soothing voice (with or without background music) will help you to relax and become accostomed to the new sensations that meditation will make you feel.
Before you buy a cd or download a guided meditation, it’s important to listen to a sample first. You need to feel trust in the voice and to find it pleasant to listen to. You may find that you prefer no music or a particular type of music.
Many people who have been meditating for a long time still prefer to use guided meditations.
This is a meditation that is aided by the repitition of a mantra.
What’s a mantra?
If you split the word into two parts, you get
man = the root of the Sanksrit word for mind
tra = the root of the word instrument.
So a mantra is an instrument of your mind. It can be a phrase, a sound or a vibration that you repeat and focus on, to help you go into a deeper state of meditation.
Three of the most well known mantras for meditation are:
1. Mantra: OM
What it means: The sound of the universe. The first, original vibration. It represents birth, death and re-birth process.
2. Mantra: Om Namah Shivaya
What it means: I bow to Shiva, the supreme deity of transformation who represents the truest, highest self.
3. Mantra: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
What it means: May all beings everywhere be happy and free – and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Meditation for Anxiety and Depression
Meditation is ideal for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. This is because it is a good way to enter a state of relaxation. People who are anxious, often hyper-ventilate (breathe too fast and not deep enough) so focussing on slowing down their breathing and making those breaths deeper is extremely helpful. And if you suffer with depression, it can be helpful to focus on something to give you a little relief from how you are feeling.
If you are going to meditate to help with anxiety, it’s very important to remember not to beat yourself up if you imagine you’re somehow ‘doing it wrong’. There really is no wrong way to meditate. There is only starting…and continuing. As you continue, you will find the meditation techniques easier to do and you will get more benefit from them.
Meditation for Beginners
When you’re learning to meditate, it’s important to keep it simple. I would recommend that you use a guided meditation (see above) and that you only meditate for five or ten minutes per day to start with.
One common fear that most newbies go through, is that they won’t come back – it’s not like you can set an alarm clock. When I first started meditating, someone gave me a piece of good advice – before you start, ask your guide (whether you know them or not…they will be listening) to bring you back after say, five or ten minutes. I was amazed when I ‘woke up’ absolutely to the minute.
When you get a few meditations under your belt and you start to go into a deeper state of relaxation, it can be tempting to stay in that blissful state for just a little while longer – but if you always use the ‘Spirit Guide wake up call’ you will always be back exactly when you asked to be.
These are focused on meeting someone particular. This may be your Spirit Guide, your Guardian Angel or a loved one who has passed over.
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. In order to understand what Mindful Meditation is, it helps to know what mindfulness is.
The dictionary defines it as:
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
In the Buddhist tradition, mindfulness is nurtured by performing a seated meditation.
What makes mindfulness mediation different is that it is not performed to help you to become any different from how you already are – not more enlightened, not more relaxed and not more open to spirit communication.
Instead, it helps you to become aware of what is already true moment by moment. It teaches you how to be unconditionally present. That helps you to be present with whatever is happening, no matter what it is.
Past Life Meditation
This is usually a guided meditation with the goal of uncovering your past lives.
Three main meditation techniques for the foundation in the first level of Reiki.
- Kenyoku Hô -a cleansing meditation.
- Jôshin Kokyû Hô – a meditation using breathing to focus the mind.
- Seishin Toitsu – a meditation to unify the mind.
Hatsurei Hô is a combination of all three above.
Relaxation meditation is a very useful tool for helping your to get a good nights’ sleep or to help if you tend to be anxious or depressed.
In this form of meditation exercise, music is often used with or without a guided meditation voiceover. Just as the title describes, relaxation meditation is aimed at attaining a deep state of relaxation.
If you are becoming more advanced with your meditation practice, you may already be familiar with the wonderful state of feeling utterly, totally, completely relaxed. Great, isn’t it?
Simple / Easy Meditation
These are alternative names for meditation for beginners.
All types of meditation are spiritual. When you go into a state of deep relaxation, you allow yourself to connect with a higher power. That higher power is the omnipresent, the one, the divine, universal consciousness, God – there are many terms for this and you will find one that resonates with you and that you are comfortable with.
These are guided meditations that focus on one a subject such as abundance, forgiveness, improving intuition, mindfulness…you name a subject and you will be able to find a meditation to help you with it.
Third Eye Meditation
In this meditation, you focus on your third eye. This is the chakra that is located in the middle of your forehead and it is associated with psychic seeing or clairvoyance (which translates as clair=clear, voyance=seeing). As you visualize that beautiful spinning wheel of energy, you will start to open it up, slowly at first and then as far as you can go. As you do this, you are also making your own energy vibrate faster. This makes it easier to tune into spirit as their energy vibration is much higher than ours.
The aim of this meditation is to see…whatever you are blessed to see. You can go into it with a clear desire to see somebody or something or just go with the flow and literally see what you are given.
This is simply meditating while you are walking. Many people enjoy this because it connects them with nature. In fact, people who love to hike or ramble may already be ‘walking meditators’ without even realising it. It’s easy and very pleasant to lose yourself in nature and that losing yourself part is the meditation. It brings the double benefit of relaxation and exercise.
Yoga and Meditation
The guidebook of classical yoga is called the Yoga Sutra. It was compiled by a sage called Patanjali, at least 1,700 years ago and comprises 195 sutras or words of wisdom. Patanjali also wrote significant works on Ayurveda (the ancient Indian system of medicine) and Sanskrit grammar.
Yoga has much in common with meditation. They both involve breathing deeply, focussing, quieting down the outside noise and listening inward. So yoga and meditation were made for each other.
In Buddhism, Zen is called the ‘meditation school’. The type of meditation that is central to Zen Buddhism is called Zazen.
Zazen is the study of the self.
Buddah was in seated meditation when he received his own enlightenment and Zen practices it to this day. The seated Zen meditation has been used by Buddhists for more than 2,500 years.
It spread from India to China, then to Japan and other parts of Asia and then finally to the West.
It’s a very simple practice – easy to describe and very easy to follow. But like all other meditations, you have to perform it regularly to discover – and benefit from – its power and depth.
How do you meditate? I’d love to hear from you. And if you’d like me to add more types, just let me know in the comments box below.