There are many different types of meditation, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else. Whether you’re new to meditation and seeking a style that works for you, or an experienced meditator looking for something new to try, there are always new and different styles to explore. In this article, we’ll go over four popular types of meditation.
- Breath Watching
One of the simplest types of meditation is breath watching. Meditation can be as simple as taking a few minutes to only focus on your breath. For this type of meditation all you have to do is relax in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and begin paying attention to your breathing. Taking deep breaths through your nose will activate your diaphragm and get oxygen all the way to the bottom of your lungs. If your mind wanders (and it’s OK if it does), try to re-focus your attention on just inhaling and exhaling. Start with five minutes and increase the time as you gain more experience.
- Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is a type of meditation, which, as the name implies, involves walking while meditating. An obvious benefit of this type of meditation is that it also provides a little exercise and gets the entire body moving. Walking meditation can be done outside on a longer walk, or inside making ‘laps’ or pacing a room. Focus on the rhythm of your steps and the movement of your feet, legs, arms, and body as you move. When your mind wanders, just keep bringing it back to the process of walking and breathing. Walking meditation can be challenging because as you move, there are more opportunities for distraction.
- Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is analogous to Vipassana, which means to see clearly or see things as they really are, and is an ancient meditation practice that is centered around self-observation. Mindfulness is the art of becoming acutely aware of what exists in the present moment. In mindfulness meditation, you focus on what’s happening in your mind and body as well as the external environment around you. You should become aware of all the individual thoughts and feelings from moment to moment. To begin mindful meditation, you can start with breath watching, and then move your attention to the thoughts going through your mind, the feelings in your body, and all of the the sounds, sights, etc. around you. The secret to mindfulness meditation is to notice all of these things, but not analyze or judge them.
- Mantra Meditation
Many meditation practitioners find that is it easier to keep their mind from wandering by focusing on one specific thing. Like breath watching, mantra meditation gives your mind something to pay attention to as a means of preventing distraction. A mantra is a word or phrase you repeat as you meditate. In many guided meditations, the mantra will be selected for you, however if you are meditation alone, you can choose any word or phrase that works for you. The mantra may be repeated aloud or in your head, or a combination of both.
These are only a few of the most common types of meditation, and of course there are many others. Every type of meditation has its own advantages and challenges, and each person’s mind has different strengths and weaknesses. The best type of meditation is the one that works for you. Are there other types of meditations that you’ve found especially effective? Let us know in the comments below!