Meditation is practiced widely around the world, within various cultures. The sense of peace and harmony allows one to grow a better understanding of mindfulness. Through meditation, one can gain awareness, a much-needed quality in our fast-paced society. With the increased stress put upon people, it is no wonder meditation is growing in popularity. Meditation is a time to put down the to-do lists, planners, and worries to focus on the present moment. There is no right or wrong way to meditate; it is best to tailor your practice to your own preferences.
Though meditation is what you make of it, there are 7 types of meditation practices.
Before we dive into the list, it’s important to mention that not every practice will be for you. And that’s okay. You need to keep in tune with your body and mind to learn which method is best for you.
Here are the seven types of meditation and positive effects.
Practicing mindfulness meditation allows one to be fully present in the moment. During a mindfulness meditation practice, people become conscious of their thoughts and achieve a peaceful state. Also, one’s heightened awareness brings them closer to themselves.
The remarkable thing about mindfulness meditation is it can be done ANYWHERE. Some like to have a premade meditation spot while others can do it virtually everywhere. (Additionally, you can bring mindfulness into any daily moment—while doing work, laundry, or walking.)
For beginners, you may be wondering, “how do you meditate?”
First, find a comfortable seated position and begin to focus on your breath. Feel it slowly filling up your lungs, and exhale releasing stress. It is vital to remember to observe your thoughts and emotions while letting them pass without judgment. During your practice, focus on the moment, rather than the abstract thoughts that pop up. When your mind drifts, gently nudge it back to your breath.
If you are new to meditation, we highly recommend starting with a mindfulness practice. You can attend in-person classes, download a free meditation app, listen to a guided practice online, or meditate alone. Music, candles, aromatherapy, and dim lights can deepen the restorative effect.
The ordinary benefits of mindfulness practice are decreased stress levels, enhanced ability to deal with illness, reduced blood pressure, decreased depressive symptoms, and improved general health. It is true that when your mind is happy, your body will soon follow. To treat yourself, take a couple minutes from your day to focus on your breath. (After all, how much do we get done in 5 minutes anyway? Not much! So, why not meditate?)
During this uplifting practice, one will receive a wide variety of benefits that will seep into everyday life. Focused meditation requires one to concentrate on one of the five senses. (For example, focusing on your breath, what you feel, or what you see.) The use of external stimuli aids in this meditative practice, such as counting mala beads, listening to music, or staring at a candle flame.
The practice sounds simple, but it can be challenging for beginners to hold their focus. If your mind wanders, gently come back and refocus. Ideally, the practice is perfect for those who are looking for a boost of concentration.
Focused practice is best performed in a quiet environment, such as your home, to further remove distractions.
Spiritual meditation streams from Eastern religions (Hinduism, Daoism, and Christianity.) In a spiritual practice, it’s linked to reflection toward oneself and the universe. No matter what faith you believe in, you can meditate to reflect on God or the Universe. The deepening effect of this practice is essential for all who practice religion.
In this practice, you focus in silence, in a prayer-like manner. Those who practice spiritually will typically use essential oils such as sage, myrrh, and frankincense. This is to attract additional spiritual energy into the exercise. Like mindfulness meditation practices, spiritual practices can be practiced anywhere. Whether in your home or a place of worship—this practice will help one to thrive and reach spiritual maturity.
Many tend to think of mantra meditation when the word comes up. Commonly, the sound “om” is used in this practice, but mantras can be anything you’d like. In this form of meditation, one uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a pure sound or word to wash away negative thoughts from one’s mind; the mantra should reflect what you wish to gain from your practice.
It does not matter if you say your mantra out loud or in your head—as long as your mind is solely focused on the mantra. Mantra meditation is best practiced in a quiet, dimly lit room with minimal distractions. Candles and essential oils are a perfect pair for all types of meditation practices, including mantra meditation.
For those wanting mental clarity, peace, and overall bliss—a mantra meditation is an excellent option for you.
One of the most popular types of structured reflection, transcendental meditation is perfect for all experience levels. In this technique, one is assigned a mantra (a sound, word, or phrase) repeated in a specific way. One practices the meditation 20 minutes twice each day while sitting in a comfortable position with their eyes closed.
The purpose of the technique is to allow one to settle into a profound state of Zen. Throughout this delightful state, one can achieve inner peace without concentration or effort. Additionally, the relaxation and rest will benefit those suffering from anxiety and depression.
For those looking for a general boost of positivity, calmness, and reassurance—a transcendental meditation is best.
Metta Meditation (Loving-Kindness Meditation)
The attractive benefits of this practice are not only valuable to the one practicing, but to those around them! During a Metta meditation, otherwise known as a Loving Kindness Meditation, one directs well-wishes toward others.
When practicing, one recites specific words meant to bring heartwarming feelings. In a typical practice, one sits in a relaxed, comfy position. After a couple of deep breaths, one slowly recites the following: “May I be happy, may I be well. May I be safe, may I be peaceful.”
After directing loving-kindness toward oneself for a while, one will begin to picture a loved one and direct it toward them. It could be a family member, a friend, or a stranger who has been randomly kind to you that day. Some practitioners recommend visualizing people you have difficulty with, in better hopes achieve self-contentment.
The purpose of a Metta meditation is to direct a sense of love to yourself and others—to gain a full insight, acceptance, and peace.
The final form of meditation we are going to discuss is perhaps to most beneficial.
First off, what is a chakra meditation? A chakra meditation originates from India, with the word chakra meaning “wheel.” A chakra is a center of energy, containing spiritual power in the body. The common belief is that there are seven chakras, with each chakra having a different location on the body. Additionally, each chakra has a corresponding color, and its energy connects with varying properties of the body.
When practicing chakra meditation, one performs a series of techniques, focused on bringing balance to all seven chakras. All methods include visualizing each chakra in the body and its color. Additionally, those will imagine each chakra growing brighter in its colored light after each breath. Some choose to light incense, use colored crystals for each chakra, and a repeated a mantra.
All chakra meditations are unique and can be tailored to align the chakra of your choosing. For a more in-depth guide on the 7 chakras and how to balance them, click here.
No matter which form of meditation you use, it is restorative, peaceful, and beneficial for all. We recommend practicing each one of the seven meditation types, to better understand what your body is looking for in a practice. Remember to customize your session to your specific needs, to reap the full positive benefits.
We hope you find this list informative and helpful in achieving your wellness goals.
Namaste, and good luck!