Maybe you’ve heard of the incredible benefits of mediation, but have yet to adopt the practice for yourself. Perhaps the idea of sitting cross-legged on the floor while trying to “empty your mind” sounds. . .boring.
Or not your style.
No worries. You’re not the only one.
With its incredible benefits like boosting your immune system, reducing stress and pain, lowering your blood pressure, promoting better quality sleep, and easing depression, you don’t want to miss out.
And you don’t have to.
“Prayer is like talking to God, meditation is a way of listening to God.” Edgar Cayce, The Divine Within
Just like yoga asana classes and teachers, there are different types of meditation, and you just have to find the right one for you. And thankfully there are plenty of different types of meditation to practice beyond sitting on the floor for 15-20 minutes.
Here are 5 different types of meditation for you to try.
#1 seated meditation
Probably when you think about meditation, this is the type that springs to mind: someone sitting cross-legged on the floor with their eyes closed.
Seated meditation is considered the most traditional form, but seated doesn’t have to mean on the floor in criss-cross apple sauce, half-lotus, or full lotus. You could also kneel or also sit on a chair or on your bed. And there are lots of props to help aid your practice such as pillows, mats, and kneeling benches.
And instead of trying to “empty your mind,” you employ focal objects or techniques to keep your mind from wandering. Basic focal techniques include counting your breaths (Zen tradition) or repeating a mantra (Buddhist) like as so ham, om shanti, Let go Let God (alcoholics anonymous).
#2 moving meditation
This type of meditation uses movement as the focal point. Deep breathing accompanies the movement, and you become mindful of the experience while, well, moving. There are several ways to meditate while moving:
1. Yoga-asana classes are often considered moving meditations because of the intense concentration that happens when you’re breathing + moving harmoniously in class. Savasana, or final relaxation, at the end aids your body into deeper relaxation. Really want to maximize your relaxation and meditation? Try a yin or restorative class.
2. Tai chi, another type of moving meditation, originated in ancient China as a martial art sometime in the late 1600s. Now it’s primarily practiced as an exercise for mind and body.
3. The simplest of moving meditations is walking, and is the complete opposite of sitting still. Find a stretch of sidewalk or a walking path and get to meditating. As you walk concentrate on linking purposeful steps with long, deep breaths. Be present as you walk. A variation of walking meditation is the labyrinth. 👇
#3 mandala meditation
Mandala means sacred circle in Sanskrit and in various ancient and spiritual cultures the mandala has been used as a type of meditation.
The mandala acts as a visual focal point during meditation, creating a different state of mind, making it an “ideal state of mind to change situations involving our bodies.”
Today you can draw and color mandalas to produce a centering and calming effect (and it works on both children and adults). When filling in the mandalas you can use coloring pencils, pen and ink, crayons, or watercolors.
#4 guided meditation
Also called guided imagery, guided visualization, and yoga nidra. This type of meditation uses a voice-guided process to create a meditative state. Because of the use of imagery, many people find guided meditation less challenging to practice than other forms.
Some guided meditations have specific purposes such as healing or self-improvement, and some are designed to evoke higher states of consciousness (like all meditation practices).
With guided meditation, a “guide” takes the listeners through various scenarios such as the forest, the beach, or up a mountain. The imagery provokes certain experiences.
This type of meditation is probably the least known. Satsung is a Sanskrit word made up of sat meaning “being” or “essence” and sangha meaning “association,” and together translates to “being with true people” or “in the company of truth.”
During satsung people of different levels practice together, using the group to create a stronger spiritual atmosphere, and therefore a deeper experience in meditation.
A satsung might include listening or reading spiritual texts, discussion of those teachings, and meditation. The meditation could be silent, or kirtan (meditative chanting of Sanskrit mantras).
FOR ALL TYPES OF MEDITATION
- Prep your mind and body for meditation through asana.
- Relaxation must proceed meditation.
- Set aside a special place for meditation.
- Choose a time when your mind is least agitated, regardless if it’s morning or night.
- Focus on the quality of your breath.
- Concentration is key.