Five types of meditation types you should know about—source: justinhavre.com.
It’s everywhere! Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is doing it—maybe you have tried it too but the hype! Is it really worth it? What is it about meditation and mindfulness that everyone keeps talking about it?
Most people (myself, specifically) have had a hard time understanding why the simple art of practising meditation was taking the world by storm. I could never get past why anyone would purposefully want to torture themselves by sitting alone with their thoughts for extended periods. I thought that was literally the worst thing anyone could ever do to themselves, never mind the boredom.
BUT, as with most things, I was wrong. From developing a higher sense of awareness to working as a terrific stress reliever, there are a million reasons meditation is the second best thing after sliced bread! And as we celebrate World Meditation Day, here are five types of calm meditation you should know about. Read on to find out which category you fit in!
1/ Mindfulness meditation
When do you feel most present? Source: Harmony.
Just as the name implies, what you are seeking is being aware, mindful and present. Now, you might think, how can I be more present than this, and in my grandfather’s words, “Me being here that’s plenty present.”
And while that is true, to a certain degree, practising mindfulness means being wholly aware of the task at hand. For example, do you have moments when you are fully concentrated on a particular thing, your mind is aeons away from reality to the point where someone has to tap on your shoulder to bring you back?
Now imagine mentally moving yourself to a zone where you are not thinking about anything distracting, not feeling guilt or regret about the past and not worrying about the future. You are just there, having calmness, allowing yourself to breathe and let be. You belong to none other than yourself. Not your responsibilities. You are your own person.
Mindfulness meditation entails setting aside time to sit and focus on your breathing each day. It can be as little as five minutes, and believe me; you will be shocked by what those few minutes can do for your mind and body. As you meditate, you’re training your brain to become less influenced by stress as it strengthens your capacity to focus on the moment.
Are you thinking about giving it a go? Simply find a comfortable chair, couch, or spot on the floor, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing.
2/ Body scan meditation
Explore ways to deal with physical pain through body scan meditation.—source mbsrtraining.
Have you ever stopped to think about the wonder of our bodies and how beautifully they function? The mind and body are deeply connected, with the body moving according to the will of the mind. Every part of your being was intricately designed to fulfil a purpose unique to each other.
Body scan meditations emphasise consciously relaxing different body parts of the body and focusing on how they feel. Similar to a game of rediscovery, you are uncovering certain feelings from your body that you had long forgotten, for example, the feeling of your bare feet touching the cool floor or your hand as you circle it around at the wrists?
You can practise this type of meditation starting from your toes and going up; slowly turning, twisting and moving while taking deep breaths. This is a great way to calm and anchor yourself, especially when you feel your anxiety or stress building up. It will also relieve tight muscles and is perfect if you suffer from chronic pain. Remember, easy does it; take your time finding yourself again.
3/ Walking meditation
Can’t stand sitting still for long periods? Try walking meditation—source: elite world hotels.
Imagine taking a nice walk outside just after dusk. There is a gentle breeze in the air that feels ticklish against your skin. The sky has never looked more magnificent than it does today, with hues of blues, greys and reds blending beautifully into each other. As you make slow, steady steps towards the sunset, you have never felt so calm and peaceful before. You are there, fully immersing yourself in what is and not what could be.
That, dear friends, is the power of walking meditation.
As the name suggests, walking meditation focuses solely on moving one foot after the other and being aware of the simple action of lifting one foot off the ground, lowering it and having the other take over.
You might be reminded of body scan meditation as they are pretty similar; walking meditation, however, allows you to focus on your body’s physical sensations as it moves. Walking meditation might be an excellent fit for you if you struggle with sitting still, as it allows movement while still cultivating the fruits of mind and body awareness.
4/ Loving-kindness meditation
Loving-kindness meditation helps bring peace and calm to your life—source: Earth.com.
Do you sometimes feel that the world could do with a bit more kindness? Or even better, are you kind to yourself? If you were to think of the word ‘love’ and its relevance to you, who or what would you think of first? What about gratitude? Who are you most grateful to?
Through practising loving and kindness meditation, you are sowing seeds of compassion for yourself and others. It is a form of meditation that allows you to express phrases of goodwill and positive intention to yourself, your loved ones and even strangers!
This can be in the form of positive affirmations, which may require you to make yourself comfortable, focus on your breathing and think about yourself. You are allowed to be completely true to yourself with no fear of judgement, and depending on what you see, tell the image you have visualised what it would most likely want to hear. Phrases like, “You are loved, you matter, I wish you happiness, I wish you good health, I forgive you and may you always be safe” can do wonders for you!
This type of meditation works as a great confidence booster for oneself; it can also resolve conflicts and biases towards other people. The sole act of wishing goodwill to other individuals, especially when you are not even on good terms, will help you realise that every person is deserving of love and kindness.
Upset about what a colleague did today? Skip the cussing and say a few kind words to yourself with them in mind. Feeling guilty over a decision you made recently? Show yourself some love through love and kindness meditation today.
5/ Transcendental meditation
Relax, rejuvenate and rediscover yourself with a simple chant—source: Healthline.
Do you have a particular phrase that you usually say to yourself, perhaps as a means to calm you down when you are feeling stressed? If your answer is yes, then my guess is you are probably familiar with this type of meditation or, at the very least, have a brief understanding of it.
Unlike mindfulness meditation, where your focus is on clearing thoughts that could be viewed as distracting, transcendental meditation emphasises a mantra that you repeatedly say when meditating. Perhaps the most popular of all meditation types, TM is well known for its ‘Om’ mantra, which we have seen played out in several western movies thanks to popular culture.
Of course, just as we are different people with distinct likes and dislikes, your mantra can be something personal that is unique only to you. A phrase with relevance can instantly uplift your spirits, for example, “I am worthy, I am strong, I am beautiful, I am enough.”
Which begs the question; what mantra do you live by? How does it directly influence your life, and how significant is it to your wellbeing?
Chasing progress, not perfection
I know starting anything you are not familiar with might be a daunting experience. You might find yourself aiming to reach perfection and doing everything with minimal flaws, but that can only lead to burnout, defeating the whole purpose of meditating.
Some days might be harder than others, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you are trying. Make it a daily habit, and I promise you, your body will thank you for it. Happy healing, folks!