Meditation is seemingly as old as the hills; it has been practiced for thousands of years. The principle action of meditation is intentionally focusing while minimizing intrusive thoughts. While many different types of meditation exist, at the core they are all similar. They usually take place in a quiet environment while in a comfortable, natural position, and engage with focused attention.
While many laugh off meditation as alternative and countercultural, it can offer a ton of benefits when practiced correctly and consistently. Not only can it improve many aspects of mental health, but when practiced in tandem with conventional medicine, it can also positively impact your physical health as well. Additionally, since there are so many forms of meditation practices, there are endless options to explore until you find what works.
While there are many different types of meditation that focus on different aspects, the most commonly practiced today are concentration and mindfulness meditation. This is predominantly because it is easily accessible to the general population via technology and easily practiced without much training.
In essence, meditation is the practice of training the mind. Varying types of meditation train the mind to do different things, but all of these are similar to practicing any other habit. While the idea of sitting down and clearing your mind of everything for hours may seem daunting, it does not immediately start like that. Meditation starts as all habits do: small.
The most straightforward way to begin meditating is to focus on the breath. Many will tell you to count the inhales and exhales, or imagine the breath flowing in and out of your lungs. Concentrating on this is a great way to keep your mind focused and open.
There are as many types of meditation as there are sports in the world. However, there are a few that are much more commonly practiced than others. Here are a few to give you an introduction:
as mentioned earlier, is a common practice for beginners as well as for seasoned meditation experts. Those who practice this type of meditation believe that mindfulness is the way to ending suffering and gaining wisdom. Through letting the mind wander as it does, they accept any thoughts that come up, and this helps them to understand the present and the “now” of their lives.
is what most people probably imagine when they hear the word “meditation.” This practice has you in Lotus position and chanting. The focus of transcendental meditation is to reach a state of enlightenment. Meditators aim to find peace within themselves and a quiet space for their minds to occupy, even amidst the chaos of everyday life. This is an advanced technique, so guidance is usually recommended.
is a Chinese type of meditation, one of the oldest types there is. This method of meditation uses the breath to move energy through the body. Coupled with breathing techniques and movement, this type of meditation can help the practice control feelings of stress. While doing so, this technique can also improve posture as well as respiration and can aid in easy relaxation.
also has Chinese roots in Buddhism. This is also a seated position; Lotus is common, but not necessary. Posture is emphasized and those that practice this type focus on the breath going in and out of the body. There is also emphasis on being in the present moment as much as possible, a type of meditation known as “effortless presence.”
emphasizes the energy on evolving the application of consciousness. True to its name, this practice relies heavily on focusing on the heart, the breathing, and mantras. Typically, when practiced correctly and on a consistent basis, meditators of this type can see physical, spiritual, and emotional benefits.
is also common, though it did not take off until the modern age. Guided meditations can be paired with any meditation method as a way to get a good start on the practice. This type of guided learning was almost necessary in the modern age, full of distractions and lacking in willpower.
There are a great many more than these listed types of meditation. It is recommended to try a few before settling into a consistent practice. Finding the right meditation method for you is a very personal journey.
There are a whole host of benefits to adding meditation into your daily life. There are mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits to meditating, so it affects the entire body and, by extension, your entire life. Occasionally, these benefits can be overstated, but on the whole, meditation’s benefits know no bounds.
Overall, meditation, regardless of what form you practice in, can have a whole host of benefits. The great part is that there are so many different types, so there has to be one that is right for you. Experiment with different forms of meditation, guided and non-guided forms, and find what works best for you. Soon, you may just be a meditation master!