Types of Meditation:
Meditation can benefit nearly everyone, and there are many types that you can choose from based on your needs and preferences. In fact, some people practice multiple types at once to reap the benefits of all of them!
The type of meditation that’s right for you will depend on how much time you have, how much effort you want to put into it, and what you hope to get out of it in the end.
Here are some common types of meditation with their benefits so that you can find the one that’s best for you!
Shamatha – The Concentration Technique
Shamatha (the traditional term for what is often referred to as concentration meditation) involves sitting in a quiet place and focusing on your breathing. Begin by assuming a posture that is physically comfortable but alert.
With eyes closed, breathe through your nose, concentrating on each breath in and out. You can silently count your breaths to focus attention on them or use other devices such as visualizing peaceful scenes to keep you from becoming distracted.
Because it’s so simple, Shamatha is used often during meditation training as a way to test one’s progress and/or correct bad habits. It also serves as a building block toward more advanced meditative practices such as Vipassana or Zen.
Vipassana – Insight into the nature of reality
Vipassana is derived from two words in Pali, vi and passana, which mean to see and observe. The meditation technique itself was developed by Gotama Buddha more than 2,500 years ago.
It involves focusing on sensations that are coming from inside your body. For example, you might focus on a pain or itch in your hand or some tension in your stomach.
You can also use sounds or smells as objects to meditate on. Once you become aware of these sensations and can recognize them as impermanent — changing from moment to moment — you’re ready to move on to another type of meditation.
Mindfulness – Awareness in Everyday Life
Mindfulness meditation is defined as paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
Mindfulness involves observing thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
When you practice mindfulness meditation regularly, research shows that it increases activity in areas of your brain associated with compassion and introspection.
It also strengthens your sense of self-awareness, improves mood and sleep quality, boosts immune function (thereby helping fight disease).
Transcendental meditation (TM)
In TM, which is officially called Transcendental Meditation®, you sit quietly and focus on a mantra—which could be a word or sound that has special meaning to you.
The idea is to repeat your mantra silently in your mind while focusing on it intently, almost as if you’re trying to empty your mind (but not quite).
You repeat these mantras over and over, gently bringing your attention back to them when they drift from conscious thought. In many ways, TM feels like meditation lite.
It’s easier than other types of meditation because instead of having an external focal point (like a blank wall or candle), you can concentrate by repeating internal mantras.
Chakra meditation techniques
In yoga, chakras are centers in our energy body that hold energy. If there is too much or too little energy in a particular chakra, it can cause a lot of physical, mental and emotional problems.
If you want to improve your well-being and balance in life, it’s a good idea to learn how to meditate on your chakras because they’re instrumental in so many ways.
As you meditate on your chakras and move excess energy from one area to another, you’ll be able to address imbalances before they become full-blown issues!
Mantra based techniques
Mantra-based meditation is a form of mantra meditation. In Mantra-based meditation, a word or phrase is repeated over and over in order to achieve a trance-like state.
Mantras can be used to clear your mind and focus on just one thought. You can also use mantras to quiet yourself and find serenity when you’re not feeling well physically or emotionally. How do I begin? There are two ways to start with mantra-based meditation.
First, you could choose a short phrase that represents something important to you, such as yes! This word may hold more meaning than it seems at first glance—it might remind you of something your mother used to say every time she was proud of you, for example.
Classical kundalini meditation is one of several different types, but it’s a classic in that it focuses on improving your life through physical and mental exercises.
To perform kundalini meditation you’ll lie down in a comfortable position, typically with both eyes closed. Then your focus will begin on your breath and you’ll follow it as you inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
While doing so, you can repeat special affirmations designed to help train your mind and become more relaxed while making them a part of your everyday routine.