Different types of meditation techniques have different benefits so finding the right style for you is important. If you have never practiced meditation you may have to try different types of meditation techniques before you find the one that works best for you, your life style and what you want to accomplish. Studies have found that people who meditate at least once a day for at least 30 days experience significant health improvements. Individuals that practice meditation report improvements in their stress levels, blood pressure, the feel more focused and show improvements in memory and self-esteem.
Meditation techniques are classified into two basic categories, Focused Attention Meditation and Open Monitoring Meditation. Focused meditation consists of focusing your attention on a single object during the whole meditation session. This can be an external object, a part of your body, it could also be breath, visualization, a mantra among many other things. The goal is to keep the attention in the object until distractions and wandering thoughts become less common and you are able to have a clear mind. For this technique it is important to be in a comfortable position in a quiet private place. You can sit or lay down what ever feels more comfortable for you with you eyes closed or open if you are focusing on an external object. Most people sit on a pillow or yoga mat, next you need to listen to your breathing, inhaling and exhaling, deep long breaths until your breathing becomes lighter and calmer as you go into meditative state.
In Open monitoring meditation instead of focusing on a single object you focus on all aspects of the experience, it could be sounds, smells, memories, thoughts or feelings. The goal is to sit in a quiet place and be aware of these thoughts and feelings that are currently present in your body, see where your mind travels. Observe how thoughts or feelings can create changes in your body and your emotions. The challenge for this type of meditation is to follow your mind while not having any reaction and just stay present in each moment. This type of meditation has been proven to boost your creativity and deepen your creative state.
There are literally hundreds of types of meditation techniques, all based on one of these principals, here we’ll explore just a few of the most popular ones.
This type of meditation is generally focused on body scan, it encourages people to scan their bodies. The goal is to notice areas of tension on your body and allow it to release that tension. Usually you would start at your feet and work your way up to the top of your head, noticing every single part of your body from toes to your head. And, because this also relaxes your body many people use this technique to sleep.
Zen (Zazen) Meditation
This technique has its roots in a Chinese tradition, Zazen means “seated Zen” or “seated meditation”. It is practiced seated on the floor on a mat or pillow, crossed legged like the traditional lotus position or it can also be done sitting on a chair with your back straight, eyes are open but lowered, looking at the ground about 2 feet in-front of you. The focus is on your breath, in and out through your nose. The goal is to remain in the present moment, aware of what it is your mind but without hanging on to any of it. This is a type of Mindfulness meditation.
Qigong (Chi kung)
Qigong is a Chinese word that means “vital energy cultivation"
ion”. It is a combination of body-mind, meditation and martial arts. This technique involves slow movements, inner focus and regulated breathing. It can be practiced sitting or standing and it is basically a series of dynamic movements, you can find videos everywhere on the internet if you are interested on this form of meditation. Having said that, the set of exercises for meditation are usually done while sitting and without movement. There are different styles of Qigong, some are a bit more active than others it all depends on what best suits you.
This is also known as Metta meditation. The goal is to cultivate a love and kindness attitude toward everything and everyone. Yes, that includes enemies and all sources of stress. While breathing deeply you open your mind to receive love and kindness. Then, you send love and kindness messages to every one, it can be specific people or the world in general. The key is to repeat the message many times until you feel a loving kindness attitude towards the recipient(s). This technique is designed to help manage feelings of anger, frustration, resentment and promote feelings of compassion and love for others and for ourselves.
There are other forms of Mindfulness meditation that are focused on a deeper transformation and spiritual development however, if you are a beginner, a simpler form of mindfulness meditation may just be the initial step for you.
You can try some of these practices but try to find more information on the particular one you are interested in and practice it for a while, see if it’s the right one for you. You may need try a variety of styles before you find the one for you.