In this stressful day and age, many of us are looking for ways to relax and recenter ourselves. Meditation is a useful tool that not only offers time for relaxation, but heightens your sense of awareness as well. With so many forms of meditation out there, how do you know which one is right for you? The good news is that there is a type of meditation to suit every lifestyle and personality, and our friends at Pacific Prime Thailand are here to cover some of the best-known ways to meditate.
A quick overview of meditation
Meditation is a practice that allows you to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to meditating, which gives you the freedom to find the type that works for you. Before we take a closer look at the types of meditation below, it is worth noting that there are several subtypes that you can practice as well. It’s advisable to test different styles until you find one, or even a combination of types, that is suitable for you. Here are eight of some of the most popular meditation types.
Loving-kindness meditation, also known as metta meditation, is a well-loved self-care technique that can be used to reduce stress and promote wellbeing and feelings of compassion for both yourself and others. The goal of this form of meditation is to develop a kind and loving attitude towards everything, including people you don’t like and things that cause you stress. Through deep breathing, you can open your mind to receive loving-kindness, after which you can send messages of loving-kindness to your loved ones, specific people, and the world.
Similar to other meditation types, loving-kindness meditation should be repeated several times until you truly embrace the attitude of loving-kindness. It can increase positive emotions and help people affected by:
● Relationship issues
● And more
Mindfulness meditation encourages you to stay present and aware. Instead of worrying about the future or thinking about the past, mindfulness urges you to be aware of your current surroundings and to leave any judgment at the door. For example, instead of becoming annoyed about a situation, a mindfulness practitioner will be present in the situation without labeling it good or bad. This type of meditation can be done in practically any setting, making it ideal for public situations. Simply notice your surroundings using your senses and stay calm in the present moment.
Most meditations incorporate some form of mindfulness, such as breath awareness and body scans. As one of the most well-researched forms of meditation, mindfulness has been found to improve memory and focus. Similarly, it helps reduce emotional reactions and dwelling on negative emotions.
Body scan, aka progressive relaxation, is a meditation where you scan your body to pinpoint areas of tension. Once you are aware of where you are holding tension, you can start to release it. A body scan session starts at one end of the body, typically the feet, and works to the other until the entire body has been “scanned”. Some progressive relaxation techniques will have you tense your muscles before relaxing them whilst others require you to imagine a wave washing over your body and releasing tension with it.
This meditation helps you feel calm and relaxed, and can also be helpful if you’re dealing with chronic pain. Since it relaxes the body in a slow and gentle way, people often do this type of meditation before going to bed.
Breath awareness meditation
Breath awareness meditation encourages you to be mindful of your breathing. This type of meditation requires you to take slow and deep breaths and count your breaths or focus solely on your breathing in some way. Any thoughts that come to your mind during meditation are to be ignored. This meditation shares many of the same benefits as mindfulness, including increased emotional flexibility and reduced anxiety.
Unlike other types of meditation on this list, kundalini yoga is a physical type of meditation that combines movements, mantras, and deep breathing. While you can learn the poses and mantras from the comfort of your own home, many people like to join a class or learn from a teacher to start. As a form of yoga, kundalini yoga can help reduce pain and increase your physical strength. It can also have mental health benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression.
Zen meditation, or Zazen, is a meditation that fits in with Buddhist practice. Zen practitioners often learn from a teacher since there are specific postures and steps involved in this type of meditation. The goal of zen meditation is to sit upright comfortably and focus your attention inward. This form of meditation is comparable to mindfulness meditation, though it involves more practice and discipline. People often turn to Zazen when they are on a new spiritual journey and looking for ways to relax and stay present.
Considered a spiritual type of meditation, the goal of Transcendental Meditation is to rise above your current state of being. Those who practice this form of meditation say they experience inner peace, increased mindfulness, and other benefits.
During the meditation practice, you will breathe slowly and focus on a mantra while staying seated. The mantra, which can be a word or series of words, is determined by a teacher and based on several factors. While you can choose your own mantra, it will no longer be considered traditional Transcendental Meditation, but a modernized version instead.
Mantra meditation is comparable to breath awareness meditation, though the difference is that you are focusing on a mantra rather than the breath. This type of meditation is said to encourage positive change through the subtle vibrations that come from repetitive mantras. On top of that, the repeated mantra can help you reach a deeper state of meditation.
Now that you know some of the most popular types of meditation out there, which one are you going to try? If you’re new to meditation, remember that it is a skill that will take some time to master. However, with the benefits of meditation including better mental health, physical health, and an overall happier life, it certainly seems worth it.
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