Meditation is a mindfulness exercise that can provide numerous mental, spiritual and health benefits to individuals. It has been said to decrease stress, enhance concentration, lower depression, as well as improve your overall mental health. However, if you haven’t yet practiced the art of meditation, the whole concept can seem confusing, particularly as there are several different types of meditation. We’ve gathered the most common types of meditation to help shed some light on the topic, including a basic breakdown to help guide you to your perfect technique.
A Note On Different Types Of Meditation
Before we begin, it’s important to note that there are generally two categories of meditation: concentrative, and non-concentrative. The concentrative technique involves focusing on something outside of yourself – such as an object (like a cloud), or a sound (such as a musical instrument playing in the background). Alternatively, the non-concentrative method has a much broader focus, concentrating on both the external environment mentioned above, as well as your internal states, such as depth of your breathing. Though separate categories, it is completely normal to swap between these focus points during your meditation. The most important thing is that it works for you!
5 Different Types Of Meditation
This is the most common type of mediation, and revolves around having an awareness of your surroundings; and experiencing these moments, without examining them. It involves letting your mind float between your present self, surroundings and activities, without becoming too focused on each individual thought, creating a fluid-like state for your consciousness. Though it sounds simple, it can take a lot of practice to let your mind run free and undisturbed, so consider using a non-concentrative technique such as an awareness of your breathing to assist you in your meditation.
This is a different type of meditation that focuses on ones spiritual experience; somewhat like a form of prayer. When using this technique, meditators usually adapt a calm and quiet state, focus on a question or problem they have, and experience guidance, or “inner wisdom” while meditating. This technique is particularly useful in bringing peace or forgiveness to ourselves and others, as well as aligning with God.
Sitting in the concentrative category, focused mediation involves focusing on something intently, and staying committed to that subject while removing all other stimuli, thoughts and stresses from your consciousness. If you are new to focused meditation, consider concentrating on a visual object, sound, mantra or thought, as some believe this to be easier than focusing on nothing at all. Although this technique effectively engages your mind, focused meditation clears the remaining thoughts and stresses from your conscious, leaving you refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on the day!
Also referred to as “activity-orientated meditation”, the technique here is to use repetitive movements to create a flow to get “into the zone”. While sitting with your eyes closed, focus on your breathing, and slowly incorporate soft, flowing movements into your meditation. Instead of focusing on a thought or your breathing, turn your attention to your rhythmic movements, and quieting your brain to allow your conscious to shift. Activities such as yoga, creating art, or even gardening can be effective forms of movement meditation, and can be both extremely uplifting and relaxing at the same time.
Mantras are the sounds that people chant out loud (or internally) during meditation. Derived from the Sanskrit word for “mind”, and “tra” – the root of the world “instrument”, it essentially means instrument of the mind: a powerful sound, vibration, word or phrase for a person to focus on while meditating. The most popular “Om” mantra is used regularly due to its’ soft vibration which makes it easy for the mind to concentrate on.
This is in no way an extensive list of different types of meditation; rather, it serves as a basic introduction into the world of meditation. For beginners interested in learning and using the practice, remember that no single one technique will work for everyone. Each technique can affect individuals differently, and the ease (or difficulty) of slipping into these meditative states can vary from person to person. Good luck!