Meditation is a transformative practice that holds the power to illuminate the path to self-discovery and holistic well-being. Its various techniques offer diverse avenues for individuals to embark on their own unique journey of inner exploration, leading to reduced stress, enhanced emotional balance, improved concentration, and numerous other benefits.
Different meditation styles can be incorporated depending on what aspects of your mental, emotional, or physical well-being you are attempting to address. Having variety of styles allows practitioners to target specific benefits that resonate with their goals, whether it’s cultivating mindfulness, fostering compassion, or enhancing creativity.
I wanted to help you understand a few different practices and how they are performed, so you can explore them and discover which one is right for you.
Mindfulness Meditation focuses on bringing your awareness to the present moment. In order to practice you should focus on your breath, bodily sensation, or observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. What we mean by observing your thoughts is to notice a thought as it comes up and see if you can sit with the thought without having to have a conversation with it or about it.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a very specific style of meditation which is taught by a teacher. When you find a teacher that is certified and approved, they will give you phrase or mantra that is unique to you. Repeating a specific mantra allows you to focus and relax the mind, aiming to achieve a deep state of restful awareness. This mantra is yours and yours alone and should not be shared or done in a group style setting.
Loving-kindness or Metta Meditation is meant to give us an avenue to cultivate feelings of love and compassion towards ourselves and others. When you practice this style of meditation you can focus on directing love and well-wishes towards yourself, people around you, a specific person, someone you are resentful or angry towards, victims of a disaster, your town, your state, your country, the world, animals… You can choose one or start with yourself and then work your way outward as you imagine love coming out of you and enveloping those you choose to send that love to.
Guided Meditations are led by a teacher either live or on a recording. In these meditations a narrator guides you through relaxation, visualization, imagery, or self-discovery.
Body Scan Meditation is a practice in which you gradually guide your attention throughout your body. As you focus on each individual area, you focus on relaxing and releasing any tension.
Body Movement Meditation is done in practices such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong. During these various movement modalities, you explore your body in slow, deliberate movements while focusing on controlling your breath and manipulating your energy flow.
As meditation styles develop different skills, a well-rounded toolkit is established through exposure to various approaches. From enhanced concentration and emotional regulation to heightened self-awareness, practitioners can draw from a versatile set of skills to navigate life’s challenges.
Remember, each meditation type may have variations in practice, and it’s important to find the one that resonates with you best. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.