Take a Deep Breath with These Types of Meditation
Everyday life runs at a hectic pace. Sometimes you may feel pressured to do something for the sake of doing it. This physical and mental whiplash can make you feel burned out, which leads to even more grave effects.
That’s where meditation comes in. Though it might sound too mystical and intimidating, the practice of meditation is simple. It just requires patience.
These types of meditation vary but they all share a common goal: to help you achieve a calmer and kinder self, especially in times of duress.
One of the most well-known types of meditation is mindfulness meditation. Mayo Clinic defines mindfulness as a meditation where “you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.”
Mindfulness meditation is a superb way to ground yourself and slow your life’s tempo. It lets you clear your mental clutter, leaving space for clarity and a healthy dose of relaxation.
In today’s high-octane world, you owe it to yourself to stop sprinting your way toward an objective. Sometimes the best course is to stop altogether, and mindfulness can give you the break you need.
Breath focus is one of the central tenets of mindfulness meditation. The most common way to practice is to sit down on a pad or chair, put your hands on your lap or knees, close your eyes, and observe how you’re breathing.
Don’t try to change your breath in any way. Simply observe it for what it is. Once you practice and achieve mindfulness, you’ll have the mental clarity to approach problems in a calm and steady way.
Will you still feel frustrated? Of course, but it will no longer deter you from making a measured decision in the future.
While mindfulness meditation focuses on inner clarity and presentness, transcendental meditation focuses on going beyond the present moment.
Transcendental meditation is all about “[repeating] a specific mantra to help direct your attention inward,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Repeating a mantra helps you settle your mind into a deeper consciousness, to transcend the present moment — hence the term.
Like other types of meditation, transcendental meditation provides several benefits, including:
Transcendental meditation is a superb type of meditation. However, it comes with a potential caveat. The TM technique can only be taught by certified teachers through a personalized course, according to TM.org
As you might expect, a personalized course costs money. It’s up to you whether or not you want to shell out money to progress your meditation journey.
All in all, transcendental meditation can be a refreshing change of pace in your meditation journey. If you prefer more focus in your practice, this might be the way to go.
Many types of meditation focus on what is, not bothering with what isn’t and what should be. They’re a way of steadying our internal ships during great emotional storms.
Loving-kindness meditation is a superb grounding technique, albeit for the opposite reasons.
Contemplative Mind defines loving-kindness meditation as one of “care, concern, tenderness, loving kindness, friendship — a feeling of warmth for oneself and others.”
This meditation is all about putting love out in the world, whether it be for yourself, your friends, or even your enemies.
Similar to transcendental meditation, loving-kindness focuses on repeating phrases to adopt a certain headspace. In this case, it’s all about love.
Some loving-kindness affirmations include:
You can also direct these affirmations toward others. Loving-kindness is a great variation of practicing gratitude, reminding yourself about the little — but powerful — things in life.
Not all types of meditation have you sitting down. Just like in life, it doesn’t hurt to move a little. That’s where meditation comes in. It’s exactly what it sounds like: adopting a meditative state while walking.
For starters, you have to open your eyes for this meditation for obvious safety reasons. You can still achieve a unique type of calm when practicing a walking meditation. You can still follow your breath and watch your thoughts naturally come and go.
Having your eyes open lets you take in the space around you. Whether you’re walking through your neighborhood or trail, you can ease your mind through the slow, deliberate act of walking.
Just like mindfulness meditation, you don’t really have a goal in sight. It’s all about the journey, not the destination (except you might have a literal destination since you’re walking).
Out of all the different types of meditation, visualization meditation feels like a culmination of your practice.
Headspace defines visualization as the process of “picturing in your mind the outcome of something before it’s happened, whether that’s a task or opportunity at hand…”
There’s a clear distinction between visualization and visualization meditation. The meditation uses the components of visualization as a way to ground yourself. It can help you prepare for anxious situations, like tough conversations or job interviews.
Visualization meditation can also elevate other types of meditation. If you’re following your breath, adopt the color breathing technique, where you assign a different color for your inhales and exhales.
Visualization can enhance your loving-kindness practice. You can conjure up an image of yourself while reciting the affirmations, helping you go deeper into those feelings of compassion.
All in all, visualization meditation instills a healthy blend of creativity and compassion — and we can benefit from being a little more creative and compassionate.
They say if you can breathe, you can meditate. However, the beginning is always the hardest part. The beginning of your meditation journey can look daunting, but you don’t have to go at it alone. In today’s day and age, there’s an app for that.
Apps like Headspace, Balance, and Calm all offer beginner courses. With any routine, start easy before jumping off the highest diving board. Though these apps eventually require a paid subscription, it may be worth it to freshen up your practice.
Check out our “3 Science-Backed Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation” blog to learn how different types of meditation helps your physical and emotional health.
To quote NBA legend Phil Jackson, “When the mind is allowed to relax, inspiration often follows.”
Whether you want to destress after a hectic work day or prepare for a big event, these types of meditation help you put your best foot forward (in the case of walking meditations, we literally mean that).
Go for the type of meditation that best suits you. Just like your workout or diet habits, make your meditation practice your own. Try out different types of meditation and see where they take you.
In the end, you’ll inevitably become a calmer, nicer, more compassionate version of yourself. All it takes is a few deep breaths.