Types of Meditation: An Expert's Guide

In our modern world there are many different types of meditations available today each with its own unique benefits. Learn about Vipassana mindfulness meditation; focused attention; Qigong; spiritual; guided; mantras-based; etc.

Types of Meditation: An Expert's Guide

In our modern and hectic world, meditation has become increasingly popular as a way to manage stress and improve overall wellbeing. Scientific evidence has also emerged that shows that meditation can be a useful tool in combating chronic diseases, such as depression, heart disease and chronic pain. Meditating this way helps your body and mind to completely relax, so you can feel a sense of peace and calm. There are many different types of meditation, each with its own unique benefits.

Vipassana, an ancient Indian form of meditation, means seeing things as they really are. It dates back more than 2,500 years and is credited with the mindfulness meditation movement in the United States. Traditionally, vipassana is taught over a 10-day course, during which students must abstain from a number of things, including intoxicating substances and sexual activity. This ancient Buddhist tradition consists of sitting upright and following your breath, particularly the way it enters and exits the abdomen, and letting the mind “just be”.

Its purpose is to promote a sense of presence and alertness. This technique is similar to focused attention meditation, although instead of focusing on your breathing to calm your mind, you focus on a mantra (which could be a syllable, a word, or a phrase). The idea here is that the subtle vibrations associated with the repeated mantra can foster positive change, perhaps an increase in self-confidence or greater compassion for others, and help you enter an even deeper state of meditation. This meditation technique aims to keep the energy centers of the body's central chakras open, aligned and fluid. Blocked or unbalanced chakras can cause uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms, but meditation on the chakras can help bring everyone back into balance. Qigong is an ancient and powerful Chinese practice that involves harnessing the body's energy by allowing energy pathways called “meridians” to be open and fluid.

Sending this energy inside during meditation is believed to help the body heal and function; sending the energy outside can help heal another person. Guided meditation exercises are also available for those who want to learn how to meditate but don't know where to start. In guided meditation, a teacher will guide you through practice, either in person or through an application or course. This type of meditation is perfect for beginners, as expert guidance from the teacher can help you get the most out of a new experience. The main thing here is to find a teacher you like and connect with.

You can also customize your search based on the desired result and try guided meditations focused on sleep, stress relief or acceptance. Spiritual meditation is the conscious practice of believing in and connecting with something that is larger, more vast, and deeper than the individual self. In this meditation, you trust that there is something greater out there and that everything happens for a reason. Mindful meditation is something that people can do almost anywhere. For example, while waiting in line at the supermarket, a person can calmly observe their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, and smells they feel. Most types of meditation include a form of mindfulness.

For example, breathing awareness encourages practitioners to be aware of their breathing, while progressive relaxation draws attention to areas of tension in the body. Mantras-based meditation involves the continuous repetition of a set of syllables, phrases, or words aloud or silently. A person can interpret it with or without religious content. The main characteristic of this type of meditation is the generation, transformation and circulation of inner energy. If you're looking for an introduction to the different types of meditation, check out the 10-day beginner course on the basics of meditation available for free in the Headspace app.

This type of meditation gained popularity in the United States in the 1960s when it was brought from India and secularized to Western audiences. Vipassana, samatha (meditation of love and kindness), zazen (koan), walking meditation and many types of Tibetan Buddhist meditations are just some examples of different types of meditations available today. A live person's voice or a recorded recording can serve as a guide for directing various types of meditations. It doesn't matter much what type of meditation practice you're doing; it's more about passion and commitment. This type of meditation may be preferred if you have difficulty focusing on your breathing alone; it may be easier to anchor your awareness in how your body feels. There are thousands of different Qigong exercises cataloged including more than 80 different types of breathing exercises. In this type of meditation, the meditator calms his thoughts and settles his mind on an object of concentration. If a person continues with it and is willing to experiment with different methods they are more likely to discover a type of meditation that works for them. In reality this is the real purpose behind all types of meditations; not one type in particular. As a beginner on this path it's quite natural to get confused about how to meditate; different types; different ways; etc.

From my point of view this type of meditation always requires prior training to be effective even if sometimes this is not stated expressly (only implicit).