Meditation is about training your mind to become more aware and have a better understanding of your thoughts and emotions. Meditation modalities include breathing exercises, repeating a mantra, intense focus on a sound or object, as well as pattern of movements. It’s often practiced in YogaWorks and other yoga studios.
There are many reasons why people meditate. Some do it to gain clarity, others to relax and de-stress, and there are also those who want to reflect and have a better understanding of their own self.
Among the benefits of meditation are:
- It eases anxiety.
- It alleviates symptoms of stress and depression.
It promotes better sleep.
- It improves feelings of well-being.
- It also aids in disease or pain management.
- Here are the different kinds of meditation:
1. Mindfulness meditation
This technique is very popular in the US due and it can be practiced anywhere, whether you’re in the park, at home or at the office. You can practice mindfulness by focusing your attention to the present, focusing on the task at hand and not letting your mind wander.
The idea is to focus on what it is you’re doing instead of thinking about the past, the future, your worries, other people, etc. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re eating your lunch in a café. Don’t let your thoughts drift away and instead focus only on your food. Notice the smell, the colors.. and with each bite, pay attention to the textures and flavors. And that’s it! You can continue practicing mindfulness in other day to day activities like when driving, or walking up the flight of stairs to your office, etc. Mindfulness meditation encourages you to look inward, notice your breathing, pay attention to your thoughts and empower yourself to live in the moment.
2. Transcendental meditation
Transcendental Meditation (TM) was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and it’s a practice created to quiet the mind and achieve a state of peace and calm. It often requires a person to meditate for 20 minutes a day on a specific mantra in complete silence.
3. Metta meditation
Otherwise referred to as loving-kindness meditation, the Metta style helps people develop loving relationships not only with others but also with themselves. It works through breathing techniques and repeating some mantras that you would then project to others. This is usually best for people who have anger issues, are dealing with PTSD, depression and others.
4. Breath awareness meditation
This style of meditation puts more emphasis on your breathing and encourages you to always return to your breath. You’ll be asked to spend time alone focusing on your inhale and exhale, taking out any distractions that may be cluttering your mind.
5. Spiritual meditation
Spiritual meditation focuses on creating a deeper spiritual connection with a higher power. Various religions the world over practice some form of spiritual meditation. Examples are:
- Christian contemplative prayer
- Jewish kabbalistic practices
- Sufi dhikr (remembrance of God)
This meditation practice is best for those who are looking for spiritual growth.
6. Progressive relaxation
This is also referred to as body scan meditation and it is a practice targeted at promoting relaxation and reducing tension in the body. It often involves slowly tightening and relaxing the muscles, one group at a time. Progressive relaxation meditation is often used to unwind and relieve stress before bedtime.
7. Visualization meditation
This is a technique focused on boosting feelings of peace, relaxation and calmness by vividly visualizing scenes or images that have a positive effect on you. It can also involve holding an honored or beloved figure in mind to embody their good qualities. Some also use it to imagine themselves succeeding at certain goals.