Meditation is not just for those who are overly stressed or anxious, it is, in fact, for everyone. There are many different types of meditation catering to whatever personal reason you have for incorporating it into your routine. It is definitely more than the stereotype of sitting quietly and emptying the mind.
Although there are traditional beliefs and practices of meditation that have been popular for centuries, newer, Western styles have also come up. There is no better or worse type because you can still reap the scientifically proven benefits of reduced anxiety, lower stress levels, better health and increased happiness.
So how do you know which one is the one to practice? No one can really tell you because it is a personal choice. Different types may have their own unique steps and purposes. In the end, it is all about finding which one compliments your soul the best and which one you can continuously do. You may even try out several first before finding the one that suits you best. The important thing is to be aware of your motivations and goals in meditating. It might also help to identify which practices help you concentrate or relax, whether it’s total silence, using mantras or even movement.
Your meditation sessions do not need to be complex. In fact, it should be the direct opposite, you should be comfortable and it should appeal to your true self. It should help you achieve your goals and allow you to connect with your deeper thoughts and feelings.
Here are some of the most popular types of meditation that you can start with:
- Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM)
This is a silent type where you use a mantra, which is the sound the universe was creating when and where you were born. This is calculated through various Vedic formulas and is specific to an individual. You will repeat this sound in your mind to be able to delve deeper into yourself, moving away from the intellectual side of your brain. This kind is normally done sitting down and the main focus is to be comfortable.
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR)
One of the newer types of meditation, MSBR was started in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is very popular in medical clinics and hospitals to forge a partnership between the medical staff and the patient. They are also taught by doctors and other health care professionals.
This technique teaches you to focus on you inhaling and exhaling (breath awareness). At the same time, you are told to focus on your physical body starting from your toes going up. This allows you to release tension in your body. It may be done sitting or laying down, but also while walking.
- Zen or Zazen
The name means “seated meditation”, and traces its roots from Buddhism. Practitioners acquire insight by paying attention to the breath and mind and by interacting with the teacher.
This type aims for enlightenment and achieving insight into the Buddhist teachings. Your teacher will instruct you on these Sutras (teachings or scriptures) and other doctrines.
- Transcendental Meditation (TM)
This kind was founded by Maharashi Mahesh Yogi and became popular because of its famous practitioners like the Beatles. The practice uses a mantra or a series of Sanskrit words to help you focus while meditating. Much like in Primordial Sound Meditation, this mantra is also specific to the individual, based on factors like the year of birth and gender. It also depends on the teacher, as they receive a list of mantras to use depending on the year they did their training. This type of meditation is also done while seated.
- Kundalini Yoga
Another traditional type of meditation, it contains very specific and practical tools to support the mind and guide the body. This is achieved through focusing on the breath, using mantras, mudra (or hand positions), and focus. There are many techniques included in the Kundalini Yoga tradition.
There are hundred of meditations catered to specific applications, for example, to reduce stress, stop addiction, increase vitality and many others. To determine which meditation to practice, you need to work with a teacher.
These 5 represent only a very small percentage of meditation types that exist out there. Although you might want to try different ones out, there is a chance that you will find something perfect for you already on this list. There is really no one rule or one way to meditate, although you will need to learn some proper techniques based on the type you decide to practice.
Again, you do not necessarily need to believe in a specific religion or ideology to practice meditation, so long as your goals are met, then there should be no reason why you shouldn’t incorporate it into your routine. Just remember that problems will not suddenly solve themselves by meditating, but it can bring you peace, whatever your situation may be.