Meditation is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. This practice provides us with time to drop into the present moment while benefiting our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. If you are new to meditating, it might be overwhelming to begin with all of the different types of meditation from various lineages, cultures and traditions.
We outline some of the major types of meditation below and tell you how to begin incorporating them into your daily life.
Loving-Kindness meditation helps us cultivate feelings of love, empathy and acceptance. In this meditation, we begin by feeling love towards ourselves, then people in our lives, and eventually nurture love for everyone and everything. This meditation can be particularly helpful if you are experiencing any feelings of anger, resentment, or judgment.
Guided vs. Unguided Meditation
You can enjoy most types of meditation unguided or guided, but it is worth mentioning that at different times in our life, one of these styles might suit our needs better. For those that feel nervous or unsure of how to begin a meditation practice, guided meditations are a great way to get started. Guided meditations help maintain focus as you begin your meditation journey. They can also be inspirational to more experienced meditators.
Mindfulness meditation has roots from Buddhist teachings and is currently very popular throughout the West. This type of meditation is focused on the observation of thoughts as they pass through your mind without judgment or unnecessary lingering. It requires a blend of focus as well as awareness, and can be practiced on your own or as a guided meditation. Many forms of mindfulness meditation begin with a concentration on the breath while you notice thoughts and patterns.
Mantra meditation uses a word or short phrase in repetition to clear the mind of thoughts. Mantras that can be used include Sanskrit words or phrases or any positive, calming affirmations. This type of meditation can be beneficial for those who have trouble in silence or feel anxious when bringing awareness to the breath. You can silently repeat your mantra in your head and speak it out loud softly for the same clearing effect.
Focused meditation is a type of meditation where you bring awareness to one of the five senses; for example, focusing your sight on a candle flame or the sound of a gong. Your focus can be on something internal as well, such as your breath. This meditation will help build awareness in all aspects of your life. Start with a short amount of time with this style of meditation and continue to increase your time.
Meditation can become a treasured part of your morning and evening rituals. If you are new to meditation, try setting up the same time and space for your daily meditation to help build the habit. It’s also a good idea to start with realistic goals such as allocating only five to ten minutes of practice per day before increasing your timeframe.
Whether you are looking to cultivate more gratitude in your life, become more present or reduce stress, there is a meditation practice for you. Stay open to all the possibilities and continue to try out multiple types until you find your meditation match. Remember, it is more important to meditate for a short time each day than once a week for a lengthier time!
If you’re an experienced meditator, learn how Chyawanprash can elevate your experience with enhanced body, mind and spirit connection.
Alexa Bull is an Ayurvedic Health Coach, Yoga Teacher and Aromatherapist based in Brooklyn.