Wondering what types of meditation is the right for you? Looking to explore the space of mindfulness meditation and other meditation practices and find the most suitable one for you?
In this article, we will focus on how to learn to meditate. We will talk about the most common ways to meditate, different sound healing and meditation techniques, reasons why you should consider meditation, and the benefits of meditating.
What is Meditation?
For many people, their mental health is their priority. Others are looking to find meaning in their lives. Some people want to have a better relationship with themselves and others around them. However, many people do not know how to start meditating or just simply do not have time in their busy schedules for it.
Guided mindfulness meditation practices are widely used to treat depression and anxiety and relieve stress. It can also be used to help reduce chronic pain or improve sleep quality.
Different Types of Meditation
There are different types of meditation used by people in addressing different aspects of their lives. Every meditation exercise targets either your nervous system or emotions.
To give you a better understanding of what meditation is, here are some of the most common types of meditation.
Guided meditation is where meditation practice is accompanied by a guide, such as a teacher or recording. The guide provides instructions to the meditator and can help them focus on certain aspects of their breath, body sensations, or thoughts as they arise during practice.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of focused meditation or a meditation technique that involves paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Mindfulness meditation can be done anywhere at any time — walking, eating, or sitting still. You don’t need any special equipment or clothing on practicing mindfulness techniques. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or advanced meditator — mindful meditation can help anyone learn how to accept things as they are and bring some calmness into their lives.
Walking meditation is often used as a way for beginners to ease into a meditation practice or for experienced meditators to break up periods of sitting still. Walking meditation can be done anytime during the day, whether you’re walking inside or outside in nature. In walking meditation, your eyes may be open or closed; it’s up to you what feels most comfortable for you.
Body Scan Meditation
This type of meditation is a simple practice designed to help you focus on your body (physical sensations), one part at a time. You can use this technique whether you’re sitting or lying down. Start by lying down in a comfortable position with pillows under your head and knees. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let it out slowly.
Then breathe normally as you scan through each part of your body, starting with your toes and moving up to the top of your head. Breathe deeply into each area as you imagine it relaxing completely, releasing any tension or stress that you may be holding onto there. Focus on feeling yourself release the tightness in that area on every exhale until it feels completely relaxed and at ease.
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
This form of meditation involves repeating a mantra over and over again (mantra meditation) until it becomes an automatic process that takes no effort at all — kind of like breathing automatically without thinking about it. This form is said to be very effective in helping people achieve deep states of relaxation quickly so that they can begin enjoying the benefits of meditation. The aim is to become completely absorbed in your mantra so that you don’t have any thoughts other than the mantra itself — this is known as “restful alertness.”
Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta)
Loving kindness meditation is a simple form of meditation that lets you connect with others by sending them positive thoughts and emotions. This type of meditation can help you feel more connected to other people, even if it’s just strangers on the bus or people around you at work or school. This may seem like an odd activity at first, but it can actually be very rewarding and make you feel happier inside!
Some forms of meditation don’t really exercise concentration at all. Rather than focusing on something physical (such as your breath), spiritual meditations involve quieting the mind by letting thoughts come and go without judging them or trying to hold onto any one thought.
Some experts call this form of meditation mindfulness, while others call it open monitoring — whatever term you prefer, this type of meditation involves watching thoughts come and go without getting involved with their content. This form is often used as part of other types of meditation or relaxation exercises, but it can also stand alone as a practice in its own right.
How To Start With Meditation Practice
If you’re new to mindfulness meditation, there are a few things you can do to get started.
Step 1: Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down
The best thing about meditation is that you don’t need any special equipment or props — all you need is a comfortable place to sit or lie down. If you’re sitting, make sure your spine is straight but not rigid, and your head is level with your shoulders. You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, or you can sit on the floor with your legs crossed.
If you’re lying down, make sure you’re comfortable and can remain still for the duration of your practice. You may want to put a pillow under your head and knees to support your back.
Step 2: Set a timer
Choose a time when you know you won’t be interrupted, and set a timer for the length of time you want to meditate. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to start with a shorter time, such as 5 or 10 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, you can gradually increase the length of time as you see fit.
Step 3: Notice your body and how it feels
When you’re first starting to meditate, it’s normal to feel antsy or restless. Just take a few deep breaths and focus on how your body feels in each position. Pay attention to the way your breath feels as it enters and leaves your nostrils and the way your chest and belly rise and fall with each breath. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
Step 4: Follow your breath
Once you’ve settled into a comfortable position and taken a few deep breaths, it’s time to focus on your breath. As you inhale, pay attention to the way your chest and belly rise. As you exhale, pay attention to the way they fall. Keep your attention on your breath as it moves in and out of your body, and try to keep your mind from wandering.
Step 5: Observe your thoughts
As you meditate, it’s normal for your mind to wander. When this happens, simply bring your attention back to your breath and start following it again. Don’t try to push your thoughts away — just let them come and go as they please.
Step 6: Return to your breath
If your mind wanders, simply return your attention to your breath. Keep following it as it moves in and out of your body, and don’t get caught up in your thoughts.
Step 7: When the timer goes off, slowly open your eyes and begin your day
When the timer goes off, slowly open your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Take a moment to notice how you feel, and then begin your day. Make sure to always close in a positive way. For example, you might say to yourself, “I feel more relaxed and at ease.”
Reasons Why You Should Consider Meditation
The practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years. It’s a way to become more aware, calm, and centered. Meditation can help you:
Understand Your Pain
Pain is a complex phenomenon involving many different components, such as tissue damage, inflammation, and psychological factors. Meditation has been shown to reduce pain by influencing some of these components. For example, when people practice mindfulness meditation, they can become more aware of the present moment and accept their pain instead of worrying about it or fighting against it. In addition, meditation can increase activity in parts of the brain that promote positive emotions and decrease activity in areas associated with negative emotions.
Another common reason people meditate is to lower stress. Stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health, but meditation has been shown to be an effective way to reduce stress. One study found that mindfulness meditation can help control the “stress reaction” by altering the activity of the stress-responsive HPA axis. In addition, meditation can increase activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for regulating emotions.
People tend to live very busy and hectic lives, which can sometimes make it difficult to feel connected to others. Meditation has been shown to improve social connection by increasing activity in the parts of the brain responsible for empathy and compassion. In addition, meditation can help you develop a more positive outlook on life, which can lead to more fulfilling relationships. Thus, with regular meditation practice, you may find that you’re more patient, kind, and understanding with others.
Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in their life. However, when anxiety becomes excessive, it can interfere with your daily activities and negatively affect your quality of life. Meditation has been shown can be an effective treatment for anxiety. Meditation serves as a form of “mental training” that can help you learn to control your thoughts and emotions. In addition, meditation can help you develop a more positive outlook on life, which can lead to reduced anxiety.
Reduce Brain Chatter
When an individual has too much “brain chatter,” it can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and even depression. Meditation has been shown to be an effective way to reduce brain chatter by increasing activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for regulating thoughts and emotions. This results in a more calm and focused state of mind.
The Bottom Line
Meditation is not a norm for many busy individuals, but it should be. The number of benefits that meditation can provide is staggering, and everyone can benefit from being a little calmer and more focused in their life. If you’re interested in trying meditation, there are many resources available to help you get started. Once you get the hang of it, you may find that meditation becomes an essential part of your life.
If you are interested to learn to meditate in a deeper way with mantras and other aspects of meditation, please find a meditation teacher in your area or check out our online meditation course.