Meditation is an ancient practice rooted in religious and spiritual discipline and remains as prevalent today as it was thousands of years ago. Many people use meditation as a way to prevent and cool feelings of stress and anxiety by freeing your mind of clutter. It’s a great exercise which you can take anywhere whether it’s at home, in the office or at the park. There are a bunch of different styles and techniques in meditation, many of them follow similar patterns but require different mentalities and have different goals. Here are 5 variations of meditation to try out along with information on tips, their individual aims and instructions.
Zazen meditation has roots in Zen Buddhism and is the most commonly known type; the practice is also known as ‘seated meditation’ which gives you an idea. The practice of zazen meditation aims to free participants of judgements and goals allowing you to be fully in the ‘present moment’ which can be achieved by focussing on the natural rhythms of life. Many who practice this type of meditation focus on breathing, keeping their mind affixed to the drawing in, the holding and the exhalation of breath. This is all carried out from the classic seated position – cross legged, one ankle above the other, arms resting on your knees and a straight back. Start with 10 – 30 minute sessions.
This is a meditation style for those looking to connect with spirituality. The name ‘Kundalini’ refers to a type of energy which is found in the base of the spine, the whole aim of this meditation is to summon this energy up and awaken the conscious mind, body and soul; it’s known as an upward style of meditation. Here, all kinds of techniques can be applied including breathing, mantras and chants. One way to try out this meditation is to sit up straight, inhale for four beats, exhale for four beats being sure to apply pressure to your belly button on every breath in and out – like you are pulling it in closer to your spine and activating the energy.
Guided Visualisation Meditation
This type of meditation is great for those with a vibrant imagination! This practice is a modern version of traditional meditative techniques and requires the meditator to imagine themselves in calming and peaceful situations as a means to coax the chemicals from the brain which bring about feelings of positivity. When done correctly, you can experience a range of incredible benefits – it’s been found to reduce feelings of anxiety and even pain according to the Institute for Health & Healing. The key to Guided Visualisation is to allow your own images to surface in your mind and find what works for you. Why not try it out? Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes and imagine!
This is a wonderful meditation, particularly for those who struggle with the styles which requires focus on breathing. Mantra is simply defined as a word or sound, voiced and repeated to assist focus in meditation. Like with every type of meditation, the mantra is personal to the individual – the most common sound is ‘aum’ or ‘om’ which is known as the ‘universal mantra’ being in tune with the sound of existence and life itself. In certain types of the practices, the participant is assigned a mantra in tune with the sound of the universe at the time of the person’s birth. Find your preferred phrase or noise and repeat until you feel your mind clear.
If you’re a daydreamer then this is the meditation for you. Gazing meditation is a way to close off and free your mind of thought by gazing at a still object – something natural is best such as a tree or the fireplace at home (not the TV!). This is one to ease into due to the strain on your eyes, but once mastered and performed well you can experience feelings of stress relief and an improved focus. Start with a quick 30 second slot and try and work your way up to 10 minutes.
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Meditation is an easy enough practice to carry out by yourself at home but you might find it more beneficial to start it in company, or in a place where you can find out more information about it. Many meditation classes are held across the country – check your local leisure centre or gym for more information. Alternatively, there are a number of apps designed specifically to aid meditation – some of the best include Headspace, The Mindfulness App and Calm. Headspace is great for those starting out as it offers easy-to-follow sessions for different goals whether it be stress or sleep deprivation. Find more information over on their website here: https://www.headspace.com/