With focused meditation, you focus on something with intention without your thoughts being centred on it. You can focus on something visual, such as a statue; something auditory, such as a metronome or the recording of ocean waves; something constant, such as your own breathing; or a simple concept, such as unconditional compassion. Activity-oriented meditation combines meditation with activities you already enjoy or with new activities that help you focus on the present. With this type of meditation, you engage in a repetitive activity or one where you can get into the zone and experience the flow.
Again, this quiets the mind and allows your brain to shift. This is the second part of a 4-part series on meditation, including the benefits of meditation and how to meditate. Breathe deeply and slowly. When you have finished meditating, slowly enter the physical state.
Start by being present to the physical reality around you. Then become aware of your physical body. This may take 15 to 30 seconds, or as long as you need to do this step. Then, very slowly, open your eyes.
If you open your eyes immediately and try to resume your physical activities, it can be disjointed and shocking. Doing this simple act at least once a day has clear benefits, as outlined in 10 reasons why you should meditate. Once you finish your first meditation, you will begin to look forward to the second, the third and the next until it becomes a natural habit. You will feel calmer, more peaceful and more focused.
Read on to find out more about the different types of meditation and how to get started. Mindfulness meditation has its origins in Buddhist teachings and is the most popular and researched form of meditation in the West. In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You do not judge the thoughts or engage with them.
You simply observe and take note of any patterns. Moving meditation is good for people who find peace in action and want to develop body awareness. Some people like mantra meditation because they find it easier to concentrate on a word than on the breath. Others enjoy feeling the vibration of the sound in their body.
Loving-kindness meditation is used to reinforce feelings of compassion, kindness and acceptance towards oneself and others. Unlike gazing meditation, in this type of meditation you do not have to focus your attention on any particular point. In this meditation you let your attention flow freely without judging your thoughts or feeling attached to them. It is like practising being an impartial observer, becoming aware of your perceptions, thoughts, memories and much more.
It is extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and not think about anything or have an "empty mind". We have some tools, such as a meditation DVD for beginners or a brain sensor headband, that will help you in this process when you are starting to learn how to meditate in the best way. In general, the easiest way to start meditating is to focus on the breath. An example of one of the most common approaches to meditation is concentration.
There are other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on cultivating compassion. It involves visualising negative events and reframing them in a positive way, transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, qigong and walking meditation.
Mindful walking is an excellent way to clear the mind and regain a sense of concentration. As the name suggests, mindful walking focuses on connecting movement with awareness. It begins by walking slowly and focusing attention on the feet and their contact with the ground. After a minute or two, the attention shifts to the sensation of movement in the body, shifting your weight and observing the natural rhythm of your movement.
The idea is to focus on the here and now of the body while in simple movement. Shreya Sethi has a Yoga Alliance 500 RYT with multiple hours of training under her belt. Her love for anatomy and movement led her to pursue training in Pilates and Movement Therapy. Her yoga sessions are holistic and focus on the needs of her clients (including rehabilitation work).
If you are looking for even more advice and guidance on meditation, Headspace offers a 10-day beginners course on the essentials of meditation, available free of charge, which is an ideal way to start building a solid foundation for a daily meditation practice. From there, you can explore the entire content library with hundreds of mindfulness meditations on everything from stress and compassion to sleep and concentration.