Meditation can be defined as a set of techniques aimed at fostering a state of heightened awareness and concentrated attention. Spiritual meditation is used in almost all religions and spiritual traditions. Spiritual meditation can be practised at home or in a place of worship. This practice is beneficial for those seeking spiritual growth and a deeper connection to a higher power or spiritual force.
Some people enjoy mantra meditation because it is 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 strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness and acceptance towards oneself and others. This ancient Buddhist tradition involves sitting upright and following the breath, especially the way it enters and leaves the belly, and letting the mind "just be".
Its aim is to foster a sense of presence and alertness. This technique is similar to focused attention meditation, although instead of focusing on the breath to still the mind, one focuses on a mantra (which can be a syllable, a word or a phrase). The idea is that the subtle vibrations associated with the repeated mantra can encourage positive change, such as an increase in self-confidence or compassion for others, and help you enter an even deeper state of meditation. This meditation technique aims to keep the energy centres of the body's central chakras open, aligned and flowing.
Blocked or unbalanced chakras can lead to uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms, but chakra meditation can help bring them all back into balance. It is an ancient and powerful Chinese practice that involves harnessing the body's energy by allowing the energy pathways called "meridians" to be open and flowing. It is believed that sending this energy inward during meditation helps the body to heal and function; sending the energy outward can help heal another person. This meditation technique, which has become very popular in the West, is based on the teachings of the Buddha.
Mindfulness meditation can be instrumental in helping us understand how our mind works. This self-knowledge serves as a basis for overcoming dissatisfaction, impatience, intolerance and many other habits that prevent us from living a fuller and happier life. To be a complete meditation technique, mindfulness combines concentration with awareness. All that is required is a disciplined meditation posture, a straight back and a willingness to be honest with oneself.
The best-known focus of mindfulness meditation is breathing; unbiased observation of physical sensations is another common technique. Whenever you find your thoughts wandering, simply observe them without judgement and bring your attention back to the breath. Mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce depression, stress and anxiety. It also fosters resilience, a timely quality that helps you cope with difficult situations without losing your peace of mind.
A traditional type of focused meditation involves drinking a cup of tea. In this case, you train yourself to stop any other activity - not checking your mobile phone, not jumping up to let the cat out, not adding anything to your shopping list - and focus your attention exclusively on drinking your cup of tea. You can notice the feeling of warmth, the aroma, the weight of the cup in your hands. Every time your mind wanders, you go back to drinking the tea.
On a more formal level, visualisation meditations belonging to the Tibetan tradition are often specific religious practices. During these practices, visualising a mandala or a meditation deity provides practitioners with a basis for cultivating innate qualities such as compassion and wisdom. Because of the complexity of this type of spiritual practice, it is essential to receive prior instruction from a skilled teacher and for the student to make a serious commitment to practice. When practising mindfulness meditation, thoughts and emotions are observed, but allowed to pass without judgement.
The idea is that this technique allows you to settle into a deep state of relaxation and rest, with the goal of achieving inner peace without concentration or effort. Vipassana meditation is an ancient form of Indian meditation that means seeing things as they really are. It was taught in India more than 2,500 years ago. The mindfulness meditation movement in the United States has its roots in this tradition.
Vipassana, in this tradition, is typically taught over a 10-day course, and students are expected to follow a series of rules throughout that time, including abstaining from all intoxicants, telling lies, stealing, sexual activity and killing any species. The superstar's new YouTube series chronicles her journey to lose six kilos and shed her "dad bod". One woman says she received several misdiagnoses over 15 years before she was correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The number of young people with serious mental health problems was growing before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Doctors say the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Guided meditation exercises that you can use anytime, anywhere. In guided meditation, a teacher guides you through the practice, either in person or through an app or course. This type of meditation is perfect for beginners, as the teacher's expert guidance can help you get the most out of a new experience.
The main thing here is to find a teacher you like and connect with. You can also tailor your search according to a desired outcome and try guided meditations focusing on sleep, stress relief or acceptance. Spiritual meditation is the conscious practice of believing in and connecting with something that is bigger, vaster and deeper than the individual self. In this meditation you trust that there is something greater out there and that everything happens for a reason.
Most types of meditation include a form of mindfulness. Breath awareness encourages practitioners to be aware of their breathing, while progressive relaxation draws attention to areas of tension in the body. Trataka, or candle gazing, is a type of meditation in which the eyes are kept open and focused on a point or object, often the flame of a burning candle. Since this type of meditation is intended to promote compassion and kindness, it may be ideal for those who hold feelings of anger or resentment.
To be sure, there are countless ways to meditate, different types of meditation that promise wonderful results. This type of meditation may be preferable if you find it difficult to focus on the breath alone, as it may be easier to anchor your awareness in what your body feels. This type of meditation is especially useful for beginners because the teacher is experienced and trusted, and their guidance can be key in helping those who are new to the practice to get the most out of the experience. This type of meditation became popular in the United States in the 1960s, when it was brought from India and secularised for Western audiences.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a type of meditation that has been the subject of numerous studies in the scientific community. In this type of meditation, the meditator quiets his or her thoughts and fixes the mind on an object of concentration. This type of meditation is good for people who do not have a teacher to guide them, as it can easily be practised alone. If you are looking for an introduction to the different types of meditation, check out the 10-day beginner's course on the essentials of meditation, available for free on the Headspace app.
However, there is no 'right way to meditate', which means that people can explore different types until they find one that works for them. This method, that method, this way, that way, this system, that system and so on, the types of meditation practices that promise to make a real difference. This type of meditation can increase positive emotions and has been linked to the reduction of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.