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Nine different types of meditation practices

March 11, 2021

Meditation is a mind and body practice used to decrease stress, improve psychological balance, cope with illness and chronic pain, and enhance overall health and emotional well-being. The practice has become mainstream in the West as a form of self improvement. Although there are different types of meditation, and they serve different purposes. Below are the nine most popular meditation practices.

Mindfulness meditation. During this mediation, one simply observes the thoughts that pass through the mind without judgement. The one meditating does not involve themselves with their thoughts, just let’s them happen and takes note of any patterns. It may be helpful to focus on an object or breathing while mediating as one observes any bodily sensations, thoughts or feelings. This is a good mediation to practice alone as a teacher or guide is not needed.

Spiritual meditation. This mediation is similar to religious prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and try to establish a deeper connection to the Universe or a higher power. Essential oils like  frankincense, myrrh, sage, cedar, sandalwood and palo santo are commonly used to heighten the experience. This meditation can be practiced at home or in a place of worship.

Focused meditation. This practice is simple, but beneficial for those who seek focus in their life. This practice involves concentration using any of the five senses. One can count, watch a candle, listen to a sound etc. If the mind wanders, it is important to come back to the source of concentration.

Movement meditation. Movement meditation can be any sort of gentle movement. This may be yoga, walking, gardening etc. This is an active form of meditation where movement guides the one practicing. This allows an individual’s mind to wander should they prefer and is peaceful for those who find comfort in action.

Mantra meditation. This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. The purpose is to strengthen awareness of the environment around oneself. This repetitive action can be a word, phrase or sound.

Transcendental meditation. This meditation is defined as a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by repetition of a mantra. This mantra is more customizable to the practitioner, using a series of words or mantra that is personal to them.

Progressive relaxation. This practice is used to reduce tension in the body and encourage relaxation. Many times this is accomplished through tensing and then relaxing one muscle group in the body at a time. Sometimes the practitioner is also asked to imagine a wave flowing through their body to release tension. This meditation can be used to just release stress or unwind to sleep.

Loving-kindness meditation. This mediation is used to promote feelings of compassion, kindness and acceptance towards oneself and others. This generally involves opening one’s mind to receive love and then sending love to those you know. Then love is sent to all living beings. This meditation is typically helpful for those with resentment and anger.

Visualization meditation. This type of meditation is used to enhance relaxation and peace by visualizing positive scenes or images. When visualizing, the practitioner must use all five senses to make the image as detailed as possible. Another way to use this mediation is by visualizing oneself achieving or succeeding at a specific goal. This intends to increase focus and motivation.

There are many different types of mediations and many more outside of these nine. They all take different approaches to promoting peace, and each person will be suited to some better than others. While meditation is not a substitute for medical attention, it is a valuable tool that can be useful when dealing with external and internal challenges.

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