What is the purpose of meditation?
To cultivate an awareness of the present moment, meditation has been employed for thousands of years.
Focus and concentration, physical connection, acceptance of challenging emotions and even a shift in awareness can all be part of the exercise. Stress reductionTrusted Source and increased immunity have been found to be among the many physical and psychological advantages.
Meditation is a practice that may be found in a wide variety of religious and philosophical traditions, although the technique itself is not religious in nature. Even though it has a long history, many cultures throughout the globe continue to use it as a way to cultivate a state of inner tranquility and harmony.
A rising number of people are turning to meditation as a way to cope with the pressures of modern life.
Even while there isn’t a “correct” way to meditate, finding a method that works for you is critical.
There are nine styles of meditation that are commonly practiced today:
- mindfulness meditation
- spiritual meditation
- focused meditation
- movement meditation
- mantra meditation
- transcendental meditation
- progressive relaxation
- loving-kindness meditation
- visualization meditation
All meditation methods aren’t created equal. There are a variety of abilities and mindsets required for these pursuits. Do you know which practice is the right one for you before you even start looking around?
Sira Davy, a meditation author and holistic nutritionist, adds, “It’s what feels comfortable and what you feel encouraged to do.
There are many different styles of meditation and ways to begin started, so keep reading for more information.
9 Styles of Meditation
The most widely studied and practiced kind of meditation in the West is mindfulness meditation, which has its roots in Buddhist teachings.
The goal of mindfulness meditation is to cultivate a state of awareness in which you are fully present with your thoughts. As long as you don’t judge or become interested in the ideas, you’ll be OK. All you have to do is keep an eye out for any unusual patterns.
Concentration and awareness are combined in this technique. Observing your thoughts, feelings, and sensations may be easier when you focus on an item or your breath.
People who don’t have access to an instructor might benefit from practicing this form of meditation because it is simple to do so on one’s own.
Nearly every religious and spiritual tradition makes use of some form of spiritual meditation.
There are as many different styles of spiritual meditation as there are spiritual traditions across the world. There are a lot of meditation methods in this page that may be classified as spiritual practices.
It has been found that spiritual meditation aims to cultivate a better knowledge of the spiritual/religious meaning and connection with a higher power. The following are a few examples:
- Christian contemplative prayer
- Sufi dhikr (remembrance of God)
- Jewish kabbalistic practices
At home or at a place of worship, spiritual meditation can be done Those who desire spiritual growth and a stronger connection to a higher power or spiritual force might benefit from this practice.
To practice focused meditation, you must engage all five of your senses.
Your breath is a good example of something internal you might focus on. You can also use outside forces to help you concentrate.
- counting mala beads
- listening to a gong
- staring at a candle flame
- Keeping track of how many breaths you take at a time
- Staring at the moon
Beginners may find it difficult to maintain concentration for more than a few of minutes at a time, despite the apparent simplicity of the technique.
Simply return to the practice and concentration whenever your mind wanders.
Those who desire to improve their focus and attention might benefit from this activity.
Yoga may be the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions movement meditation, but it’s not the only option.
There are several gentle types of exercise you may engage in.
- qi gong
- tai chi
- other gentle forms of movement
It’s a sort of active meditation that helps you connect with your body and the present moment by allowing you to move your body.
Movement Meditation is helpful for persons who find calm in activity and wish to gain a greater awareness of their own body.
Many religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, advocate the practice of mantra meditation. The mind is cleared by the use of a repeating sound in this form of meditation. One of the most prevalent is “om,” which is a word, phrase, or sound.
Regardless of how loud or soft you speak your mantra, it will have the same effect on your mind and body. You’ll be more aware and in touch with your surroundings after repeating the mantra for a while. A deeper degree of awareness can be gained by doing this.
Because some people find it simpler to concentrate on a word rather than their breath, they prefer mantra meditation. Others appreciate the sensation of the sound vibrating through their bodies.
This is also a useful exercise for those who are averse to stillness and appreciate repetition.
In the scientific community, Transcendental Meditation (TM) has been studied extensively.
To achieve a condition of calm and tranquility, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed TM, which is a type of meditation. To learn this technique properly, you’ll need to find a qualified TM practitioner who can guide you through the usage of mantra.
It’s designed for individuals who desire a more easy way into meditation’s depths. You can find out more about this form of meditation here.
As a kind of meditation that focuses on relaxing the body and mind, progressive relaxation is also called body scan meditation.
Often, this type of meditation is practiced by progressively contracting and releasing one muscle area at a time across the entire body.
Imagining a soothing wave moving through your body may also be helpful in releasing any tension.
Before going to bed, many people practice this type of meditation to help them relax and de-stress.
Loving-kindness sympathy, kindness and acceptance are all qualities that may be cultivated via meditation.
Openness to receiving love from others and the giving of best wishes for all living creatures are common aspects of this practice.
Those with sentiments of wrath or resentment may benefit from this style of meditation, which aims to cultivate compassion and kindness.
Relaxation, tranquillity, and peace can be achieved by visualization meditation by imagining good sceneries, pictures, or characters.
Imagining a situation and employing all five senses to bring it to life is the goal of this technique. It may also be done by seeing yourself as a beloved or revered character and attempting to embrace their traits.
Another type of vision meditation involves picturing yourself accomplishing certain goals, which is meant to help you stay focused and motivated.
Many people utilize visualization meditation to improve their mood, lower their stress levels, and cultivate a sense of well-being.
How to get started
Focusing on your breath is the best approach to get started. If you have the time, sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day – unless you’re too busy,” goes an ancient Zen adage. then sit for one hour,” he advises.
In all seriousness, it’s better to begin with a little amount of time, such as five or ten minutes, and then gradually increase it.
Pedram Shojai, author of “The Urban Monk” and creator of Well.org, advises, “Sit regularly for 20 minutes a day and do this for 100 days straight.” As soon as you bring in an additional 2–5 minutes of meditation each day in between your busy schedule, you’ll notice a difference.
What are the advantages of meditating?
Meditation’s multiple advantages have been well documented.
Meditation can provide overall physical and mental/emotional advantages, such as:
- lower blood pressure
- reduced stress
- better sleep
- improved emotional regulation
- increased focus
- enhanced mood
- reduced aggression
- greater adaptability
- healthier aging process
- a greater sense of empathy and connection with others
A 2017 review noted that non-transcendental meditation has been shown to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a 2019 study indicated that mindfulness-based treatments reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in employees engaging in workplace mindfulness programs.
Prosocial feelings and behaviors, enhanced attention and mood, reduced aggressiveness and promoting good coping techniques in times of stress have all been proven to be influenced by the use of mindfulness.
According to a recent review, meditating may help one live a long and healthy life.
Some medical disorders may benefit from meditation as well, such as:
- depression and anxiety disorders
- cardiovascular disease, such as arterial hypertensionTrusted Source
- dementia and Alzheimer’s diseaseTrusted Source
- Parkinson’s disease
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- chronic pain
Mindfulness-based meditation has been shown to have long-lasting impacts on depression, according to a study published in 2019. Because of their absence of side effects, mindfulness-based therapies are seen as a viable addition to treatment for depression and anxiety disorders, according to the same study.
The quality of life, brain connection, and blood flow were all found to improve as a result of meditating, according to a 2018 analysis.
Whatever your goal, there is a meditation technique that can help you achieve it.
Don’t be scared to branch out and try something new. Finding the right one generally requires a little of fumbling about until you hit upon it.
As Sira points out, “Meditation isn’t supposed to be a forced activity.” It becomes a chore when we’re compelled to do it.” Regular, gentle practice becomes sustaining, supporting, and joyful over time.
To that, she adds, “Open yourself open to the possibilities. “Try a different type of meditation if the one you’re doing isn’t working or isn’t comfortable for you.”