Types of meditation
There are many different types of meditation. Some will focus on different areas of life like sleep, relationships, gratitude, while others may use a certain technique like breathing, concentrating on a certain area of the body, or engaging with music.
The aim of mindfulness is to remain focused on the present moment and not following your thoughts into memories of the past or fantasies of the future.
This doesn’t mean turning your mind into an empty vacuum where no thoughts exist whatsoever, rather using specific techniques to anchor yourself back the moment when your thoughts are trying to carry you away.
We can do this by focusing on the breath or the body or even on the sounds and events of the world around us.
When we find we have been carried away by our thoughts, we simply acknowledge it and bring ourselves back to our chosen form of focus.
A form of focused awareness meditation that uses sound vibrations to create a relaxed state and focus the mind.
This can be done in a few ways.
A sound bath uses instruments such as gongs, bowls and chimes to literally bathe yourself in sound waves.
Binaural beats use a range of frequencies to alter your brains waves into a different state on mind. This could be anything from Beta waves that occur when the brain needs to be alert and focused to Delta waves that occur when the brain is deeply relaxed and in dreamless sleep.
While some meditation techniques focus on developing “the mind,” others focus on developing “the heart.”
Often referred to as Metta or Boundless State meditation, Loving-Kindness is the practice of cultivating benevolence towards ourselves and others.
By using the repetition of certain phrases, we direct goodwill and positivity to ourselves, our loved ones, people we don’t know, and even those we feel animosity towards.
We can then let go of our negativity and begin to create a deeper connection ourselves and those around us.
With Mantra meditation, we use the repetition of a word as the main focus of our concentration and the vehicle to a calm and focused mind.
Eventually, the repetition of the mantra within your mind becomes automatic and just like with the breath, we can use the mantra to re-anchor ourselves to the present moment when we become distracted by our thoughts.
Zen is a form of open awareness meditation. With focus awareness meditation, we use an object, like the breath or a mantra to focus the mind.
With open awareness, we have no formal object to focus on but instead remain in the present by allowing our thoughts to flow freely and without judgment.
This is traditionally practised in a full or half-lotus position, breathing in and out of the nose.
Yoga Nidra is an ancient method deriving from the Tantras. It is a potent technique which will teach you how to really relax.
Yoga Nidra induces a complete state of relaxation within the physical, mental and emotional systems. While practising Yoga Nidra, you may feel that you are asleep, but in fact, your consciousness is awake and working at a much deeper level. It is during this state of sleep and wakefulness that one may make contact with the subconscious and unconscious dimensions.
Often called Insight, Vipassana is an ancient form of meditation that aims to help us gain an understanding of impermanence, as we focus on the sensations that come and go in the body.
The end goal of Vipassana is to be able to observe these sensations, good or bad, without aversion or craving and in doing so, bring this state of mind of non-reaction into our everyday lives.
Chakra meditation aims to align the seven chakras. An imbalance or blockage in a chakra can result in other chakras becoming overactive or shutting down. This can result in discomfort in both the physical and mental.
Chakra meditation techniques can vary from sound meditation to guided visualization. However, it’s the purpose that remains consistent.