What is meditation and why do we opt for it? We all know the countless benefits of meditation on physical and mental health. People often search for the training sessions online, meditation campaigns and other classes to join and they hunt for the information related to the meditation techniques.
They buy the expensive tutorial CDs and DVDs, and schedule their daily life with meditation as the tool of healing and relaxation.
Meditation is not done by a universal one way technique. It equips several techniques and compiles different practices under one name. You won’t believe that there are thousands of meditation techniques!
How can you choose the best one for you? Or, how can you master them all? Can you even learn them to the full extent?
We have for you a brief article on this deep topic!
Types of Meditation Techniques
There are three general types of meditation, which are based on the way of focusing and concentrating.
- Focused Attention: this is the type where the complete focus is on a single object, which may be an object or counting, or the breath. You can also take a mantra as a central focus.
This ability of focusing the attention increases gradually as the person gets used to the prior short timed sessions.
The concentration power increases and the connection between the person and the object get stronger. Some meditation forms under this category are:
- Buddhist Meditation or Samatha
- Loving Kindness Meditation
- Chakra Meditation
- Kundalini Meditation
- Sound Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
And the list goes on.
- Open Monitoring: as the name suggests, open monitoring is all about not confining the range of focus and observation. Instead, it is the open observation of various objects, whether internal or external.
Attention is given to each aspect and no judgement is passed. Person does not attach himself to these aspects. Also, there is no reaction and no depth in observation. Some examples are listed below:
- Some Taoist Meditation
- Vipassana etc.
- Effortless Presence: this state is also referred as the “Pure Being”. This focuses on the true self. The ultimate aim of meditation is to develop the mind and discover the inner reality. The above mentioned two types are the paths, whereas the effortless presence is itself the process of defining the pure presence. Examples:
- Self Enquiry
- Some forms of Raja Yoga
Let us discover a little more in depth about the techniques.
Meditation techniques for beginners
With a long list of the benefits of yoga and meditation, people have been attracted towards these health and fitness tools over the past years. Since the ancient times, meditation has been found to have immense importance.
Now, being linked with the modern lifestyle and rising awareness, continuous involvement of masses in meditation can be seen.
Are you one of them? Are you a beginner? Here we have some tips for you so that you can carry out your meditation at your best.
- Meditation requires comfortable and peaceful surroundings. You cannot meditate in noisy and compact atmosphere. Imagine yourself meditating where television is on and there is a constant noise of the mixer being used in the kitchen.
Will you be able to derive the inner peace and calmness? Obviously not! Also, how you sit, matters a lot. You may either sit on a chair, or on a couch or on the floor. While you sit on the floor, you can cross your legs.
This is the best meditation position. You must have seen in the various images of meditation that the person is sitting on a mat, on the floor or any surface, with crossed legs. The surroundings are peaceful- which may be the garden or near the shore of the sea.
Find the best place around you! We understand that not every person can have the sea shore around them!
- You must slowly become aware of your surroundings. Bring your attention to all the things present around you, listen to the noises and feel the atmosphere.
- Focus on the breathing process. Try to feel the air. Meditation is not easy when you have just started. Focussing and bringing attention to a centre point is quite difficult. Your thoughts may engulf you and you may find yourself pondering upon those thoughts.
But, do not drift away. Try not to focus on the thoughts popping up in your head, let them pass and you continue with your meditation.
- Feel your body. Know where the stress and tension exists. Know where the muscles need to be relaxed. Go from toes to the head, and release the tension built up in the muscles. You can wiggle your toes and legs, and rotate the shoulders.
You can tilt your head and make your arms move a little.
- You can build up your concentration by chanting “Om” or any other mantra. This will not let your mind wander off.
- Spare few minutes DAILY and keep the meditation in the first place of your To-Do list.
- As a beginner, you don’t need to worry about the “right way” and the “wrong way” of doing meditation. Just do it the way you understand. Keep in mind the points we are listing out here.
As you will learn slowly and gradually, you can get properly organised.
- Now, after doing the meditation, just check out the results you “feel”. How do you feel? Relaxed and calm? Are you able to concentrate and do you realise that there is “something” different in you now?
Do you find your body relaxed? What about your stress levels? Have they reduced? How is your brain? Is it at peace? Or, it feels tired and stressed? Or, do you feel nothing at all? Well, the first time I went for meditation, I could not feel anything.
People could sense the “heat” evolved in meditation, but I couldn’t. It is not so easy in the beginning. Once you start, you will get through. Believe us!
- Learn about yourself more as you meditate. Develop a positive and friendly attitude.
- Follow the guided meditations. The guidance is provided through the audio or visuals. The trainer can be real or virtual. There is a wide range available. Check them out.
- When you are done with the meditation session, wrap up slowly. Do not just get up and fold your mat to keep it inside the cupboard. Take some time as you open your eyes and see the surroundings.
Feel the things and watch them in motion. Slowly move your body parts to reawaken them.
Mindfulness meditation techniques
The techniques employed in this type of meditation focus on developing concentration and mindfulness. Sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor. You can rest your hands on your thighs as you sit, or you may put them together in a joined position.
Keep your spine straight and shoulders not coiled inside. Be alert and do not make yourself so comfortable that you may fall asleep while doing meditation.
You can develop concentration by the counting technique. Use the numbers for tagging your each breath. Count in your mind and focus on the numbers as well as the breathing.
Feel the air going inside and touching the layers, and feel it going outside. Mental discipline can be attained through this technique.
Now, as you are done with the concentration element, it is the time to work on mindfulness. Do not count now. Simply breathe and feel the fresh air as you inhale and exhale. Do not push yourself to follow the code of conduct. Let your mind flow in the gentle breezes and relax.
Meditate daily and be regular with the practice. Do not skip. Your spiritual development is taking place!
Buddhist meditation techniques
Buddhism states that we are responsible for our own states of mind. If we control ourselves and realize our true self, then we shall get rid of all the personal sorrows, fears and the negative feelings! The enlightenment and spirituality is achieved.
Buddhist meditation techniques bring emotional positivity and clarity in thoughts. The concentration power develops and you get to learn about your own behavior. A complete new and profound feeling engulfs you and you may feel some unusual energy!
This can transform your complete life and your vision may alter.
The best way to learn the meditation is from a trainer or expert, because the reading material guides you to a limited extent. A trainer can provide you with the best guidance and teach you how to combat the difficulties you may encounter.
Sit in an upright position, close your eyes and relax. Feel the surroundings. Ponder upon the two types of Buddhist meditation techniques:
- Vipassana – means insight
- Samatha – means peacefulness and serenity
Buddhist meditation is widely practiced in the schools and training centres.
Samatha ascends through the four stages of meditation. The first stage involves the detachment from the worldly objects and focuses on calmness of mind and body. The power of concentration is focused in the second stage.
The third stage marks the passing of the state of joy and tranquility. The last stage is all about pure consciousness of the self and maintaining composure in the difficult situation. Vipassana is all about discovering the inner truths and realizing the truths of impermanence.
Best meditation techniques
There is no such meditation which is termed as the best. Each individual meditates according to his needs and the benefits are received accordingly. You cannot classify the techniques based upon their quality.
The key to make the meditation the best is to keep your sitting posture right and to perform the exercise with full concentration and devotion. All you require to do meditation is to concentrate!
Meditation techniques for anxiety
The dominant reason due to which people opt for meditation is stress and anxiety. Surveys signify that majority of the population has stress issues, which makes them run towards the peace attainment.
Meditation makes your body relax mentally as well as physically. It makes you calm and releases the tension inside your muscles. You are able to think properly and clearly. You realise your own identity and behaviour, and you are able to control yourself more.
You also develop a positive attitude and your body is filled with enthusiasm.
Taking some time out of your busy life can make you feel better. After all, you need to give yourself some attention as well!
- When you feel anxious or nervous, people usually tell you to take a deep breath. Why? They say it because deep breathing releases the tension built up inside you.
How do you do the deep breathing? Sit straight and place your hands on your thighs. Take a deep breath in and exhale. How do you feel? Obviously, you will feel light. Air touches your internal body.
You are able to feel that! Are you? Take some more deep breaths. You will feel some magnificent energy inside you. You may also feel confident. In brief, we mean to say that deep breathing is very helpful, and you don’t need specific arrangements to deep breath. Do you?
- Rhythmic movements are the physical exercises which are a part of mindfulness meditation. You can go for short walks, jogging, swimming or dancing. Choose the one which fits your choice.
This is useful because while you perform movements, you do not concentrate on your thoughts. You concentrate on engaging your body in the movement. Your breathing is complementary to your movements, and a perfect coordination is witnessed!
Focus on the rhythms and the beats. And, just relax! This is the reason why people opt for running and swimming when they are stressed.
- Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique, which gets you out of your stress. The different muscle groups are contracted and relaxed. The constant motion is synchronised with breathing.
Body as well as the mind attains a significant relaxation! Try different sets of exercises. Concentrate on the following in the sequential manner:
- Focus on the foot first. Right foot and then the left foot.
- Go for the right calf muscles and then the left calf muscles.
- Go a little above, and relax your thighs. First right thigh and then the left.
- Hips and the buttock region
- Chest muscles
- Back muscles
- Right hand and the right arm
- Left hand and the left arm
- Neck and the shoulders
- Face muscles
Always remember to wear loose clothes while you do the progressive muscle relaxation. Shoes are not allowed while you do so. Breathe slowly and steadily. Focus attention at the body parts properly and feel “relaxed”.
- Body scan meditation is a title very popular in relaxation techniques. This is synonymous to the above mentioned technique “progressive muscle relaxation”. But, differs on the point that you have to focus on the sensations in body scan, whereas, in muscle relaxation, you have to contract and relax the muscles.
You have to lie down on your back and let your arms lie at the sides. Breathe in and out slowly. Focus on the sequence we mentioned for the muscle relaxation. In the stillness and silence of your body, the sensation in the muscle groups accounts for the body scan.
Chakra meditation techniques
Chakras are the awakening centres in the body, which have the tremendous energy of mental, emotional and spiritual significance. There are seven chakras and each affects our life in one or the other way.
The chakra meditation techniques are mentioned here. Have a look!
- Chakra Meditation Technique using mantras
There are Bij Mantras or sounds which are associated with each chakra. Chanting the mantras awaken the chakras and balance the inner “you”.
- Mooladhara- This is the root chakra meditation sound, which says LANG (LAM)
- Swadhistana- This is the sex chakra meditation sound, which says VANG (VAM)
- Manipura- This is the Navel Chakra Meditation sound, which says RANG (RAM)
- Anahata- This is the Heart Chakra meditation sound, which says YANG (YAM)
- Vishuddhi- This is the Throat Chakra meditation sound, which says HANG (HAM)
- Ajna- This is the Third Eye Chakra meditation sound, which says ONG (OM)
- Sahasrara- This sound for Crown Chakra meditation is the complete silence.
The mantras are chanted aloud or inside your head.
- Chakra Meditation using Visualisation
Each chakra has a significant rainbow colour. It is also associated with specific animals, Deities and shapes. Using the colours in this meditation is the best choice you can make. Visualise the colour in any form or just say, in form of balls of light.
Root Chakraà Red colour
Sex Chakraà Orange Colour
Navel Chakraà Yellow Colour
Heart Chakraà Green
Throat Chakraà Blue
Third Eye Chakraà Indigo
Crown Chakraà Violet
- Chakra Meditation using Kundalini Yoga Kriyas
This involves the set of Kundalini Yoga exercises and the related Chakra awakening exercises.
Try on your own, very cautiously. Do share with us the experiences!
Meditation breathing technique
Meditation is incomplete without the breathing technique. Don’t you think so? Each technique has breathing as a main component. The process of breathing has a strong connection with the body and the mind.
It brings calmness and serenity! Whenever you are at stress, the deep breathing comes to your rescue. It is also connected with the emotional and intellectual front of an individual.
The disturbance inside you is reduced to the maximum extent. Sit at a peaceful place, breathe and relax. Just let your thoughts pass by.
You should sit upright, comfortably. Rest your hands on your thighs or the sideways. Always close your eyes slowly. Be gentle with the meditation process. Do not rush. This is not an intensive work-out!
Keep the imagination in a blank space. Do not get distracted by the thoughts and activities going on around.
One important point to note is that you should always breathe with your mouth closed. Your mouth should relax. Do not clench your teeth and do not exert tension in the jaws. Inhale and exhale, and feel light in your face.
Gradually increase the breathing exercise time period. You may count or you may feel the movement of the air inside your body. Focus on the feeling and relax.
Osho meditation techniques
Who is Osho? Do I need to elaborate upon him? When it comes to yoga and meditation, Osho is the name a person might be very familiar with.
Osho has described about more than a hundred methods of meditation, and we are here to discuss a few techniques. The techniques are quite simple and fun to do. It is not some form of monotonous meditation.
Rather, Osho says, “you can just play with them. Take one method and play with it for at least three days. If it gives you a certain feeling of affinity, if it gives you a certain feeling of well being, if it gives you a certain feeling that this is for you, then be serious about it.
Then forget the others, do not play with other methods. Stick to it- at least three months. Miracles are possible. The only thing is that the technique must be for YOU”.
The techniques are listed below:
- Whenever in-breath and out-breath fuse, at this instant touch the energy-less, energy-filled centre.
- When breath is all out (up) and stopped of itself, or all in (down) and stopped- in such universal pause, one’s small self vanishes. This is difficult only for the impure.
- When in worldly activity, keep attentive between the two breaths, and so practicing, in a few days, be born anew.
- With utmost devotion, centre on the two junctions of breath and know the knower.
- While being caressed, sweet princess, enter the caressing as everlasting life.
- When on a bed or a seat, let yourself become weightless, beyond mind.
- As senses are absorbed in the heart, reach the centre of the lotus.
- Feel an object before you. Feel the absence of all the other objects but this one. Then leaving aside the object- feeling and the absence-feeling, realise.
The techniques had a mesmerising effect on me just by reading. What shall be the result when we will practice it on ourselves? You can find the full information on the official website of Osho. The words are so beautifully beaded together just like the pearls in a string.
Deep meditation techniques
Meditation requires ultimate focus and concentration, right? Many people do not undergo meditation deeply, but some go to the maximum extent. Deep meditation techniques have a long term effect on our body and the soul.
- Breathing is a deep meditation technique, which takes the awakening to the core. Once you put your attention to the breathing technique, your thoughts have no way to interfere in your passage of discovering the true self.
- Postures are the most important aspect of deep meditation. The way you keep your body determines the effectiveness of meditation.
- Object meditation is also called Tratak. In this type, you fix your attention to a single central focus. By doing this, your thoughts do not drift you anywhere else but the focus. This technique boosts memory and increases concentration power.
Advanced meditation techniques
Do you enjoy your time in meditation? Do you meditate regularly and have been an experienced person by now? Do you find the meditation joyful and very soothing? Is meditation an important part of your life? Then, it is the time to enter the advanced level of meditation. Here, the advanced techniques are used to further strengthen your love for meditation.
We interact and communicate with the world through three main media: the body, the speech and the mind. The advanced meditation techniques make the use of these media in order to experience the silence, stillness and the spaciousness.
Begin with the Samatha meditation which involves breathing meditation, mantra meditation and body scanning meditation.
The mindfulness meditation can then be followed, which is termed as Satipatthana meditation.
Chakra meditation is an advanced meditation technique which is all about balancing the chakras in our body. We have discussed about it above! Scroll up!
Inner smile meditation is a beautiful title, which itself brings some positivity here! A smiling face brings happiness to others as well as to you.
Laughter meditation and cleansing meditation are the other two types which rejuvenate your soul!
Healing meditation techniques
Things happen in your body at their best when you have a calm and serene mind. The coordination is enhanced and a perfect state of being can be achieved.
We all possess some energy in us all throughout our lives. This is the life energy or Prana. While you meditate, the energy reservoir of the Prana keeps on increasing. Lack of Prana will make you lethargic and dull. Instil your life with good humour and energy! Clear the disturbances through the healing meditation techniques.
It is well said that nature has a solution to all the health issues. In the lap of nature, you may find the best cures and meditation is one of them. Many of the life threatening illnesses can be cured through meditation. Heal the mind and heal the body.
Breathing techniques are the best healing meditation techniques which cure majority of the ailments- whether related to lungs or to the abdomen. The tension is released from the body and a calm soul rests!