Meditation is defined as focusing one's mind for a period of time. But what are the different types of meditation and how can you benefit from it?
The benefits of mediation have been scientifically proven as reducing anxiety, preventing and treating depression, improving cognition and concentration and boosting happiness and self-control to name just a few.
Although not an exhaustive list, some popular forms of meditation include:
Zen meditation is the official name for the type of meditation people are thinking of when they think of mediation: ‘clearing the mind’. In this form of mediation, importance is placed on posture in the belief physical stability leads to mental stability. After assuming the seated or lotus position, clear the mind by focus only on the breath, counting inhalations and exhalations, bringing your mind back whenever it wanders. Retreats are a great way to learn this technique but it can be self-taught too.
Mindfulness: one of the most popular forms of meditation currently so you may have heard a lot about this method recently. In our increasingly busy lives with constant interruptions and streams of information from phones, email and internet; mindfulness works by distancing ourselves from this, reducing by stress by bringing focus oneself and the present moment. The main methods used to achieve higher mindfulness are breath awareness (focusing on your inhalations and exhalations), body scan (focusing on the sensations and feelings in all parts of the body starting at toes and working up to the head) and environmental awareness (focusing on the sounds and smells in your immediate environment). There are a number of great apps such as Headspace and Welzen to guide you through mindfulness meditations.
Primordial Sound Meditation is not about forcing the mind to be quiet like other mediations, but instead focusing on a personal mantra which is repeated internally. The mantra is unique to you based on your birth date, time and approximate location; you can find out yours now using tools such as Prokerala. The meditation itself can be practised using guided videos on YouTube.
Kundalini is practised by focusing on the breathing and the feelings as it flows through energy centres in the body. This method is often done through Kundalini Yoga incorporating physical movement into the practice. A number of quality guided Kundalini mediation and yoga videos can be found on YouTube.
Guided Visualisation is performed by imagining relaxing and positive experiences causing feelings of relaxation and positivity. A huge range of different visualisation exercises can be found on YouTube with some focusing on particular addressing particular issues such as anxiety or confidence.
We recommend trying some of these different types and seeing which works best for you.