This is going to be an overview/introduction post that I hope will be useful especially for beginners about types meditation. By necessity it needs to be in parts and will cover meditation how-to’s and include links to reputable sites for each type of meditation. So do check back in as I’ll post every few days on this. My background is a certified yoga instructor/practitioner for 15 years. I also maintain a regular meditation practice; see bio for much more detail. I will only discuss types of meditation that I have some familiarity with. But this gives a good start!
There are so many types of meditation many are especially good places to start for a beginner. Many schools/teachers teach their method, just know that not every method will be best for you. So there are as many practices as there are traditions. I will list here some of the most popular types from the Yogic/Hindu(origins) and Buddhist. Also know that just because a method comes from a particular tradition-trying it does not mean you are now a Buddhist or a whatever! In fact mindfulness meditation (from the Buddhist tradition originally) is now being used in the west to deal with stress and chronic pain. Google Jon Kabat-Zinn a research doctor who has written books on the subject, he has stripped out the religious aspect. Also please be aware that each type of meditation has levels or layers as you progress, so it’s really best to learn from a teacher if possible. The easiest to start with for a beginner is probably the breath awareness method. It also is not to be overlooked simply because I’m saying it’s good for beginners, as in fact it is very powerful and useful practice. It’s simple, non-religious since we all breathe and the breath is always there so it’s accessible.
There are so so many benefits to meditation practice, which I’ll cover in a later post. Please check back as I will be expanding on this every few days with a new post of various types of meditation till each is covered. Namaste.
- Metta Meditation-Loving Kindness meditation, one sequentially wishes ones-self well, then benefactor/family…. friend broadening the sphere till one gets to generating this feeling for all beings. Buddhist tradition (many)., especially Theravadin/Insight & also Tibetan schools.
- Yantra Meditation- Use of a visual diagram to meditate with by looking at the shapes while repeating a mantra. (Tantric/Yoga tradition.)
- Mindfulness Meditation-( also called Vipassana)- awareness of whatever is arising in the mind, moment by moment. Often one adds a simple label to what is noticed. So for example: one realizes one is thinking about an bill that needs to be paid. You might label that “worry, worry” or “planning..” and then return to a home object which is usually the breath. (Buddhist trad., especially Theravadin/Insight schools.)
- Chakra Meditation- Visualizing either with a external image or internally only the symbols for the chakras (subtle energy centers in the body) while trying to feel them energetically. Often repeating specific syallables for each chakra. (Yogic/kundalini/tantra)
- Breath Awareness(ananpana sati)-(also referred to as a concentration practice) Focus on ones natural breathing, not altering it in anyway. May count each inhale and exhale up to ten for example and start again. Or if concentration is stronger no counting just keeping the mind on each breath, feeling the touch of it, the length etc./Buddhist, vipassana, Tibetan too.
Namaste. I will discuss the benefits of each type next.