There are so many meditation techniques out there it can be incredibly confusing to find the right one! This list should help you identify a style that works for you, or maybe solidify a choice you’ve already made.
One of the main types of meditation technique is open monitoring. In open monitoring exercises, the mind is “open”. In open meditations, you don’t focus on anything in particular, rather you are aware of the totality of your existence.
You are aware of your thoughts and feelings, any physical sensations; all the information that comes to you by way of your senses (sound, smell, taste etc.). It’s like you’re a nonjudgmental witness.
Focused Meditation Techniques
The mind may be open to taking in the whole world, but it may also be closed to focus on just one object. That’s why alongside open meditations we have the other type of meditation technique: focused attention meditations.
These can be pretty much anything else on this list.
Zazen (Zen) comes from the tradition of Chinese Zen Buddhism, which began in the 6th Century.
The focus is directed either on the breath or on the pure act of sitting, both of which cultivate mindfulness and the mentality of living in the moment with pure awareness. In deeper Zen teachings, the practitioner will often meditate deeply on challenging questions.
A Buddhist practice, the word “Vipassana”, is Pali for “clear seeing” or “insight”.
In Vipassana meditation, you focus your on breathing and find awareness to the inner workings of the mind. This process helps to achieve a great understanding of ourselves and of the mind. Vipassana leads to awareness of what Buddhists call “the three marks of existence”— the three characteristics shared by all sentient beings, namely impermanence (anicca), dissatisfaction (dukkha), and non-self (anattā).
Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving Kindness Meditation is also called Metta.
In the Tibetan and Theravada Buddhism traditions, Loving Kindness Meditation is practiced in order to develop compassion so that we can feel much closer and more connected to other people.
Mantras are one of the most ancient meditation techniques ever, and perhaps one of the most simplistic.
By repeating certain phrases over and over again, the mind begins to adapt and accept them as a new reality. Spiritual phrases and affirmations are particularly effective with this practice. Many religions — including Catholics and Hindus — use this method.
If you’ve ever asked “Who am I?” then this is one type of meditation you should definitely consider.
Basically, you just ask your self deeper questions and explore the answers that naturally arise. This method became more popular when it was advocated by an Indian sage called Ramana Maharishi. Eckhart Tolle also taught it in his book The Power Of Now.
Trataka is usually practiced focusing on a candle. A popular alternative is to write OM on a piece of paper, put it a few feet in front of you and focus on this.
Either way, the science is simple:
Still eyes = Still mind.
Prana passes up and down the spine through energy points known as chakras. By meditating on these points, you can begin to master the flow of this energy.
Third Eye Meditation
Perhaps the most important energy point in the body is the spiritual eye, located directly between the eyebrows. By opening this point, you can access unknown and unseen worlds, unlocking your deeper potential.
Many spiritual traditions have techniques that originate from here.
Kundalini is the energy in the spine, also known as prana. By learning how to control the natural movement of this energy, we step into the realm of enlightenment.
Introduced to the West by Paramahansa Yogananda, Kriya Yoga allows for a deeper control of the kundalini energy via the breath. You can take these lessons in the self-realization techniques mailed to you twice a week. Take a look.
Nada Yoga are meditations focused on sound. It starts off with external sounds, but later shifts into internal sounds such as Om.
Most people think Tantra is only focused on sex, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Tantra is a very rich tradition full of lots of different practices for mind, body, and soul.
Here are some examples of tantric meditation:
- Meditate on pain (Buddhist’s actually do this too)
- Meditating on great pleasure
- Focus on the space between thoughts.
Observing oneself is a tough thing to do. But without practice, it never gets easier. With this meditation, you visualize the inside of both the body and mind, even the thoughts and internal organs. This develops a deep knowledge of the Self.
QiGong is an ancient practice that originated in China.
A highly popular exercise in China, the word QiGong can be translated from Chinese to mean “life energy cultivation”. As with most Chinese meditation techniques, QiGong is about creating and circulating Qi around the body and mind. This is done through mindful movement visualization.