Meditation is practiced in various forms in different regions and religions. The origin of meditation dates back to Vedas and was a part of traditional medicinal treatments in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Slowly with the commencement of the 19th century, it started spreading to western culture also and is seen as a part of non-spiritual treatment in business and health. So, if you want to be happy and successful, you must learn to master this art in any of the many available forms.
Let us discuss various types and benefits of meditation.
What is Meditation?
It is an ancient technique in which you focus your mind on a particular object or a thought to achieve an emotionally stable and calm state of mind.
It makes your life emotionally, mentally, and spiritually fulfilling.
Benefits of Meditation
When you practice meditation regularly, your life force energy increases, and your life becomes joyous and peaceful.
Here are a few benefits of meditation:
- Regulates high blood pressure by decreasing stress level
- Improves breathing and heart rate
- Reduces anxiety attacks and improves emotional stability
- Reduce headache and muscle pain
- Increases energy level and immune power of the body
- Relaxes the mind and improves mood, sleep, and behavior
- Improves memory and retention power
- Increases mental strength and confidence level
- Helps in developing intuitive power
- Helps to understand yourself and those who surround you
- Help to recognize harmful thoughts
- Increases focus and accuracy required to complete a task efficiently
- Keeps your mind young and reduces age-related memory loss
- Increases self-control
- Helps to recognize the reason behind your behavior
Regular practice, even at the age of fifty, will make your brain function like a twenty-year-old. You will the power to remember things, can make the right decisions, and can handle complex situations easily.
Let us now discuss different meditation styles practiced throughout the world.
Focused Attention: In this, you focus your attention on a single object throughout the session. It can be your breath, any part of the body, or some external object.
Chakra, Sound, Kundalini, Buddhist (Samatha), Mantra, and Pranayama are some of the popular meditation practices that fall under this category.
Open Monitoring: In this, you do not focus on any one object. You monitor your experiences without judging them. These can be internal (such as your thoughts, feelings, etc.) or external (such as smell, sound, etc.).
Mindfulness, Vipassana, and some forms of Taoist meditation fall under this category.
Zen: In this back is kept straight, with mouth closed, and eyes lowered gazing towards the ground. It focuses on the movement caused by inhaling and exhaling of breath.
Vipassana: It focuses on the interconnection between your mind and the body. You sit straight with a relaxed body posture and focus on your breath to prevent your mind from wandering.
Mindfulness: In this, you focus on the present moment and pay attention to your thoughts and emotions that arise at that moment. You sit straight without any support and focus on your breathing.
Loving-kindness: In this, you sit straight, with eyes closed, and generate a feeling of kindness in your heart and mind. You wish for the happiness and well-being of everyone. The more you practice, the more joyous you become.
Om or Mantra: A mantra is a word that is repeated for a set number of times to focus your mind.
Transcendental: It uses a mantra and is practiced twice per day for 15-20 minutes. It is learned only through licensed instructors. A specialized mantra is taught according to your gender and age.
Yogic: There are several types of yogic meditations. But the most common is the third eye (focus on the spot between the eyebrows) and chakra meditation (focus on one chakra especially heart, third eye, or crown along with mantra).
Taoist: It involves the generation, transformation, and circulation of inner energy. Its purpose is to relax the mind, unite body and spirit, and find inner peace.
Qigong: In this, you sit in a comfortable position, relaxes your body, and focus at the point of the center of gravity of the body, which is about two inches below the navel. It accumulates and roots the qi or energy, and you feel it circulating throughout the body.
The main of this type of meditation is the moral purification of the senses and teach a closer relationship with God.
Some of the forms of this contemplative (concentrating on inner voice or spiritual things as a part of private devotion) practice are:
Contemplative prayer: It involves complete focus and devotion, the silent repetition of sacred words or sentences.
Contemplative reading: It requires you to think deeply about the events and teachings of the Bible.
Sitting with God: It involves focusing your heart, mind, and soul on the existence of God.
Sufism is the specialized path within Islam. The goal is to purify your inner self and unite with the supreme power (Allah). The people who practice Sufism are called Sufis.
The main techniques are:
- Muraqabah (purifying inner self by disconnecting with everything except God)
- Mantra meditation (zikr, jikr, or dhikr are words for mantras to be chanted silently)
- Breathing meditation (includes five elements of breathing)
- Bond of Love meditation (between master and his disciple)
- Gazing meditation (gazing at a particular object)
- Walking meditation (looking at feet while walking)
- Sufi whirling or physically active meditation
Meditation requires determination. But today, due to numerous distractions, it is not easy to meditate. In such a scenario, guided meditation is extremely useful.
A few types of guided meditation are:
- Using audio and video without music where the teacher guide you to attain a meditative state
- Using imagination power of the brain to focus on an object
- Yog Nidra accompanied by soothing nature music for deep relaxation
- Practicing positive affirmations to imprint a positive message on your mind
Anyone can practice meditation to improve their mental and emotional health. It does not require special equipment, and you can do it anywhere. If you find it difficult to do it yourself, you can join an online or offline meditation training program. There are many styles of meditation, each having numerous benefits. You can choose any style according to your comfort.
It will improve your life’s quality and help you achieve goals quickly if practiced for a few minutes every day.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Preeti Shah
Preeti Shah (author) from Delhi on November 23, 2020:
Thanks, Risha. It feels nice that you enjoyed reading this article and also found it beneficial.
Risha Khan from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on November 22, 2020:
I found your article quite enlightening, Preeti. I have heard a lot about meditation and it's time to start doing it. I am truly amazed by the benefits of journaling that you have mentioned. I learned a lot about different types of meditation.
Keep it up!!!
Preeti Shah (author) from Delhi on November 20, 2020:
Thank you Sir.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 20, 2020:
Great coverage of an often misunderstood practice. A good read.