** Updated 2019 **
In today’s article post, we will talk about meditation types, meditation benefits and meditation definition. With our busy and hectic lives, we sometimes find it hard to be in the moment and tune in to our senses and feelings.
And over time, we can feel the stress of not being able to focus and concentrate on what we’re doing. We also find it stressful to be overwhelmed by what we have to deal with on a daily basis.
One thing can help reconnect our mind and body to reduce stress, achieve multiple health benefits, and stay happy and healthy– that’s meditation.
But, What Is Meditation?
It’s a precise, scientifically proven technique for resting the mind and achieving a consciousness state different from a normal waking state. Meditation, which follows a specific order and has a set of principles, can help you experience consciousness center from within yourself.
When you meditate, you stay alert, you clear your mind and you relax your body by staying focused inwardly. Here, your mind isn’t on the external events or world.
This practice requires an inner state, which is one-pointed and still to silence the mind. As you progress and becomes more engaged in the activity, you can deepen your meditation.
What are the types of meditation? Check out the following for what you basically have to know about each of them.
It’s a technique involving a process that requires you to stay present with your thoughts. It means being aware of what you’re doing – eating, showering, walking, etc, as well as where you are. It is the absence of being reactive to what is happening to the world around you.
You can do it anywhere; in fact, you can simply find a quiet spot and then sit in a meditation cushion or a solid and stable chair. All you need is to focus on your breathing while your eyes are either close or not.
You can also practice at any time of the day even while you’re doing chores. Overall, you observe your emotions and thoughts, but do not judge them. Read more on mindfulness meditation here.
Sometimes called visualization or guided imagery, guided meditation involves forming mental situations or pictures, which the meditator can find relaxing. If you’re choosing this meditation type, expect to be guided by a teacher.
In this practice, you’re encouraged to use as many senses as you can, and they include textures, smell and sounds that can promote calmness in your chosen space.
It is a basic meditation technique that makes use of an assigned mantra, such as a small phrase, a sound or a word, which is repeated throughout the practice that lasts up to 20 minutes and done two times a day. It is repeated in a specific way.
This technique involves setting inward to achieve rest and relaxation. Its main goal is to help you achieve inner peace without effort or concentration.
In Sanskrit, Chakra means wheel. This practice is said to have originated from India. Chakras, on the other hand, refer to the energy and spiritual power centers in the human body in which there are seven wheels or chakras.
Each is at a different body part and has its color. This meditation technique is made of a combination of relaxation techniques, which are focused on restoring the well-being and balance to each chakra. One known technique belonging to this type of meditation is picturing every chakra – with its corresponding color.
Some practitioners uses crystals, each color coded for every chakra. These crystals are aiding in their concentration.
It is an ancient meditation practice originating from India over 2,500 years ago. In this type, meditation definition is seeing things as they are. What’s the goal of this technique? It is self-transformation via self-observation.
How do you accomplish it? You can by paying disciplined attention to your physical sensations and establishing a deep connection between your body and mind.
With the maintained interconnectedness, you can achieve a balanced mind, which is full of positivity, compassion and love.
This type of meditation is commonly a 10-day course that involves rules’ set followed throughout the program. Some of these include abstaining from sexual activity, intoxicants and stealing.
Yoga has been around for many years, being practiced since ancient India. However, there are many styles, each involving a series of postures. They’re notable for controlled breathing exercises aiming to promote mind calmness and body flexibility.
Each meditation and yoga pose requires concentration and balance. To do it, you should avoid focusing on distractions.
And just like mindfulness meditation, you must focus and stay in the moment. Before getting started, you should consider several factors especially if you have a medical condition. Consult your doctor first.
Also called loving kindness, metta meditation is a meditation technique involving well wishing towards other people. For example, you can practice it through reciting specific words directed towards evoking warm-hearted feelings.
You can do it by sitting in a relaxed and stable position and taking a few deep breaths. Then, you can repeat some sentences steadily and slowly.
Example: “May I be peaceful. May I be well.” When done repeating and directing this kindness toward yourself, you can start imagining or picturing a friend or someone else who has helped you, and then repeat the mantra again. This time, you should be replacing “I” with “you.
You can also bring other family members, neighbours or friends into the metta meditation practice.
Alternatively, some practitioners also suggest visualizing other people that you have been having difficulty dealing with.
And at the end of the loving kindness meditation session you should utter the universal mantra wishing everyone to be happy by saying, “May all people anywhere in the world be happy.”
Upon learning the types of meditation, let’s discuss their benefits next. Check out the following for reasons you must start with one form of meditation or two now.
Meditation can also lessen anxiety. That’s not all. The practice can also reduce social anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and paranoid thoughts. And by continuing to practice, you can also maintain lower levels of anxiety.
When it comes to workplace-related anxiety due to high workloads and pressuring environments and people, meditation can also do wonders to reduce anxiety.
Emotional Health Promotion
Meditation can also help you develop good self-image, leading to a more positive life outlook, partly also due to reduced stress. Studies also had it that meditation could help in decreasing long-term depression.
What happens is that it can help in reducing the release of cytokines. Chemicals released due to stress. They affect mood that also leads to depression.
Healthy Lifestyle Development
Practicing meditation is also one of the best ways to develop a healthy lifestyle because people tend to do things better for them.
For example, practitioners tend to choose healthy eating habits – having fresh food and cutting on almost all junk food and alcohol out their diet. Many also reported quitting smoking.
It is one of the reasons to try meditation. Studies had it that practicing meditation on a daily could help in reducing stress, which is harmful for the body when the level is too high.
With too much stress follows the release of inflammation inducing cytokines, which can promote anxiety and depression, disrupt sleep, contribute to cloudy thinking and increase fatigue.
To prevent it from happening, start with mindfulness meditation. It is one of the best ways of reducing stress induced inflammation response in the body.
Meditation may help in reducing stress and improve any symptoms of stress-related medical conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder and irritable bowel syndrome.
Slows Down The Signs Of Aging
Meditation can change our brain’s physiology department, slowing down the signs of aging. Previous studies have noted that practitioners have more gray matter in their brains and longer telomeres – which indicate our biological age.
Improved Immune And Cardiovascular Health
Meditation can induce relaxation. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2008) revealed that high blood pressure patients were able to stop taking their blood pressure medication and improving their immunity when they started meditation.
Increased Attention Span
One of the most known benefits of meditation is an increased attention span, increasing attention’s endurance and strength. Meditation, based on some studies, can help in improving one’s ability in maintaining and reorienting attention.
Meditation could help in reversing the brain patterns contributing to mind-wandering, poor attention and worrying. So if you would practice it on a daily basis, you can benefit from it by increasing your span of attention. Some forms of meditation can also build your ability in maintaining and redirecting your attention.
You can become more focused and centered in the things you do, not being distracted anymore. With meditation, you may also be able to improve your multitasking ability because of your increased memory and focus.
With greater concentration also leads to better energy that you can derive by practicing meditation consistently. It does it because it can connect you to the real energy sources – as it also develops your ability of connecting your mind and body.
Meditation can help in increasing positive actions and feelings towards others as well as to the person who is making the loving kindness action/feeling. This benefit is especially true among those who practice metta meditation.
By practicing this type of meditation, a person can learn extending the forgiveness and kindness externally to their family members, friends and even to enemies.
With constant practice, meditators can also reduce marriage conflict and social anxiety as well as learn how to manage anger better. Over time, the benefits can also extend and accumulate.
Those who practice meditation can also break their dependencies. It is made possible because a meditative technique can teach self-control and develop self-awareness. With that said, they become aware of the triggers resulting to their addictive behaviors.
Several studies have also noted that the activity could help people when it comes to redirecting their thoughts and attention, controlling their emotions and increasing their willpower. It can also help in increasing their understanding of what’s causing their habits and behaviors.
The practice can also help in controlling food cravings and reducing binge and emotional eating habits. It does it well by because meditation exercises can also help in developing willpower and mental discipline.
This practice can help people avoid their triggers that cause their unwanted impulses, helping them recover from addiction while redirecting their unwanted habits into better choices for their well-being.
Memory Loss Prevention
Clarity and improved attention can keep your brain young. For example, Kirtan Kriya, a form of meditation, combining repetitive finger movements and repetitive mantra can help in focusing thoughts.
This form of meditation can help in improving a person’s ability in performing memory-related tasks when it comes to different studies looking into memory loss caused by aging.
In addition, meditation can also improve the memory of patients with dementia, helping them control stress. It can also help the family members who are taking care of these dementia patients.
Meditation can also help you sleep longer and sooner. Becoming skilled in the activity, you will also be able to redirect your racing thoughts that often lead to insomnia.
A meditative technique can also help in relaxing your body and placing yourself in a peaceful state that will help you more likely than not to fall asleep faster.
So if you’re one of those suffering from insomnia and you want to improve your sleeping pattern, you should not think twice but practice meditation.
There you have the great benefits of the different meditation types. So if you’re looking to reduce stress, concentrate better and slow down the signs of aging, to name some, you can practice one of the types we’ve mentioned in today’s article.
Finally, however, consult your doctor, for your safety. Are you ready to reap the rewards of meditation exercises for your health and well-being? Start with one technique, be consistent, set a time for it and do it daily!