Daily meditation has powerful benefits for mental health. In fact, many cultures and spiritual disciplines have a long history of meditating for mental clarity and spirituality. Over the years, countless types of meditation have evolved from these practices, but none can be described as the best or most effective. That’s because meditation is different for everyone and choosing the right method comes down to personal preference.
Here’s a breakdown of nine popular types of meditation to help you get started.
Types of Meditation
Meditation is classified into two groups: guided meditation, where a teacher explains and leads the practice, and unguided, where a person silently meditates on their own. Following a pre-recorded guided meditation or working directly with a teacher is often best for beginners.
Want an in-depth overview of meditation, check out our article 'What is Meditation'.
1. Concentration meditation
Concentration is the basis of most forms of meditation and involves focusing on a thought, object, or movement. This meditation actively trains the mind to be collected and clear instead of scattered.
2. Mindfulness meditation
The goal of mindfulness meditation is to practice being in the moment without judgment. It involves simply noticing thoughts, feelings, sensations, or what’s happening nearby.
3. Mantra meditation
Mantra meditation is where a person repeats a spiritual word, sound, or sentence either aloud or mentally. It helps quiet the mind and trains the mind to concentrate.
4. Zen meditation
Zen meditation is a traditional Buddhist practice called zazen, which means sitting meditation. In this spiritual practice, a person sits upright and follows their breath. The goal is to train the mind to be calm, present, and alert.
5. Transcendental meditation
Transcendental Meditation® is another form of mantra meditation. It’s a well-researched and popular method that helps practitioners go beyond the boundaries of the mind and clear distracting thoughts.
6. Loving-kindness meditation
Also called Metta Bhavana, lovingkindness meditation is a contemplation of love. It helps ease the mind from thoughts of suffering and cultivates compassion. The meditation starts with thinking and feeling love toward one’s self, then for others, and then for all living beings.
Qigong is a movement meditation. It combines gentle exercises and controlled breathing to optimize energy within the body and calm the mind.
8. Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep. During this practice, a person rests in the final yoga pose called savasana and a teacher guides a meditation through the five layers of self. It promotes stillness, peace, and a conscious state of relaxation.
9. Sound bath meditation
A sound bath uses vibrations and frequencies from bowls, gongs, chimes, or cymbals to help a person enter reflection. The sounds resonate within the body and calm the nervous system.
How To Get Started
Each type of meditation might have specific techniques, but the basics are similar. To begin, find a quiet space and sit comfortably with closed eyes. Breathe slowly and focus on the breath or an object. If the mind wanders, gently bring it back and re-focus. Continue for 5 to 10 minutes and repeat daily.
–see our article for beginners on how to meditate
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a transformative tool for mental health. Many studies have shown that meditation can lower stress and blood pressure, improve insomnia, and ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Meditation can also improve overall health and well-being and build resilience and psychological balance.
To learn more about the benefits of meditation, check out our article, Top 10 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation.
Choosing a type of meditation often comes down to preference. Sofia Health is a great resource for connecting with qualified meditation teachers and experimenting with different styles. Learn more about meditation providers at Sofia.
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