The many benefits of meditation have been universally accepted because of scientific experiments that have documented the brain activity of Buddhist monks. It has been proved that meditating regularly for as little as 15 minutes can have a significant impact on your emotional and psychological well-being. To get you started on the road to happiness, here are 7 of the most popular meditation techniques. Because meditation is experiential in nature and no two people’s experience is the same, finding a meditation technique that works for you may take some experimenting.
1. Guided Visualization
Guided visualization is a more contemporary approach to meditation and is largely used for spiritual healing, stress relief, or personal development. Its foundation is based on the Buddhist teaching which professes that the mind is everything and what you think, you become. This meditation technique uses your imagination to create relaxing and positive experiences which make your body release chemicals that generate feelings of positivity. This method can be done anywhere by imagining certain situations in the brain.
2. Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation is a meditation technique that was created and propagated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1955 in India and the West. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Maharishi achieved fame as the guru to the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other celebrities. According to the Maharishi, “The goal of Transcendental Meditation is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy.” This meditation is not taught freely and you need to pay for the course which is taught by licensed instructors or through online tutorials.
3. Qi Gong
Qi gong is a Chinese word that means “life energy cultivation”, and is a body-mind exercise for health, meditation, and martial arts training. It typically involves slow body movement, inner focus, and regulated breathing. This meditation technique uses breath to circulate energy through the body and energy centers. Unlike many meditation techniques where you sit still, Qi gong involves a combination of breathing techniques, movement, and meditation which has a positive influence on your posture, respiration, and the ability to relax.
4. Heart Rhythm Meditation
This meditation is more of a downward meditation because it focuses energy on developing the application of consciousness. As the name would suggest, heart rhythm meditation concentrates primarily on the heart, with an emphasis on breathing. The purpose is to experience oneness with the universe by following the philosophy that you are a part of all things and all things are a part of you. Heart rhythm meditation affects your experience on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. It helps you handle stress and cultivate an appreciative and joyous state of being.
Zazen is the primary meditation practice followed by Zen Buddhists. The word zazen means seated meditation. The aim of zazen meditation is just sitting, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images, and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them. This meditation is fairly easy to practice for beginners but taking your practice to the next level will need some guidance. If you are practicing zazen meditation at home, you should first get your breathing and posture right as they are considered important aspects of this form of meditation.
Mindfulness meditation also finds its roots in Buddhist traditions. Mindfulness is the common western translation for the Buddhist term sati. This meditation is closely related to the Buddhist practice of Vipassana or insight meditation. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of intentionally focusing on the present moment, accepting and non-judgmentally paying attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise in your mind.
7. Kundalini Meditation
Kundalini is a form of upward meditation because is focuses on the rising stream of energy. Kundalini is represented in the form of a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. The goal is to uncoil and let this serpent of energy move upwards towards the head. This form of meditation finds its roots in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Kundalini meditation believes in the existence of 7 chakras or energy junctions along the spine and head. To access this energy, you must concentrate on your breathing as it flows through the energy centers in the body. This meditation can be powerful and has to be done under the guidance of a master.