This is it.
The most comprehensive meditation manual you will find anywhere.
Who is this guide for?
This guide is for you if you want to:
- Start a daily meditation practice.
- Switch up your current meditation practice.
- Learn about the many types of meditation you’re missing out on.
- Learn more about meditation.
Why 30 ways?
Meditation is a spectrum, like a rainbow. On one end is focused awareness. And on the other is unfocused awareness. And in the middle are all the colors (meditation styles) and shades (time spent meditating).
If you’re a beginner meditator, you can start with an easy shade and color, such as unfocused meditation for one minute.
As your ability to deal with stillness becomes more advanced, your ability to meditate improves and moves across the rainbow.
There is no end to the rainbow, no final destination. Your goal is to move through the colors like a leprechaun-ninja. Always aware, but relaxed and open to change.
Let’s dive right in!
- Guided Meditation
Guided Meditation is a popular form of meditation where a meditator is guided through a series of images, affirmations, body scans by a script, instructor, or visual/audio recording. Many life coaches and wellness gurus provide a guided meditation nowadays. They are also available on YouTube and a plethora of apps offer guided meditations from hundreds of different teachers.
Benefits of Guided Meditation include:
- Improves mental focus.
- Increases deep relaxation ability.
- Heightens imagination and creative ability.
- Increases self-awareness.
How it works: Guided meditation comes in many different forms.
- Guided Imagery
- Body Scan
Here is some info on each of the types of guided meditation.
Try this guided meditation:
2. Mantra meditation
Mantra meditation is a type of meditation that uses mantras as its source of meditative power. Mantras have existed for a very long time. The first mantras are over 3000 years old and were developed in Vedic Sanskrit by the Hindu. Of course, many other religious developed different mantras that shared the same principles, such as the Buddhist, Jainist, and the Sikhist just to name a few.
Mantras are usually chants or sacred formulas that serve deeply personal ritualistic purposes depending on the religion using them. Many religions believe that mathematics is the language of existence, which is probably why mantras are meticulously mathematically structured meters corresponding to specific spiritual purposes.
Mantras are used in meditation to help improve focus. A person getting into a meditative state using a specific mantra will begin to become in-tune with the mantra’s frequency, which is the point. Some believe that each mantra is connected to a higher power while others simply believe its connected to an intention like ‘forgiveness.’
There are several benefits of using mantras during meditation such as the following:
Increased concentration during meditation
Emotional improvement through repetition of specific words that inspire desired emotional thoughts.
Frequencies can improve health; others believe it is the mind’s belief in mantras that improve health, either way, it works.
Ability to connect to a spiritual part of oneself is improved.
These are just some of the benefits one can expect from mantra meditation. The session starts by choosing an intention or a mantra, which leads to the meditation. The idea is to try to get into the meditative state while repeating the chosen mantra. Of course, mantra meditation is much more involved, but the specifics require a deeper understanding of the entire process.
3. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Is a program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts in 1979. The program incorporates different aspects of mindfulness such as how to approach eating, movement, listening, conflict, relationship in a mindful way. The purpose of MBSR is to help people become aware of their natural inclinations and unhelpful habits so that they can develop ways of thinking and being that are more valuable and supportive to their health. It is designed to help people with a range of conditions but mostly focused on helping people:
- Boosts immune system.
- Enhance pain management and reduce pain levels
- Improve focus and attention span
- Strengthen resiliency and ability to bounce back from challenging events
How it works: It’s offered as an 8-week program in person or online or a 5-week residential program. There are also online and interactive 8 week programs taught by other providers. If you decide to use a program that offers this kind of meditation, you can go to a place that offers instructors who are certified in MBSR. I have included a list in the resource section below. You can also try MBSR on your own. Here are a few steps to practicing on your own:
- Body Scan – Do a mental body scan of your entire body. Notice how each part of your body feels from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. As you focus on each part notice how it feels and take note of any sensations. Just notice and try not to judge any sensation as “good” or “bad”.
- Simple Awareness: Take a moment while you are doing an activity to notice how you’re feeling. Take note of any sensations and write down your experience and what you learned from this activity.
- Practice mindful yoga. Practicing yoga poses with a mind that is relaxed, aware and focused on the present moment can deepen your body awareness and help you cope with unpleasant sensations and feelings that arise in your body.
What it’s useful for: Chronic Pain, stress, concentration, resiliency.
4. Mindfulness Meditation
Who’s that #1 meditation practice in the US today? It’s Mindfulness! That’s who. Now a huge celebrity of the meditation world, mindfulness has made its way into our hearts and minds due to its simplicity, availability and effectiveness.
What it is: Mindfulness is focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while recognizing thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgement. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist meditation practices but it was brought to the West by Jon Kabat-Zinn, rockstar of secular mindfulness. It was started in hospitals as MBSR but now mindfulness has rocketed its way to the top of contemplative practices in schools, prisons, community centers and more in a matter of only about 3 decades. Mindfulness can be practiced both as meditation and as a practice while doing other tasks.
Its benefits are
- Boosts immune system.
- Increases positive emotions.
- Decreases negative emotions and stress.
- Helps tune out distractions and increase focus.
- Helps regulate difficult emotions.
Mindfulness is the form of meditation that has been the focus of scientific studies for the past 30 years so there are many benefits that are still being discovered. Hop on over to my article about the benefits of mindfulness to learn more.
How it works:
- Unfocused awareness: To practice this, find a comfortable place and let your mind and body become still and quiet. Become aware of any thoughts, feelings or sensations that you have and then, let them go like a passing wave on still and quiet sea. Don’t focus on it, just be aware.
- Focused awareness: To practice this, get comfortable. Choose something to focus on. It is usually either your breath, a word or a spot or object in the room. As you focus you will find your mind pulled away from the focus point to a thought or a feeling. Each time that happens bring your focus back to your focus point or “anchor”. This practice increases brain plasticity and helps your mind adapt to different changes or stimuli in your environment.
- You can also use mindfulness as a state of awareness while doing tasks such as gardening, walking, washing dishes, showering or even making love.
What it’s useful for: Emotional regulation, anxiety, depression, chronic pain.
5. Transcendental Meditation
Many people struggle with many of the existing forms of meditation. For starters, many find it difficult to muster up the concentration required or to control or monitor their thoughts (mindfulness), and all the other things that must be done. In comes transcendental meditation to change all that.
What Is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental meditation is a proven meditation technique where the mind is allowed to settle inward through continuously quieting the thoughts until there is only pure consciousness. Unlike other meditation techniques, transcendental meditation is effortless and consistently effective. With an excess of 300+ peer-reviewed studies, the results of this meditation technique are evidence-based and it is such an easy, simple and natural technique to practice that even teenagers with ADHD can benefit from it. The technique can be done anywhere you are, can be taught in a one-on-one session, and practitioners can begin experiencing the benefits almost immediately.
4 Major Benefits of Transcendental Meditation include:
– Easy to learn, practice, and master
– Reduces nervous system conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and anger
– Lowers blood pressure and alleviate the symptoms of conditions like depression, ADHD, and PTSD
– Improves brain function and cardiovascular health
Getting Started with Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation uses a mantra as the focus of its meditation. It is practiced twice per day while sitting still with one’s eyes closed. Each session is designed to last an average of 15 to 20 minutes. Here is how you can begin your transcendental meditation practice today.
– Have your mantra ready
– Sit comfortably and still with your eyes closed
– Gently repeat the mantra inside your head
– As you start thinking on the mantra let go of it and allow the mantra to adjust as it pleases
– Allow thoughts to come and go and quietly come back to the mantra when thoughts go off
– There is no need for a special yoga position while meditating
– Your mantra should be kept secret and saying it aloud is counterproductive
6. Autogenic training
Autogenic training is a method of relaxation that teaches your body to respond to a set of repetitive visualizations. It was developed by Johannes Schultz in the 1920’s when he studied hypnosis and discovered that people experienced feelings of heaviness and warmth while being hypnotized. It’s similarities to self-hypnosis are evident as it works by using a set of mental instructions that a person uses to guide themselves into a state of relaxation. It’s also similar to progressive muscle relaxation as in that it progressively guides each body part individually until the person is completely relaxed.
- Restores balance between the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems.
- Improves digestion.
- Reduces insomnia.
- Reduces panic attacks, chronic pain and stomach issues.
How it works: The Autogenic Response works by helping people manage their responses to stress and control physical responses to stress related to heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.
You can do Autogenic Training by following the following steps:
- Get into a comfortable position and breathe normally.
- Repeat the following phrases to yourself in your head while focusing on each area as you say them. Take a 15 second pause between each phrase.
- My right arm is heavy and warm.
- My left arm is heavy and warm.
- My right leg is heavy and warm.
- My left leg is heavy and warm.
- My heartbeat is calm and regular.
- My body breathes freely and easily.
- My breathing is calm and regular
As you get more experienced with Autogenic Training you can make up your own phrases that help you feel the most relaxed. You can also find plenty of suggestions for phrases in the resource section below. This is a very relaxing technique and I’ve found that benefits can be reaped within the first session. In doing this meditation I noticed that my nervous stomach calmed down quite a bit. This is notable because one of the benefits of this relaxation technique is improved digestion.
7. Body scan meditation
Body scan meditation is a meditation that takes note of each parts of the body or range of muscles to notice what’s happening in the body. Finding out if there are any areas of tension or pain helps a person to be aware of the physical sensations in the body. Many people are disconnected from the feelings that their bodies carry. Numbness to the messages our bodies have to tell us is a reflection of being unaware of the connection of mind body and spirit. Doing a body scan helps you reflect not just on what is going on in your body, but how it’s connected to your thoughts and frame of mind as well.
Benefits of Body Scan meditation
• Heightens emotional awareness.
• Helps understand where stress, thoughts, and emotions lie.
Another useful body scan technique is called Compassionate Body Scan. This type of meditation is related to Self-Compassion meditation made famous in the West by Kristen Neff. CBS combines the elements of self-compassion, being moved by ones own suffering and treating oneself with empathy and care with being mindfully aware of the feelings and sensations in ones body. The elements of being kind in the way one evaluates their body.
8. Compassionate Body Scan
Another useful body scan technique is called Compassionate Body Scan. This type of meditation is related to Self-Compassion meditation made famous in the west by Kristen Neff.
Mindfulness in the context of the CBS involves being aware of one’s experiences of emotional and physical pain related to the body in a non-judgmental and balanced way. Being mindful of one’s suffering allows one to extend compassion to the self.
CBS combines the elements
- being moved by one’s own suffering
- treating oneself with empathy and care
- being mindfully aware of the feelings and sensations in one’s body.
- Being kind in the way one evaluates their body.
Its purpose is to become kinder and more compassionate in the way one feels, thinks about and mentally talks about one’s body.
Most women have an internal body dialogue running from around age 12 years old. Compassionate Body Scan helps one to become aware of the dialogue and mindfully change it to one of acceptance, empathy and affection.
The possible benefits of Compassionate Body Scan:
- Lessens body dissatisfaction.
- Lessens body shame and body self-consciousness.
- Improves body appreciation.
- Improves disordered eating.
How it works: In a study done by Kristen Neff and Vonk,
It was found that self-compassion is associated with lower
levels of social comparison and is less contingent on perceived appearance than self-esteem.
Take a few moments to find a posture and breath that feels comfortable
Notice any sensations in the top of your head. Is there any tingling? Can you feel any air moving around it?
Become aware of how your neck feels. Is there any tension, heaviness or discomfort? Relax the neck muscles and soothe any points of pain you may be experiencing.
Feel any tension in the shoulders. There’s often emotional tension held in the shoulders. Notice for a moment what you feel there. Take a moment to have compassion for what feelings might be there.
Continue to scan each body part and notice the sensations of sharpness, pain, tension or discomfort. Soothe each area with a compassionate awareness. You might even imagine you are having a massage on each area.
9. Floatation Therapy
Floatation Therapy is an up-and-coming therapy that is said to have a number of health benefits. It is considered alternative medicine, but it is deeply rooted in science.
Brief History on Floatation Therapy
Floatation therapy or flotation therapy was once called isolation tank therapy. It was developed by John C. Lilly back in 1954. The idea was to figure out what would happen to the body when the senses were minimized.
You should know that these tanks were not only soundproof, but they were also pitch black, so they really created a whole new type of experience. The idea caught on in the early 1980s, and it is enjoying a resurgence as of late.
What to Expect From This Type of Therapy
Of course, one thing you should expect is being in water. Now, you are going to be floating in salt water for about an hour without being disturbed, though there are some who suggest even longer periods of isolation.
The water is usually lukewarm, so there is no need to worry about being uncomfortable though that initial jolt of water is still part of the experience.
Benefits Linked to Floatation
There are several benefits linked to floatation such as the following:
- Muscle tension relief
- Deep relaxation
- Some arthritis relief
These are just some of the benefits that can be expected, but there are many others.
10. Heart Rhythm meditation
Heart Rhythm meditation was developed by Puran and Susanna Bair from the Institute of Applied Meditation. They described their method in the 1998 book, Living from the Heart. HRM coordinates the body’s breathing and heart rate into a state of coherence that unifies body, mind and soul. It involves using conscious breathing, a concentration on the heart and making heartbeats coincide with the rhythm of breathing. One of the breaths that it focuses on is called the Square Breath, which involves breathing in to the count of 8 heartbeats, holding for 16 beats and exhaling for 8 beats.
Heart Rhythm Mediation hasn’t been the subject of any peer reviewed scientific studies but it works in a similar manner to biofeedback.
Possible benefits of Heart Rhythm meditation:
- Improves cardiac function.
- Increases metabolism.
- Improves sleep.
- Increases lung function.
How it works: According to iamheart.org, Heart Rhythm meditation works by lowering Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is a measure of the changes of time between breaths. It synchronizes heart rate and breath rate, makes the calms the mind and increases concentration ability.
To try the Square Breathing Technique:
- From your relaxed, comfortable position, Take a few deep breaths in and out.
- Inhale for the count of 5.
- Hold for the count of 5.
- Exhale for the count of 5.
- Start making each exhale several seconds longer than your inhale. Continue for about 5 minutes.
- Become aware of your pulse by placing your hand on your wrist or throat.
- Give full attention on inhaling during 8 heartbeats.
- Hold for 8 heartbeats.
- Exhale during 8 heartbeats.
As you practice this meditation over time you can work up to holding for 16 heartbeats. This wasn’t possible for me on my first try but with each time I practiced it got a little easier. You can deepen your practice of HRM by taking an online or in person class. See the resources below.
11. Hugging Meditation
The hugging meditation was made famous by the Zen Master Nhat Hanh. Hanh first traveled to the United States in the mid-1960’s, at which time a friend of his offered a hug. Although he was initially uncomfortable and stiff, he decided to embrace this Western tradition and turned this simple act into a mindfulness exercise. He firmly believed that a good hug can have transformative effects on a person.
Incorporating the hugging meditation into your life can lead to many positive benefits. One key benefit of practicing the hugging meditation is decreased stress levels due to the slowing of the heart rate from interpersonal touching. Hugging can also boost immune function, which protects you from illnesses like the flu and common cold. If you are feeling lonely, hugging is a great way to rid yourself of that and give you human contact. One last benefit of hugging meditation is that it does not need to be formally scheduled; if you and a friend or partner are together, you can do it right then. Feeling the warmth and touch of another person is often all it takes to turn a down day into something spiritual.
To practice the hugging meditation, you must find another person that is willing to practice with you. Stand facing each other, open your arms, and hug them. Remember to hug the person not only with your body, but also your mind and your spirit. Core Zen principles such as interconnectedness and interbeing are at the heart of the hugging meditation.
12. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation was developed by Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920’s. It’s a form of relaxation training that instructs the user to tense and release their muscles in a sequential order. It teaches how to monitor the level of tension in each muscle and then tense and release the muscle. With this practice, the user can recognize the difference between tension and relaxation. Usually the relaxation process follows the order from head to foot or vice versa.
Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
- Reduces insomnia.
- Relieves stress and anxiety.
- Lowers cortisol levels.
- Might improve depression.
How it works: Much like the other relaxation techniques, Progressive Muscle Relaxation improves the link between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems by decreasing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, decreasing breathing rate and lowering cortisol levels. It also shifts your brain waves from beta to an increase in alpha pattern, so your mind will become still and relaxed. By practicing at least once a day, you will experience more relaxation throughout your day.
You can do Progressive Muscle Relaxation by following these steps:
- Get into a relaxed, comfortable position with comfortable clothing.
- Take a few deep breaths in and out.
- Tense the muscles in your feet for ten seconds.
- Release them and feel the relaxation in your feet.
- Continue with this for your calf muscles,
- Upper arms
- Head and face
12. The Relaxation Response
Is a technique based on a book written by Dr. Herbert Benson in 1975. It’s a simple version of Transcendental meditation for Western geographically-located newbies. The Relaxation Response is, quite simply, a state of being characterized by lower stress. The stress response, or “fight or flight”, is characterized by increases in blood pressure, heart rate and rate of breathing, the Relaxation Response is the opposite of that. This type of meditation is also characterized by slower brain waves.
- Reduces anxiety and depression.
- May reduce pain.
- Reduces insomnia.
- Increases feelings of calmness and control.
How it works: The relaxation response is designed to help you reduce distracting thoughts by focusing on the repetition of words that increase focus and awareness. Much like mindfulness, the Relaxation Response emphasizes that when distracting thoughts do come up, to just let them happen and refocus on the intended word or phrase.
The Relaxation Response is a simple technique you can do by following these steps.
- Get into a comfortable position and breathe normally.
- Focus on your breath.
- In your mind, say the following words in rhythm with your breath.
- When you inhale, say in your mind, “in” and when you exhale say in your mind “out”.
- Next inhale on the word “calm” and exhale with “slow”.
- Now try “peace” and “comfort”
- “smile” and “relax”
- “present” and “moment”
You can use or make up your own phrases or words to think on the inhale and exhale. I find this technique to be most helpful because of the rhythmic nature of the repetition of words. It produces an almost trance-like quality. It’s a very relaxing and calming meditation that produces a very chill state of mind.
13. Walking meditation
Walking meditation may be characterized as meditation in action. Practitioners become mindful of their movements when walking, and with it, the sensations in the body as well as qualities of the world around them.
At one time, walking meditation was more common than sitting meditation as practitioners would travel throughout Asia in search of a teacher who could hep them reach the highest level of awakening. Walking meditation takes many different forms that include walking in a labyrinth, Tai Chi and yoga.
How to Perform Walking Meditation
Beginning walking meditation starts with counting your steps, putting one foot slowly in front of the other and becoming aware of how each movement feels. Walk naturally, with a straight spine and match your breaths to your steps. Be aware of how the movements feel between steps, as well. Acknowledge what arises, including thoughts, sensations, feelings and even outside distractions. Observe them, notice them and then dismiss them as you return your attention to your breathing. Like sitting meditation, there is no right way or wrong way to perform walking meditation. Every time you walk can be a time to practice walking meditation, even when your gait is faster.
Benefits of Walking Meditation
Walking is one of life’s most common activities, and as such, it easily turns into a form of meditation that has multiple benefits for the practitioner. These include:
• Acts as a bridge for becoming more mindful and making meditation a way of life
• Is easier to practice for those who have difficulty during sitting meditation
• The slow movements relieve stress, calm the body and focus the mind
• Is an effective method to train the mind to stay in the moment
Affirmations Meditation is a form of meditation based on reading, repeating, listening to or writing phrases that are meant to affirm positive belief in a person’s mind. Affirmations can take the form of emotional support and encouragement.
How affirmations work:
- Affirmations are rooted in the belief that when a person hears something repeatedly, after time, they will believe it.
- Repetition of affirmations floods our brains with thought which can change the structure and functioning of our brains.
- When used with positive emotion, affirmations can help us re-program our thought patterns for positivity, optimism and confidence.
Keys to affirmations:
- Use positive statements like “I am, I have, I am able,”. Make sure they are focused in the present moment.
- Choose affirmations that you feel drawn to and can believe more readily. It is easier to believe affirmations that we already feel have some truth to them than those that seem impossible to believe.
- Expect change to be slow but steady. Don’t expect change over-night. Affirmations work over the long-term and with plenty of repetition.
Here are a few positive affirmations to start with. Focus on being in a relaxed state, slow down and calm your breathing and focus on stillness and tranquility.
- I radiate success.
- Life is full of joy and I find it everywhere I go.
- I am grateful for the life that I have.
- I am in love with every part of my body.
- I greet each moment of life with enthusiasm and gratefulness.
14. Guided Imagery
Guided Imagery is a form of guided meditation that involves being guided through visualizations that usually involve calming nature scenes, visualizing your highest life desires and goals or visualizing scenes intended to bring about the desired effects of relaxation, motivation or inspiration. It is usually led by a trained practitioner who uses voice, music or ambient sounds to stimulate the perception using the senses or hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste and movement.
Benefits of Guided Imagery include:
- Improves mental focus.
- Increases deep relaxation ability.
- Heightens imagination and creative ability.
- Increases self-awareness.
How it works: Guided imagery works by evoking deep, meaningful connections between the mind and the body using metaphor and visualization. The practice of producing mental images helps enhance and strengthen neural connections involved in the ability to concentrate.
Clinical research has shown that guided imagery can reduce preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain among patients undergoing surgical procedures.
Practicing guided imagery without a guide or a script is called visualization and it is utilized in sports psychology and leadership psychology to inspire athletes and managers to achieve their desired outcomes in their mind’s eye before carrying them out on the field/in the workplace.
Try this guided meditation:
This guided imagery script for pain or tension is available as a video below:
Make any adjustments you need to settle your body into a comfortable, relaxed position. With pain, it isn’t easy to find a comfortable position but settle into a position where you feel you can deal with the pain even if only for a few minutes at a time. if you wish to allow your eyes to close, do so now.
Inhale slowly as if you were filling a jar with a slow stream of water. hold the breath at the top for a moment and exhale slowly as you release the stream through your nostrils. do this again until you relax into a steady, normal pattern of breathing.
visualize a soft glow of white or gold light. find it reaching every part of your body and then making its way to where your pain is. visualize it slowly rotating around in your pain. giving that part of your body a healing, warm caress of soothing relieving energy. feel streams of pain leaving that place one by one. continue to breathe. breathe into the warm glowing ball of light. it can grow.
see your pain as little helping sprites, little fragments of energy that are helping your body to heal itself. they add soft pressure, gently push that area and adding pressure. maybe it is tension there and to break up the tension a little, you can use your healing ball of light. as you visualize the tension as waves that can be carried out on the ball of light. and taken away peacefully to a dimension where they are being dissolved. bit by bit the glowing light releases the tension in the area that you wish it to.
Here’s what you can do for pain.
See a beautiful light blue cloud glowing with love. Imagine it is filled with loving kindness and warm thoughts from someone you love. It can be a child a pet, someone with whom you have a loving and uncomplicated relationship. Imagine that these thoughts of love are flowing through this lovely light blue soft beam of light. Now imagine this light flowing over your area of pain. Allow it to resonate there, feel it vibrating with love, and the love from your loved ones. This love is a tangible love. It’s energy in physical form. Flowing to your pain and soothing it. Now feel it pulsing through the rest of your body.
With your arms relaxed and your hands by your side, breathe slowly feeling your abdomen rise and fall each time. Calmly breathe in and out. Relaxing more with each breath. Peacefully resting.
15. Loving-kindness meditation
The history of loving-kindness meditation can be traced to the Buddhist tradition. However, it can be practiced and adapted by anyone, irrespective of religious or cultural affiliation. Essentially, it is all about cultivating love. Just as there are many levels of intensity, there are also lots of different ways of practicing loving kindness meditation.
The Process of Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving-kindness meditation uses positive words, feelings, and images to evoke a friendliness and loving kindness towards self and others. You can begin by meditation on the following simple sentences:
• I am free from outer and inner danger. I am protected and safe.
• I am free of mental distress or suffering.
• I am free of suffering and physical pain.
• I am strong and healthy.
• I am happy and loved.
Once you have achieved the desired calmness, you can begin speaking and sending loving kindness to family, friends, and others using the same process of meditation.
Loving kindness meditation has many benefits:
• If you want to boost your levels of well-being and happiness, loving kindness meditation is the practice for you.
• That inner voice can be tamed easily through the practice of loving kindness meditation.
• Regularly practicing this unique meditation has been proven to activate and strengthen the brain areas responsible for compassion and empathy.
• It has been shown to help in reducing chronic pain and migraines.
Start with a daily, small commitment to meditation. If you can successfully commit only five minutes daily, you are likely to stick with the practice and gradually start witnessing benefits. Loving kindness meditation has no conditions, and doesn’t depend on whether the person deserves love or not. It is all about the cultivation of love.
16. Motivational meditation
A motivational meditation might be based on a subject like stop procrastinating, energy, become more productive or reach your goals. It can also be a simple awakening to enjoying life in the present moment, to feel more alive and live with no regrets.
Motivational meditation often uses movie clips and speeches from motivational speakers, athletes and actors who inspire action through stories of determination in difficult life circumstances.
This helps to identify with the sense of passion, desire and hunger to be the best with the hard work and discomfort needed to reach that goal.
It also shows difficulties they faced which gives people to push through their trials and come out on the other side changed, stronger and even more committed.
Blending entertainment, enthusiasm and encouragement is the catalyst for a charismatic and possibly life altering or at least perception altering meditational experience.
Here’s what it does:
Makes you identify with the person you’re watching on screen while adopting their attitudes which enhances the possibility that you will also inherit or develop their traits.
Puts you in the mindset that you can accomplish anything.
Encourages feelings of positivity and achievement.
Motivational videos use the best speeches from motivational speakers and self-help authors, actors and celebrities who give inspiring advice and guidance on becoming successful, pushing past failure and developing a tenacious, unshakable spirit.
17. Visualization meditation
Is a mental exercise using the recall of images, sounds, smells and emotions that are meant to evoke different feelings and reach different goals.
Visualization can be used to provoke feelings of calmness, happiness, confidence or any positive emotion that one would like to embody or express.
It is also used to reach certain goals. Many athletes as well as people in business use visualization to practice achieving smaller goals that make up the steps to reaching their long-term goals.
For example, an athlete may visualize herself kicking a soccer ball perfectly over and over so that when game time comes, her mental image of it is already so crystallized in her mind that her body has to follow the blueprint.
In business a person can practice giving a presentation in a meeting.
Another purpose of visualization is to tap deeply into intuition. Your mind holds so much conscious information. Every day you recall hundreds of thousands of pieces of information to accomplish you daily tasks. But you also have inner wisdom that you might not tap into as often. Visualization can be a spark to help you develop and mature into the power of your insight, wisdom and intuition.
A great visualization exercise that I use is visualizing the day that will lead me to my goals.
- Decide on a short-term (SMART) goal. One that is specific, can be measured, is action-oriented, realistic and that you can achieve in a number of months.
- Sit in your comfortable, relaxed position with a few cleansing breaths to begin.
- Decide on two things you can do each day to achieve that goal.
- Visualize your day unfolding just as you’d like it. Visualize you doing those two things you’ve decided upon with ease, motivation and satisfaction
- Practice this every day and you will find yourself performing your two daily tasks with more and more ease and commitment until your goal is reached.
Benefits of Visualization
- Reduces stress
- Increases concentration and focus
- Strengthens imagination
- Reduces pain
18. ASMR – Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is an extremely calming sensation that washes over the individual. It is experienced through a calming and relaxing tingling in the back of your neck and the scalp. It can also extend to the rest of your body. It has been suggested by Clemens J. Setz, that a passage that appears in a novel published in 1925 (Mrs. Dalloway) authored by Virginia Woolf describes something that is distinctly comparable to ASMR.
How does ASMR Work?
The concept of ASMR can simply be described as a range of soothing sensations triggered by a diversity of gentle stimuli. Popular ASMR triggers include soft talking, whispering, physical touch, tapping, scratching, personal touch, hair play, or even page turning.
ASMR sensations broadly fall under:
• Physical sensations: chills and/or tingles in the spine, neck, head, and throughout the body.
• Psychological sensations: feelings of happiness, euphoria, calmness, comfort, relaxation, peacefulness, restfulness, or sleepiness.
Benefits of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response
Besides the pleasurable sensation that Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response offers, other benefits include:
• Better sleep
• Improved mood and reduced stress
• Improving blood flow
The Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response concept has gained great popularity that has led to a large online community backed by many ASMR videos. These are designed as forms of guided meditations. Using these ASMR videos regularly has been associated with reduced stress levels as well as in aiding concentration. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response is particularly useful if you suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorder as you can watch/listen to the videos to help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
19. Chanting meditation
What Is Chanting Meditation?
Chanting meditation or mantra meditation is a highly beneficial meditation practice that features the repetition of sounds, words, and phrases to regulate breathing, increase focus, and help heighten awareness.
What Are The Benefits?
1. Reduced anxiety and depression
Sometimes anxiety and depression can be viewed as same sides of the same mental coin. Thankfully, ranking high among the many benefits of chanting meditation is the reduction of anxiety and depression.
2. Slows and regulates breathing
Another benefit of chanting meditation is that it is designed to help slow breathing and help practitioners breathe more deeply and purposefully.
3. Stress reduction and improved total wellness
Countless medical and scientific clinical studies demonstrate the devastating effects of continues high levels of stress has on the body, mind, and total health. As such, in today’s high stress world, overall stress reduction and by extension the improvement of overall health and wellness is a welcomed change.
4.Relatively easy to do
Meditation can seem intimidating to those just getting started. Thankfully, another key benefit of chanting meditation is that it is fairly easy to do as it is often used as an effective alternative to other types of meditation practices considered difficult to get into.
5. Increases focus and awareness
Focus is inextricably tied to our efficiency and success in all areas of our lives. As such, any practice that can help us gently and naturally prioritize what’s important and live in the moment through increased focus where it matter is a god send. Chanting meditation is one such practice.
How To Get Started
Getting started with chanting meditation is easy. The first step, of course, is to carve out a physical space with little to no distractions. From there, gt seated and take a few deep breaths to center and relax your body and clear your mind. Then begin to chant your phrase through the mouth while focusing on controlling breathing as you do so to create a sensation. You may continue your session for as long as you’re comfortable. Beginners can start with roughly 5 to 10 minutes.
20. Sound Bath meditation
Sound bath meditation is a form of meditation facilitated by sound. Contrary to what the name implies, there is no water found anywhere. The “bathing” is actually from sound waves. Sound therapy has been around since the beginning of recorded history, so while this might seem like a trendy new form of meditation, it has been a form of healing for thousands of years. Throughout history, there are numerous references to temples built with the intention to harness sound, light, and magnetics. Sound bath meditation is one of the most recent methods of utilizing the powerful properties of sound.
To participate in sound bathing, you will first lie on the floor and the healing musical performance begins. You can choose a position that feels most comfortable to you. The music can vary, but it is generally a combination of bowls, gongs, chimes, drums, and singing. The participants listen to the music throughout the session, which usually last for an hour. Depending on where you are practicing the meditation, your instructor might create the sound themselves by using their own equipment. Like other forms of meditation, you will want to try to relax and let your stress melt away during the session.
So why might one want to participate in sound bath meditation? One key benefit is the calming of overstimulated nervous systems. If you have been having trouble sleeping, sound baths have been said to cure insomnia. Like many other types of meditation, sound baths can provide balance to your body. There have been reports of people having their depression healed and the easing of anxiety and chronic pain from practicing sound bath meditation.
21. Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation
Tibetan singing bowl meditation produce specific vibrations or sound frequencies that are fundamental for prayer, at least in some religions. They are also said to help induce relaxation among many other things.
How it is Used
There is no consensus on how a singing bowl is to be used. For Buddhists, they are used to signal the beginning and the end of a meditation period. The Buddhists from regions other than Tibet use singing bowls while chanting or when particular phrases during prayer are spoken.
These bowls are used by lightly striking the rim of the tool using a stick. Some play the bowl by rubbing it with a wooden stick that is wrapped or padded. The continuous rubbing creates a long-lasting singing sound.
Some History on Tibetan Singing Meditation
Singing bowls have existed for thousands of years. Some say they date back to 560 to 480 BC. This time-frame suggests that it existed when the historical Buddha Shakyamuni existed.
Of course, its use has now gone beyond tradition and entered modern use, which is not always linked to spirituality.
A Few Benefits to Know
The following are a few benefits of using Tibetan singing bowls for meditation:
It seems to induce relaxation by reducing stress.
The state of meditation is reached easier using these singing bowls.
The specific frequencies may balance Chakra energies.
Balanced Chakra energies could also lead to holistic healing.
Of course, these are just some of the benefits of this Tibetan meditation tool, though there are bound to be more.
22. Catholic meditation
The Grotto Is A Sacred Sanctuary For Meditation
The How: It is customary for Christians to meditate before this sanctuary and offer their prayers to God, interceded by Mary the mother of Jesus.
Catholics take immense pride in their reliance on faith. To them, believing in the unseen power of the most high has stronger spiritual significance than the performance of visible miracles. For Catholic Christians, Mary -the Mother of Jesus- is seen as a holy figurehead. As such, it is customary for them to use her as an intermediary between them and God. The Grotto -a sacred sanctuary typically erected on church premises or at holy sites- consists of a sculpture of the mother Mary, sometimes with the baby Jesus in hand.
Lent Is A Time For Spiritual Meditation
How to: Basically you sacrifice what you love the most for a period of 40 days.
Starving yourself to near death may not be your idea of acquiring spiritual calm but it works like magic for Christians! When Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights, he sought to ask the Lord to prepare him for the battles that lay ahead. He sought to appeal to the world with an undue sacrifice of himself with the hope that it would usher in the grace of the Lord God. During lent, Christians mimic Jesus in an attempt to find spiritual comfort through sacrificing their carnal ways.
Benefits Of Catholic Meditation
* You get a sense of detached objectivity from the carnal ways of this world.
* You protect yourself from exploitative religious practices that demand money as a payment for “miracles”.
* You get closer to God.
* It refines the inner voice of the Holy Spirit.
23. Jewish meditation
Although many people associate meditation with eastern religions, it is also an essential part of Judaism. Deep meditation can be part of a synagogue service or performed alone. One of its main purposes is to bring the practitioner closer to God. Jewish meditation teaches that a rich spiritual experience should be gain by exerting the mind and body, focusing on and internalizing the experience.
Jewish meditation has been practiced since the time of the patriarch. The Hebrew Bible also indicates that Judaism has always had a meditative tradition. The three main forms of Jewish meditation are Meditative Kabbalah, Hasidic Meditation and Husar (Ethics) Meditation. Jewish meditation can encompass chanting of psalms and Torah prayers, sitting in stillness and silence, focusing on a Shiviti, meditating on God’s various names, guided visualizations and more.
Preparation is an important part of Jewish meditation in that practitioners should sit quietly before they start and consider before whom they stand, meaning to call on God. Adherents should remember that the practice should be detailed and not cursory in nature. As practitioners increase the detail of their reflections, the power of their meditation increases.
Jewish meditation produces many of the same benefits as other forms of meditation, namely better health and peace of mind, but these are seen as side benefits. Practitioners are able to access the Prime Soul that resides within the larger soul, sublimate base impulses and secondary learned natures, access one’s own divinity and realize and consciously connect to God, the Infinite Source.
24. Taoist meditation
Taoist meditation, also called Daoism, originated with Lao Tzu in the 6th century B.C. Its main text, the Tao Te Ching, emphasizes harmony with nature. Some forms of Taoism have been influenced by Buddhist meditation practices from India.
The main purpose behind Taoist meditation is to generate, transform and circulate inner energy with the purpose of quieting the body and mind while also unifying the body and spirit. Taoist practices help its adherents find inner peace. Improving health and longevity are goals in some forms of Taoism.
There are three primary ways to practice Taoist meditation. The first is insight or emptiness meditation, where the practitioner sits quietly and empties himself or herself of thoughts, feelings and images to experience inner peace and emptiness. Thoughts and sensations arise and fall away without engaging them, allowing the meditator to feel replenished.
Breathing or concentrative meditation requires practitioners to focus on their breath and following specific patterns of breathing to ascertain the dynamics of heaven and earth.
Neiguan, or inner observation, requires visualization inside one’s body to acquaint oneself with the nature and wisdom that is within.
Benefits resulting from a Taoist meditation practice primarily involve health, which is why some forms of the practice concentrate on health improvement. Regular practitioners not only achieve a sense of tremendous inner peace, lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, improved circulation, reduced tension and stress, and reduction of chronic pain caused by a variety of prooblemss. A longer life span also comes with a reduction of health problems.
25. Tonglen meditation
Tonglen meditation is one of the basic meditations practiced by Tibetan Buddhists. Tonglen is from the Tibetan Language meaning “giving and taking.”This forms the foundation of Tonglen meditation and attitude towards pain. The ancient practice goes back to the 11th century.
The 7 Steps of Tonglen Meditation
Tonglen can be practiced anytime, anywhere or in a formal sitting meditation. It typically entails seven steps.
1. Get Centered
2. Call To Mind A Person Who Is Suffering
3. Breathe In Their Pain
4. Transmute Darkness Into Light
5. Send Them Peace
7. Move On To Someone Else
26. Vipassana meditation
Vipassana is among India’s most ancient meditation techniques. The practice, which means to view matters as they really are, was discovered by Gautama Buddha of India (the founder of Buddhism over 2500 years ago). He taught Vipassana as a remedy for all universal ills. Over the passage of time, the technique spread to Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and other countries.
The Technique of Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana meditation has the capacity of transforming the human character and mind. There are basically 3 steps to the Vipassana meditation training and practice.
First, the practice involves abstinence from actions that are likely to cause harm. Students undertake 5 moral principles, practicing abstention from lying, stealing, killing, use of intoxicants, and sexual misconduct. The precepts allow your mind to calm down sufficiently so that you can proceed with the tasks you have to tackle.
Second, students practice meditation. This is meant to help in developing control over the mind from harmful thoughts and actions.
The third step is meant to purify the mind from the underlying negativities. This is the actual practice of Vipassana.
Vipassana Meditation Benefits
• Enables one to experience harmony and peace.
• Purifies the mind through freeing it from suffering as well as the deep-rooted causes of human suffering.
• Leads to full liberation from all defilements that affect the mind.
Although Vipassana meditation forms part of the Buddhist teaching, it can be applied by people of all faiths and backgrounds. It is a non-sectarian meditation technique that aims for the complete elimination of mental impurities leading to full liberation and the highest happiness.
27. Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a state of deep relaxation induced by a guided meditative process. It invokes an altered state of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness.
The deep relaxation of Yoga Nidra induces alpha brainwaves in both hemispheres of the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.
The name Nidra means “Goddess of Sleep”. Yoga Nidra is a way to enhance the sleep cycle and hygiene.
These steps may be part of a Yoga Nidra:
- Leads you through a series of steps called the “five layers of self”. This includes integration of five layers of self or being, that must be addressed for overall healing to take place.
- Sankalpa which is a Sanskrit word meaning “resolve or intention”. It’s a short mental statement that emody’s your determination to do or become something in your life. It is impressed upon your subconscious mind by autosuggestion
- Leads you through a creative visualization which may include the consequences of deeds (karma), and cleansing the unconscious mind.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
- Lowers stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep and reduces insomnia
- Awakens creativity
- Promotes learning ability
Yoga Nidra is extremely simple and involves lying flat in the position of shavasana and following the voice of the instructor or recording.
28. Zen meditation
History of Zen Meditation
The practice of Zen meditation is a subset of the Buddhist tradition that originated in China during the time of the Tang dynasty. This form of meditation was strongly influenced by Taoism. It spread from China to other parts of Asia, including Japan, Vietnam and Korea.
1. Improved Mental Health
Zen meditation provides a practical way to relax the mind, it is directly linked to a number of key health benefits. These include improved mental health.
2. Sound sleep
People suffering from night terrors, disturbed sleep and insomnia will find Zen meditation very helpful. To take advantage of Zen’s therapeutic benefits, one needs to meditate just before retiring to bed.
3. Heightened awareness and creativity
A clear, calm mind is significantly sharper and more tuned to the surroundings. In addition, it performs better when it comes to creativity. This is in direct contrasts to a restless mind that finds it difficult to focus and decipher meaning from patterns.
4. Inner peace and happiness
With Zen meditation, individuals can live a more peaceful and fulfilling lives. The practice helps appreciate the little joys of life. This state of mind enhances overall happiness and inner peace that extends to people around a meditating individual.
How Zen meditation is done
Zen meditation plays an integral role when it comes to the Bhuddist experience. The practice is very simple but correct posture is important. An individual should conduct the session in a quiet and peaceful space to ensure no disturbance. The temperature and light in the room must be moderate.
To start a session, one should place a zafu on a zabuton while facing the wall. The next step entails taking a deep breath and then balancing the body from side to side up to four times.