Meditation: A Beginner’s Guide (4 Popular Practices)
Do you find yourself feeling anxious and wishing you could shut your brain off to experience a few minutes of peace? Have you noticed yourself getting lost in racing thoughts and being unable to focus your mind on the present moment?
Then you should give meditation a shot.
Meditation trains your mind to regain calm and become more focused. It may sound simple, but those who’ve tried it know how challenging it can be.
When most of us begin meditating, we have a hard time sitting in silence and paying attention to the present moment. However, once you start, you will realize how simple it is and also enjoy its many benefits, both for your mind and body. Anyone anywhere can meditate, but it may take some people a little more practice than others to achieve a state of calm.
In this beginner’s guide, we will help you understand the different practices to help you find the type of meditation most suitable to begin your journey.
Meditation for Beginners: 4 Different Types and How They Vary
Discover what you need to know about different types of meditation to choose the style that best suits your requirements.
What Is Meditation?
In a nutshell, meditation is the art and science of introspection. It allows your body and mind to rest while remaining awake and observant of your surroundings. There are many different techniques you can use to shape and liberate your mind. Similar to how weight-training and cardio can help individuals cultivate a flexible yet strong body, meditation aids in fostering a flexible and strong mind.
The Different Types of Meditation
1. Mindfulness Meditation
Based on the teachings of Buddha, mindfulness meditation helps one understand how their mind works. The knowledge you gain serves as a foundation for overcoming impatience, dissatisfaction, and other negative thoughts that prevent you from living a happier, fuller life.
By practicing this form of meditation, you will:
● Learn to stay in the present moment and appreciate it.
● Accept your reality and become more mindful of your thoughts and body.
● Observe your mind and identify thoughts without manipulating or judging them.
This technique combines awareness with concentration and can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
It can be done while sitting, lying down, or in any other position that makes you feel comfortable. It is easy to practice. Just focus your attention on your breath, and every time you notice your mind wandering, simply bring it back to the breath.
2. Zen Meditation
Also referred to as Zazen meditation, Zen was another form taught by Buddha under the Sanskrit term ‘dhyan’. The word describes a meditative state where the practitioner allows their breathing to settle down to allow the mind to become naturally calm. Rooted in spirituality, it can rejuvenate your being and add positivity to your life.
Here’s how you can benefit from Zen meditation:
● Can solve psychological issues by helping you deal with deep-rooted depression and anxiety
● Allows you to find answers to different questions that may be troubling you
● Brings about empathy and inner awareness and acts as a catalyst, permitting you to live life to the fullest
● Turn you into a knowledge seeker who understands the essence of life.
This technique doesn’t require you to put your attention on a particular thing such as your breath or sound vibrations. Sit upright and follow your breath, noticing how it moves in and out of your belly and allow your mind to ‘just be’. Practicing this form can foster a sense of attentiveness and presence.
3. Transcendental Meditation
This meditation form is useful for avoiding distracting thoughts and promoting an enhanced state of relaxed awareness. It’s a silent form that is typically practiced with eyes closed but is slightly different from other forms of meditation. Instead of clearing one’s thoughts, it focuses on allowing practitioners to channel their thoughts using a single mantra that they keep repeating. This can help sharpen one’s focus and relax.
This form of meditation will help:
● Minimize anxiety and stress to prevent it from turning into a regular experience.
● Ensure you experience an increased sense of calm throughout the day.
● Promote better sleep, more self-confidence, and overall improved happiness.
● Aid in achieving goals and becoming better at managing your time.
Transcendental meditation can help you gain perspective as to what is and isn’t important in your life. In time, you’ll notice that your goals become in tune with your mantra and you start putting them at the forefront of your life.
Sit upright comfortably, close your eyes and, take deep breaths to allow your body to relax. Keep repeating any word or mantra and if you see your mind chasing your thoughts, merely return to the mantra.
4. Movement Meditation
Unlike other meditation techniques that encourage you to remain still, movement meditation focuses mainly on your body in motion. It is associated with other mindful movements such as tai chi and yoga. This can include anything from walking alone to gardening, or even walking your dog. When your body is in motion, it gives you a chance to expand your awareness and just focus on what you are doing, turning movement into the object of this technique.
Benefits of this form of meditation:
● It can lower blood pressure, physical pain, anxiety, and stress levels.
● It enhances creativity by allowing the mind to become more open to new ideas.
● You will start noticing physical sensations more mindfully.
The technique can be combined with different mindfulness meditations, especially for those who have a difficult time sitting still for an extended period of time. Additionally, this technique doesn’t require you to be alone; it can be experienced with partners or in group settings.
When it comes to meditation, no single technique works for everyone. So, it’s important that you try different kinds. Remember, with consistent practice, you’ll be able to quiet your mind, increase your self-awareness and creativity, and feel more grounded.
If you continue to have trouble practicing meditation, seek guidance from a meditation support group or experienced teacher. This is the best way to understand where and why you are struggling and how to overcome these challenges to experience a state of calm and peacefulness.