6 Effective Types Of Meditation & How To Practise Them
While meditation has been practiced for centuries, it’s become even more common in recent years as a prescribed—and often preferred—method of promoting mind/body balance.
This is more important than ever, with our increasing reliance on technology and almost constant state of being 'plugged in', 'turned on' and 'connected'. It’s imperative that we disconnect sometimes and just be: tuned into our breath and body.
Because meditation can help us become more centred and focused, it is also a proven method for reducing anxiety and stress, helping with weight loss, improving your overall happiness and your relationships and so much more.
Making the decision to incorporate some form of meditation into your daily self care routine can be a little overwhelming at first, because there are many different types of meditation and variations.
This should be seen as a positive though: with so many options and subtypes, there’s more to discover and try until you find the exact right one for you. It’s completely fine to blend varieties and pick and choose elements of each to create an ideal practice; after all, the goal of meditation is for self-care and self-improvement, and that’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all deal.
These six types of meditation are the most common and popular, but feel free to keep exploring and learning more about meditation and how it can help you become your best self...
1. Progressive Relaxation
Progressive relaxation is very simple and is one of the most popular types of meditation because it happens slowly, but surely. Even if you're new to meditation, you will get the hang of it easily because it’s so gentle and deliberate.
All you need to do is scan your body to figure out exactly where you’re tense and then consciously release that tension. Start at one end of your body and work your way up or down by noticing exactly where you’re holding tension or stiffness and then, working with your breath, relax that area. Once you feel it let go, move on to the next area. By the time you reach your neck and face, you should feel noticeably more relaxed and loose.
This can be a great tool to help you fall asleep, or if you have niggling joint or muscle pain you can also try our Golden Re-Leaf Muscle & Joint Natural Pain Relief Oil).
There are different variations of it, including one where you tense each area of your body first before relaxing it, or where you use different visualisation techniques to force your body to relax like picturing a wave passing over your body. It’s such an easy meditation type to pick up on your own that it’s perfect for those looking to try out meditating or find a simple relaxation technique that they can do anywhere.
Learn more about improving your sleep in How to Sleep Better with Essential Oils.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is one of the top types of meditation because you might already be doing it without even realising.
It’s designed to help you become more mindful and focus on your surroundings and current state, to avoid focusing on the past or future. It requires a level of acceptance and lack of judgment, to simply accept and notice what’s going on around you without experiencing irritation, anger, or a longing to change anything.
No matter where you are, you can mindfully meditate by calmly becoming aware of your surroundings. You’ll notice the sights, smells, and sounds without reacting but while focusing on your breathing. This type of meditation can improve your focus and memory, while also helping reduce your extreme emotions and reactions over time. You can perform this type of meditation anytime, whether you’re waiting in line, commuting, doing chores, and even shopping.
3. Breathing Meditation
Connecting to your breathing can be incredibly mindful, which is why breathing meditation is so popular. Often when we’re anxious or stressed, we’re told to breathe deeply and slowly until we start to feel more relaxed.
This is because deep breathing can help calm your brain and your nerves, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular forms of meditation. Normally, breathing is an involuntary action—until you think about your breathing, it seems to happen all on its own.
Mindful breathing means being consciously aware of your breathing, while actively working to breathe deeper and more slowly. Whether you’re counting the lengths of your breaths or not, focusing on your breathing rather than any outside thoughts helps you relax and become more aware of your body.
Learn more in How to Balance Mood & Reset Your Nervous System.
4. Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation has many schools of thought, but the gist is that it’s a form of mantra meditation whereby your aim is to rise above your current state of being. Some believe it’s up to the teacher or guide to determine the mantra, while some more modern forms of transcendental meditation allow you to choose your own manta.
Either way, the goal is to focus on this, a sound, or a repeated set of words to experience intense mindfulness and even spiritual benefits. Repeating the same words or sounds helps you block out other thoughts and concentrate to bring yourself peace and rest. Just 10-20 minute of this meditation while seated comfortably is often enough to reap the benefits.
5. Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is exactly as it sounds.
A leader or teacher guides you through a visualisation exercise, evoking images, sounds, textures and even smells (like essential oils) to relax you and help take your mind to the suggested place. If you find you have little imagination or creativity, this might not be the meditation type for you, but there’s no harm in trying and practising.
Over time, you might find a guide isn’t needed and you can evoke these mental situations on your own, which can be even more deeply relaxing
Learn more in 5 Ways to Heal with the Power of the Mind.
6. Yoga Meditation
Modern yoga takes many forms, but for some people yoga is a type of meditation. Although you’re moving through various poses and movements, the goal is to clear your mind of all external thoughts and focus on your practice, connect with your breath and be in the moment.
This is surprisingly harder than it sounds; some of the poses can be quite challenging, which can make people feel frustrated or distracted, so it can take a lot of work to remove the negative thoughts and accept your body as it is in that moment.
Plenty of concentration is needed, which doesn’t leave much room for outside thoughts like what errands you have to do or the drama at work. This hour of respite can be incredibly beneficial for your mental health, and you don’t need any yoga experience to benefit from it.
When it comes to choosing between the many types of meditation, let yourself try out a few to see which best fits your needs and preferences.
You don’t want to force yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel comfortable for you, as that would defeat the purpose, but you do want to have a certain amount of discipline to truly reap the benefits that meditation can bring. When it comes to how often you should meditate, that’s completely up to you and your lifestyle, but a few sessions a week to start should help you experience the perks of the practice.
Learn more in 7 Ways to Deal with Anxiety & Find Your Inner Peace
Tolman Self Care.