10 Types of Meditation. Pick What Works for You
Hygiene is the practice of maintaining our health to prevent disease. We go to the dentist to clean our teeth and check for cavities, we go to a general doctor annually to screen for common illnesses, and we think about exercising and eating healthy to improve our physical health.
What about your mental health? Most people do not even consider their mental health and think that if they are happy and healthy then that must be sufficient. By meditating for even 20 minutes per day, you will begin to start experiencing the benefits.
There are many different types of meditation that are grouped into three broad categories. Focused attention meditation focuses the attention on a single object throughout the entire meditation session. Effortless presence meditation does not focus on anything in particular, but finds peace within the quiet, empty, steady, and introverted. Open monitoring meditation keeps the attention open and not focused on any one object, while monitoring all aspects of the experience without attachment.
Below are ten meditation to choose from to start working on your mental hygiene.
Sit in a comfortable seat with legs crossed, or upright in a chair. Whichever you choose, it is essential to keep the back completely straight and focus fully on the breath going in and out of your nose.
Begin in a similar position to zen meditation but add an intentional focus on the present moment. Do not intentionally add anything to the moment; however, accept that you will become distracted. Once you recognize that you are distracted, focus on returning your thoughts to your breath.
Similar to zen meditation, you will begin sitting with your back completely straight and will focus on the breath. Instead of only concentrating on the breath going in and out of your nose, also take note of bodily sensations such as the abdomen rising and falling.
Loving kindness meditation (Metta meditation)
Start by sitting down in a meditation position and begin to think feelings of kindness and benevolence in your heart and mind. Start with positive thoughts towards yourself, then progressively towards others including family, friends, co-workers, and humankind.
Mantra meditation (OM meditation)
A mantra is a word or sound without any particular meaning that is repeated and used to focus your mind. For mantra meditation, sit in position and repeat your mantra slowly and steadily. “OM” is a common mantra.
Self-Enquiry and “I Am” meditation
The description of this meditation may seem very abstract, but in reality it is easy to practice. In “I Am” you will ask yourself the question “Who I am?”. Concentrate your attention in the subjective feeling of “I” or “I am” and reject any verbal responses.
The body has seven “centers of energy”, or chakras, and in this meditation you choose one to focus on by visualizing and chanting a mantra. The most common chakras that are focused on are the heart chakra, third eye (space between the eyebrows), and crown chakra.
While pranayama is not traditional meditation, it is a great way to calm the mind and prepare for meditation by focusing on breathing through your nose. The most common pranayama is 4-4-4-4 where you will breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, breathe in for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 4 seconds. Any kind of regulated breathing balances the body and can be done anywhere, so it is a great approach to mental hygiene.
Contrary to the eastern forms of meditation, the Christian form generally focuses on a deeper understanding of the bible or moral purification. Many people practice contemplative prayer / reading which focus on thinking deeply about the words of their religion, or “sitting with God” which is a more traditional silent meditation followed by a contemplation period that is focused on feeling the presence of God.
This form of meditation is one of the more common forms of meditation and often used to introduce individuals to the practice. There are many forms of audio available with traditional meditations, guided imagery, affirmations, body scans, and full relaxations, so you’ll have to find which one may be best for you.