6 Types of Meditation
Research shows that meditation can help reduce the symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Six meditation methods to try include the following:
Guided meditation is one of the most common forms of meditation and is often used to introduce individuals to the practice. Guided meditation, or visualization, is a method in which the individual focuses on a relaxing experience or activity. Using a guide or teacher, the individual takes their mind to a comforting place by virtually smelling, hearing and feeling the experience in their imagination. Once the practice is learned, a teacher or guide is no longer needed.
Mindfulness meditation focuses solely on being aware in the present moment. Engaging the mind while calmly noticing things in the environment without negative reaction(s) creates peace. This type of meditation can be done anywhere but is typically done in a relaxed position while focusing on deep breathing, recognizing thoughts and circumstances without judgement and returning to the present moment.
Vipassana meditation began in India more than 2,500 years ago. The mind-body connection is the focus of this practice. Vispassana meditation promotes that self-transformation occurs through self-observation. Vipassana focuses not only on breathing but also physical sensations in the body.
Loving kindness meditation (Metta meditation) focuses on feelings of kindness and benevolence in the heart and mind. It begins with positive thoughts toward the self, while deep breathing, as the thoughts progressively move toward others, including family, friends, co-workers and all humankind. Loving kindness meditation also encourages loving, kind thoughts toward adversaries and life stressors.
Transcendental meditation uses mantras. A mantra is a word or sound without any particular meaning that is repeated in a patterned way. This practice focuses the mind and promotes inner peace and a deep state of relaxation.
Chakra meditation focuses on the seven “centers of energy,” or chakras, in the body. Each chakra corresponds to a certain color. During this type of meditation, the individual focuses on one chakra while chanting a mantra. The most common chakras are the heart chakra, third eye chakra (space between the eyebrows) and crown chakra. This practice aims to bring peace and balance to the chakras. Incense or colored crystals may be used during this practice.