…it isn’t all just sitting cross-legged with your eyes shut…!
There are many styles of meditation to choose from.
We are so fortunate to live on the South Shore, where many classes and wonderful instructors are available!
Let’s explore some types of meditation….
These include Buddhist practices, transcendental, zen, mantra, chakra, sound, guided, and active, among others.
How can someone choose where to start?
Think about the type of person you are overall, the amount of time and dedication you have, and where your interests lie…was it recommended to you by your doctor or therapist?…what do you intend to get out of meditation?…
Here are some benefits from practicing:
- Healing the body
- Handle stress better
- Feel less anxious
- Increased energy
- Improved focus
- Deeper spiritual connection to oneself
- Increased amount of positive feelings
The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind and bring your consciousness to the present moment. In addition, meditation helps one connect with the inner self and increases connection to others and the whole of creation. Meditation eases persistent mental noise, improves focus/creativity and is calming. Almost any activity can be meditative if it absorbs your attention and keeps you present. Let’s consider some meditation exercises:
Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga – These exercises cultivate ‘life energy’ and promote the circulation of energy (Qi) through the focus on breathing and movement. In particular these exercises circulate oxygen and blood. (Always seek out a qualified instructor to help you with proper form).
Activity Mindfulness – Walking (ie. a labyrinth, my personal favorite!) or doing other enjoyable activities such as sports, art, music or writing can promote activity mindfulness. Doing dishes, gardening, or cleaning can also be considered a meditation if we are focused and present while enjoying the experience!
Guided Meditation – This type of meditation is where one sits and focuses on specific imagery given by an instructor or through audio. This form of meditation is often used in healing, as one can focus on specific parts of the body. I’ve used CDs from healthjourneys.com, with great success.
Sound – The focus of this meditation is on a sound, repeated mantra or vibration. Drumming circles are a great place to participate for sound meditation.
Mantra – Mantra meditation is repeating a mantra (and there are many), such as “Om” or “Om mani padme hum”.
Transcendental Meditation – This is a very popular and well-known practice which includes a mantra and is usually practiced about 20 minutes twice a day. It’s a good idea to seek out an instructor for transcendental meditation, as it has specific techniques that may require a higher level of assistance.
Sitting – Sitting meditation is very common and can incorporate focus on sound, a mantra, or breathing. Practices tend to originate from Buddhism, and established positions, such as the lotus, have been taught to encourage deeper inner connection.
Binaural Beats – Although originating from the 1800s, this is a modern addition to the meditation circle. Binaural beats are special frequencies that put the brain into meditative states such as alpha or theta. The frequencies, which synchronize brain waves, have benefits such as increased awareness. Binaural beats tend to quickly enhance mood. Books and CDs can be found easily using an Internet search.
If you are ready for meditation, start slowly with one that looks enjoyable.
Better yet, START RIGHT NOW! …”scan each part your body with thoughts of appreciation”…