With busy schedules, demanding lifestyles, and increased stress these days, everyone needs a break. During a pandemic and all the anxiety it brings, it is super important to pay attention to your mental health. Meditating is one such way to take care of yourself. It brings peace, harmony, and calmness to the mind and body. Meditating regularly can be very beneficial for a balanced emotional and mental state. And, as we all know, there is no right or wrong way of meditating. If you want to start, but are unsure of where to begin, check out these different types of meditation techniques, try them all, and see what works best for you.
1. Mantra meditation
Mantra meditation, or Om meditation, is the practice of repeating a mantra, phrase, or word. Repeating the mantra will allow your mind to experience deep levels of self-awareness. It will create a mental vibration and help you connect with yourself better as you lose focus from the random thoughts running around in your head.
How to do it: Sit down with your spine straight and eyes closed. Start whispering the mantra in repetition, and focus on your breathing. Continue the exercise for about 20 minutes in a completely quiet surrounding. This will enhance your concentration and will make your mind feel calm and clear.
2. Zen meditation
Zen meditation, or Zazen, is quite easy to practise. It is based on the ancient Buddhist psychology of regulating attention, and all you need to do is sit straight and let your mind be. It allows you to gain an insight into yourself and increases your presence of mind while making you more aware of your physical surroundings.
How to do it: Sit down cross-legged with your back straight. Keep your eyes open and on ground level, and start counting your breaths in your head. Do this exercise for about 30 minutes every day. This will help your thoughts flow easier and stop your mind from wandering too often.
3. Vipassana meditation
Vipassana meditation is based on the concept of total eradication of mental impurities, which leads to the highest levels of happiness and liberation. It is a way of transforming yourself by observing your own self. Vipassana allows you to explore and connect with your mind and body.
How to do it: Sit in a comfortable position, but make sure there is nothing supporting your back. Now, close your eyes, keep your hands on your knees, and focus on your breath. As the mind starts wandering, try bringing back all your attention to the movement of your body as you breathe. Continue doing this for 30 minutes, and increase the time as you progress. This will help improve your concentration and attention span.
4. Chakra meditation
Chakra meditation has been practised for thousands of years worldwide. It aims to align and bring balance to all your key chakras. When all the chakras in your body have aligned, the flow of energy is undisturbed. By doing so, your mind and body come into a more balanced and peaceful state.
How to do it: Sit comfortably with your back straight and legs crossed. You can use a cushion to make yourself more comfortable. Now, close your eyes, place your hands on your knees, and start breathing slowly. Concentrate on each chakra in your body, associate them with their colours, and keep going from bottom to top. This will allow you to have a clear image of positive energy flowing through your body. Continue doing this for about 30 minutes in a peaceful environment.
5. Loving-kindness meditation
Loving-kindness meditation, as the name suggests, helps you empathise with others and have a more loving attitude towards yourself. It enhances the feeling of self-acceptance and having a purpose in life. By doing so, you direct the positive energy and love to yourself and, later, towards others. This helps remove any or all feelings of unhappiness and brings joy and positivity.
How to do it: Sit in a comfortable meditation position, and close your eyes. Breathe slowly, and start thinking of feelings of love, gratitude, and kindness for yourself. And, as a ripple effect, start generating the same thoughts about people you know, letting that positive energy flow throughout your body.
6. Gazing meditation
Gazing meditation is one of the easiest methods of meditation that you can practise all by yourself. Also known as Trataka, this method aims at stimulating the energy of the third eye. This helps in strengthening visualisation and psychic skills.
How to do it: First, set an intention before beginning the meditation. It can be as simple as feeling calm and peaceful after meditation. Now, get a candle and place it on eye level in front of you. You can also use any other calming object like a flower or a beloved’s picture. Relax your body and gaze at the candle in front of you, and as soon as you feel the need to blink, close your eyes. Now, imagine the candle in the centre of your head right between your eyebrows. Once you feel the image is fading, slowly open your eyes and gaze again. Do this for 30 minutes.
7. Guided meditation
This is one of the easiest forms of meditation. Here, an experienced person will guide you and teach you, step by step, how to go about the process. It helps increase focus, and the person guiding will help you imagine and visualise as they speak. This is a great way to de-stress and heal from within.
How to do it: Guided meditation is usually in the form of audio or video guides. To do guided meditation, you can download apps like Headspace or begin with YouTube tutorials.
8. Reflective meditation
Reflective meditation helps in exploring our potential and channeling the creative powers in our minds. It involves taking a topic, question, or general theme, and thinking about it to understand it better. Once you start reflecting on it, you will feel more appreciative, confident, and understanding of the idea. This helps you get a better insight into your mind and use it to its full potential.
How to do it: Sit in a comfortable position, and select an idea you want to reflect over. Now, close your eyes, and let all the thoughts flow in till you are able to understand the idea better. Introspect, hold the idea in your mind, and let all other thoughts fade into the background. Once other ideas and thoughts start surfacing again, it is time to end the process. This will help you feel more awakened, gain more conviction to work upon your ideas, and improve how you’re approaching them.
Along with meditation, it is also important to get a few minutes physical activity every day to feel relaxed and calm. Try these quick and easy workouts you can do at home with no equipment.