Have you tried meditation before, but felt like it wasn’t for you? Don’t be discouraged, because meditation is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
With so many meditation styles out there, it can be overwhelming to sort through (or try) them all.
Comparing meditation practices and different styles of meditation is similar to the feeling you get when looking at a list of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors. Ah, decisions, decisions.
Meditation is something we hear about all the time, and odds are you’ve probably heard of several different styles. If you’re new to meditation, it can be overwhelming to decipher between them all and know which type best suits your needs and personality.
On the plus side, when you have so many styles to choose from you also have a wide variety of benefits that go along with these different meditation practices. Whether you want to relieve stress and anxiety, develop greater self-awareness, or seek spiritual guidance, meditation can help.
Here Are 5 Types of Meditation Practices Based On Your Needs:
1. Kundalini Meditation: If you want more energy
Kundali Shakti translates to “serpent power,” and refers to the energy at the base of your spine. This energy is symbolically represented as a coiled serpent. It is believed to be primal and very powerful.
Releasing energy through Kundalini will help you shift from a state of stress into a state of inner peace.
In terms of how to do Kundalini Meditation, first find a peaceful place. Be sure to dress in loose, comfortable clothing. Sit up straight with a pillow underneath you for support. Maintain an upright posture and make sure your chakras are aligned so the energy can rise up.
Close your eyes and start to inhale and exhale through your nose. One round of breathing should last about 7 to 8 seconds. Next, break up your inhale and exhale so the inhales and exhales are short with pauses in between. Be sure to stop if you start to feel lightheaded.
Kundalini Meditation is part of the Kundalini Yoga practice. It focuses on the energy channels and chakras in the body, using breath, postures, and movement, to help move energy up through the body. This not only boosts your energy levels, but also raises your consciousness and improves your state of mind.
Want to learn more about Kundalini? Check out our comprehensive Introduction to Kundalini Yoga
2. Transcendental Meditation: If you want to find peace
Transcendental meditation, also known as TM, is a silent mantra meditation to do for 20 minutes each day. The goal is to disconnect from your regular thoughts and thinking patterns in order to achieve a state of relaxed awareness. It’s considered to be one of the most natural and effortless forms of meditation.
Transcendental meditation takes you away from distracting thoughts and brings you into a state of pure consciousness that is open and receptive.
Begin in a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. When distracting thoughts come up, return to your mantra (either a word or phrase you choose or a mantra sound provided by a TM instructor).
Want mantra inspo? Here Are 15 Encouraging Mantras to Boost Positive Self-Talk
The mantra helps settle the mind down and help you connect to the peace and stillness of the present moment.
Research shows TM creates an “absence of time, space and body sense.” This explains why many people describe TM as an “out of body experience.”
This meditation style is popular because instead of asking the participant to empty his or her mind, it instead provides something (a mantra) to focus on which many people (including a wide range of celebrities from The Beatles to Oprah, Pink and more) consider it to be an easier, more accessible form of meditation.
3. Walking Meditation: If you struggle with sitting in stillness
For all you nature lovers out there – good news! Walking meditation is a great way to meditate whether you’re experienced or brand new to meditation, and it’s a big added bonus if you love being outdoors.
While this meditation practice sounds self-explanatory, there are actually several approaches to a walking meditation – making it an even more versatile and appealing option.
Whether you choose a more traditional take of walking back and forth on the same path, add a specific breathing technique (like inhaling for eight counts, exhaling for six), include a mantra or practice mindful observation, there are many ways you can make your nature walk a moving meditation.
Love the sound of this meditation practice? Learn More About These 4 Main Forms of Walking Meditation Here
4. Dzogchen: If you can’t seem to find the time to meditate
If you can’t seem to find time for meditation in your schedule (calling all workaholics), then Dzogchen is for you.
Based on Buddhist teachings, Dzogchen translates to “great perfection” and helps us recognize our true nature. It’s founded on the principle that all people are capable of awakening to the “Buddha within,” which refers to the perfection of their natural state, the state that was discovered by Buddha.
You can do this meditation from the comfort of your desk (or anywhere – even going for a walk or doing the dishes!). All you have to do is be still for several minutes and enter a neutral, indifferent mental state. Don’t think about meditating or focusing on anything in particular.
The goal of this meditation is to simply be. Be in the here and now without force, effort, or expectation that can often be attached to starting a meditation practice.
5. Vipassana: If you’re a spiritual seeker
Vipassana, otherwise known as Insight Meditation, involves different meditation techniques to help you reach a deeper level of consciousness – hence, it’s translation to “insight” in Sanskrit.
This type of insight meditation is centered around the present moment, allowing you to push past the delusions of the mind and help you see things as they actually are. Vipassana is one of the oldest forms of meditation.
To begin, choose a comfortable position to sit. Place your hands in your lap, palms facing upward. Close your eyes. Bring your attention to your abdomen and breathe naturally.
Notice the sensations of your belly rising and falling. By focusing on your body, you will disconnect from the mind. If your thoughts start to wander, bring your attention back to your breath.
This is a long meditation, typically lasting for one hour (but you can always start with less time and build towards the full hour). The point is to move past the discomfort (physical or mental) that comes with being in stillness for a long period of time, ultimately leading to a deeper level of consciousness.
Bonus! Guided Meditation
Guided Meditation can incorporate breathing techniques, mantras, visualization and more but all forms of guided meditation are led by an instructor who leads you through a meditative journey with a specific focus and/or outcome in mind.
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Which Meditation Style Is Best for You?
Meditation comes in many forms. To find out which one is best for you, ask yourself: What benefits am I looking for? What’s my main goal? How much time am I willing to dedicate to practicing meditation?
Answering these questions will put you on the path to discovering the meditation practice that’s right for you.
Also, keep in mind your meditation practice is meant to grow over time. As you practice, you’ll start to improvise with confidence and adjust your practice to meet your needs.