12 Meditation Styles to Help You Find Your Inner Bliss
While it’s unclear when meditation really originated, experts agree that it was over 5,000 years ago. The Vedas, a collection of religious works originating from ancient India, is the earliest documentation of meditation and was composed between 1500 and 1000 BCE. From there, mediation spread to Taoist China and Buddhist India between 600 and 500 BCE, and continued to spread and develop through the East. It was not until the 18th century, that meditation was brought over to the West, when scholars began to translate these ancient teachings.
Since its introduction to the West, meditation has developed into several different types and forms. According to Live and Dare, meditation styles can generally be categorized into one of two categories, Focused Attention or Open Monitoring. While Focused Attention meditative styles support concentration of a single object, Open Monitoring forms promote being in the present moment without judgement. Within these two categories, there are several subcategories.
Which Meditation Style is Right For You?
The meditator sits tall to create one line of energy from the crown of the head to the tailbone, and either focuses on breathing through the nose or what’s happening in the present moment, known as Shikantaza.
Translated as “insight” or “clear seeing,” this style includes a gradual process through different stages to reach a permanent state of enlightenment. The meditator focuses on elements of the self to “pervade the three marks of existence known as impermanence (annica), insatisfactoriness (dukkha) and emptiness of self (annata).”
The focus is on the present moment as the meditator allows any thoughts, emotions, and sensations to organically arise and pass without judgement. This can be practiced in a traditional seated position, as well as during daily activities.
Also known as Loving Kindness meditation, the meditator focuses on cultivating feelings of love and kindness towards the self, others, and all beings. Meditators may use visualization, or repetition of words or phrases to generate feelings or well-being for all.
5. Mantra (OM)
This style uses repetition of a syllable or word, without a particular meaning, to create mental focus. Some examples include, om, so-ham, om name sivaya, om mani padre hum, rama, yam, and ham.
Also referred to as TM, must be taught by a licensed instructor. The meditator is given a mantra based on their age and gender, which is repeated for 15 to 20 minutes two times per day.
Translated as “union,” this style focuses on “spiritual purification and Self-Knowledge.” There are several different styles of yogic meditation that vary mainly by focus. These variations include Third eye, Chakra, Gazing (Trataka), Kundalini, Kriya, Sound (Nada), Tantra, and Pranayama.
This style encourages the meditator to let go of their perceptions of Self in order to gain a pure understanding of their true nature. As opposed to other styles of meditation where the meditator focuses on an internal or external object, this style involves turning their attention inward to focus on self.
This style emphasizes inner peace and creating unity between the body and spirit, as well as harmony with Tao, or nature. There are three types of Taoist meditation including emptiness, or focusing on creating inner quiet; breathing, which focuses on breath; and Neiguan, which focuses on visualizing the inside of the body and mind.
The Chinese word for “life energy cultivation” emphasizes creating a mind-body connection through meditation. Some popular Qigong exercises include Small Circulation, Embryonic Breathing, Eight Pieces of Brocade, and Muscle Tendon Changing, but there thousands of different Qigong exercises practiced, which involve over 80 different types of breathing.
The goal of this meditation is to give the meditator a fuller understanding of the Bible, as well as strengthen their relationship with God. Some different forms of this meditation include contemplative prayer, contemplative reading, and sitting with God.
A more modern variation, uses forms of audio to guide the meditator in and out of meditation. There are several types guided meditation including traditional, guided imagery, relaxation and body scans, affirmations, and binaural beats.
Bottom Line: There are a lot of different ways to bring peace and harmony to your body-mind. You just need to find the one that’s best for you.
Do you practice one of these styles of meditation or something else? Let us know in the comments below.