We can’t turn a corner without seeing a magazine stating meditation’s benefits and if you’re intrigued, here are some types of meditation you can use.
Just as there are many types of flowers and types of engines which take a lifetime to master, there are just as many types of meditation that take a long time to grasp. It’s important that when you are opening your mind to work on yourself you look at the background of any organization selling meditation to understand what their belief systems are and what their goals are.
We should not blindly follow anyone that says they teach meditation, but should be selective in the types of meditation we spend our time learning. There are, and it’s no surprise, people teaching meditation who will misguide you to make money.
Ultimately, it’s your own judgment call when it comes to trusting a spiritual counselor, and while the techniques are subjective, the results are scientifically proven. Some meditation practices focus on an individual, while some focus on a mantra, sounds, colors or the purpose of healing.
Meditation has been found to calm your body’s central and parasympathetic nervous systems, which in turn can help to create clear thinking, overcome mental obstacles and help reduce anxiety, as well as inflammation in the body. Meditation is helpful for people who live in a very busy and fast paced life or are healing from a tough experience.
It offers a reminder that we are not disconnected from each other, but more connected, in ways that the 10% of our brain that we use cannot quite comprehend. What will you experience? Is there a greater understanding or connection between us? These techniques are developed based on experiences that have been documented for thousands of years all the way back to the time of the first written language.
Most cultures have developed similar types of meditation with variances in technique. If you look at Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Mayan, Toltec, Aboriginal, Mongolian, Celtic cultures and others, you will see similarities. Today we have meditation techniques that fit our modern lifestyle (because we may not be able to, or feel it necessary to meditate in a cave) and they will continue to evolve.
Just as with yoga, there are organizations that structure meditation. Transcendental meditation is a specific type that is popular among celebrities. It was started by the Maharishi in the 50’s. He was a yogi from India and the technique involves mantras (usually a chant or aphorism) said twice a day for about 15 minutes.
He taught millions of people before passing away in 2008. There is a certification for TM as it is often referred to. Meditation techniques are often copywritten so they can be promulgated more extensively.
Celebrities that have promoted TM include Jim Carrey and Russell Brand. This meditation can greatly change the way you see life, can help you feel peaceful and can become a positive habit that replaces a negative one.
There will be many variations on this type of meditation. The chakra system is based on Indian healing modalities that refer to energetic centers in the body that are associated with nerve centers. Meditations that focus on chakra clearing are aimed to help pinpoint and remove emotional blocks as well as physical ailments.
Moreover, it draws a direct link between emotions and physical ailments. The chakra system relates certain emotional qualities to each energy center and teaches they can be either overactive or underactive.
Focusing on the chakras is an abstract way to look at where we may be imbalanced in our lives and can be very helpful. Just as with anything else, meditation should be done in moderation with the other things we need to live a balanced life.
Shamanic meditations are popular among working class individuals and people living in remote areas. The basic premise of shamanic journeys is that it taps into the subconscious. Often you will go to a place in your mind and meet your animal spirit guide. You will ask that guide a question and they will lead you to someone that will answer it with an item or token that represents the answer.
This can help you see things symbolically and tap into archetypes that the logic brain does not have access to. Other shamanic meditations commonly include a steady drum beat or a shaken rattle that help put the mind into a different brainwave state. Some of these trance-like states have been facilitated by the use of entheogens which are more commonly referred to as hallucinogens.
Shamanic healers developed in many cultures, and of course, the term ‘shaman’ was not always prescribed to them. There are many people that have benefited from this new way of relating to natures elements and connecting to their inner voice.
This ancient Chinese breathing technique should only be done with an experienced practitioner. My first experience with qi gong in San Diego was remarkable. We lay on the floor and did about 15 minutes of what was called warrior breath (breathing hard through our nose).
By the end of the session we had so much energy from the oxygen that most of the people in the room were crying and I personally felt like an anime character with energy shooting out my hands. It was really interesting to feel how the energy in the body can be controlled with techniques. This is another technique that has been around for eons and has many facets to be learned.
There are many teachers of Qi Gong, variations of techniques and videos about the practice. It is used to heal the mind and the body. It is an ancient health care system that is considered ‘alternative’ in America because it includes movement and breathing instead of medication.
If you are new to meditation, it is often easier to begin learning by taking a group meditation class at a local yoga studio. Each group meditation will be different, depending on what type of meditation the teacher has studied or how much LSD they did in the 60’s. I’m just joking, kind of.
Don’t be surprised if you have trouble focusing at first, and you’ll probably fall asleep. I did. This is normal, and over time, you will be able to sit for longer periods of time. You may not experience anything for a long period.
Keep in mind, meditation is more effective when you also eat a clean diet and exercise regularly. The physical postures of yoga are said to only be meant to make the body strong enough to meditate for long periods of time.
There are retreats that offer free ten day silent meditations that require ten hours a day of silence. This is not required for silent meditation. It can be done anywhere, and it’s probably easier to do it in a quiet place.
This meditation can be done while breathing slowly and can be good to just lower stress. It’s a simple way to slow down, reflect, and as cliché as it sounds, get in touch with who you are without all the influences and pressures of modern life.
If you want to try to meditate silently at home, bring a journal with you to write down any realizations you may have. Don’t look at it as you would any other task. There is not a clear and defined outcome of meditation, it is often just to counteract or hit reset for the scrambled minds we have after doing a lot of rushing around and stressful tasks.
It is really just to not use your mind that is most valuable. Allowing it to rest allows your heart rate to go down, allows your primal alert system to relax and can help reduce inflammation in your body that is caused by an acidic chemical produced by stress caused cortisol.
For people that feel they are ADD or just have trouble focusing, I recommend this type of meditation, because it gives your mind a task. You are on a journey through an imaginary world which gives your mind a break from planning, analyzing and focusing on negative things. It’s a great technique and Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle have great guided meditations available on audio or video.
Each guided meditation will be different and they are aimed to help us feel a deeper spiritual connection, which can’t really be put into words until it is experienced. People really love this type of meditation and I find it a perfect starting point for those that have not meditated before.
This is actually one of the greatest types of meditation that many people love. I recommend doing it barefoot as long as you’re not in a city, so you can ground yourself to the earth like a lightning rod does. We are inundated by fluorescent light, recycled air and electromagnetic frequencies generated by our computers, TV’s and cellphones.
Studies are still coming out about how much these affect us, but getting outside for fresh air, sunlight and putting our feet in the dirt is a great way to reconnect our minds to our bodies and get out of the mental space. It can help us remember to take care of our bodies with proper food, water and exercise, and remind us of the full experience of what it is to be human.
Sometimes people are meditating and they don’t even realize it. Many things such as knitting, cleaning, writing and painting or drawing can be meditation. When we keep our body active our mind is able to be more creative while our logical side is preoccupied.
This therapeutic type of everyday meditation can actually help us enjoy daily tasks much more. If you start to look at mundane tasks as a great time to clear your mind, you can begin to enjoy every part of your day that much more and essentially kill two birds with one little zen stone, so to speak.
This type of meditation involves specific types of ‘kriya’ meditations with movements, breathing techniques and mantras. It is meant to move the energy through your nervous system and connect you to deeper spiritual truths.
You will notice your creative energy greatly increased by this type of meditation and it is advised to only do this with a trained professional as it has such as strong effect on the body and mind.
Tantric meditation originated in India and is a ritual type of meditation, and one of the most unique ones. It involves the interaction of two people. It can be done in a class setting or as a couple.
Don’t be surprised if you are told to look into the eyes of a stranger for ten minutes without talking and don’t be surprised if it makes you cry. There are many variations of tantric yoga, such as White Tantric, which is an annual event in LA.
Meditation has scientific backing, and you don’t have to believe in a higher power to get the benefits of it. For that matter, if you’re religious, you can still try it. Meditation is probably the most valuable thing I have found in my life to stay balanced and healthy. One of my favorite books on meditation is called ‘Kriya Yoga’, and I found it at Barnes and Noble.
There are ways to increase the chemicals that are produced from meditation, which include drinking water that doesn’t have fluoride, and eating a raw food diet. If you’re interested in learning about the ancient yogis’ experiences with meditation, I recommend reading the book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, which accounts famous saints and sages that were meditation masters with some interesting skill sets.
My next article will just be telepathically written, since we will all have decalcified pineal glands after we start meditating. I was just joking, thanks for reading and sharing this article, I would love to see your comments below, and stay posted for more grounded advice on how to levitate here on YouQueen.
Shannon is a contortionist and yoga teacher that loves to inspire people to lead empowered and healthy lives. She writes practical advice for health and gives real world insights to empower women emotionally.
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