What Are the Different Styles of Meditation?


Meditation Has Many Styles

Whether you are advanced in meditation or a beginner, one should know that there is not one method to meditation.  Some people think that you are supposed to blank your mind out and think of nothing.  It really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with levitating off the ground or forcing yourself to think of nothing at all. 

Instead, meditation is for the peace of mind and balance in the mind, body and soul.  Meditation helps us to see that we can find our inner peace by carefully reaching higher levels of peace through meditation.  Even if you spend 15 minutes a day meditating, it could bring your spirit into total relaxation. 

Its important to practice meditating every single day.  This will help you to understand the benefits of meditation.  Let us go over the many different styles of meditation.  After learning about which styles of meditation there are, you can choose which works best for you. 

Transcendental Meditation

This style of meditation is more of a silent mantra.  This style of meditation was taught in India.  The Indian Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the founder of this style of meditation in the mid 1950’s.  He was a well-respected Guru by the Indian people. 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught thousands of people his technique when he went on tour from 1958 – 1965.  He was a man that was both spiritual and religious at the same time.  Many people refer to transcendental meditation as TM.  Many celebrities started to practice this style of meditation and it began to become more known to the ordinary person around the world.   

Celebrities That Practice/Practiced TM:

  • John Lennon
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Paul McCartney
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Howard Stern
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Jane Fonda
  • Russell Simmons
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Mick Jagger
  • Ringo Starr

This guru began training teachers to bring this style of meditation around the world.  This style of meditation went from being taught to only a few thousands to millions. In the 21st century transcendental meditation offers educational programs and products having to do with healthy living. 

What makes this style of meditation so fascinating is that it is practiced twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes per segment. This means that anyone can do it.  Even if your lifestyle is busy and don’t have much time for your spiritual life. 

If you are interested in learning how to do TM, you can register to take courses both online and in person at various teaching establishments around the world.  The teachers are certified before they can teach you.  Another great thing about TM is that you can come from any religious background. It does not interfere with your own personal belief system. 

Why Should You Do Transcendental Meditation?

  1. Helps You to Relax
  2. Assists with Stress Throughout the Day.
  3. You Can Develop Yourself Spiritually.

TM is often looked upon as a religion, spiritual teaching, form of mediation and non-religious.  Some people wanted to see this form of meditation taught in schools. However, a federal ruling prohibited this from being taught in school because it said that it was a form of religion.  Many people argue that its not a religion because it is meant to only relax you.  Others say that it is.  Many sociologists, religious leaders and psychologists are not exactly sure if this is a form of religion or not.  Until this day, it remains controversial. 

This form of meditation seems to be picking up around the world as millions of people do practice it and is considered to be the #1 style of meditation used today.  Many men and women thought that after the guru died in 2008, that this style of meditation would become less popular. However, it is just the opposite. More people seem to be interested in this style of meditation now that he is dead. 

You may be asking yourself, “Where and how did Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi learn this style of meditation?” He learned it from his master Swami Brahmananda Saraswati.  The original name for this style of meditation was transcendental deep meditation. 

Fact –

The First 2 Organizations That Promoted TM Was:

  1. International Meditation Society
  2. Spiritual Regeneration Movement

How is TM Meditation Done?

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Recite the mantra that you learned in your training.
  3. Do This for 15 to 20 Minutes Twice a Day.

Mindfulness Meditation:

This style of meditation allows someone to stay present in the moment.  A person can learn with practice on how to train their mind to only think of what is happening right now and not what happened years ago. As the saying goes, “You can’t change anything from the past, so why keep on reliving it in your mind?” 

This style of meditation comes from Buddhist traditions.  Many people also see this style of meditation within the Tibetan tradition. 

Some Gurus Say That This Style of Meditation Reduces:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Helps people to stay away from drug and alcohol abuse.

How to Do Mindfulness Meditation:

  1. Get a comfortable cushion and rest your back against a chair or wall.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Focus on your breathing.
  4. Do not try to control your breathing. Only Focus on Your Breathing.
  5. If your mind wonders off your breathing, simply bring it back.
  6. Do this practice for 10 minutes a day.

Books on Mindfulness Meditation:

  • Meditation for Relaxation: 60 Meditative Practices to Reduce Stress, Cultivate Calm, and Improve Sleep by Adam O’Neill – This book helps you to stay calm and more relaxed. Gives you the spiritual tools for a meditation session.  Gives around 60 meditations.  Teaches you how to meditate for 15- and 20-minute meditation sessions.  This book is an easy read at 160 pages long. 
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn – This book is 304 pages long. Only around $13.12 a copy.  One of the best books on the topic.  A true favorite of mine. This book is a #1 bestseller and has sold over 750,000 copies.  This is a must read for anyone interested in meditation. 

Guided Meditation

In guided meditation, you meditate with a teacher/guru.  This style is becoming more popular in the United States because most people are used to having someone guiding them in their spiritual training. 

Usually, a teacher will sit in front of the group and direct them in a guided meditation format.  They may say something like, “Breath in and Breath Out.  Keep your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. If your mind starts to wonder, think about your breathing again.”  This practice goes on throughout the meditation. 

If a live person is not present to teach the class, it is acceptable to use tapes, recordings, written text, videos, music and other devices.  If you are to be guided on what to do, then it is guided meditation. 

Guided meditation is often used in scientific investigation, clinical practice and scholarly research. 

With meditation, people will often journal before their session to try and relieve any tension that is on your mind.  This will help you to focus more on your breathing.  Musical backgrounds such as: waves from the ocean at the beach, the forest and birds chirping are often helpful in keeping your mind on meditation and not on your troubles. These types of sounds often put your mind in a more relaxed state.  Some hypnotists use guided mediation to bring their clients to a place in their past that is still causing them emotional trauma. 

This style of meditation is also known as guided imagery and creative visualization.  Learning to meditate takes time.  It is best to start slowly and then try to meditate daily. 

Different Meditation Techniques

#1 Focus Your Attention on an Object – Take an object and focus on it.  This can be anything from an apple to a car. Sit and look at it.  Only focus on what you are seeing in front of you.  This is often used in meditation styles of: Samatha, Zazen, Chakra Meditation, Sound, Qigong. 

#2 Open Monitoring – You don’t have to focus on any one thing.  Simply close your eyes and allow your mind to wonder.  Don’t open your eyes for 15 minutes. Eventually, your thoughts will not run as wild as they did when you first started.  If you practice this daily, you will come to see that your mind is more at peace.

#3 Effortless Presence – Much like open meditation.  Just sit there and focus on what comes to you. Perhaps you had a lot of problems throughout the day and now just need to relax.  Use this time to focus on you. This is often popular in Raja Yoga. 

#4 Sufi Meditation – You need to purify yourself to become one with your supreme leader (God).  This style of meditation allows you to focus on: your beats in your heart, Gazing, whirling and Sufi. 

#5 Christian Meditation – Christians often meditate by praying or reading the Holy Bible.  For Catholics, it can mean praying the Hail Mary or the Our Father.  It can also involve sitting down and thinking about what you learned in church on Saturday/Sunday. 

#6 Qigong – Moves the body slowly, focusing on breathing and your inner self.  This style of meditation is often used in China, Asia and parts of the United States. 

Zen Meditation

This style of meditation dates to the 7th century in China.  This happened during the Tang Dynasty.  Zen meditation in time went to Korea and Japan. This style of meditation is known throughout Buddhist culture.  You are going to learn how your brain works through this method.  Your mind will become clearer over time. You need to learn how to let go and be still.  When doing this style of meditation, one must allow the universe to give you what is desires.  Becoming your own Buddha is the primary objective.

Zen Meditation requires you to sit in a position called zazen.  This means that you sit upright and follow your breathing.  It teaches us that true happiness has nothing to do with money or your celebrity status. Instead, all human beings can find their happiness through their inner self. 

You can also sit in a Burmese position, Seiza or half lotus.  Always sit in a position that feels comfortable for you. Some men and women use cushions to sit on or a comfortable chair.  The more serious that you are with meditation, the more that you will want to practice meditation in a temple or meditation centers.  In this style of mediation, it can last for 30 to 50 minutes. This is a bit longer than other forms and styles of meditation. 

 Chakra Meditation

The word chakra means wheel.  We have 7 chakras.  When you do chakra meditation, your move your energies around to bring the into balance. Many times, your heart or root chakra can be not properly aligned.  This style of meditation will allow you to feel more balanced at the end of your session. 

Your Chakras Are:

  • Root
  • Sacral
  • Solar Plexus
  • Heart
  • Throat
  • Third Eye
  • Crown

There are several spheres to your chakras.  Its important to clear and open your chakras at the same time. Doing this will allow your chakras to go through a phase of cleansing.  First, focus on your root chakras.  The chakras energy is in your spinal cord.

Here Are Some Steps to Follow When Doing Chakra Meditation:

  • Focus on what is bothering you.
  • Become aware of your emotions and what triggers you to feel upset.
  • Next, tell yourself that everything will be okay and work themselves out over time.
  • Tell yourself that you don’t have to worry because your problems are now in the past.
  • Go through each chakra and find a troubled area. For instance, your heart chakra often deals with your love life.  Has someone broken your heart and you now need it to be fixed?  Focus on how to fix it.  Come up with solutions on how to make yourself feel better.  The more that you practice this style of meditation, the more that you will see that you can feel more at peace. 

A great book about chakra meditation is Chakra Meditation: Discover Energy, Creativity, Focus, Love, Communication, Wisdom, and Spirit by Swami Saradananda.  The author takes you into the chakras and teaches you how to bring balance to your life. 

Yoga Meditation

Yoga meditation has been practiced for well over 1,000 years.  Hatha yoga is the most popular.  This style of meditation uses different body postures to relax the mind, body and soul together.  It also uses different breathing techniques known as pranayama.  Yoga goes more in depth than just meditation.  This is because this style of meditation requires you to physically move and to put the body in different poses.  Other types of yoga include Kundalini. The object is to combine the body and the mind to work together.  If one is off balance, the entire person is off balance.  How can one meditate peacefully if you are having a bodily ailment?  If your back has pain, it would be difficult to sit down and meditate.  Yoga tries to focus on the body to bring it into a state of peacefulness. 

Yoga can be physically demanding.  Many people find that yoga is to hard to do. However, yoga instructors do teach that anyone can practice yoga and get better as their body gets stronger over time.  The better in shape your body is, the easier it is to do yoga. 

Fact –

Yoga is often done for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 

Yoga Techniques:

  • Poses by Anatomy – knees, hips, lower back.
  • Poses by Type – Forward bend, standing, twisting.
  • Yoga for You.
  • Poses by Benefit – Depression, insomnia, digestion.

Meditation Exercises

  • Learn how to sit in silence. This is more of an exercise, because it’s a lot harder than you think.
  • Look for an area in your home that is free from any distraction. This exercise is a lot harder than it seems. Once you begin closing your eyes, you will notice disturbances around you that you didn’t know where there. Some examples can be (your refrigerator runs to loud; you hear fire engines going off outside, you can hear your next-door neighbor screaming and dogs barking). 
  • Learn which sitting positions work best for you.
  • Train your mind to focus on the now and not on something that happened 20 years ago. Our mind often wants to think about the past to much.  Learn to let go.
  • Learn to write down what thoughts popped up for you during your meditation time. Learn what triggers you and causes you to feel stressed, angry, happy, sad and depressed. 

Mantra Meditation

A mantra can be recited.  A mantra has no time limit. It can be done slow or fast. This all depends on what you are trying to use the mantra for.  Mantras can also be used in Hinduism, Buddhism and Yoga. 

Sound is a powerful form of the mantra.  Sounds go deep into your conscious and subconscious mind.  You begin to focus on what is important to you and what is important to that around you.

“Mantra Uses Speech, Sound and Rhythm.  Your Mind Becomes Transferred as You Practice Meditation.”

We live in a society that forces you to multi-task. In mantra meditation, you must learn to focus only on what is happening right now. This is a training exercise that most people find hard to do.  It’s not easy to focus your mind on only one thing.  You will find that your mind is often wanting to focus on everything at once and our brain was not meant to do that.  

Human beings are creatures of habit.  Our mind often wants us to do the same things that we did yesterday. However, when we train our mind to think and react differently, something magical begins to happen in our thought process. We can change our mindset with repetition.  When we try to do what is right, something happens within us that makes us feel a sense of happiness and peace. 

Some people even do a mantra by humming.  If you hum, your mind is taken away from your thoughts and more focused in on the humming sounds.  Therefore, you will often find monks using mantras to silence their racing thoughts. This is often referred to as “monkey brain.” As monkeys jump around, so do our minds. 

Meditation Will Calm Your Spirit and Body so that You Can Focus Better

Meditation takes time.  It will require you to set some time aside to focus on what is happening inside of your heart.  Medication can focus your attention on what is most important in your life.  Most people find that meditation is hard because their mind tends to drift.  Here are a few tips on how you can meditate effectively.

  • Don’t force yourself to have a clear head when your eyes are closed. Allow your mind to run freely until it calms down. For some, it will take several meditation session for this to happen.
  • Choose the time that works best for you. Don’t meditate at 6:00 a.m. just because others are doing it.  If meditation works for you at 8:00 p.m., then use that time for your relaxing moment.
  • Do not force yourself to meditate for 30 minutes at a time. Instead, start off doing only 5 minutes a day. Then slowly work your way up to 30 minutes.
  • Listen to videos on meditation to understand what it is all about.
  • Talk to people that have experience in meditation before you begin.
  • Join a group of people that do meditation regularly.

Many people that meditate on a regular basis say that they can function better. They tend to have less stress than men and women that do not meditate. Meditation often exists in families that have practiced meditation before.

Meditation also brings balance to your overall well-being.  Men and women that meditate say that they feel a sense of peace. It balances your chakras.  Meditation helps you to snap back quickly to your old self. If you find yourself snapping at people during the day, meditation can help you to get back into balance mode again.

Meditation helps you to separate your thoughts. You can begin paying closer attention to thoughts that will give you more productivity throughout the day.  Some thoughts are more powerful than others. If you can think about all of your stressful thoughts during meditation, you will learn how to relax your mind during the day.  Instead of worrying about things, you will begin to focus your energies on being more productive.

Meditation can be challenging for most people that have never done it.  Most people get discouraged about meditation after watching someone sitting in a space for 30 minutes or more.  It can be scary if you cannot even sit still for 5 minutes.

We have the power to control our minds if we try.  If we focus our attention on reading a book, we don’t have to think of anything negative. It is when we let our mind wonder do we fall into unsafe territory.  Meditation is more about mind control.  Learning how to control your thoughts is actually an advantage that few people master in their lifetime.

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