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How To Choose The Right Meditation Style For You

Meditation is practice that involves more than sitting in silence. It actually has amazing benefits that allow you to explore the inner workings of your mind and your relationship to the world around you. Although, finding the right meditation practice for you can be difficult. There are a variety of different styles, just like in any other practice.

We’ve compiled 5 meditation practices you can try right now! We recommend you try different practices out until you find the right fit for you. Some people enjoy one and stick with it while others use a variety. However, it is important to remember that this practice is subjective. There is no wrong or right way to meditate– you are on your own individualized journey. The right meditation practice for you may not necessarily be the right practice for someone else.

Meditation is proven to reduce anxiety and stress while improving your health. To read about the scientific benefits, click here

5 Styles of Meditation. How to Choose?

1. Focused meditation

This one may seem obvious, but the goal is to focus all of your attention onto a single object during the meditation session. This could mean breath, a mantra, visualization, part of the body, an external object, etc. The goal is that with each pass, your flow of attention will be stronger and you will have less distractions. Hopefully, you will achieve a sense of depth and steadiness by actively engaging with this practice.

This practice is a good fit for people who want to achieve discipline. If you want to improve your awareness and achieve maximum clarity, this is the option for you.

2. Mindfulness meditation

This form is based on traditional Buddhist meditation practices. You are tasked with focusing on the present moment and accepting (nonjudgmentally) the sensations, thoughts, and feelings that arise while in your meditative state. You should sit on a cushion on the floor or in a chair with an unsupported back. Focus on your breathing. As you inhale, focus on how it feels and bring your awareness to it. Do the same as you exhale. As much as possible during the length of your meditation, redirect your attention to your breath. You simply want to be aware of what is going on without losing yourself in anything that arises. Your mind will inevitably be distracted by sounds, thoughts, sensations, what have you– so you must gently recognize that you are being distracted and bring your attention back to the breath.

Mindfulness can also be implemented in your daily life. Since the goal of the practice is to focus on the present moment and not get distracted by outside influences, the applications are endless. You can pay attention to the words you are speaking and the way you say them; listen with your full attention. While you are walking you pay more attention to the way your body interacts with the ground and the sounds you hear.

This form is a great way to introduce meditation into part of your routine. It is often the form that is introduced to schools, hospitals, work environments, etc. There is a “mindfulness movement” that has adopted the Buddhist practices and is having a resurgence. For most people, Mindfulness Meditation is very beneficial if your focus is on the physical and mental benefits of meditation.

3. Loving-kindness meditation

This kind of meditation is also known as Metta meditation. Metta means unconditional kindness and friendliness. Similarly to other practices, this form also originates from Buddhist teachings (specifically Tibetan Buddhism. This form has been proven to be very successful in helping boost empathy, acceptance, kindness, and positivity towards oneself and others. To start this practice, send loving-kindness to yourself. Then, continue to send it in this order: a friend or a loved one, someone who is neutral in your life, a difficult person, and finally, out into the universe.

If you are struggling with your self-esteem or self-criticism, this is a great practice for you. The goal is to become more empathetic towards others, and can be very helpful for a lot of people. If this is your intent going into meditation, you should look to this practice first.

4. Movement meditation

Movement meditation is all about being present. The goal is to use movement to stimulate awareness and be able to use this technique anywhere at any time. You can do this by using your breath to guide the movement. In yoga, you use the inhale to position yourself into the pose and on the exhale you let your body settle deeper. If you practice controlling your breathing, the mind will follow. Slow and steady is the goal here. You can also use movement to bring your mind into the present. For instance, if you are running focus on the sound of your foot hitting the ground when you feel yourself begin to drift. You want to be aware of your thoughts so you can focus on the present moment. This is all very helpful when you choose an activity you know. It is much harder to achieve inner peace while snowboarding for the first time than it is with a tried and true practice. Your mind will have a much easier time relaxing if it is doing a familiar activity.

This practice is best suited for someone who leads an active lifestyle or wants to become more active. Movement meditation supports your mental and physical health, so it is a great way to combine the two. If you are looking for a practice that helps multiple forms of health and is based in exercise, try this one!

5. Guided meditation

This practice usually is performed with the help of audio (file, podcast, CD), as well as videos. There are a few different types of guided meditations:

● Traditional meditations
The voice of the teacher is used to illustrate or guide the way for your attention. This form relies more on silence than voice and typically does not include music.

● Guided imagery
This form uses imagination and visualization techniques to guide the brain. You imagine an entire journey, scene, or object to heal or relax.

● Relaxation and body scans
Usually accompanied by instrumental music or nature sounds, this practice helps you achieve relaxation and calm in your whole body.

● Affirmations
You may know this as the chanting portion of meditation. Usually affirmations and relaxation or guided imagery meditations are combined. This form is to imprint a message in your mind: be it of positivity, assurance, etc.

Each of these meditation techniques has their benefits, this practice typically leads to an individual unguided practice. If you are intimidated by traditional meditation or do not know where to start on your own, guided meditation is a great way to begin. Guided meditation can also be very specialized and help you work through specific facets of your life. Explore and find the guided meditation that is right for you!

Meditation has countless mental and physical health benefits. If you are serious about beginning your journey with meditation, engaging with these five different practices is essential. The right fit for you is out there, and it may not always be the one you think!

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