Types of Meditation To Try Today

There are many different types of meditation you can try, but they all focus around the same principal; directing your mind's focus towards something in particular. Think of it as a work-out for the mind. The more we practice controlling where the mind wanders to, the easier it will be to do that when we really need to. Here are a few ideas for you when you're starting out. This is by no means an extensive list, but just a few that I've tried and have worked for me!

Natural breathing

This is the most common form of meditation taught to beginners because it encourages you to focus on something which is always there: the breath. Sitting in a comfortable position close the eyes and just start to focus your attention on breathing in and out. Don't force the breath, just notice the natural rhythm of your breathing. Keep your attention on the breath as long as you can or set a timer for 5 minutes and stop when the timer goes off.

Body scanning

Instead of the breath we focus on each of the parts of our body in turn. Starting with the feet, notice the feeling of the feet touching the floor, and any sensations you notice. Move up the body from here, pausing at each part of the body for a few breaths before moving to the next. The aim here is not to judge or shift your body as you scan, but just observe and move to the next.

Visualisation

This is particularly good if you have a vivid imagination. Imagine something in your mind, for example a bright light, a colour or an image (maybe a landscape of the beach or mountains, somewhere you feel happy/calm) and try to focus your attention on that thing for as long as you can, or until the timer goes off.

Mantra chanting

This is a traditional form of meditation and can be very powerful. Decide on a phrase or word which means something to you and repeat it over and over, fixing your mind to it throughout your meditation. This is also more powerful when the mantra is said out loud.

Walking meditation

This type of meditation is a bit more abstract, but great if you spend a lot of time out and about; for example, if you walk to work. As you walk try to tune into the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement with each step. Notice your breathing pattern, the sounds and sights around you and how your body feels. Try to focus on anything which is happening now, and if your mind wanders, just draw it back to something happening right now. Keep doing this throughout your journey.

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