Many different forms of meditation have surfaced around the world over the past centuries, each with their own unique characteristics and benefits. But they also share similarities, like helping us to achieve inner peace, mindfulness, and physical wellness.
Some are tied to a religion, while others are open to individuals of all faiths. The Kundalini yoga meditation, for example, could even awaken your spirituality.
When deciding on the right meditation for you, it is best to pick one that suits your lifestyle, the kind of help you need, and how experienced you are at meditating. Beginners may want to start with something simple like closed-eye meditation, where you sit in solitude with your eyes closed as you focus your attention on a singular subject. Those who would like to take it up a notch may want to seek guidance from experienced meditation practitioners on what their next suitable forms of meditation should be.
Regardless of what you pick, just remember that selecting the right meditation for you is a journey in itself. So it is perfectly okay to switch around when it comes to meditating.
The types of meditation you need to know:
We’re starting our list of meditations with the simplest and most common form there is out there – the closed-eye meditation.
Meditating with the eyes closed gives a richer experience and has been done by spiritual leaders like monks for centuries. In fact, this theory can also be applied to nearly everything that we do with our eyes closed, such as listening to music or savoring a nice meal, as shutting our eyes heightens our senses of taste, touch, hear, and smell.
A simple way to conduct closed-eye meditation is by finding a comfortable place where you can sit in solitude. Find an object that you can focus your undivided attention to. It is important that this object is not connected to any memories or anything related to your daily life. Some examples of neutral objects you can use are crystals or a calming sound or music in the background.
Your first-ever meditation will not be perfect as it takes practice to train your minds to detach it from worldly thoughts. Don’t stress yourself when your mind wanders. Just take note of where your thoughts went and bring your attention back to the neutral object.
Closed-eye meditations might not work for everyone, especially those who tend to fall asleep afterward. But fret not as meditations can also be done with the eyes open.
Open-eye meditations are perfect for people who lead hectic lifestyles as it can be done in a short amount of time, wherever you are.
Similar to closed-eye meditations, it is also done by focusing attention on a single neutral object. But since your eyes are open, this could also include objects moving repetitively, such as your footsteps as you walk.
But if you find moving objects too distracting, you could pick a stationary one, such as the plant on your desk while you’re at work, or the view of the sky from inside a train or bus as you head home.
We understand that it can be difficult to pay attention to a single object when there is a lot of things going on in front of your eyes, try and overcome this by first closing your eyes to clear your mind before you start meditating.
Another form of meditation that busy individuals might want to consider is mindful meditation.
This form of meditation has been around since ancient times but is seeing a boom in recent years as economies of fast-paced and developed countries continue to grow, putting a toll on the mental well-being of those constantly working and burning out.
People who overwork tend to become less attuned with themselves, their surroundings, and their present moment. But with mindful meditation, they can train their minds to focus on the now, take their minds of the future, and enjoy life a little.
It can be easily done by first taking mental notes of mundane daily tasks, which can be opportunities for mindful meditation.
When washing the dishes, for example, it is usually a time when you are on your own. Take the opportunity to pay undivided attention to the temperature of the water as it touches your skin or the texture of soap on the dishes you are washing.
When brushing your teeth, take your time to do it. Focus on the texture of the brush on your teeth and gums as you clean them, the minty scent of the toothpaste, and how your teeth feel after being cleaned.
You can also practice mindful meditation when doing breathing exercises. Avoid thinking about life, your worries, your concerns, and focus your attention on the sound as you breathe, or the feeling when your lungs expand as you inhale or contract as you exhale.
Like all meditations, mindful meditations also require practice.
Body scan meditation
Here’s one for the body aches.
For some of us who do laborious work each day and come home with aches all over, the body scan meditation followed by progressive relaxation can help you identify tensed areas and alleviate the pain.
Body scan meditation is done by first laying the body down flat, before the practitioner proceeds to do a mental scan of the body to identify the pain points, starting with the head.
Once the points are identified, progressive relaxation can take place by tensing and loosening the muscles in the area of the pain points. Some would also envision a wave of water flowing through the body and releasing the tension as they meditate.
Fun fact: This form of meditation has been done on military veterans in the US as well.
Lotus-pose yoga meditation
Let’s take our meditations up a notch, shall we?
Meditations are commonly done during yoga exercises too, with the popular one being the lotus-pose yoga meditation.
Also known as the Padmasana pose, this ancient Buddhist form of meditation requires the practitioner to sit up straight with their feet crossed and resting on their thighs while chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum,” which means “Hail to the jewel in the lotus” in Sanskrit.
The special thing about this pose, which is also similar to the Zazen seated meditation used in Japan, is that it helps to balance the energy in the root chakra, hence, removing feelings of doubt, fear, and restlessness.
The pose also involves the feet pressing the heels into the hips, where it can stimulate the lymph nodes and push out toxins.
For women, this pose can also help to alleviate menstrual discomfort or pain during childbirth as it stretches the hip and vaginal opening while strengthening the core and back of the body.
It takes practice before the practitioner’s body can be flexible enough to achieve this pose. So if you think that it is too difficult, you might want to try other similar poses that are easier to attain, such as the Burmese Sukhasana position, where the legs are relaxed on the floor instead of on the thighs.
Enjoy moving around as you relax your mind? The Kundalini Yoga is your best bet.
This form of yoga combines meditations, yoga exercises and rituals that can together bring you inner peace, physical wellness, and spiritual awakening.
The Kundalini Yoga, also known as the “Yoga of Awareness,” dates back to an era even before Hinduism and Buddhism existed, and have been practiced by people seeking mindfulness and spiritual enlightenment.
Kundalini is based on the concept that our energy is “coiled like a snake” at the base of our spine, and can be uncoiled to release energies to our seven chakra points through specific body movements, meditations, breathing exercises and chants.
Believers have also said that the energy we uncoil from the base of our spine is directly linked to the divine.
Another form of mind-body exercise that is well-known among the Chinese, including in Singapore, is Qigong.
During qigong, which means “life energy cultivation,” the mind is supposed to be fully focused on the body’s slow and dynamic movements while maintaining regular breathing.
It has been lauded as one of the best ways to strengthen the body, nourish it, and extend its longevity by restoring balance in the body’s internal organ system as well as energy channels.
There are thousands of different movements and breathing techniques in qigong, with some specifically designed for martial arts.