By now, we’re all aware of the many benefits of meditation. It makes you a happier, calmer and more productive person, helps you sleep better and can even improve your sex life! But if you’ve tried it countless times and just can’t quite seem to get into it, you’re not alone.
“You just need to give it a chance to work!” your zen, meditation-loving friend will tell you. And they’re right, of course. But there’s also the possibility that you just haven’t found the right kind of meditation for you. That’s right, there are many different types of meditation and they work in various ways to restore your inner calm. Here, we’ve rounded up 5 of the most popular types, so you can find the right fit.
Originating from Buddhist teachings, mindfulness meditation is the most popular meditation technique in Western culture. It involves paying attention to your thoughts and not judging or condemning them, but just allowing them to pass. It’s usually practiced sitting in lotus position, with the eyes shut.
This type of meditation is similar in most ways to mindfulness meditation. But instead of just letting your thoughts pass by, you maintain laser-like focus on just one thing. This could be your breath or something external like the flame of a candle or a pen. When your mind wanders, you bring your attention back to that thing.
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class that included some meditation, it was probably transcendental. Also known as Vedic meditation, it has its roots in Ancient India. When you do it with a teacher, they will prescribe you with a mantra (often “om” or “shanti”), which you repeat over and over in your mind throughout the session to keep your mind focused.
Whether it’s from an app, YouTube video or in person at a class, guided meditation involves listening to a teacher guide you through a visualisation. Often, they will guide your attention through your body or on a fictional journey through a beautiful setting. This is a great option for beginners who find it particularly difficult to ‘switch off.’
Meditation doesn’t necessarily have to involve sitting cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed. Walking is a great way to practice mindfulness and increase your inner zen — especially if you do it somewhere picturesque! But instead of popping on your headphones or thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner, pick one thing to focus on — like the movement of your arms swinging.