Just like there are different styles of yoga, there are different styles of meditation. If you’re eager to start a meditation practice, explore your options and find one that works for your goals and your personality.
Here are a few meditation styles to help you start on your journey.
Personally, I would recommend this for beginners. The mind is so busy and running all over the place that it can be helpful to have a reminder that you should come back to your breath, or whatever your focus point is. You can find recordings online and sometimes your local yoga studio will have guided meditation classes. It can be helpful to do it in person with a guide when you are just beginning.
When I started meditating, I used guided meditation to help keep me focused. But once I got used to the process, I moved to breath meditation, as I found it less distracting. It’s just what it sounds like—you focus on your breath. Notice the length and depth of your breath, but do not get involved in a conversation with yourself about it. If your mind wanders, come back to your breath.
During this type of meditation, you focus on a single point. So, in theory, breath meditation could also be considered concentration meditation, since the breath is the “one point.” But this could also mean staring at a candle flame, a picture of a beloved place or person, or even repeating a mantra to yourself. When you notice your mind running off, come back to your point of focus.
This is also known as loving-kindness meditation. When you practice metta meditation, you first find kindness and love for yourself, then others, including those you do not like. Then you move to wishing and cultivating love for all living being. A common metta meditation is: May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free.Then thinking of someone you love, followed by someone you dislike, followed by all beings you say: May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free.
This is “meditation in action”. The focus in walking meditation is on the physical act of walking. Don’t have a destination, walk for the sake of walking, and the purpose of using it as time to meditate.
Here you have a guide, generally in the form of a recording. All you need to do is listen to what he or she is saying and let your mind follow. This can help foster deep relaxation and help improve overall well being by the use of positive imagery.
No matter what you choose, give yourself the time to explore what works for you. I’ve been told that when a person starts meditating they should choose one method and stick with it to fully explore everything it has to offer. But I do think it’s okay to try a few on in the beginning. Eventually you’ll find yourself coming back to one form or another. Then the real journey begins.