Different techniques for meditation
When it comes to meditation many people tend to think of long haired, bearded yogis sitting in the lotus pose and chanting “om” under a bodhi tree. However, there are a range of different meditation styles and techniques to choose from. Some meditation techniques have been around for thousands of years and are rooted in ancient tradition and religion. For those who want to avoid the religious aspect of meditation there are also a range of techniques that have been adapted to suit current circumstances.
The first step in meditation is to find a position that suits you. The lotus position is the most advanced pose and allows the body to be still for an extended period of time. However, for those just starting out, this pose may be uncomfortable and difficult. Instead, try sitting cross legged and rest your hands in your lap or on the knees. The Egyptian pose is another method which involves sitting upright in a chair. This is beneficial for those with back problems or those unable to sit on the floor. Another option is to lie flat on your back. A bolster can also be placed under the knees.
If you prefer, you can instead centre your spine on the bolster and bring the soles of your feet together.
Make sure you choose a position that’s comfortable for you, but do not get so relaxed that you fall asleep!
Here are three examples of the many different meditation techniques you can choose from:
Breath meditation is a great form of meditation for beginners. Start by inhaling to the count of three, pausing and then exhaling to the count of six. Focusing on the breath as in enters and exits the body will help take your focus away from your thoughts and centre your mind on a single point. Your attention will naturally wander, but when this happens, just gently bring your focus back to the breath.
Mantra meditation involves repeating a word or phrase over and over again. The mantra can be chanted aloud or silently. A mantra can be any word or phrase of your choice. Most religions have their own mantra such as the “om” chant. Focusing on the mantra again allows you to focus the mind. When your mind becomes still it is no longer necessary to repeat the mantra, but when your thoughts wander you can begin chanting again. Transcendental meditation is a type of mantra meditation in which you achieve a deep state of relaxation to achieve awareness.
Guided meditation is also referred to as visual meditation. You will often be guided through meditation by a teacher, where you form mental images to help you relax and meditate. This form of meditation involves taking the focus to the “mind’s eye,” also known as the eyebrow centre, and visualising images. Learning to hold this mental image will take time, but once mastered you will be able to concentrate and clear your mind.