Meditation is a practice where you can achieve a calm and stable state emotionally as well as mentally. Meditation originated several thousand years ago, and within this period various techniques have been developed. And each one of them is still been practiced, some of these techniques can be traced back to thousand years ago while some of them have been recently developed.
Zen meditation is a meditation technique developed from the Buddhist traditions during the 7th century in the Tang dynasty. ‘Zen’ is a Japanese word derived from the Chinese word ‘Chan’ which is the translation of the Indian word ‘Dhyana’, meaning ‘concentration’ or ‘meditation’.Zen meditation can help people in several ways such as dealing with anxiety and depression, providing innate clarity,
tackling deep life issues, awakening nature of their mind, etc. To perform Zen meditation people usually sit in the lotus position and focus their attention inwards by concentrating on their breathing. It also involves keeping the eyes semi-open whereas other techniques encourage to keep the eyes closed. Practitioners are advised to dismiss any thought that comes into their mind and try to think about nothing.
‘Vi’is a Pali word meaning ‘special’ and ‘Passana’ is the Buddhist term for ‘seeing’, therefore Vipassana means ‘insight’ or ‘clear-seeing’. Vipassana is one of the most ancient techniques of Indian meditation. It is a process of self-transformation through self-observation. This technique can be taught in a ten-day residential course where you need to follow a code of discipline. But you can even perform it at home, find a quiet place, and then sit with your legs crossed. Focus on your belly and abdomen while you breathe naturally, slowly you will become aware of all the sensations that take place in your abdomen due to breathing. It is said that Gautam Buddha himself taught this technique to his disciples. Vipassana meditation will not only help you sharpen your awareness but also know yourself better, relieve stress, gifts you with peace and tranquility, and gives clarity of vision.
Metta meditation is about directing love and kindness towards ourselves and then expanding that love and kindness towards someone we love. The major difference between Vipassana meditation and Metta meditation is that Metta is about practicing concentration whereas Vipassana is about practicing insight. To perform Metta meditation sit in a comfortable position and take deep breathes. Clear away all your worries and for a few moments imagine your breath moving towards your heart. Later repeat phrases filled with love and kindness such as; may I be happy, may I be at peace. Allow yourself to sink into the intentions of these phrases. Later extend this towards someone you love, it can be your family member or your friend or someone you love. Repeat phrases like; may he be happy, may she get love, etc. Metta helps in increasing positive emotions, get rid of migraines, increase compassion, strengthen your capacity for empathy. and much more.
Yoga is not just an exercise it is much more than that, yoga asanas lead to meditation. Yoga exercises involve breathing, it is a combination of conscious breathing and conscious relaxation. Yoga meditation is something beyond mindfulness. Yoga approach to meditation is way beyond sitting on the dharna. Meditation is like an enormous garden with a huge variety of flowers, each of which has a unique fragrance. Yoga meditation is one such flower, which is not just about concentrating on your breath. It’s about exploring the inner world, living, healing, and revelation. Yogic meditation will not only reduce stress, give you peace but also enhance your flexibility, physical strength, and balance.
Self-inquiry and ‘I AM’ meditation
Self-inquiry meditation helps to achieve ‘self-control’ and ‘self-development’. The aim here is to realize and accomplish the divine self that lies within us. During the practice of Self Inquiry yoga, we attain spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is way different than intellectual knowledge, it is eternal and something that cannot be taught. To perform Self Inquiry meditation sit in your usual meditation position and for the first 25 minutes just make your self aware of the surroundings and let your mind settle. Later introduce yourself with the question, Who am I? Just let that question stay in your mind, don’t try to figure out anything. When your mind becomes still again, asking another question like who is thinking this thought? or who is seeing through these eyes? Once you get used to this practice you will realize that meaning of the word ‘I’ is now changed for you. Now it refers to something much more than just your mind and body. You will start to realize that Who am I? is not just a question its a timeless presence that will underly your every experience.
Taoist meditation is an ancient practice that was created by the religion of Taoism. It is created to bring harmony to the life of its practitioners. Taoist meditation permits the energy channels to open-up themselves naturally, increases your concentration powers, helps you to get rid of the intoxication within our body, enhances your knowledge, helps you sleep better, and also will improve your relationships. To practice Taoist meditation, you need to begin by taking three deep breathes. Then either you can close your eyes or keep them semi-closed. Relax every part of your body and start breathing slowly and deeply. Place the tip of your tongue in the upper palate and continue breathing, let the breath fill up your body especially the parts that are suffering pain. Throw-out all the pain and sickness, imagine it fading off into the air. Continue breathing and fill your body with light. Once you are done rub your palms up to 36 times and place them on your face.
The main goal behind Qigong meditation is calmness. Qigong meditation involves breathing, simple postures, and gentle movements. It will make you feel quiet and give you several experiences such as, merging with the environment, calming your scattered thoughts, etc. To perform this, start by sitting in a comfortable position. Concentrate on your breath for a while then later starting controlling it via deep breathing. Once you clear your mind get up and start stretching your body; your legs, arms, core muscles, etc. Stand straight and bring your focus back to your breath. After a few minutes, acquire Mabu or the horse stance. Try to maintain this position for as long as you can, while focusing on your breath. Then acquire the Gongbu stance and repeat the same procedure. Make sure you focus on your breath along with maintaining the posture. The benefits of Qigong meditation includes managing stress and anxiety, enhancing your concentration and flexibility, improving balance, and strengthening your body.
Breath awareness meditation
Breath awareness meditation helps to encourage physical as well as mental relaxation that effectively helps to reduce stress. Our breath is an essential ingredient in almost every meditation technique. It is because our breath is always within us but never in a fixed position, it keeps flowing throughout our body. In many of the techniques, it is advised to control your breath but here you have to let it flow freely. It can be really difficult to practice for beginners because our mind is always complicated with several thoughts. To practice this all you have to do is watch your breath. Acquire any comfortable position and relax your body. Try concentrating on your breath and avoid all the distractions that come your way. Breathe awareness meditation helps in reducing body stress, keep our blood pressure in control, helps in getting rid of chronic pain, decreases depression, and improve diabetic symptoms.
Kundalini yoga is derived from the Hindu term Kundalini, it is an energy that lies on the base of the spine. They are dormant, they become active when energy is channeled in the upward direction through chakras, through the process of spiritual perfection. This technique is influenced by Shaktism and the Tantra schools of Hinduism. It is considered the most dangerous technique since it involves the use of various subtle energies. It is a combination of art and science that involves transformation and expansion of consciousness and the awakening and the rise of the Kundalini Energy. With the help of Kundalini yoga, you can unite your consciousness with cosmic consciousness. Additionally, it also helps in healing oneself as well as others and co-create universal energies. The benefits of Kundalini yoga include expanding one’s lung capacity, bringing oneself into the state of mindfulness, bring balance into one’s body, mind, and soul, enhancing emotional balance, building-up creative energy, etc. There are various ways of performing Kundalini yoga depending on whether you are a beginner or not. It is better to perform this technique under guidance to avoid any danger.
Bible offers several insights into meditation, in simple words Christain meditation is a meditation on God’s word. Bible encourages the practice of meditation. Other techniques focus on emptying our minds before you start meditating. But here it is believed that an empty mind can be filled with Satan’s thoughts so, we fill it up with the scriptures we already know. So all you have to do is memorize the meditation scriptures from the bible. Then while you sit down to meditate repeat those verses. Through the recitation of these verses, you are connected with god. Therefore you can issue your problems like anxiety and depression while reciting those verses. These signify, that God will hear our problems and will heal them. Christian meditation is about healing by connecting oneself with god. This technique is a combination of meditation and religious beliefs.
Muraqaba is a Sufi meditation technique, through which we can watch over our hearts and possibly gain insights about the connection between the heart and its creator and also it’s surrounding. Muraqaba is an Arabic word that means ‘to watch over’ or ‘to take care of’. It is more of a religious technique since the main aim here is to bond with Allah rather than attaining peace of mind. It is believed that Prophet Mohammad practiced this technique while he retreated to the cave of Hira. To perform this technique, find a comfortable peaceful place and sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and think about Allah, his blessings, his sacrifice, etc. Than imagine Allah’s luminosity entering your body, imagine it in a form of bright light entering your body through your heart and spreading throughout your body. At the beginning start by staying in this state for a few minutes, later you can increase the time limit. Once you complete it do not drink water immediately.
Heart Rhythm meditation
Heart Rhythm meditation also termed as HRM, is a method that is created by Puran Blair and Susanna Blair from the Institute of Applied Mediation. They described this method in their book ‘Living From The Heart’ published in the year 1998. This technique involves Conscious breathing and using one’s lung capacity at its fullest. This practice generates a powerful internal rhythm that coordinates the breathing with the heartbeat. This technique helps in energizing your heart and heal it. This approach is directly related to our heart therefore it can bring changes quickly and effectively. Benefits of heart rhythm meditation include improving lung efficiency, helps to manage depression, anxiety, and fatigue, improve heart conditions, and brain wave rhythms. To practice, this technique sits in a comfortable chair and start conscious breathing through your nose. Have complete awareness about your inhalation and exhalation, connect your breath with your heart. Place your hand on your heart and feel your breath moving through your heart. Now towards the end phase try inhaling and exhaling on the beat of your heart.
Trataka meditation is a Trantic method of meditation that involves yogic purification. In this technique, you need to stare at a small point or a small object such as a black dot or candle flame. This practice is said to fill energy into our third eye and encourage several physic abilities. By fixing your vision at a specific object you can bring your restless mind to a halt. Trataka meditation not only enhances your concentration but also your memory, focus, and your state of awareness. To perform this technique you need to place the object such as a candle about 3-4 feet away from you. Now sit straight and watch the flame without blinking, while emptying your mind. Once your eyes start to the water close it. Imagine watching the flame with your eyes closed. Experts in this technique can stare at the flame for about 30 minutes. Trataka meditation helps in purifying eyes and strengthen eye muscles and vision. Its benefits also include overcoming sleeping difficulties, develops intuition, enhances your will power, etc.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means wheel. In our body, there are in total seven chakras that are placed between the head to the base of our spine. Each of these chakra plays the role of a gatekeeper for each of its respective areas. During this process, we target our blocked chakras. To practice, this technique sit in a comfortable position and makes sure to keep your spine straight not rigid. Now focus on each part of your body starting from your feet and release the pain and the stress within those parts. Try focusing on your breathe but do not force it. Visualize your breath moving from your lungs into your blood flow. Later imagine your heart beating and your body functioning perfectly well, imagine this energy having a yellow orangish color. In the next step try visualizing you energizing each of the chakras starting from the root chakra. Towards the end imagine each of these chakras being feed with energies completely. Now relax for a couple of minutes and open your eyes. Each session should be about 15-30 minutes long. There are several advantages of practicing Chakra meditation such as increasing compassion, developing will power, increased sense of love, ability to heal oneself, etc
Raja Yoga meditation
Raja yoga meditation is an easy, versatile, and simple technique to practice meditation. What makes it different from the rest is that in this technique you need to keep your eyes open. To perform this technique find a comfortable place either inside your house or within your yard or garden. Now relax and concentrate on any particular spot within your surrounding. Make sure you do not stress your eyes. Throw out all the negative thoughts from your mind and form a positive thought such as I never felt so peaceful. Now try concentrating on this particular thought. Once you start feeling positive make sure to maintain those sensations. Practice this technique for about 10-20 minutes during the beginning. Raja Yoga meditation helps in developing a positive attitude, find a purpose in life, feel stable, develop a broad sense of self-worth, etc.