Meditation is a lifestyle that has its roots in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. Competent meditative practices help improve cognitive functions and regulate various physiological mechanisms that trigger mental and physical well-being. Intense meditation practices also help to achieve harmony between body and mind. Thus, it leads to important changes in various behaviors, such as sleep. If you are a beginner in meditation, before types of meditation, we recommend you to read “What is Meditation?” and get introduced to the fundamentals of meditation.
Meditators observe that daily meditation significantly affects their mental and physical health, which has also been confirmed by scientists. However, meditation has changed over time as a part of a very ancient culture and has taken different forms by different communities. Hundreds of types of meditation have emerged as part of this change, and they all differ in their individual effects.
What Are the Types of Meditation?
In order to find out which type of meditation is more effective for you individually; it is necessary to get to know the types of meditation and go on a journey full of new experiences.
Our individual differences and changes in our perspective on life can also cause variability in our preferences about meditation technique and type. We have listed below some of the most well-known and widely practiced types of meditation to be a guide on your journey to inner peace. Let’s see if you can find the best way for you.
The process of starting meditation is usually managed by a guide or teacher. A trainer or meditation coach will make the process more reliable by helping you take the initial steps and establishing the course of the practice in your mind. Guided meditation is carried out under the leadership of a guide, whether it is a knowledgeable person or an app, by following various meditation techniques and paths that the mind follows during meditation.
For this, the visualization technique is used. With this technique, also called guided imagery, guided meditation is a meditation method that provides calmness and relaxation by awakening as many different senses as possible and creating pictures or situations in the mind. If you are just starting meditation, guided meditation will be the most suitable type of meditation for you.
Meditation techniques are generally divided into two according to their effects: tranquility and insight. The effect of peace is seen in meditation types that improve concentration by aiming to relax and reach a more peaceful mood. Vipassana is an insight meditation.
Insight meditations aim to transform the mind by developing qualities such as compassion and wisdom. Generally, the focus is on the breath during meditation and it is tried to be aware of the changes that occur in both physical and mental senses. Although these two different effects are studied, a meditation practice can cover both effects with the techniques it uses.
Vipassana, an ancient form of Indian meditation, means seeing facts as they are and is accomplished with disciplined attention to physical sensations in the body to establish a deep connection between mind and body. The 2500-year-old Vipassana tradition is also the source of mindfulness meditation, which has increased its effectiveness in recent years.
Samatha meditation is a Buddhism-based practice and its literal meaning is peace. Buddha divided the mental impact of meditative experience into two: Vipassana and Samatha, that is, Insight and Peace. For this reason, Vipassana and the Samatha tradition together form the basis of meditation practice.
Samatha aims to balance and calm the mind. Therefore, it is also good for stress. It frees the mind from distracting anxiety and panic with the technique of focusing on one thing—often focusing on the breath. The focal point can be many different themes.
Samatha, the first phase of the Buddhist meditation tradition, was also a path to Vipassana. At the heart of this tradition was the belief that meditation, focusing the mind on the present rather than the past or the future, could lead to a transformation in the mind.
It is a simple technique of adopting a word, sound or small phrase as a personal mantra. It is applied twice a day for 20 minutes in a comfortably sitting position with eyes closed. Thanks to this technique, you can achieve inner peace and deep relaxation and rest without extra effort of concentration.
The purpose of transcendental meditation, which is a highly spiritual form of meditation, is to reach and ascend to a higher level of existence. The trainer of this practice draws an individual path to take while guiding the practitioner for them to determine their personal mantra. A mantra can be a specific thing that a person needs or get rid of through spiritual experience and awareness, and it is always open to change in their mind. This allows you to have the experience on a very personal level.
Chakra, meaning "wheel" in Sanskrit, refers to the energy and spiritual power centers in the body. There are thought to be seven chakras, and each chakra is located in a different part of the body. The colors corresponding to the chakras are different from each other.
Chakra meditation aims to keep the chakras open and flowing. When the chakras - affected by the events and situations in the outer world - are unbalanced or blocked, we cannot find peace in our inner world. But with chakra meditation, it is possible to achieve a balance and stamina in the chakras, and in this way, we reach a more open and fluid mind. In terms of technique, visualization is used and chakras with their unique colors are imagined during meditation.
Meditation practice is closely related to yoga. Just like meditation, Yoga dates back to ancient India, and just like meditation, there is a wide variety of types of yoga. All forms of yoga promote flexibility, calming the mind, and include controlled breathing exercises. Yoga postures require balance and concentration. Practitioners use the meditation technique to eliminate distractions and to do yoga more effectively.
Kundalini Yoga, a style of yoga, is a meditation form where meditation and yoga meet. So it’s a meditation that combines physically active movement with breathing exercise and mantra. Therefore, yoga meditation is good for mental health by increasing physical endurance and flexibility, as well as removing daily stress and strengthening the nervous system.
However, it is important to take the yoga position called “savasana”, which relaxes the body and relieves tension, in order to make a change in the nervous system. Taking certain positions also helps to stay in the moment by preventing distraction.
Also an ancient Buddhist practice, Zen, also known as Zazen, aims to awaken the mind’s natural ability to reach the truth. Specifically, sitting upright is required. In the upright sitting position, the mind is left to its own devices and focused on the breath, and the sense of presence and alertness is tried to be fed and enlarged.
Zen is usually practiced with a teacher, as it has specific steps and posture. These specific needs require a little more discipline and practice. Unlike other types of meditation, Zen does not focus on the breath on the nose, but on the stomach and abdominal movements. If you are an experienced meditation practitioner and looking for a new spiritual journey, Zen would be a good step.
Breathing Exercises and Meditation
Breathing is important in meditation. Most adults move their upper chest instead of their abdomen while breathing. Best for meditation and yoga is diaphragmatic breathing, which fills the blood with even more oxygen and calms the mind. As you begin diaphragmatic breathing, you will notice that your default breathing pattern has changed. In this exercise method, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, the abdominal region also moves while breathing.
InnerJoy is a secular application. Therefore, it uses secularized techniques rather than spiritual aspects of types of meditation based on Buddhism. One of these is Mindfulness Meditation. InnerJoy, acting as a meditation coach, mostly includes Guided Meditation, but also offers non-guided options.
To get the support you’ll initially need InnerJoy is here for you!