Do you worry about the future, dwell on the past, or daydream when you are supposed to focus on a task or enjoy the moment? I did all of the above seven years ago. That was, until I was introduced to sung meditation. It helped me become less distracted, more relaxed and present. My life hasn’t been the same since.
As we all know, for thousands of years, meditation has been practiced around the world. Its effectiveness is proven and people from generation to generation have spoken of its benefits. This is probably why you don’t need another person to laugh at their beauty.
But the point is, meditation is particularly useful as a coping mechanism in these extraordinary times we live in; to cope with the fear of uncertainty and the demanding daily life of people due to the stress of working from home and maintaining a work-life balance. We are here to tell you that it can be fixed. There is no one right way to meditate. And you can find whatever works for you.
We are here to tell you that you can sit still, be mindful, and overcome that anxiety too. Here’s how to get started.
Meditation guide for beginners
What is meditation?
The practice of meditation includes a range of techniques designed to encourage heightened awareness and focused attention. Nyela Kapadia, co-founder of Intermittent Fasting and Mindful Living says, “Our simple approach to life is to react immediately to an unpleasant situation in a negative way.” “We are determined to react this way. Meditation changes this reaction pattern through practice and gradually clears the clutter from the mind, allowing you to be more present, more observant, and less responsive to any situation.
Why should we meditate?
“Meditation has several benefits, even for a beginner. It reduces stress, anxiety and negative emotions, ”says Samiksha Shetty, a famous fitness instructor. “It helps relax your nervous system and improve your focus and productivity. Meditation also helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, improves the quality of your sleep, and helps fight addictions.
Is there more than one way to meditate?
Rishi Nagori, founder of the Rishi Yoga Institute says, “Meditation is the celebration of life itself. There are many meditation techniques and they exist for good reason because each of us needs a different tool to achieve our maximum concentration and awareness. Therefore, the right way to understand how to start the practice of meditation starts with understanding what meditation is.”
7 types of meditation to explore:
1. Mindfulness meditation
In this type of meditation, you pay close attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. Mindfulness meditation has its origins in Buddhist teachings and is the perfect gateway for beginners.
Resources: Kapadia adds, “I highly recommend the eight-week mindfulness meditation course by Inner Space Therapy.”
2. Focused meditation
As the name suggests, Focused Meditation is ideal for anyone looking to improve their attention or concentration. It involves meditating while focusing on a particular thing such as your breathing, counting mala beads, or looking at a candle flame.
Resources: The Headspace app offers excellent 10- or 30-day focused meditation courses.
Also Read: Top 10 Health Benefits of Yoga
3. Movement meditation
This type of meditation involves meditating by performing a movement or activity in a conscious manner. Movement meditation includes many techniques and is ideal for people who have difficulty staying still. Being mindful while yoga, walking, dancing, or even cleansing are great ways to practice movement meditation.
Resources: Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga by BKS Iyengar is a definitive manual on how to practice movement meditation through yoga.
4. Mantra or chanted meditation
Mantra meditation involves chanting a word or phrase like “Om” or “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” over and over. This form of meditation has its origins in Hindu and Buddhist traditions and helps people achieve deeper levels of consciousness among many other benefits.
Resources: The Sattva app features audios delivered by Sanskrit scholars for guided meditations, chants, and mantras. Meditation and Mantras by Swami Vishnudevanada is an excellent introductory book to mantra meditation. Also, for an introduction to Buddhist chanting check out the Bharat Soka Gakkai.
5. Transcendental meditation
This form of meditation is similar to mantra meditation in that you have to silently recite a mantra. The difference is that in Transcendental Meditation the mantra is specific to each practitioner and has been provided by a certified meditation coach.
Resources: With several centers in India, the Spiritual Regeneration Movement Foundation (SRM) offers transcendental meditation classes for beginners and advanced.
6. Gradual relaxation
This is the type of meditation that is commonly practiced before going to sleep. It’s about slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body. Its purpose is to mentally and physically relax the body.
Resources: The Calm app offers a wide range of guided meditation audios for different situations such as “Sleep”, “Anxiety” and “Relaxation”.
7. Visualization Meditation
Visualization Meditation involves the mental representation of positive scenes or images while meditating. It’s a great way to increase your focus and motivate yourself while working towards a specific goal.
Resources: BK Shivani’s YouTube videos and the Think Right app offer great guided visualization meditation videos. Brian Scott’s YouTube channel also offers a wide selection of visualization meditation aids.
But how do you get started?
Tarini Nirula, yoga teacher and wellness advocate says, “The answer is simple: introduce yourself.” “In an age when there are many meditation tools and techniques available, it helps to simplify the practice for you. If you are able to sit in silence while observing your thoughts, twice a day for 10 minutes, you are putting meditation into practice.