Meditation is a practice in which an individual uses a technique such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Types of meditation
- Mantra meditation: This technique is similar to focused attention meditation, although instead of focusing on the breath to quiet the mind, you focus on a mantra. The idea here is that the subtle vibrations associated with the repeated mantra can encourage positive change — maybe a boost in self-confidence or increased compassion for others — and help you enter an even deeper state of meditation.
- Transcendental Meditation: This technique and exercises in the headspace app are not the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) program. This program is taught one-on-one by instructors trained and licensed by Maharishi Foundation in a personalized and individual manner. The practice involves sitting comfortably with one’s eyes closed for 20 minutes twice per day and engaging in the effortless practice as instructed. Students are encouraged to practice twice a day, which often includes morning meditation, and the a second session is in the mid-afternoon or early evening.
- Yoga meditation: Just as there are many different types of meditation, so too exist many styles of yoga — particularly Kundalini yoga — that are aimed at strengthening the nervous system, so we are better able to cope with everyday stress and problems. However, in order to integrate the neuromuscular changes that happen during yoga and gain the greatest benefit from the practice, we must take time for savasana, to relax the body and relieve tension.
- Vipassana meditation: Another ancient tradition, this one invites you to use your concentration to intensely examine certain aspects of your existence with the intention of eventual transformation. Vipassana pushes us to find “insight into the true nature of reality,” via contemplation of several key areas of human existence: “suffering, unsatisfactoriness,” “impermanence,” “non-self,” and “emptiness.”
- Chakra meditation. This meditation technique is aimed at keeping the body’s core chakras — centers of energy — open, aligned, and fluid. Blocked or imbalanced chakras can result in uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms, but chakra meditation can help to bring all of them back into balance.
- Qigong meditation. This is an ancient and powerful Chinese practice that involves harnessing energy in the body by allowing energy pathways — called “meridians” — to be open and fluid. Sending this energy inward during meditation is thought to help the body heal and function; sending the energy outward can help to heal another person.
Visualization meditation: It is a technique focused on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes, images, or figures.
This practice involves imagining a scene vividly and using all five senses to add as much detail as possible. It can also involve holding a beloved or honored figure in mind with the intention of embodying their qualities. Another form of visualization meditation involves imagining yourself succeeding at specific goals, which is intended to increase focus and motivation.