Meditation, like the rules of Fight Club, there are no rules. There is no wrong way to meditate. It’s about taking time for yourself with yourself. I've compiled a list of 6 different types of meditation that I believe are useful particularly to those new to meditation. I encourage you to try these as well as explore any other techniques that come across your path. In my C.A.R.E Courses daily meditation is an integral part of the program. I lead you through short meditations each day using many of these techniques:
This technique focuses on a syllable, word, or phrase. 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. By repeating phrases over and over, your subconscious will begin to reprogram itself.
This meditation is a practice of aligning the body, mind, and breath. By taking a very ‘base brain’ activity and bringing it to the forefront of our consciousness, we make a deliberate choice to slow down and ground ourselves in our environment. Linking your breath to each step, connecting to Mother Earth, and bringing harmony into our life. Walking like this allows you to be more present.
Great for beginners guided meditations really help take the pressure off by directing your breath, attention, and focus.
This type of meditation invites you to picture something or someone in your mind. Spend time visualizing your day, develop the ability to picture yourself moving through your day with joy and abundance, acing a big presentation, or exam...dealing with uncomfortable situations with ease and compassion. Think of it as a mental rehearsal. By conjuring a specific visualization, we not only get to observe the mind, but we also get to focus on any physical sensations.
Just as you probably guessed, breath awareness meditation is bringing our attention to the intricacies of the breath. Noticing the sensations and reactions in the body as you inhale and exhale. Watch the breath enter through the tip of the nose. Can you feel it pass through the nostrils and down into the lungs? Notice the chest rise and fall, the belly expand and contract. The more detailed the better. Be patience as you slowly allow new sensations to enter your consciousness. The idea of bringing the attention to the breath is to allow the mind chatter to quiet, by giving the mind something to focus on it will not be allowed to run free through the subconscious. As you meditate if you notice your mind losing focus on the breath, observe it, and just return to the breath. Part of mastering meditation is going through the process of realizing you have lost your focus and then bringing it back without any judgment or blame.
Sound bath meditation
This form uses bowls, gongs, and other instruments to create sound vibrations that help focus the mind and bring it into a more relaxed state.
Finding Your Seat
Finding a comfortable meditation position is the number one hurdle as a beginner meditator. So please don't let this discourage you, and know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. First thing; you don't have to sit like a yogi. Lotus position, the one seen in the photo below, requires a ton of flexibility, and most Westerners, because of our lifestyle, this pose is simply not an option...so get over it.
The most important element of your meditation position is maintaining a straight spine. This allows the energy channels to stay open + increases the flow of energy, breath, and blood throughout the body. Now, maintaining a straight spine for an extended amount of time takes practice, and muscle endurance. So, as a beginner meditator, I high recommend sitting up against a wall to support your spine, or if sitting in a chair make sure it has a straight back. That begin said, it is totally OK to mediate in a chair, just make sure to keep both feet on the floor (no crossed legs, as this restricts energy flow). If you want to sit on the ground I recommend a meditation cushion, couch pillow, or sleeping pillow. Anything to support the pelvis and lift your hips up so they are higher than the knees. When our knees are higher than the hips this can put a lot of pressure in the hip joint which lets to discomfort. In time, with practice, our meditation seat will evolve. Just remember when meditating you shouldn't be concerned with body, if you find yourself readjusting and fidgeting it is time to take a look at changing your meditation position. The goal is to relax the body so we can more easily control where our focus is directed. We are in control of our body, don't let if foul you!
If you want to find a cross legged position on the floor I recommend starting with easy pose of the right, with a cushion under your hips. Progress in your own time towards 1/2 and full Lotus.