19 Different Types of Meditation

Young woman meditating in front of a lake while sunset.

It does not take much for the stress of every day to build up and feel overwhelming. When you are feeling the pressure of every day, you may want to find ways to learn to deal with the stress and anxiety that you face each day. For example, when I found the stress of life to be too much, I tried mediation to help focus my thoughts and remove the pressure stress caused.

Meditation is a great tool to help reduce stress and eliminate the physical, mental, and emotional concerns it can cause.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a tool that has been used for centuries to help you strengthen your awareness and focus on the present. Mediation is a practice that connects you to your body and breath, sharpens attention, and faces difficult emotions. Mediation is used in many spiritual teachings, practices, and traditions, but the technique does not belong to any one faith.

It is intended to bring a sense of calm, peace, and harmony. While there is not a right way to meditate, it does require consistent practice.

Types of Meditation

1. Body Scan Meditation

Asian woman sitting on boulder in forest meditating.

Many times throughout the day, our mind is in a different place than our body. The body scan meditation technique is intended to synch the mind with the body when you perform a mental scan. You start at the top of your head and go down to the toes.

While you are utilizing this process, think of it like the light from a photocopier moving slowly over your body. This helps you pay attention to any tension, discomfort, pain, aches, or other sensations. This is also called progressive relaxation meditation.

During this practice, you are focused on reducing tension in the body. Sometimes you tighten and relax one muscle group at a time. It helps if you imagine a wave flowing through your body to help you reduce tension. This practice is common at bedtime.

2. Chakra Meditation

Chakra meditation yoga pose on a creamy pink background.

Chakra meditation focuses on keeping the body’s core chakras, or center of energy, aligned, fluid, and open. When the chakras are imbalanced or blocked, it can cause adverse mental and physical symptoms. Chakra meditation helps to get the chakras back in balance.

3. Focused Meditation

Focused African woman meditating breathing deep.

Focused meditation is a straightforward type of meditation. It uses breath as an object on which to focus. It helps bring your breathing into your attention, maintains awareness, and anchors the mind.

Focused meditation uses any of the senses to concentrate. You can focus on internal and external influences. An internal influence is your breath.

External influences can include counting your breath, counting beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle. While this is a simple practice, it can be difficult for beginners to hold focus. Usually, when you first start, you can only hold your focus for just a few minutes.

Then, anytime your mind wanders, you refocus and come back to your practice.

4. Loving-Kindness Meditation

Sunlight love and meditation.

Loving-kindness meditation is a practice that strengthens your feeling of acceptance, kindness, and compassion towards other people and yourself. This practice means you have to be open to receiving love from other people as well as giving love to others. This practice is ideal for those that are holding on to feelings of resentment or anger.

This type of meditation requires you to focus on various people. You do not have to know them. The philosophy behind it is that if we focus positive energy on ourselves, it allows us to extend it to others.

5. Mantra Meditation

Mantra meditation by the waterfall.

Mantra meditation is prominent in Buddhist and Hindu traditions and teachings. In this practice, a repetitive sound is used to clear your mind. It can be a phrase, word, or sound, most commonly the word om.

Mantras can be spoken quietly or loudly. When you spend time chanting the mantra, you become more alert and in tune with the environment around you. As a result, you can experience a deeper level of awareness.

For some, it is easier to focus on a word instead of a breath. The sound creates a vibration in the body, and others enjoy the way it feels. This process is also ideal for those that do not like silence.

6. Mindfulness Meditation

A woman clearing mind through meditation.

Mindfulness meditation started in Buddhist teaching but is the most popular and well researched meditation practice in the West. During mindfulness meditation practice, you pay attention to every thought that passes in your mind. You do not judge them or interact with them.

Instead, you observe them and take note. Mindfulness meditation is a balance of awareness and concentration. During the meditation, you focus on your breath or an object while observing your thoughts, feelings, or sensations.

This meditation is ideal for those that do not have or want a teacher to guide them. It can be practiced alone.

7. Movement Meditation

An adult man practicing Taichi.

Movement meditation is a practice where movement guides you to a deeper connection to your body and the present. This is ideal for those who can find peace while moving and want to develop an awareness of their body. While most people first think of yoga when they hear movement meditation, but it can include gardening, walking, tai chi, or other gentle forms of movement.

8. Noting MeditationA woman getting a morning meditation.

Noting meditation is a practice when you focus on sitting in quiet or breathing. During this technique, you pay attention or note what is distracting your mind. You note the feeling without getting involved in the thought.

When you do not have the feeling or thoughts, it can create space, restore awareness, and help you let go. In addition, it helps you understand conditioning, tendencies, and patterns.

9. Qigong Meditation

Old people doing qigong meditation exercise outdoors.

Qigong meditation is a powerful and ancient Chinese practice that harnesses the energy in the body by allowing the pathways of energy, meridians, to be fluid and open. When this energy is turned inward during meditation, it can help heal the body. You can also send the energy outside the body to heal someone else.

10. Resting Awareness Meditation

Calm guy meditating seated on bed at home.

Resting awareness meditation focuses on allowing the mind to rest. Even when thoughts enter your mind, you do not let them distract you. Instead, you send them away instead of letting them pull you away from the current moment.

11. Reflection Meditation

Woman in meditation with water reflection on background.

Reflection meditation is a technique invites that encourages you to ask yourself questions. For example, you can focus on what are you grateful for? When asking yourself this question, you should do it in the second person.

This allows you to avoid answering the question rationally.

12. Skillful Compassion Meditation

Skillful compassion meditation is a technique similar to loving kindness meditation. This practice focuses on someone you love as you pay attention to the sensations and feelings coming from your heart. When you open your mind and heart to the benefit of each other, it helps create and foster a feeling of happiness.

13. Sound Bath Meditation

Man meditating enjoying a sound bath.

Sound bath meditation uses gongs, bowls, and instruments to create sound vibrations to focus the mind and help bring you to a more relaxed state.

14. Spiritual Meditation

An adult woman doing Meditation and spirituality at home.

Spiritual meditation is used in almost religious and spiritual traditions. There are varying types of spiritual meditation. Spiritual meditation focuses on creating and developing a deep understanding of meaning and connection with a higher power.

You can practice spiritual meditation in a place of worship or at home. This type of practice is ideal for those who seek a deeper connection and yearn for spiritual growth along with a deeper connection to a higher power.

15. Transcendental Meditation

Man meditating calmly alone.

Transcendental meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This practice is intended to quiet the mind and create a state of peace and calm. It uses a mantra and is ideally taught by a certified practitioner.

This practice is for those that want an accessible approach to meditation. This practice includes sitting comfortably with eyes closed twice a day for 20 minutes as instructed to engage in the effortless practice. Typically, there is a morning meditation and a mid-afternoon or early evening session.

16. Vipassana Meditation

Novices monk vipassana meditation.

Vipassana meditation is an ancient tradition that asks you to concentrate and intensely examine aspects of your life with the intention of transformation. Vipassana meditation propels us to find information about the true nature of reality by contemplating key areas of existence. These areas include suffering, unsatisfactoriness, impermanence, non-self, and emptiness.

17. Visualization Meditation

Visualization meditation focuses on enhancing peace, calm, and relaxation by visualizing the positive with images, scenes, and figures. This practice includes imagining a scene as vividly as possible and using all five senses to add all the detail possible. This meditation includes holding a beloved or honored figure in your mind with the intention of taking on their qualities.

Another type of visualization is imagining specific goals and yourself succeeding at them. This success is intended to increase motivation and focus. Visualization meditation is used to reduce stress, promote peace, and enhance mood.

This can be a complex and challenging process for some, but it is not any different than recalling the face of a friend.

18. Yoga Meditation

A woman yoga meditation pose on her purple mat.

There are varying types of yoga that are geared toward strengthening your nervous system. This can help you handle everyday stress better. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that for the neuromuscular changes you encourage during yoga to take place, you must take the time to do the corpse or relaxation pose to allow your body to relax fully.

19. Zen Meditation

Woman standing in yoga posture in front of the lake.

Zen meditation is part of an ancient Buddhist tradition that requires you to sit upright and follow your breath. You particularly want to pay attention to the way the breath moves in and out of the belly. You also want to focus on allowing your mind just to be.

The purpose is to create a sense of alertness and presence.

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