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Styles of Meditation
Added on May 4, 2011
Meditation is now widely recognised as a powerful tool in the field of mind-body health and wellbeing. A personal meditation practice can be integrated into your everyday lifestyle as a powerful method to reduce stress and manage the challenges of a modern life.
Meditation is essentially a mental practice of single-pointed focus with the intention of going beyond the thinking, reactive and defended mind into a deeper state of relaxation, peace, acceptance, creativity and awareness.
There are many, many different styles of meditation available. To find the meditation technique that suits you best, learning meditation from an experienced teacher is recommended. You’ll also benefit from regularity and support with a teacher which is vital when anchoring a new routine.
Styles of meditation vary depending on what the mind is trained to focus on – the body, the breath, a word, an object, a sound, an action, mindfulness of the present moment, and so on. Some techniques are inward focused, other techniques are outward focused and several are a combination of both. Some techniques are passive while others are more active. Techniques also vary depending on their visual, auditory or kinaesthetic focus.
Following are some styles of meditation techniques, this is by no means an exhaustive list:
Guided Visualization Meditation is a form of meditation that takes the meditator on a journey towards discovery, insight and change. It is guided by another person’s soothing voice, either present in the same room or on a recording. The guide uses descriptive, sensory language and metaphor, possibly accompanied by music, to paint a vivid picture in the mind of the meditator.
Breath Meditation directs awareness to the breath. Focused breathing dissolves tensions and restores one’s natural breath by undoing holding patterns. Breathing is both a beginner and highly advanced form of meditation.
Moving Meditation requires attention to be focused on the body and its movement. There are several kinds of moving meditations such as walking meditations, tai chi, hatha yoga, dancing meditations, some sports can become a meditation, so can gardening or sweeping.
Mindfulness Meditation is the art of fully experiencing what happens in the here and now, in the present moment, while simply noticing the mind’s usual ‘commentary’. Once the mind’s commentary is noticed, there is a choice to stop identifying with its judgements/perceptions. Mindfulness is based on the concept of impermanence – a belief that all things change.
Mantra Meditation is the practice of repeating a short sentence or group of words known as a ‘mantra’. Repeating a mantra gives our mind a focus, it is something that the mind can become absorbed in. The mantra can be repeated silently or out loud.
Sound Meditation is when a sound becomes the focus and the mind becomes absorbed in the sound. Concentration may be on carefully selected outer sounds such as nature and instruments or on more subtle inner sounds.
About Judith Lissing
Judith Lissing is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Wellness Coach, with 15 years experience in teaching stress management and meditation. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Immunology and a Masters degree in Public Health, both from the University of NSW. She is also an Associate Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of NSW since 1999. Judith is trained in Wellness Coaching with Wellcoaches U.S. and holds a Diploma in Hypnotherapy. Prior to coaching professionally, Judith held a statewide management role with NSW Health working with all levels of staff across the health sector.