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The 8 types of meditation and their characteristics

The 8 types of meditation and their characteristics

June 21, 2024

Meditation is an ancestral practice that has experienced a popularity boom in Western countries in the last decades. For those who are beginning in meditative practice, they can be a bit confusing associated with meditation: mantras, chakras, Vipassana Meditation, Tonglen Meditation, etc.

In this article you will be able to find the different types of meditation and their characteristics so you understand what makes them different and you can know what their benefits are.

Benefits of meditation

Meditating is not always easy, especially at the beginning, because it requires discipline and practice for its perfection. Therefore, it requires effort, but in the long run its health benefits are numerous.

In the fast-paced world in which we live, many people find in meditation a way to connect with themselves again, far from Western culture, where consumerism and materialistic values ​​govern the lives of the vast majority of citizens. Meditation is a way to recover the essence of oneself and achieve inner peace.

In summary, These are some benefits of meditation n:

  • Increase your self-awareness : some forms of meditation help to reflect on one's experience.
  • Mitigate the effects of stress: help to find calm and reduce levels of stress and anxiety.
  • It positively affects the immune system : has positive effects on general health.
  • It improves the attention and concentration capacity: it works self-awareness and attention.
  • It is useful to empathize with others: it improves interpersonal relationships.
  • Increase pain tolerance : reduces painful symptoms.
  • Improves memory and cognitive functions: increases memory as indicated by some studies.
  • It promotes the appearance of positive thoughts: it helps to have an optimistic and positive attitude.

Types of meditation

Whether to calm the mind, to find oneself or to reduce anxiety or stress, it is interesting that you introduce this practice into your daily life, as it is a way to improve the quality of life.

But… What types of meditation are there? What do the different ways of meditating bring us? You can know more about the different kinds of meditation in the following lines:

1. Meditation of Primordial Sound

Primordial Sound Meditation is a meditation technique based on mantras , rooted in the Vedic tradition of India. A mantra is a repeated phrase that helps us reach the state of relaxation and internalization that foster the meditative state. The mantras are not random phrases, but are sacred sounds that the wise men of antiquity used for their meditative practice, because they have great harmonizing power.

Although this type of meditation is millennial, Deepak Chopra and David Simon revived this ancient practice and created a meditation program based on mantras that anyone can practice, so in the West it enjoys some popularity today. During meditation, it is necessary to repeat this mantra silently, because it creates a vibration that allows you to place yourself in a place away from the noise of the mind, reaching calmness and pure consciousness. This type of meditation is ideal for those who seek a structure in their meditation practice.

2. Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana meditation is often referred to as "insight" meditation and allows you to see things as they really are . It is also a traditional Buddhist meditation practice, which is widely used in the West thanks to Mindfulness. This type of meditation emphasizes awareness of breathing, tuning the air that enters and exits through the nose. It also focuses on labeling thoughts and experiences as they arise.

Each time a thought or emotion is identified, it is necessary to identify it and let it pass with a non-judgmental attitude. There are several different types of Vipassana meditation that have evolved from the traditional style over the years.

  • You can deepen this type of meditation with these techniques: "5 Mindfulness exercises to improve your emotional well-being"

3. Zazen meditation (Zen)

The translation of the Japanese word "Zazen" means "sitting meditation" . Many people, when they visualize meditation, imagine a person on the floor with their legs crossed, their eyes closed and their fingers in the Mudra position. This does not happen with Zazen meditation.

Although this type of meditation focuses on breathing and observing the measured thoughts and experiences that pass through the mind and observing the experiences of the environment, as in Vipassana meditation, there are some differences between the two kinds of meditation. A main practical difference is that in Zen meditation, the emphasis of the breath is on the belly, instead of the nose (as in Vipassana).

Another big difference is that the posture is much stricter in Zen meditation than in Vipassana, with special attention on the straight spine, the chin bent and the hands placed in a special position on the belly. In Zazen meditation, the eyes should always be open, with a low look, and in Vipassana, there are no strict rules for the look, although it is usual to keep the eyes closed. Zen meditation is recommended for those who already have previous experience with meditative practice.

4. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation is another type of meditation based on mantras . Like the Primordial Sound Meditation, its origin dates back to ancient India and each person is given a personal mantra employed by vibrational qualities to help calm the mind. Although the purpose of meditation in both forms is similar, there are quite a few differences, including the mantras themselves and how they are selected, the instruction of meditation and the recommended time to meditate.

5. Meditation Metta or Benevolent Love

Metta meditation or Benevolent Love has its meaning in unconditional kindness and friendship . This style of meditation also has its origin in Buddhist teachings, mainly Tibetan Buddhism. As scientific studies show, compassion and this kindly and loving form of meditation has proven to be particularly useful in promoting empathy, positivity, acceptance and compassion towards oneself and others. Anyone with low self-esteem, high levels of self-criticism and a desire to be more empathetic with others can benefit from this practice.

6. Kundalini meditation

The main idea of ​​this type of meditation is that thanks to this technique one awakens his Kundalini energy , located at the base of the spine. When this energy is released, it travels down the spinal column and leads to an experience commonly known as Kundalini awakening, which ultimately leads to enlightenment. Kundalini meditations can include breathing techniques, mantras, mudras and chants to harness the power of the unconscious mind. It is an energizing way to awaken the mind.

7. Chakra Meditation

A chakra is an energetic center in the body, and we have seven of them , each located in a different area of ​​the body and each one associated with a different color, sound and energy purpose. Chakra meditations can be very powerful, especially when they focus and connect with one element in the physical or emotional body at a time. Many chakra meditations use sound, specific hand placement and visualization techniques to connect with the chakras and their healing energy.

8. Tonglen meditation

This type of meditation is Tibetan Buddhist and is characterized because the person who practices it connects with his own suffering in an effort to overcome it. Our culture teaches us to avoid suffering and flee from it, just the opposite that Tonglen meditation does.

This kind of meditation teaches you how to handle the difficult situations of life, because it allows you to face them by developing an attitude of openness towards suffering and abandoning negativity. It is also called give and take meditation, and cultivate compassion and empathy through breathing, visualization. The practice can be done in any comfortable position, either sitting or reclined.

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