7 Meditation Types That Are Perfect for Beginners
Watkins' teachings have made meditation more accessible to more people (you can follow him here). He's all about making meditation part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth, to gain all the benefits like stress and anxiety relief, better sleep, building your creativity, to name a few.
"It brings a level of awareness that allows you to see more connections, more themes playing out, read the room even better, so you can see cause and effect even more," he tells Brit and Anj on this week's TMSN. "And that's something that will pay off in business, in relationships, even with just yourself and understanding yourself and what you're going through."
New to mediation? Definitely check out the latest (and enlightening!) TMSN podcast and here's a primer on some of the different types of meditation that might be right for you:
Vedic: Vedic is a mantra-based meditation and comes pretty easily to most. Find a seat somewhere comfortable and close your eyes. Breathe deeply a few times and silently repeat a mantra, a word or phrase that conjures happy vibes for you. As your mind starts to settle, your body begins to rest deeper and deeper. If your mind strays, keep guiding it back to the mantra. Do this in the morning and evening for 20 minutes.
Mindfulness: This is another popular meditation type that helps you focus on the present and can be done anywhere from the shower to your work desk. Simply pay attention to your thoughts, without judgement and just let them pass through -- become aware of them and note any patterns. If you're struggling to stick with it, try to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any thoughts, feelings, or sensations.
Visualization: This type of meditation essentially replaces the breath technique with a mental picture, like an object (say something from nature) or a person. The idea is that by focusing on a specific visualization, you not only observe what's going on in your mind, but any physical sensations that rise up from it.
Loving-kindness: Having a bad day? Give this feel-good meditation a try. The idea is to open yourself up to greater compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward yourself and others. As you sit with eyes closed, first think positive thoughts about yourself (such as "may I be safe," "may I be happy," "may I be healthy") and then send off positive thoughts to loved ones, friends, even that person who you cut you off on the road.;) Focus on an image of the person you choose, ultimately as a way to let go of any negative thoughts and feelings.
Reflection: This technique asks you to choose a theme or question, like "what matters most to you in life?" during your meditation. Take note of your feelings, rather than your thoughts, and keep coming back to that theme or question if your mind starts to wander. This is meant to help focus your attention on your personal life or even your professional life in order to come up with creative solutions or breakthroughs.
Transcendental: Founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s, this mantra-based meditation is great for beginners as it's relatively easy to master. Mantras are customized by a certified TM teacher and the idea is that you transcend beyond your awareness. The practice has been proven to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression and anger.
Zen: Buddhism teaches that the true key to happiness is within you. This meditation aims to find just that. It is the more traditional idea of meditation, where you sit upright and follow your breath (AKA zazen), and focus on how your breath moves in and out of your belly while letting your mind rest. The idea is to stay present and alert. Some Zen masters also practice with koans, or spiritual riddles like "What would you call the world?" Or "What sound does a clapping hand make?" to help you stay in this meditative state, ultimately inspiring joy and well-being.
Have you tried meditation? Share your experience with us @BritandCo!
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.