“Meditation is clearing your mind of all thoughts”
Have you been told this is what meditation is? I have, and that is probably my least favourite way to describe it. It’s actually why I avoided it for so long. The idea of clearing my mind of all thoughts immediately makes me think so many thoughts! The practice of meditation is so much deeper than a clearing of the mind.
So what is meditation? For me, it’s a practice where a specific technique is used to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally + physically calm state. Many meditation techniques exist, I couldn’t even try to cover them all! So to keep it uncomplicated, I’ll focus on the 5 techniques I enjoy most.
Five Meditation Techniques
- Progressive Relaxation
- Loving & Kindness
Let me be very clear, I am certainly not writing this as a Meditation Master but just as a girl who has found beauty in a few simple approaches. Before I get into the 5 listed techniques I want highlight a few benefits of meditation that I have experienced since beginning my practice.
Benefits of Meditation
- Gain perspective
- Focus on the present
- Reduce negative thoughts
- Reduce stress
- Enhance self awareness
- Improve sleep
… to name a few.
So how do you know what type of meditation is best for you? Think about what you want to either gain or lose in your life. Are you always worrying about the past or future? Are you consistently in a negative headspace? Keep reading to hopefully find the right fit for you.
Mindfulness meditation has become one of the most popular techniques in Western culture. Mindfulness meditation focuses on being aware in the present moment. During this practice you will observe passing thoughts and allow them to pass through your consciousness without judgment. We as humans often dwell on the past or worry about an uncertain future, mindfulness encourages awareness of your current surroundings.
Best Technique For: Beginners looking for an accessible technique which does not focus on one thing in particular
Movement meditation is ideal when you are feeling energetic and yearn for a release of that energy. Most people immediately think of yoga when they hear the words ‘movement meditation’ but you can practice in various ways. Going for a walk, dancing, running or even cleaning are also great options. Set your intention and let the movement guide you. Focus on your breath as you create space with your body.
Best Technique For: An active person who finds peace in movement versus stillness
Progressive relaxation (also referred to as Body scan) is best for reducing tension in the body and getting to a relaxed physical state. Many people (myself included) use progressive relaxation to unwind in bed, before falling asleep. Lay on your back with your eyes closed and slowly “switch off” each part of your body, starting from your toes all the way up to the tip of your head. You can either release tension by tensing then relaxing muscles or imagining a soothing wave of energy flowing through your body.
Best Technique For: Relieving stress and tension in the body before bed
I find loving kindness to be an effective and low energy output technique for feeling all of the positive vibes. This practice involves creating and sending a message of love, kindness and well wishes to friends, loved ones and all beings on earth. Repeat your message multiple times and feel negativity wash away. Tip: my ‘go to’ message is “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be at peace”.
Best Technique For: When you are harbouring feelings of anger or resentment and want to vibrate at a higher frequency
Visualization meditation is a technique that focuses on vividly imagining a calm place, warm situation, or admired person while feeling the breath. The idea is to foster a sense of calm positivity and serenity. Visualization meditation is an amazing tool to reduce stress and encourage peace from within.
Best Technique For: When you feel overwhelmed by stress and negative thoughts
Ready to Get Started?
Whether you are looking to move your body with intention, reduce stress, enhance self awareness, or improve your sleep, there is a meditation technique that can fit your needs. It may feel uncomfortable or silly at first but lean into it and do your best, you may surprise yourself!
Give these techniques a try and let me know how it went or share any other meditation techniques you have tried! Comment below, follow me @domdesilva on Instagram or shoot me a direct message at firstname.lastname@example.org.