Meditation became popular in the US in the 1960’s, and its developed a lot since those days. Before meditation was seen as a
“hooky’ Eastern practice, but now with scientific evidence backing up the benefits that meditation has on our body and mind, it has become widely accepted.
Not all meditation is the same though. Just like with yoga classes, there are different methods and practices of meditation out there. People often get frustrated when one type of meditation doesn’t work, but there are others out there for you to try. Here are the 5 most popular and effective meditation practices that you should try this year.
Mindfulness is an idea that is all about focusing on the present moment. It’s not necessarily about spirituality. It’s more about learning awareness of presence. Jon Kabat-Zinn popularized mindfulness and it teaches us to avoid secondary suffering. Secondary suffering is when we enhance our pain by thinking about something negative and playing it like a mental loop. By developing mindfulness, we can tune out these negative thoughts and enjoy the happiness of the moment. A huge benefit of mindfulness is that it teaches us to acknowledge, embrace, and then let go of negative thoughts without them harming us. Life isn’t always fair or kind, so knowing how to move on from these negative thoughts is vital to having a great 2018.
Transcendental meditation became popular in the 1960’s when the Maharishi met the Beatles and taught them it. This form of meditation is about silencing the mind and transcending to the source of all present-moment awareness. This is achieved by repeating a special mantra. One is supposed to repeat the mantra internally, focusing on it and breathing so tune out thoughts. After time has passed the mind will quiet allowing you to transcend to the core of your being. If this sounds a little hard don’t worry. There are trained, certified, and qualified transcendental meditation teachers out there that can help you.
Walking meditation is one of the newer meditation methods to become popular. It’s a little different than other meditation practices. This one typically involves taking a slow, mindful walk in nature, where one can use their surrounding to anchor themselves in the present moment. Walking meditation is said to be good for beginners new to meditation. Having your senses connect with the world around you makes it easier to focus on the present moment. While nature is typically recommended for these walks, teachers of this practice say anywhere that brings one peace is okay. If that means a big city for you, then go for it!
Mantra meditation is similar to Transcendental Meditation, where a mantra is used to quite the mind. Mantras can be repeated aloud or internally, depending on the location and how comfortable the individual is. There is tons of mantra out there, each with different meanings so you can find one that suits you best. Mantra meditation typically happens while sitting in a meditative pose and uses slow relaxed breathing.
Mala Bead Meditation
Mala beads can be thought of as the rosary beads of the East. Typically made out of wood, but sometimes gemstones as well, mala beads necklaces have 108 beads. This form of meditation has individuals counting each bead as they recite a mantra. The mantra is repeated on each bead, meaning it’s recited 108 times. Mala meditation is done slowly with deep breaths. At the end of the beads on the necklace, individuals find their mind quieted and in a state of peacefulness.