We all know that meditation is good for us. But how many of us are committed to it long enough to make it a consistent practice? The thing is, until you find a meditation style that resonates with you, it can be tough to stick to a consistent practice. In my journey to find out more about meditation, i discovered four of my top favourites and after exploring each one, i am happy to discover the best one that works for me. The reality is, whether you love a simple guided session or want to explore the subtle body’s depths, here’s what you need to know about five meditation styles and how to try each, so you can establish your own daily mindfulness practice.
If one of the styles resonate deeply, dive right in and practice it for 5-20 minutes everyday for at least 48 days! Why the number 48, you ask? Well, Master Sree tells us that anything you do for 48 days non-stop will change your DNA. Similarly, this is why people in India back then fasted for 48 days. This period is known as mandala.
“Maan” = intent
“Dala” = time period / time lapse
I have detailed my top 4 favourite forms of meditation in order of preference!
- Lovingkindness meditation
This is my favourite meditation style, since i have a very weak anahata (heart) chakra. I feel that it serves me well on the area that i need most improvement within myself. In this meditation, you silently repeat mantras to direct love and compassion toward difficult people in your life – including yourself. Lovingkindness is a practice of generosity towards yourself and others!
Select 3 or 4 phrases (examples: “May i be safe”, “May i be happy”, “May i be healthy”, “May i live with ease”). Begin offering these wishes to yourself and conclude by extending them to all beings everywhere. In between, send them to other recipients : a mentor, or someone who inspires you, a friend or a loved one, someone neutral like the aunty or uncle you met at the coffeeshop downstairs and then a challenging individual such as a toxic co-worker who triggers you or a political leader whose views you don’t respect.
- Mantra meditation
Mantra, derived from 2 sanskrit words – man (intent) and tra (repetition) – is a practice of chanting, whispering or reciting (aloud or silently) a sound, word, or phrase. Mantra actually changes the rhythm of your brain and takes you from the plane of the 5 senses into what Master Sree calls, “the super-consciousness” in which you are tuned into unbound intelligence. You can use this deep awareness to remove obstacles in your life or even connect to the divine. Vocalizing a mantra quiets your thinking and stabilizes the beta brain wave bringing it to an alpha state.
According to Master Sree, the primordial sound “Aum” takes you to an even higher state where you may experience samadhi. Many scriptures have many different meanings / explanations of “Aum”. Some say that the “A” represents the past, the “U” represents the present and the “M” represents the future and that by chanting AUM, you go past these 3 time states and attain higher consciousness. Your choice of mantra is up to you. Master Sree taught us that there are 3 types of mantra.
- “Baiheri” – Verbal chanting
- “Pascheri” – Mind chanting
- “Para“- A type of higher level chanting where the mantra is inside your body. You just simply have to close your eyes and “hear” it.
In one of our classes, Master Sree taught us to chant “Ma – Aum” during pranayama.
- Ma = Represents the universe
- Aum = Primordial sound
Mantra meditation also calms the nervous system and induce sleep relaxation. Lie or sit comfortably, repeat a mantra silently or loudly and sense the accompanying vibration. When your mind wanders, simply notice and bring your attention back to the mantra.
- Guided mindfulness meditation
Nothing derails your ability to be present – during your your practice than what Buddhists call the “monkey mind”, an untamed capricious mind that swings from thought to thought. That’s why guided mindfulness meditations are an effective entry point for beginners: They teach you to focus, center, and find peace in our always on-the-go culture. Think of guided meditation as if you have a coach supporting you step by step through the session. No matter where you are, seated on your cushion, on a crowded mrt train, or drifting off to sleep – a teacher verbally directs your attention to physical sensations (such as temperature, sound , breath and body) and what is happening in your mind. When distractions arise, take note – and refocus on the guided cues.
- Moving meditation
Western mindfulness practices come from a foundational Buddhist practice called “samatha”, which means “calm abiding”. it strengthens, stabilizes and clears the mind, so that you stay present moment to moment. You do this by consciously placing your attention on an object or physical feeling. In a sitting meditation , that may be your breath; in a walking meditation, it is the sensation of your foot touching the ground with each step. What you’re actually doing is cultivating your ability to recognize that your mind will stray, so when it does, your bring it very gently back to your feeling of your foot on earth.
You can practice this at home – start a little bit slower than your ordinary walk, so you can feel your feet arrive in every step. Try it around your dining table or down a hallway.
That wraps up my take on meditation styles!
I hope you will discover what works best for you so that you will make meditation a consistent daily practice.
Love and light from my heart to yours,