The Different Types of Meditation To Help You Win Your Goals

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Finding the right meditation style for you will be the glue to you forming a regular meditation practice, which will benefit you overall. One of the following ways of meditating may inspire you along that path.

In the Western world, we have a wide choice of meditation forms at our disposal thanks to the Eastern cultures of our world who developed a swathe of philosophical and grounding practices that help with having a positive mindset and removing the shackles.

What are the different forms of meditation?

The different forms of meditation are extensive. Here are some of the most common practices in our Western world:
Mindfulness meditation: Focuses on attention to breath and the present moment, without judgment or distraction.
Loving-kindness meditation: About cultivating feelings of love, kindness, and compassion towards yourself and others.
Transcendental meditation: Consists of repeating a mantra or word silently to yourself in order to achieve a deep state of relaxation and inner peace.
Yoga meditation: Combine physical postures (asanas) with breath control and meditation techniques to improve physical and mental health.
Vipassana meditation: About observing your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations in a non-judgmental way, in order to gain insight into the nature of reality.
Zen meditation: Involves sitting in a specific posture and focusing on your breath or a specific object, in order to achieve a state of calm and clarity.

While the above six are among the most common forms of meditation, there are many other types to choose from. Keep reading to discover some lesser-known, but equally powerful, forms of meditation among those that help you win at life…

Why are there so many different meditation techniques?

There are many meditation techniques because the practice has evolved independently by a number of different cultures around the world.

Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and has evolved into many different forms. There are countless techniques of meditation, each with its own unique philosophy and techniques.

Where do these different methods of meditation come from?

You’ll find most meditation techniques come from Eastern cultures. Different cultures derive different methods of meditating.

For instance, Buddhism has meditation methods that involve Loving Kindness, Visualization, Vipassana and Mindfulness. And, there are examples of meditation from Hindu reflections and those of Sufis. Then there’s India, China and Japan.

India is the birthplace of Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation, and Yoga. Indian meditation practices focus on the connection between the mind, body, and spirit, and the goal is to achieve a state of inner peace and enlightenment.

In China, meditation is an essential part of Taoism and Buddhism, and it is primarily aimed at cultivating spiritual awareness and developing the mind and body. Some popular Chinese meditation types include Qigong, Tai Chi, and Zazen.

In Japan, Zen meditation is a popular practice that was formalised in China, and it is focused on mindfulness and concentration. Zen meditation involves sitting in a specific posture and focusing on the breath to achieve a state of calmness and clarity.

The following meditation type list, though not exhaustive, covers not only the types of meditation and its benefits but also the challenges of each.

Yogic Meditation

The challenge here is centring your mind.

Yogic meditation involves several techniques. Pranayama is considered the foundation of yoga practice. The Pranayama or Yoga Breathing technique involves a particular breathing pattern that alters your state of mind, especially good for stress relief.

A modern version is the breathwork meditation technique, which is done to a curated music playlist using your breath to centre awareness. Counting is optional in breathing meditations. Breathwork is a healing meditation. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and improves mental health overall.

Body scan meditation

This type of meditation involves bringing awareness to different parts of the body to promote relaxation and release tension.

You generally start at the feet and work up to the head, focusing on each body part, tensing it and then relaxing it, realising its sensation. The benefits of body scan meditation include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased self-awareness.

To practice body scan meditation, one can lie down in a comfortable position and bring awareness to each part of the body, releasing any tension or discomfort. You can get guided recordings to help with this.

Candle Meditation

Required: Open Eye. Darkened room. Challenge: stillness, especially with eyes.

Candle meditation is known for giving you improved concentration skills. Staring at a candle brings about focused attention and helps open channels to intuition.

Chakra Meditation

This style is known for recharging energy. It is typically a guided meditation. Chakras are used to centre awareness.

The seven chakras are believed to be associated with different physical and emotional aspects of our being. By focusing on each chakra and its associated qualities, practitioners aim to promote balance and healing.

The benefits of chakra meditation include increased self-awareness, improved physical and emotional health, and a deeper connection to one’s spiritual self.

Chakra chart showing the 7 chakras by their colours, location in the body and the quality or emotion associated with each one

To practice chakra meditation, one can visualize each chakra as a spinning wheel of energy and focus on the colour, location, and qualities associated with each one.

Cosmic Meditation

Required/Challenge: Visualizing techniques

This spiritual meditation enhances your awareness of your connection to the universe — or, opens you to a spiritual awakening. It inspires a bigger-picture outlook. The breath is used to centre awareness. Visualization involves imagining a light around the body.

Cosmic meditation is a technique used to connect with the universe and tap into its infinite energy. It involves focusing your attention on the cosmos while letting go of your thoughts and emotions.

To begin cosmic meditation, find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to relax. Visualize yourself surrounded by the vastness of space, with stars and planets all around you. Focus your attention on your breath, letting go of any thoughts or distractions.

As you continue to meditate, imagine yourself becoming one with the Universe. Visualize yourself absorbing the energy of the cosmos, and feel it flowing through your body. Allow yourself to experience the peace and tranquillity that comes with this connection.

The benefits of cosmic meditation are claimed to be numerous: It can help to reduce stress and anxiety while improving your overall mindset. It can also increase your sense of connectedness with the world around you, and boost your creativity and intuition.

Healing Guided Meditation

Required/Challenge: Guided by instructor

This practice is known for healing the suffering of body, mind, and heart. You might seek this for pain relief.

One technique commonly used in healing guided meditation is visualization. The guide may instruct the listener to visualize a healing light or energy entering their body and healing any areas of pain or discomfort. This can help the listener to relax and focus on the healing process.

Breathing exercises may also be used in healing guided meditation. The guide may instruct the listener to take slow, deep breaths and focus on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving their body. This can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can be beneficial for healing.

Another technique used in healing guided meditation is mindfulness. The guide may instruct the listener to focus on the present moment and observe any thoughts or feelings that arise without judgment. This can help the listener to develop a greater awareness of their body and mind, which can be useful for identifying areas of pain or discomfort that need healing.

The benefits of healing guided meditation can include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased feelings of relaxation.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Required/Challenge: Coordinating the phrases with the breathing

One of the most practised forms of Buddha meditations is Loving Kindness. It helps with cultivating forgiveness of people or situations that have troubled you. You use a mantra relating to freedom from fear and suffering in relation to people in your life. Known also as Metta meditation. It is a method of developing compassion.

The focus is on the solar plexus (your chest area, your ‘heart centre’). The breath inhaled and exhaled is combined with traditional phrases.

Mahamantra Meditation

Required/Challenge: Chanting the primordial sound

This is a Krishna meditation that uses mantras. It is known for making your mind firm or rooted so that you stop seeking attention from others and are filled with energy.

Mindfulness Meditation

Required/Challenge: Finding a quiet, uninterrupted time/space

This is a simple but very powerful practice. It is used with children. It is known as a natural treatment for emotional issues. It helps you to stop reacting to disturbing thoughts.

The types of mindfulness meditation may vary but a simple one is to use the breath to center awareness. Mindfulness can be practised anytime, anywhere.

Standing Nature Meditation

Required: Open space.  Challenge: Passerby distractions

You might already know how nature helps us feel better.  Here are meditation techniques to practice in nature.

It is said that a real meditator never feels the lack of external materials

Dalai Lama

Try these steps:

  1. Find somewhere to stand with ease and in comfort and safety
  2. Take off shoes
  3. Stand barefoot
  4. Touch the Earth (grass, sand, soil).
  5. Wiggle your toes
  6. Imagine the energy of the earth beneath
  7. Breathe deeply and imagine drawing that energy up into your body
  8. Close eyes
  9. Relax taking rhythmic breaths
  10. Listen to the sounds of the birds or nature
  11. Note your thoughts and feelings
  12. Be revived by the spirit of nature

Transcendental Meditation

Required/Challenge: Only taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction.

Transcendental meditation is known for out-of-body experiences. Refer also to the Maharishi Effect. It’s a Hindu meditation with the goal of transcending or rising above all that is impermanent. The pose is seated, and the focus is on a mantra while actively changing the breath to alter your mental state.

It typically involves 15-20 min a day with a mantra.

The main challenge of Transcendental meditation is the cost associated with learning the technique. It requires a trained teacher who has been certified by the Transcendental Meditation organization, and the cost of instruction can be quite high.

Vedic Meditation

This type of meditation is similar to Transcendental meditation.

Vedic meditation is an ancient technique that originated in India. The Vedas are a collection of ancient texts that form the basis of Hinduism. Vedic meditation is rooted in the belief that there is a universal consciousness that can be accessed through meditation.

It is a mantra-based meditation. This means that the practitioner is given a specific sound or phrase to repeat silently to themselves. The mantra acts as a focal point for the mind, helping to quiet mental chatter and bring about a state of relaxation.

The benefits of Vedic meditation include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased creativity and productivity.

To practice Vedic meditation, one can sit in a comfortable position and repeat a mantra while focusing on the breath.

Visualization Meditation

Required/Challenge: Seeing images on the screen of the mind

This practice is used most often for attracting success and change. In this, you use mental images while meditating (a meditation screen). It is not only a traditional Buddhist meditation but is also found in Yoga and Taoism.

Practitioners may visualize a peaceful scene or a specific intention to promote healing and or success in life. The benefits of visualization meditation include reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased creativity and productivity.

To practice visualization meditation, one can find a quiet and comfortable space and visualize a peaceful scene or a specific intention.

Vipassana Meditation

Required/Challenge: Code of discipline

Also known as Goenka meditation because of a known teacher. Vipassana is for enlightenment or insight. Vipassana means to see things as they truly exist and aligns with Buddhist philosophy.

The focus is on the breath. It includes contemplation and introspection and awareness of bodily sensations.

The code of discipline in Vipassana meditation requires practitioners to abstain from killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and the use of drugs or alcohol. Participants are also required to observe silence for the duration of the course, which can last for 10 days or more. For this, you need supportive meditation cushioning.

The technique of Vipassana involves focusing the mind on the breath and observing the sensations in the body without reacting to them. This technique allows practitioners to gain insight into the nature of their own minds and develop a sense of equanimity towards their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of Vipassana meditation is to develop a deep understanding of the impermanent nature of existence and to cultivate a sense of inner peace and compassion towards all beings. This form of meditation has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving concentration, and increasing feelings of well-being.

Zen meditation

Zen meditation, also known as “Zazen”, has its origins in ancient India where it was practised as a means of attaining enlightenment. It was then brought to China by a monk named Bodhidharma in the 6th century CE.

Zen meditation was introduced to Japan a century later by Japanese monks who travelled to China to study with the Zen masters there. It became an important part of Japanese Buddhism and has since spread to many other countries around the world.

The practice of Zen meditation involves sitting in a specific posture, focusing on the breath, and allowing thoughts to come and go without attachment or judgment. It is a practice that emphasizes being present at the moment and cultivating a deep awareness of one’s inner self. Zen meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of reducing stress, improving mental health, and enhancing overall well-being.

Sufi Meditation

Required/Challenge: Awareness of heartbeat

There are a variety of Sufi types of meditation. The Sufi Heartbeat Meditation is usually practised while sitting. It focuses on the heartbeat to gain a connection with the spirit (or Divine). While in the meditative state, left thoughts to go towards love and develop the feeling of warmth, peace, and sweetness while contemplating your heartbeat. You can repeat a mantra while doing this.

The Sufis mantra is “Allah”.

Shamatha meditation

This type of meditation involves focusing on a single object, such as the breath or a visual image, to achieve a state of calm and concentration.

One of the key differences between Shamatha meditation and other types of seated meditation is its emphasis on developing stable and focused attention. Unlike other types of meditation that may encourage visualization or contemplation, Shamatha meditation is designed to help practitioners develop a strong foundation of concentration that can be applied to other areas of their life.

The benefits of Samatha meditation include increased focus and concentration, reduced stress and anxiety, and a deeper sense of self-awareness.

To practice samatha meditation, one can find a quiet and comfortable space and focus on the breath or a specific object for a period of time.

Taoist meditation

This type of meditation incorporates Taoist philosophy and practices, such as Qigong, to cultivate inner peace and harmony with nature.

The benefits of Taoist meditation include improved physical and emotional health, increased energy and vitality, and a deeper connection to nature.

To practice Taoist meditation, one can focus on the breath, practice Qigong movements, or visualize natural elements such as water and trees.

Other Meditation Types

Other forms of meditation include Jyoti, Reflective, Vajrayana (which is a tantra style used to attain Buddhahood), and Satanama meditation. There are numerous types.

You can check out the types of meditation Psychology Today list for meditation-based stress reduction. The most important thing to note is the 20 scientific reasons they give as to why you should start meditation today. This includes calming the chaos in your mind among overall benefits for the health of your body, mind, and soul.

There’s not one practice or experience that’s best for everyone.

Rod Galbraith, co-founder of InYoga.

One of the main things to do is to choose a style that you are likely to continue with. Because getting into a daily practice of meditation is what will bring you the most benefits. It’s one of the best daily habits for winning in life. Seek out tips on how to meditate and these will help you with your practice.

Meditation takes us into an alpha state and the research behind the alpha state shows it is connected with creativity and clarity of mind — opening the way to a more at-peace existence.

Source

A recommended source for practical meditation techniques: Practical Meditation: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide by Giovanni Dienstmann.

Practical Meditation: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide
A Step-by-Step Guide

Available at Amazon