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Meditation

26 Meditation Techniques Youll Be


Happy You Learned
April 24, 2017 Paul Martin Harrison 0 Comments Edit
Welcome to The Daily Meditations complete guide to meditation
techniques. Here you will learn all the different types of meditation.
My passion has always been to inspire people to meditate. Since an
early age I knew the importance of meditation, and my purpose on this
blog is to encourage as many people as possible to start meditating.
If you are new to meditation, or if you are looking to increase your
understanding of meditation and learn new meditation techniques, this
page is for you.
In a moment, I will take you through an in-depth guide to all the
different types of meditation. But to begin with, lets wind it right back
to the very beginning.

What is meditation?
So that we are all on the same wave-length, lets begin at the very
beginning and look at what meditation is.
Meditation is a mental exercise that trains your mind to focus on one
or more elements. That is a very basic explanation of meditation. And
it is the universal constant between all meditation techniques.
When you meditate, you focus your mind on one or more things. Easy.
But also infinite. Because you can focus on anything.
There are as many meditation techniques as there are things to focus
on. You can focus on anything, so, by definition, you could meditate
on anything too.
Of course, even though you can meditate on anything, it would be a
waste of time meditating on most things.
So,
meditation is focusing on one or more things.
You could potentially meditate on anything.
There are only select things that are actually worth meditating on.
What makes an object worth meditating on is the affect it has on your
mind.
Certain elements and objects naturally produce certain responses in
your mind, and because of this, those things are worth meditating on.
For instance:
It is worth meditating on your breath because doing do relaxes your
mind and energises your body (and also does other things).
It is worth meditating on certain sounds (mantras) because these can
change brainwave frequency.
It is worth meditating on love and kindness because doing so actually
promotes love and kindness in your mind.
You may notice that these are all different types of meditation. There
are breathing meditations. There are mantra meditations. There is
Loving Kindness Meditation. And so on.
Different meditation techniques arise because there are different things
that are worth meditating on.
Essentially, every meditation technique can be defined as something
that is worth meditating on.
However, there are different ways of focusing on things.
You can focus on one single isolated thing.
You can focus on everything.
You can focus on a mental image (visualisation).
Writing for GoodLifeZen, Mary Zaksch says, To focus in meditation
means to pay soft attention to whatever you place in the centre of
awareness.
Because you can focus in different ways, you can also meditate in
different ways.
Psychologically speaking, the two core ways of focusing on
anything are:
Focused attention (isolating one or several things to meditate on).
Open monitoring (focusing on everything).
And because these are, psychologically speaking, the two core styles
of focusing, they are also the two core styles of meditation.
Lets take a look at these two core types of meditation.

Open monitoring and focused attention


meditations.
1. OPEN MONITORING TECHNIQUES
One of the main types of meditation techniques is open monitoring.
In open monitoring exercises your mind is open.
When you perform an open meditation technique you do not focus on
a singular thing. Youre not focusing on the breath or on a
sound. Instead, you are aware of the totality of existence. You are
aware of your thoughts and feelings, physical sensations, and all the
information that comes to you by way of your senses (sound, smell,
taste etc.). You non-judgmentally observe the world, allowing your
focus to extend to everything in your environment.

In open awareness meditation consciousness is


spread out evenly
A definition of open awareness is: not intentionally focusing on one
thing, but opening the mind for the world to enter freely.

When performing open awareness exercises, the mind works like the
light-bulb in your ceiling, spreading light (consciousness) in all
directions. In open awareness, attention is spread evenly across the
environment.
For instance, one of the best open awareness activities is to simply
gaze up at the sky, silence your mind, and let the day in. You should
feel as though you are not intentionally focusing on anything, but
rather that everything is entering your mind freely.
Open awareness benefits you in many ways
The open types of meditation are very liberating. They make you feel
free. Like a butterfly arising from out of a chrysalis to take flight into
the world, the mind is freed from its usual shackles of thoughts and
stresses, freed to take in the fullness of existence.
I personally practice open meditation techniques early in the day. I find
this is a very good way to start the day positively and mindfully. Ill
practice an open meditation before sitting down to write. Its like Im
allowing the world to come to me while exercise and warming-up my
creative mind. By spending twenty minutes opening my mind and
boosting my creativity I ensure that my creative juices are flowing for
the whole day.
Thats just one of the benefits of open meditation.
The number one health benefit of these techniques is that they help
you to let go.
In cognitive psychology open awareness can be used to stop you
obsessing over one thing, or one thought, by opening the mind to the
fullness of existence.

2. Focused attention meditation techniques


The mind may be open to take in the whole world, but it may also be
closed to focus on just one object. Thats why alongside open
meditations we have the other type of meditation technique: focused
attention meditations.
These meditations are best surmised by the classic Zen quote
When sitting sit. This old Zen proverb reminds us to focus on what
were doing right at this very moment. It is a simple but important
lesson that is taught through closed meditations.
If open meditations are like the light-bulbs in your ceiling, closed
meditation techniques are like flashlights, a one directional source of
light.
When we perform a focused attention activity we focus on one thing
(breath, a sound, a candle etc.). We may focus on a mantra, a
physical object, on breath, on meditation music, on mental imagery
(visualisations) Wemay focus on any one single thing, and in so
doing we will be performing a closed meditation, the most popular type
of meditation technique.
There are far more focused attention activities than open monitoring
activities.

3. Focused attention examples include:


Anapanasati (Breathing techniques)
Sound Meditation,
Pranayama,
Chakra techniques
Mantras,
Tibetan Singing Bowl
Some mudras
Visualisation,
Samatha Meditation
Loving Kindness Meditation,
Kundalini Meditation,
Transcendental
Practices in focused attention train your mind to concentrate on one
thing at a time (the most popular example being meditations focused
on the breath). If you would like to learn more about this, take a look at
our Online Course.
The Benefits of Focused Attention Techniques
Different types of focused meditations offer different benefits (you can
read all about this in my guide to the 100 health benefits of practice).
Some meditations boost positivity and happiness, others
cultivate compassion, others can cure illnesses and so on.
Advanced meditators practice a wide variety of different focused
attention exercises so that they can enjoy the complete assortment of
benefits that meditation offers.
You can read more about open monitoring and focused attention here.

4. Effortless Presence
As well as open monitoring and focused attention there is also
effortless presence.
A yoga practice, effortless presence means existing without effort, not
consciously directing your focus, just existing, as though empty but
aware. This is very similar to open monitoring and offers most of the
same benefits.

Meditation Techniques by cultural background


and spirituality
One of the best things about studying different types of meditation is
the sheer amount of culture involved.
Digging into classic texts and reading the words of masters like Lao
Tzu, Thich Nhat Hanh and Osho is a real pleasure that should be
enjoyed alongside studying meditation.
Dig into ancient texts and youll find the very heart and core of
meditation. Its in the ancient classics like the Bhagavad Gita, the
Vimalakirti Sutra, and the Pali Canon, that youll find the roots of
meditation.
Like the trunk, branches, and leaves of a great tree, meditation has
grown over countless years, but its roots are still anchored in the
ancient texts, among the fertile soil of ancient Eastern culture.
When you study the culture and historys of meditation you glean an
understanding of where meditation comes from and why it has
developed the way it has.
Of course, this is completely optional. Personally I never stop reading
because I love learning about culture and history, particularly as
pertains to meditation.
When you look back at history you realise there are six cultures of
meditation.
There are six key cultures of meditation, the first of which takes
us back some 2500 years
NOTE: This list is based on different realities and spiritualities because
meditation began as a religious practice. Of course, atheists can
meditate too. Ive written a separate guide to non-religious techniques
for atheists. Take a look.
1: Buddhist meditations
Most of the different types of meditation techniques practiced today
come from the tradition of Buddhist practice.
There are lots of different forms of Buddhism, including:
Theravada
Mahayana
Zen
Vajrayana
This image explains all the different types of Buddhism (click for full
size image)

Just as there are lots of forms of Buddhism, there are lots of forms of
Buddhist meditation too.
In the classic language of Buddhism, meditation is referred to as
bhvan and jhna/dhyna.
Bhvan can be translated to mean Developing into existence.
Dhyna refers to the practice of focusing the mind, which is done
to achieve enlightenment.

In Buddhism, enlightenment is the ultimate purpose of meditation.


Enlightenment can be thought of as meaning Release from the self.
On his blog, Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says,
Enlightenment is a state of perfect knowledge or wisdom, combined
with infinite compassion Enlightenment is an understanding of both
the relative mode of existence (the way in which things appear to us)
and the ultimate mode of existence (the true nature of these same
appearances).

Buddhism has many different forms of


meditation. And the ultimate goal of those
meditations is to attain enlightenment.
Some of these different types of meditation techniques, such as
recollections and breathing meditations, transcend all traditions of
Buddhism. They are used ubiquitously. But many Buddhist types of
meditation are specific to different Buddhist schools.
The Theravada tradition alone incorporates more than one hundred
meditation methods, the majority of which revolve around mindfulness.
Contrastingly, the Tibetan tradition uses over a thousand different
visualisation meditations.
Because different teachers have been taught at different schools, the
majority of the time when you attend a Buddhist meditation class your
teacher will mention that theyre a specialist of one of the many
different Buddhist schools. The Dalai Lama, for instance, teaches
Tibetan Buddhism, where Thich Nhat Hanh teaches Zazen (Zen).

Visit the temples of the different schools of


Buddhism and youll hear most teachers
discussing three types of training:
Virtue (which they call sila),
Meditation (Samadhi)
Wisdom (panna).
These three types of training are the pathway towards enlightenment,
and each one is essential. Thats why a Buddhist meditation plan will
traditionally incorporate meditations that cultivate those three traits of
Sila, Samadhi, and Panna. Meditation will be taught alongside ethics
and morals.
Morals and ethics are taught mostly through what Buddhists refer to
as the Noble Eightfold Path, which is the way towards
enlightenment.
The eight paths are:
1. Right understanding
2. Right thought
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness,
8. Right concentration.

When studying Buddhist types of meditation, all eight of these paths


should be taken into account.
The most important types of Buddhist meditatio

5. Zazen:
Zazen comes from the tradition of Chinese Zen Buddhism, which
began in the 6th Century. It is usually practiced sitting on the floor on a
mat or pillow, traditionally sitting in the lotus position with the legs
crossed (though if, like me, youve spent years running miles on
concrete roads you may struggle with the position, in which case
kneeling is fine). You then focus either on the breath or on the pure
act of sitting, both of which cultivate mindfulness and the mentality of
living in the moment with pure awareness.
Zen-Buddhism.net states,
The practice of Zen meditation or Zazen is at the heart of the Zen
Buddhist experience. Originally called Dhyana in India, Zen meditation
is a very simple yet precise method of meditation, where the correct
posture is imperative.

Read my full guide to Zen

6. Vipassana:
The practice of Vipassana meditation began back in the 6th Century
during the time when Mahayana Buddhism was expanding through
the East from India to South East Asia. The word itself, Vipassana, is
Pali for clear seeing or insight.
In Vipassana meditation you focus your on breathing and extend non-
judgmental awareness to the inner workings of your mind. This
process helps you to achieve great understanding of yourself and of
the mind. Specifically, Vipassana leads to awareness of what
Buddhists call the three marks of existence the three
characteristics shared by all sentient beings, namely impermanence
(anicca), dissatisfaction (dukkha), and non-self (anatt).
Read my full guide to Vipassana.
The Japanese kanji symbol for mindfulness
7. Mindfulness:
Mindfulness meditation is the single most popular type of meditation
technique. It is derived from traditional types of meditation practices
and has been popularised in the West through the teachings of Zen
master Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat Zinn (the founder of
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction).
Writing for his blog WildMind.org, Bodhipaksa says,
My definition of mindfulness is very simple: Mindfulness is the gentle
effort to be continuously present with experience.
Because mindfulness has gone through such a process of evolution
there is actually some confusion as to precisely what the term means
today.
Different teachers will teach mindfulness in different ways. Some will
strictly state that mindfulness is mindfulness of breath only. Others will
say it is mindfulness of any aspect of the present moment.
The purpose of mindfulness is expressed in the Thich Nhat Hanh
quote If we are not fully ourselves, in the present moment, we lose
everything. It is about simply focusing on the present moment
experience.
Mindfulness is practiced in hospitals and other health facilities and is
advocated by health professionals more than other types of meditation
technique, mostly due to the research performed by Jon Kabat Zinn,
who created the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for
Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of
Massachusetts Medical School.
Read my full guide to Mindfulness

8 Loving Kindness Meditation:


Loving Kindness Meditation is also called Metta, the Pali word
meaning good will and benevolence. In the Tibetan and Theravada
Buddhism traditions, Loving Kindness Meditation is practiced as a way
of developing compassion and warm feelings, which lead you to feel
much closer and more connected to other people.

Emma Seppala describes the technique this way,


Loving-Kindness meditation focuses on developing feelings of
goodwill, kindness and warmth towards others Compassion,
kindness and empathy are very basic emotions to us. Research
shows that Loving Kindness Meditation has a tremendous amount of
benefits ranging from benefitting well-being, to giving relief from illness
and improving emotional intelligence:
Read my full guide to Loving Kindness.

You may be wondering if Buddhist meditation is


right for you. Heres what you need to know
In Buddhism, meditation is inseparable from philosophy. The purpose
of meditation is to cultivate the right mind, which ultimately leads to
enlightenment. This is why Buddhist meditation is best practiced by
those who believe in and wish to follow the Buddhist belief. Though
most of the techniques can also be practiced without the philosophical
side, and this will still lead to great health benefits.
By understanding the principles, theories and philosophies of
Buddhism you can gain a much deeper understand of things than by
simply meditating. If, however, you wish to use meditation as a tool for
cultivating positive mental states or for alleviating specific health
problems, you will be better off picking and choosing specific Buddhist
techniques without actually committing to the true practice of Buddhist
meditation.

Hindu Meditation Techniques


Hinduism is the worlds oldest religion and was one of the most
important factors in the creation and development of meditation. Many
of the different types of meditation technique come from Hinduism.
My friends and acquaintances often debate among themselves as to
which religion, Hinduism or Buddhism, actually created meditation (its
a fascinating conversation). Some argue that Buddha was born a
Hindu and was familiar with Hindu practices, so therefore the practice
of meditation derives from Hinduism. Others argue that meditation as
we know it was not created until the beginning of Buddhism and is
therefore a Buddhist practice.
Either way, there are a great many similarities between Hindu and
Buddhist meditation techniques.

9. In Hinduism meditation is called Dhyana or


Jhana.
If you have ever spoken to a Hindu meditation teacher you will likely
have heard them discussing how to use Dhyana to cultivate oneness,
to heighten awareness of body, surroundings, and senses, to obtain
self knowledge, and to achieve moka, which is the highest
achievement, the liberation of self from the perpetual cycle of death
and rebirth.
In Hinduism, meditation first appeared in the classic text the
Upanishads, a collection of dialogues between Hindu sages and their
students. In these texts sages discuss meditation as being deeper
concentration of the mind. They say it leads to great self knowledge
and liberation from the illusion of Maya, the illusion of the material
world.
One of the most important of classic texts is the Bhagavad Gita, a
narrative that shows a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and
his guide and charioteer Krishna.
In the Gita, Arjuna is faced with a duty to fight the righteous war
between two opposing sides, the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
Krishna advises Arjuna to fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty as a
warrior and establish Dharma. It is this dialogue that introduces the
Dhyana Yoga system, the Hindu meditation system that synthesises
Dharma (the Hindu order) with Bhakti (faith and worship).
Dhyana Yoga (meditation) is the seventh and penultimate limb of the
Eight Limb path of Hinduism. It is preceded by Dharana and followed
by Samadhi. These three (Dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi) form the
Samyama, the Hindu process through which the mind is liberated from
the physical world.

10. Dharana
In dharana meditation, we focus the mind and sight between the
eyebrows. This develops concentration. While focusing on this fixed
spot energy enters the mind. This energy gradually builds and the
focus intensifies, leading to meditation and the state called Samadhi, a
point of extreme concentration.
Unlike most other types of meditation, when practicing meditation in
the Hindu tradition, the practitioner is not aware of the fact that they
are meditating. They are only aware of their own existence and the
object on which they are meditating. This creates a powerful sense of
oneness. It is a beautiful and powerful experience in which exists
nothing but the individual and the object of meditation, fused as
though they are one.
There are many different types of meditation in
the Hindu system. Some of the most important
are:
11 . Mantra meditation:
One of the most popular types of meditation for Hindus, mantra
meditations involve the recitation of specific words or sounds.
If you visit India during a religious celebration such as Krishna
Janmaashtami, (the festival which celebrates the birth of Krishna) you
will hear Hindus reciting mantras throughout the night, showing
devotion.
Different Hindu Gods are traditionally worshiped by reciting different
mantras, and mantras can also be used to create certain benefits,
ranging from love to happiness to inner peace to wealth and so on.
It is believed that these mantras work via energy resonance. Because
different sounds occur at different frequencies, by meditating on a
mantra you can change the frequency of the energy in your body and
mind, leading to various outcomes.
It is worth noting that mantras do not have to be used expressly for
worship or for specific ambitions. They can also be used for pure
relaxation. Indeed, mantras are one of the best entry points to
meditation. The act of reciting the mantra gives the mind something to
focus on, which helps us to stay with the meditation as opposed to
being lost in distractions.

12. Yoga Meditations:


There are a great many yogic types of meditation, which date right
back to 1700 B.C.
These meditation techniques aim to create enlightenment and self
knowledge, and they form just one part of a much larger discipline.
The classic yoga system involves rules of conduct (yamas and
niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and
contemplation (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi).

Giovanni Dienstmann from LiveAndDare gives a great definition. He tells


us,
Tradition goes as far as 1700 B.C, and has as its highest goal
spiritual purification and Self-Knowledge. Classical Yoga divides the
practice into rules of conduct (yamas and niyamas), physical postures
(asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and contemplative
practices of meditation (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi).
Some of the most important Yogic types of meditation include Trataka
(fixing upon a particular object) Kundalini (a complex system about
activating kundalini energy), Kriya (which creates energy), Nada
(meditating on sound), Tantra (which has little to do with sex and more
to do with contemplation) and Pranayama (breathing).

The Sanskrit term Atma Vichara refers to a type of meditation known


in the west as Self Enquiry. This meditation is used to gain
understanding of our true nature and to discover the true self. If youve
ever asked Who am I? then this is one type of meditation you should
definitely consider.
Self Enquiry began thousands of years ago and is mentioned in Hindu
classic texts. But it became more popular when it was advocated by
an Indian sage called Ramana Maharishi. Eckhart Tolle then taught
millions the art of Self Enquiry in his book The Power Of Now, which
led this technique to become quite common in the West.

Are Hindu Meditations Right For Me?


Hindu meditations are one part of a very rich tradition and culture. If
you are going to learn Hindu meditation correctly, you should learn it
alongside that culture.
While some Hindu meditations (mantras, for instance), can be learnt
quite quickly and easily, others (like Kundalini Yoga meditations) are
harder to learn and are definitely not an ideal place for beginners.

CHINESE MEDITATION
Chinese culture offers a slightly different view of meditation, which
comes in the forms of Taoist meditation and QiGong.
Daoism / Taoism was started by Lao Tzulov in the 5th Century BC. It
advocates living in harmony with the world, with nature, and with the
Taothe path that is mentioned in many Chinese philosophies and
religions.
In the 6th Century Lao Tzu wrote the classic the Tao Te Ching, in
which he gave the first description of Taoist types of meditation,
though this definition would later evolve, in the 8th Century, when
Daoism came under the influence of Buddhism.
Daoist types of meditation focus on the creation and circulation of
energy, Qi, which promotes health, harmony, and unity of body,
mind and spirit.
In Chinese culture, Qi is the principle energy that gives life. Most
Chinese spiritualities and exercise involve the creation and circulation
of Qi.
In the West, Taoist meditation is practiced mostly as a tool for better
health and to improve longevity.
The most important Daoist meditations
14. Emptiness meditation.
In emptiness meditation the practitioner sits silently and empties the
mind of thoughts. This state of emptiness creates tranquility, allowing
the body and mind to repair themselves and to restore Qi.
15. Zhuangi (Breathing meditation)
Daoists call breathing meditations Zhuangi and believe that this type
of meditation unifies the mind and qi.
In the Tao Te Ching, the sacred Taoist text, Lao Tzu instructs the
practitioner to practice Zhuangi by focusing on vital breath until it is
supremely soft. Further instruction is given on a relic that was found
bearing the following instructions:
To circulate the Vital Breath:
Breathe deeply, then it will collect.
When it is collected, it will expand.
When it expands, it will descend.
When it descends, it will become stable.
When it is stable, it will be regular.
When it is regular, it will sprout.
When it sprouts, it will grow.
When it grows, it will recede.
When it recedes, it will become heavenly.
The dynamism of Heaven is revealed in the ascending;
The dynamism of Earth is revealed in the descending.
Follow this and you will live; oppose it and you will die.
16 . Inner observation
In this type of meditation the practitioner visualises the inside of their
body and mind, including their organs, inner deities, thoughts, and qi.
This inner visualising is said to develop the knowledge and
understanding of ones own nature.
17. QiGong:
A highly popular exercise in China, the word QiGong can be translated
from Chinese to mean life energy cultivation. As with most Chinese
meditation techniques, QiGong is about creating and circulating Qi
around the body and mind.
QiGong originates from Chinese Buddhism and Taoism, where it is
taught as part of spiritual and religious practice. In the West it is
currently growing in popularity Many health organisations advocate
practicing QiGong for the alleviation of arthritis and other health
complications. Many spas and gyms run basic QiGong classes that
teach a part of the overall QiGong system.
The full QiGong system that is taught in the East is a complex system
involving more than 80 types of breathing and literally thousands of
different exercises. Each exercise and technique offers different
spiritual and health benefits and all have a specific reason for being.
That said, you certainly dont need to know the precise details of all
the moves just to get started. You can readily pick up a QiGong DVD
and enjoy a tremendously relaxing routine. And so are these relaxing
techniques. Take a look.
Read my complete guide to Taoist techniques.

Is Chinese Meditation Right For Me?


Chinese types of meditations are often fantastic practices that are
excellent for people who believe in living in harmony with nature and
who are interested in using meditation as a way to improve their
health. Some Chinese meditation techniques are quite difficult
(QiGong should be learnt with instruction, for instance), but other
techniques, like Emptiness meditation, are perfectly suitable for
newcomers.

4) CHRISTIAN MEDITATION
Christians use meditation for a different purpose to Hindus, Buddhist,
Jainists and Daoists.
In the East meditation is about purifying the mind, transcending the
self, and achieving enlightenment and oneness.
The largest Western religion, Christianity, does things a little
differently, albeit with somewhat similar results.
Christians practice different types of meditation techniques primarily
as a way to be closer to God and to understand the bible better. One
of the most popular meditation exercises for Christians is to take a
passage of the bible and to meditate on it contemplatively. This is
calming and can certainly have many positive results like developing
depth of character and positive traits.
All About God tells us,
Christian meditation is rooted in the Bible. In fact, the Bible commands
us to meditate. In Joshua 1:8, God says to meditate on His word day
and night so we will obey it. The psalmist says his delight is in the law
of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:2).
Actually, the Bible mentions meditate or meditation 20 times.

The most popular Christian meditations


18. Meditative prayer
Meditatitve prayer is a type of meditation that Christians use for
contemplation. Here the individual repeats the words of a prayer in a
similar fashion to fashion to repeating a mantra (though, arguably,
without the energy resonances that mantras produce).
Meditating to God
Meditating to God is another popular type of meditation for Christians.
In this exercise the individual opens their heart to God and asks to be
made one with God (which is similar to the Buddhist technique
of Bhakti).
Is Christian Meditation Right For Me
Christian meditation is really meditation that has been adapted for
integration into the Christian faith. As such the only real reason to
practice is if you already are a Christian.
Read my guide to Biblical Practices For Christians.
19. GUIDED MEDITATIONS
Guided meditation can be seen in the Buddhist and Chinese traditions
with techniques like Neiguan, in which you visualise the inside of your
body. But guided meditations have really taken off and achieved
stratospheric heights of popularity in the West since the rise of the
New Age movements and self help / personal development.
The Guided Meditation Site tells us,
Guided meditation is simply meditation with the help of a guide. Its
one of the easiest ways to enter into a state of deep relaxation and
inner stillness, and its one of the most powerful ways to eliminate
stress and bring about positive personal changes.

Guided meditations are now one of the absolute most popular types of
meditation. Simply hit up Youtube and youll find thousands of free
guided meditations (though I have to say they vary greatly in quality).
Part of the reason why visualisations have become so popular in the
West is because they are so easy. What could be easier than lying
back, closing your eyes and listening to someone reading a relaxing
meditation script?
But the ironic thing is that the very fact that guided meditations are
easy makes them less effective than most other meditation
techniques. Theres no focusing of the mind, theres no discipline,
theres no effort
The mind is like a muscle. To grow strong it needs to be exercised.
Guided meditation can relax the mind, but it is not truly exercise,
so it wont make the mind much stronger.
Thats not to say that there arent certain benefits of visualisations.
Professional athletes use visualisations in their training to prepare
themselves. Stressed businessmen use visualisations to relax their
minds after a hard days work. I personally have used visualisation to
quit smoking years ago and also when preparing for stage shows. And
Ive given visualisations to many people who either wanted to be
taught to think of something in a different light or to prepare for
something they were stressed about (exams, for instance).
Many of those meditation sessions involved Guided Imagery, a very
popular type of meditation in which the individual is guided through a
journey or story that creates some sort of positive emotion.
Types of Guided Meditation
20. Body scans
Body scans are one of the most important types of guided meditation.
Body scans arer a good way to become mindful of your body. This is
one type of visualisation meditation that I personally do advocate. The
technique involves passing your focus around your body. This
heightens the mind body connection and is a great way to get back in
touch with your body. If, for instance, youre trying to find the
motivation and energy to get back into exercising, body scan
meditation can help to inject energy into your body, naturally
motivating you to use your body more.
21. Affirmations
Another popular type of guided meditation is Affirmations. These
involve reciting a positive message in your mind while seeing a certain
image. I once taught an affirmation to a lady who was dealing with an
alcoholic husband. She was fighting to preserve her inner peace (well,
her sanity, as she called it). I taught her to use the affirmation
Calming, letting go while visualising stress dripping off of her body
like beads of water. This simple technique gave her a way to
essentially teach her own mind to let go of the stress, helping her to
relax.
22. Binaural Beats
In 1839, physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove created Binaural Beats, yet
another type of guided meditation technique. Dove learnt that when
two different frequencies of sound are put into each ear the brain
detects phrase variation. This leads the brain to try and reconcile the
difference between the frequencies. By using the right phase variation
it is possible to lead the brain to produce alpha brainwaves (10 Hz),
the waves used in most meditation techniques.
Be Brain Fit has an excellent introduction to Binauaural Beats. They tell
us, The use of binaural beats sound technology is an easy shortcut to
achieve a meditative state of consciousness.

Are guided meditations right for me?


If you find meditation difficult at first then guided meditations can be an
excellent entry point.
Guided meditations are fabulous when you get home from a hard days
work and simply want to chill out. Put your feet up on the couch, close
your eyes, and let your guide lead you to relaxation. But its important
to know that if you start with guided meditations, the time will come
(and quite soon) when you need to move on to meditation techniques
that require more effort. To build those mental muscles, you need
exercise. Guided meditations are like taking a casual stroll, compared
to the full workout that is a disciplined meditation regime.

Movement Meditation / Dynamic Meditation


One of the most influential proponents of meditation in the twentieth
century was Chandra Mohan Jain, better known as Osho, an Indian
mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher.
Throughout the 1960s Osho toured India giving inspiring but often
controversial public speeches on everything from politics to spirituality.
He then moved to Bombay in the 1970s, where he became a spiritual
teacher and gave exegeses on his interpretations of religions and
philosophies. His controversial perspectives and magnetic charisma
led Osho to gain notoriety in the West in the 1970s, and it was then
that his teachings on meditations were translated into English.
Among Oshos teachings was the term Dynamic meditation (or
Movement Meditation).

23. Dynamic Meditation


Dynamic Meditation is a form of movement meditation that was at
first a very specific technique taught by Osho. It has subsequently
been amalgamated with other forms of movement meditation.
Today, the term dynamic meditation is generally used to refer to any
type of meditation that involves physical activity (often dance).
When Osho created dynamic meditation he did it as a means to make
meditation more applicable to modern lifestyles. It was Oshos belief
that it is near impossible for the average modern person to enter a
truly meditative state, mostly because they have too much mental
noise, stress, and thoughts, which they need to discard before
beginning meditation. So Osho created dynamic meditation, which
incorporates dramatic movement that is designed to release tension
and inhibition, allowing the individual to discard mental noise.
The most important types of dynamic meditation / movement
meditation

Traditional dynamic meditation


The traditional dynamic meditation is a profoundly liberating
experience. It is a movement meditation that cal also include vocals.
The overall idea is to completely let yourself go in the movements.

24. Nataraj
One of Oshos most popular dynamic meditation techniques is
Nataraj, a dance meditation.
Nataraj is the energy of dance. This is dance as a total meditation,
where all inner division disappears and a subtle, relaxed awareness
remains, says the official Osho website. Forget the dancer, the
center of the ego; become the dance. That is the meditation. Dance so
deeply that you forget completely that you are dancing and begin to
feel that you are the dance. The division must disappear; then it
becomes a meditation.
Read my complete guide to Dance pratices.
Dynamic meditation can be lumped together with similar techniques
that incorporate movements.
In dojos throughout Japan, for instance, you can find citizens
practicing the following types of meditation:

25. Katsugen und. This is a a Seitai exercise that helps you to let go
of conscious control of the body. When you do this you enter a state in
which the body can heal itself.

26. Zifagong Zifagong is a practice very similar to QGong. It is


popular in China.

Are dynamic meditations for me?


Dynamic meditations / movement meditations offer a different
experience to traditional meditations. Its hard to find many research
papers documenting the effects of dynamic meditation, so much of
what we know is speculative. But most practitioners say that
movement meditations are energising and create a tremendous sense
of liberation.
Dynamic meditations are, of course, much more active than other
meditation techniques, so they are not as easy to perform. They
should ideally be taught with professional instruction too, because
accidents can happen. But performed correctly, dynamic meditations
offer a unique experience that is extremely freeing.
Conclusion
Weve looked at meditation techniques used all around the world. And
weve seen what different meditation techniques can be used for.
What should you do next? Why not get started with my guide to
the basics of practice. It will ensure you start off on the right foot. And
the next time you meditate, why not try our free timer? And for the full
Zen experience, why not convert part of your home into a meditation
room? Ive written a complete guide to creating a room to practice in to
get you started.
So, which types of meditation have you tried? What do you think are
the most effective types of meditations? I would love to hear your
opinion in a comment below. Thank you.