23 Nov, 2020
Meditation may be an ancient tradition, but it is practised in cultures across the world to create a sense of calm and inner harmony. Although the practice has ties to many different religious teachings, meditation is less about faith and more about altering consciousness, finding awareness, and achieving peace. These days, with a greater need to reduce stress in the midst of our busy schedules and demanding lives, meditation is increasing in popularity. Although there isn’t a right or wrong way to meditate, it’s important to find a practice that meets your needs and complements your personality. Siddharth Bhan, a Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga and a meditation expert discusses the different types of meditation.
Most of the times, when we try to watch our breath, we are actually watching the sensations created by the breath, not the breath itself. The breath itself is called Kurma Nadi, according to the yogic sciences. Breath meditation teaches us that our notion of being an individual who is a separate entity is a false idea. Every sub-atomic particle in our body is constantly transacting with everything else. Breath can be a wonderful reminder of this. There is a deep connection between our breath and the mental structure. A certain aspect of the basic life force within us called prana vayu is in charge of the breath and the thought process. If we have the awareness and attention to travel with the breath deep enough, it brings us to a point where we are attached to our body. If breath is mastered with enough sadhana, one can simply drop the body like a change of clothes. This is the yogic tradition is called Mahasamadhi.
Maun means practicing silence when we practice silence by not speaking. The other is called Nishabd. “Nishabd” means “that which is not sound” – beyond body, mind and all creation. Beyond sound does not mean absence of sound, but transcending sound. As per modern science, this universe is nothing but a whole myriad of reverberations. Each form has a vibration attached to it. This complex amalgamation of sounds is what we experience as creation. If we become absolutely silent within ourselves, it leads us to a space which is absence of reverberation, life, death and creation itself.
Kundalini is the latent energy, a large part of it is dormant in most individuals. Everything we do is really a manifestation of kundalini itself. Kundalini is generally described as a coiled serpent. A coiled up snake is so hard to see unless it moves. Similarly, we do not see this coiled-up energy unless it moves. If our kundalini is aroused, an unleashing of a completely new level of energy begins within us leading to miracles in our lives.
Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is the most popular meditation technique in the West. In mindfulness meditation, we pay attention to our thoughts as they pass through our mind. We don’t judge the thoughts. We simply observe and take note of any patterns. This practice combines concentration with awareness. We may find it helpful to focus on an object or our breath while we observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings. This type of meditation is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide us, as it can be easily practiced alone.
Mantra meditation is prominent in many teachings, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “OM” It doesn’t matter if the mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, we will be more alert and in tune with our environment. This allows us to experience deeper levels of awareness. Some people enjoy mantra meditation because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. This is also a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy the repetition of words.
Focused meditation involves concentration using any of the five senses. For example, we can focus our breath, or we can bring in external influences to help focus our attention. Try counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle flame. This practice may be simple in theory, but it can be difficult for beginners to hold the focus for longer than a few minutes at first. If the mind does wander, it’s important to come back to the practice and refocus. As the name suggests, this practice is ideal for anyone who requires additional focus in their life.
Transcendental meditation is the most popular type of meditation around the world, and it’s the most scientifically studied. This practice is more customizable than mantra meditation, using a mantra or series of words that are specific to each practitioner.
Although most people think of yoga when they hear movement meditation, this practice may include walking through the woods, gardening and other gentle forms of motion. It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides us. Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
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