8 Types of Yoga Meditation You Need to Know
Whether it’s focused on breath work, movement, mantras, sounds or visualizations, meditation comes in many shapes and sizes and has been practiced by cultures and spiritualities throughout history. One thing about meditation is for certain, though: it will change your life for the better. Here is a list of some of the most essential types of yoga meditation. These aren’t just your average mindfulness exercises. They’re rooted in tradition and empowerment, and they’re beneficial for almost too many reasons to count. Learn more, and start meditating today!
Mindfulness Meditation is all about letting the mind wander. That’s right. It’s not about subduing the thoughts… it’s about acknowledging them. This meditation is practiced by sitting in a comfortable seated position with a straight spine, closing the eyes, focusing attention on breathing in and out, and matching the length of the inhales to the length of the exhales.
It’s a great meditation practice for beginners, allowing them to experience their meandering thoughts, put them aside, and return to the object of meditation: the breath. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool for reducing anxiety and eliminating depression. Take a seat and test it out!
In Sanskrit, Yoga Nidra means “yogic sleep.” This form of meditation is supremely restful and deeply tranquil, which is not surprising, since it originated from yogic tantric traditions. To practice it, recline or lie down completely, perhaps placing props like blocks or bolsters beneath your body to encourage full relaxation. Generally offered in a guided format, you’ll be led into a deep state of conscious submission (somewhere between sleeping and waking) that allows for full release and reset.
Primordial Sound Meditation
Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) is a mantra-based meditation technique deeply rooted in the Vedic traditions. Well-known gurus Deepak Chopra and David Simon revitalized this ancient technique at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. In PSM, meditators are given their own personal mantras—learn more about finding mantras here—based on their unique Vedic astrology charts. The customized mantra is chanted to bring the mind back to a common focus, alleviating it of clutter and leading it into peaceful awareness.
Transcendental Meditation, also known as TM, is another form of mantra meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This type of yoga meditation is well researched and scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure, among other impressive health benefits. The traditional TM practice occurs twice per day for 15-20 minutes and is said to produce streams of thought that can be whittled down into their subtlest states, where they are experienced and transcended.
Zazen is a Zen Buddhist meditation practice that literally translates to “seated meditation.” When you conjure up images of Buddhist monks sitting silently in monasteries, this is the type of meditation they are practicing. Zazen relies on self-guidance, allowing breath to deepen the meditative experience. Its aim is to let go of thoughts, ideas, images and judgments and tune into the now in a comfortable seated asana.
Animal Totem Meditation
Animal Totem or Spirit Animal Meditation is rooted in shamanic concepts using guided visual techniques to lead the practitioner into an inner world of self-discovery. By embarking on a journey to uncover your spirit animal, you set out on a vivid mental path, paying notice to all creatures presenting themselves along the way. This form of meditation can be guided or achieved through written instruction. The animal you uncover illuminates some of your deepest attributes and provides powerful insight into what drives your soul.
Tonglen Meditation is a type of Tibetan Buddhist meditation that focuses on meeting your suffering head on to help you overcome it. Instead of avoiding pain, struggle and discomfort, Tonglen Meditation encourages you to lean into it and strip it of its power. The subsequent feeling of empathy and compassion is consuming, and it can all be achieved by setting an intention and matching it with breath. Tonglen meditation is not as particular about posture—whether seated or reclined, the main aim is comfort in the face of challenge.
Loving-Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation)
Loving-Kindness Meditation, or Metta Meditation, is exactly as it sounds. This type of meditation is about unconditional love and kindness—particularly to the self. Metta Meditation originates from Tibetan Buddhism, and has been proven to boost positivity and compassion, starting with the self and then radiating out to others.
Metta Meditation is achieved by visualizing rays or channels of love and kindness. First, direct them toward the self, then extend them to a close friend or family member. Next, to an entirely neutral person. Then one who presents a challenge or difficulty, and eventually to the universe. The visualization of this wave of love and kindness keeps the meditator grounded, harnessing and releasing beautiful energy.
Share Your Zenergy
We hope you can find a practice in these types of yoga meditation that works best for you. Energy… Zenergy… it’s all about that good stuff we cultivate by engaging in a deeply spiritual meditative practice. And it travels. Why not wander with it as the autumn chill whispers its way into the air? To keep you warm, cozy and spiritually in sync this autumn and winter, be sure to browse the Sweater & Sweatshirt collection from Inspired By Stephanie Rose!