Choose your meditation: Yoga expert on 5 types of meditation and steps to practice
While meditation offers an array of benefits, beginners may find it hard to develop a routine and master the technique initially. Here is a step-by-step guide to meditate by an expert.
The ancient practice of meditation continues to fascinate people as they increasingly find themselves drawn to its different techniques, in order to seek clarity in clutter, for personal growth, increasing productivity and holistic well-being. While meditation offers an array of benefits, beginners may find it hard to develop a routine and master its technique. (Also read: Yoga poses and tips to beat the heat and boost energy levels)
With time, as one perfects the art of meditation, daily stressors are better managed and productivity goes up. One starts to feel more calm and composed, less triggered, and is more mindful in leading one's life.
"Meditation in yoga has a unique purpose, similar to how asana practice heals physical ailments, meditation heals mental ailments. Meditation was invented to help people overcome suffering, find deeper meaning in life, and connect with a higher reality. It is now also used to discover personal growth, increase performance, and achieve greater health and wellbeing," says Dr. Pramod Choudhary (PhD Vedic Yoga), FlexifyMe.
In an interview with HT Digital, Dr Choudhary talks about five types of meditation and steps to practice them.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
One of the most popular meditation styles, mindfulness meditation helps us develop a better understanding of how our mind works. This practice of self-awareness is the foundation for overcoming unhappiness, impatience, intolerance, and a variety of other habits that prevent us from living peaceful and happy life.
Steps for practicing mindfulness meditation
- Recognizing your reality, which begins with being aware of your body and thoughts
- Observe your thoughts and identifying each one of them without criticising or altering them
- Return to the meditation's object, such as the breath and learn to relax and enjoy the present moment
2. Mantra Meditation
Mantra meditation and chanting is present in all cultures, from Western religions to Buddhist and Hindu traditions. In this practice the mind should be concentrated on the sound of the words and the melody while chanting the phrase mentally or loudly.
Steps for practicing Mantra meditation
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and hands relaxed.
- Chant the phrase of your meditation aloud repeatedly while focusing on the meaning as well as on the sounds.
- Gradually turn your chanting into mental whispering as your mind attunes to the phrase and its meaning.
3. Trataka Meditation
This meditation practice was originally developed to clear the mind of distractions and enhance focused concentration while also strengthening the eye muscles.
Steps for practicing Trataka meditation:
- Light the candle and place it at eye level.
- Sit in a comfortable meditative posture with hands relaxed on the thighs. Gaze at the center of the candle flame, just above the wick.
- Try to keep the eyes steady without blinking. Gaze for as long as possible without straining the eyes, and then close them when you need to.
4. Visualization Meditation
Visualization techniques are a part of traditional yogic meditations in which the practitioner visualizes a scene or light in order to expand their consciousness or to change their mood from negative to positive.
Steps for practicing visualization meditation
- Sit in a meditative position and visualize an image that evokes a specific mood or quality.
- One can visualize themselves relaxing on a beach in front of the vast ocean or walking in high mountains to uplift their mood and state of mind.
- Traditional methods include visualizing light or any sacred symbol at the point between the eyebrows or at the heart center.
5. Chakra Meditation
In the Yogic philosophy there is a mention of 7 energy centers of higher perception in the spine and brain. This meditation technique is about focusing on these energy centers to promote a sense of contentment, peace and a greater connection to your sense of self.
Steps for practicing Chakra meditation:
- Sit with your spine erect, hands relaxed on the thighs facing up.
- Withdraw your mind from the outer consciousness and fix it in the spine.
- One by one focus on the chakras starting at the base of the spine and moving up to the top of the head.