Buddhism started 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) awakened at the age of 35.
At least 500 million people practice Buddhism today. For many, Buddhism extends beyond religion and has become a philosophy or way of life.
Zazen is a popular form of meditation within Zen Buddhism (of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition) as is Vipassanā meditation within Theravada.
Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion which includes a wide array of texts and practices.
Traditionally, Jews recite prayers three times daily with a fourth prayer on Shabbat and holidays.
In traditional Jewish service, prayer can be solitary, although communal recitation is preferred.
Psychology is the study of mind and behavior, which explores the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.
Attention, intelligence, cognition, emotion, motivation, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships, are all studied as well as past and present circumstances, the unconscious mind, and other areas.
While knowledge is often applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, psychology ultimately aims to benefit society.
Shamanism extends back at least two millennia. It involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to interact with the spiritual world.
Rituals and practices of divination are common. Ailments are treated by mending the soul, thus restoring the physical body to balance and prosperity.
Sikhism was influenced by medieval Hinduism in India. Devotees must meditate to progress towards enlightenment.
With over 25 million adherents worldwide, Sikhism originated during the 15th century, then spread out from India around the world.
Kirtan and Kundalini Yoga are popular Sikh practices that have been rising in popularity in the Western world over the last 40 years.
The Vedic forms of belief are a historical predecessor of Hinduism, though significantly different from it. Vedism evolved into the paths of Yoga and Vedanta.
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice. There are a broad variety of Yoga schools, with different practices and goals.
Yoga most likely developed in ancient India around the sixth and fifth centuries BC.
The earliest texts describing Yoga practices is credited to the Upanishads (Hinduism) and also the Pāli Canon (Buddhism), of third century BC or later. Yoga gained significant prominence in the West in the late 20th century.
Christianity is the world's largest religion. More than 2.4 billion people believe Jesus is the Son of God and saviour of humanity.
Prayer is an important activity in Christianity. Prayer can be read from a text or completely spontaneous; it can be vocal, contemplative or intersessional.
With over 1 billion followers, Hinduism has diverse roots and no particular founder.
After the Vedic times in India, between 500 BC and 300 AD, the "Hindu synthesis" started to develop. Hinduism is now the dominant way of life in South Asia.
Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies it is a family of linked religious cultures bound by shared concepts and rituals; puja (worship), recitations, meditation, cosmology, shared textual resources, pilgrimages and the questioning of authority.
Kabbalah is an esoteric school of thought. Although it originated in Judaism, it is not a religious denomination in itself, and now has Christian and New Age followers and adaptations.
Its teachings attempt to explain the relationship between an eternal and mysterious infinity with the mortal and finite universe.
Kabbalah is rich in symbols and myth, and contains thousands of books written over many centuries.
Science is the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
Through neuroscience, over the last 30 years we have discovered just how much the brain changes functionally and structurally as we grow older, happening wittingly and unwittingly.
This behaviour is known as neuroplasticity. Corollary to this, scientific research into meditation and mindfulness-based activities has exploded in recent years.
Research suggests that meditators are able to wittingly and positively influence the brain. Ayurveda is a form of scientific medicine derived in India, although in the Western world it is considered by many as a pseudoscience or an alternative medicine.
For thousands of years Ayurveda has been advocating meditation and yoga to attain vitality.
Taoism is a tradition of Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao.
Tao denotes something that is both the source of, and the force behind, everything that exists. Taoism emphasizes action through non-action (wu-wei) and simplicity.
Meditation in Taoism includes concentration, mindfulness, contemplation, and visualization.
Many Taoists also practice the internal martial art Tai Chi, both for defense training and for health benefits.