The 7 different types of Meditation

There are hundreds of different meditation practices. These can be categorized into 7 different broad meditation types. Each has a unique focus of attention.

FIND YOUR MEDITATION STYLE

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to meditation practices or exercises that simply notice feelings and thoughts as they come and go, without judgement.

Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation acknowledges and pays attention to feelings and thoughts. With roots in Buddhism, mindfulness meditation is widely practiced in a secular context. It focuses on bringing awareness to the present and making observations with openness, curiosity, compassion and composure. It helps recognise habitual thoughts and tendencies without judgement.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Insight Meditation

Insight Meditation or mindfulness derives from the Vipassana tradition in the school of Theravada Buddhism. It focuses on experiences such as hearing, seeing, chewing, tasting, touching, smelling, pain, thinking and moving. Attention to the physical body and patterns of the mind can create a mental awareness which keeps attention grounded in present reality.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

MBSR – Mindfulness

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - Mindfulness uses mindfulness to alleviate stress, anxiety, panic, depression and chronic pain. Developed in the 1970s by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR therapy was originally an 8-week course that combined mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Open Awareness

Open Awareness is a meditation practice where attention is allowed to float freely and without direction. Meditations of this type exist in various tradtions.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Vipassana

Vipassana Meditation is an exercise in seeing things at face value. Vipassana means insight into the true nature of reality, and Vipassana Meditation is the founding practice for ‘mindfulness’, which is useful for anchoring attention in the present. It is a gradual process of ever-increasing awareness where regular practice can reveal the true nature of existence.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

MBCT

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) uses mindfulness to treat depression. It aims to prevent relapses of depressive conditions including bipolar disorder, anxiety and negative thinking. Therapy to change dysfunctional thinking is similar to that used in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This is combined with an awareness of thoughts, feelings and emotions, accepted without judgment.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Thai Forest Meditation

Thai Forest Meditation is a tradition of the Theravada school of Buddhism. Its origins are traced to The Buddha's Enlightenment under a large fig tree (The Bodhi Tree). Devotees who 'go forth' in the tradition recognise that living simply and close to nature supports the development of insight and wisdom. The tradition has been revived by present-day monks in Northeastern Thailand.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Somatic Meditation

Somatic Meditation describes meditation practices which are rooted in the body. It brings attention to intuition, 'gut feelings', and bodily experience. Its ultimate goal, enlightenment or awakening, is found in the body. The practice recognizes the critical role embodiment plays in healing emotional and psychological trauma.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Zen - Zazen

Zazen is a type of meditation unique to Zen Buddhism. Originating in India, it spread to China, Japan and other parts of Asia before arriving in the West. It translates to 'seated meditation' and involves a focus on the breath and the present. Straight and upright posture is important to aid concentration and is it typically done with eyes open, seated in lotus or half lotus position.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating is a meditation that centers on food and is useful for those who have a troubled relationship with food or a habit of over eating. It aims to develop awareness of eating by reducing the pace of eating and savoring the food. The look, smell, taste and texture of food creates an awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations. Mindful eating is useful for those who have a troubled relationship with food or a habit of eating unconsciously, leading to overeating.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

MBRP

Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) uses mindful awareness to treat addictions. Participants learn to recognize and stay with discomfort (physical, cognitive and emotional) rather than automatically reach for a 'fix'. The practice integrates interventions from Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Mahamudra

Mahamudra is an advanced and sophisticated system of meditation. The Sanskrit ‘Maha’ means ‘great’ and refers to great bliss, and ‘mudra’ means ‘non-deceptive’ and refers to emptiness. It centres on the nature of the mind and realizations gained through it. The meditation aims to reduce stress, stir the mind, heal and experience absolute truth.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Ch'an Meditation

Ch'an Meditation is a form of Chinese Buddhism. Founded in the 6th century AD, it is the origin of Zen (Japan), Sŏn (Korea), and Thiền (Vietnam). Meaning awakening of selflessness, it uses the method of silent illumination, much like Zazen in Zen Buddhism.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Six Element Meditation

Six Element Meditation is a Buddhist Insight practice. Originally taught by the Buddha, it encourages contemplation on interconnectedness, impermanence and insubstantiality. Its aim is to recognize that every aspect of our being is in a permanent state of flux.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Taoist Inner View Meditation

Inner View Taoist Meditation is an ancient practice that reveres positive thought. It shares similarities with mindfulness and incorporates the positive influence of benevolent light and energetic anchoring.

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Meditation practice: Mindfulness

Jangama Dhyana

Jangama Dhyana meditation has ancient roots in Yoga and the Vedas. It was popularised in the 20th century by Shivabalayogi and his disciple, Shivarudra Balayogi. It involves focusing and holding attention on the Third Eye, the space between the eyebrows. The eyes are also gently directed there to facilitate stillness of mind. As the experience deepens, meditators can achieve Pure Awareness; consciousness watching itself.

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2. Visualization

Visualization refers to meditation or intention-based practices that involve imagining a specific experience or cultivating feelings such as gratitude, forgiveness and connection.

Meditation practice: Visualization

Guided Imagery

Guided Visualization engages the imagination to achieve almost any desired state. Words, music, silence and/or sound effects may be used to create a multi-layered, sensory experience designed for a specific outcome. These include relaxation, sleep, focus, productivity, pain relief and weight loss. Visualization is most widely known for achieving successful outcomes in sports, performance and wellness.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Relaxation Meditation

Relaxation is the calm state at the core of our natural condition. Meditation can help access this state by releasing tension from the body and switching off the mind. Relaxation can restore balance and replenish energy depleted through daily life.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Healing Meditation

Healing Meditation is a meditative state which offers a sense of connection and presence. Meditations include many forms such as mantra, affirmation, guided visualisation, breath work, kundalini or connecting with stillness. It can boost the immune system, reduce stress, increase energy, expel negative emotions and ease the causes of ill health.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion is demonstrating the same compassion you have for others to yourself. It involves acknowledging pain and suffering and responding with kindness. It is not self-pity or self-indulgent. Self-compassion meditation can help healing and improve self confidence.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Metta Meditation

Loving-Kindness (Metta) is a Buddhist practice to develop impartial and unconditional love. Initially taught by the Buddha, it exists in most ancient spiritual disciplines. Feelings of loving-kindness are cultivated using visualization and affirmations which are projected onto others. It is reported to reduce irritation, anger and hatred, while improving patience and the ability to forgive.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Affirmations

Affirmation Meditation is the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment. An affirmation is anything repeated out loud or in thoughts which register in our subconscious mind. Effective affirmations are positive, personal, specific, and in the present tense.The aim is for thoughts to consume our awareness to manifests goals or changes in behavior.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Compassion Meditation

Compassion Meditation uses visualization techniques to foster feelings of kindness and compassion towards others. The practice is similar to the Buddhist Loving-Kindness meditation (Metta) and means the development of empathy, connectivity and social skills.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Manifestation

Manifestion Meditation helps bring about positive changes in life by altering thoughts. An estimated 60,000 unconscious thoughts occur per day, the majority of which are negative. Similar to affirmation meditation, this practice can be goal-oriented and harnesses positive intent. 'Law of Attraction' is an example of using the power of manifestation to bring about changes in life.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Chakra Meditation

Chakra Meditation involves a focus on energy centers in the subtle body. Seven chakras are believed to run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Each is associated with a color and corresponds to different aspects of our body and mind. Practice can focus on a single chakra or move through all seven. The intention is to stimulate and unblock each energy center.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Gratitude Meditation

Gratitude Meditation is a readiness to show appreciation and focusing awareness on things to be grateful for such as family, friends, nature and being. It can be a powerful and rewarding exercise, leading to contentment, happiness and peace of mind. The origin is unknown but believed to stem fom the Buddhist practice of Metta/compassion meditation.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra, or 'conscious sleep', is a form of restorative meditation. It can restore the body and mind and is ideal for sleep deprivation. It is a tantric meditation practice that induces brainwave patterns associated with ‘rest and digest’ nourishment. Attention is focused on the breath and guided through the body, activating a state of effortless non-doing. It is commonly practiced lying down and meditators may fall asleep, de-focus and let attention ebb and flow naturally.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Universal Meditation

Universal Meditation is a dynamic modern practice. Popularized by Uell S. Anderson in the 1950s, it was adapted by Kelly Howell in 2010. It aims to connect meditators with a universal intelligence, awakening a universal power within. It can help clear the mind of negative and limited thought processes and uses Laws of Attraction to manifest positive change.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Unconditional Love Meditation

Unconditional Love Meditation is a practice that promotes selfless love. The practice removes any identification with the 'self' (the ego), increasing the possibility of love without conditions, with the intention of developing forgiveness, compassion and love.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Mystical Meditation

Mystical Meditation is used within a variety of traditions as a way of reaching the Absolute or Divine. Through visualization one explores their stream of consciousness and expands Awareness.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Forgiveness Meditation

Forgiveness Meditation is a way to achieve healing and love for oneself and others. It draws upon memory and visualization to identify anger, fear and resentment, then guide the heart away from such adverse emotions.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Contemplative Prayer

Contemplative Prayer is a Christian tradition of opening the heart, mind and soul to God through the spoken word and silence. It creates an internal sacred space allowing intimacy with the Holy Trinity. The aim is to be drawn by the Holy Spirit and receive the Ultimate Gift, union with the transformative Presence of God.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

MBSR – Visualization

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - Visualization uses visualization techniques to alleviate stress, anxiety, panic, depression and chronic pain. Developed in the 1970s by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR therapy was originally an 8-week course that combined mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga. MBSR - Visualization uses imagery to cultivate stillness and calm and bring awareness to the present.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Centering Prayer

Centering Prayer is a Christian silent prayer practice. It is the opening of mind, heart and soul in consent to the presence and action of God within. Typically using a sacred word, this silent prayer of consent fosters and deepens relationship with God.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Reiki Meditation

Reiki is a form of energy healing. Founded in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist, it is known as Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki. It is a practice of healing through hand placements on the body. Reiki means the unification of universal and vital life energy. Achieving this connection can bring a sensation of inner peace. A complete Reiki lifestyle can lead to 'Anshin Ritsumei', the ability to experience inner peace amidst external chaos.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Shamanic Guided Meditation

Shamanic Guided Meditation, or journeys, is an ancient healing tradition. It involves connection with and guidance from spirits including ancestors, elders, gods, goddesses, spirit guides, power animals and angels. It focuses on using a spiritual connection to heal the mind, deal with external stress and understand the self and the world.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Third-Eye Meditation

Third-Eye Meditation focuses attention on the area between the eyebrows (Third Eye chakra). It is similar to Chakra meditation and Jangama Dhyana. It is often combined with the mantra 'OM' or specific visualizations unique to that chakra. It is a popular technique used in Yoga, Tantra and Tibetan Buddhism.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Tonglen

Tonglen is a Tibetan Buddhist practice that centers around giving and receiving. It helps grow compassion and loving kindness towards others, reduce the ego and attachment to pain and suffering. It is suitable for meditators who have a degree of self-awareness, concentration and emotional stability. It is similar to the Lovingkindness (Metta) meditation and works best when practiced regularly.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Quantum Healing Meditation

Quantum Healing Meditation combines practical science with intangible spirituality. Popularised by Deepak Chopra, it aims to create physical change in the body through intention and visualization. Through creative and spontaneous visualization, the practice is said to strengthen the immune system and heal the body.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Sufi Meditation

Sufi Meditation is a central component of Islamic spirituality. The Sufi tradition centres on developing a personal relationship with God through self-knowledge and self-inquiry. It uses Zikr (chanting) and Muraqba (meditation) to empty the mind and heart of spiritual pollutants. Meditation aims to balance, heal and enrich followers to face life reenergized and revived.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Sympathetic Joy

Sympathetic Joy is a Buddhist practice of generosity. At its core is rejoicing in the happiness of others. Sharing the joy of others revolutionizes our thinking about finding happiness. Through meditation, sympathetic joy can be realized by silently reciting intentions to rejoice in the happiness of others.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Taoist Visualization Meditation

Taoist Visualization Meditation is an ancient practice that centres on imagery. Meditations use imagery, colors and elements of nature to create a sense of energy with positive, healing results.

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Meditation practice: Visualization

Taoist Meditation

Taoist meditation are an ancient set of practices born from the Chinese philosophy and religion of Taoism. Methods range from concentration and mindfulness, to contemplation, and visualization. They are designed to bring the practitioner into harmony with the Source of all life.

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3. Gentle Repetition

Gentle Repetition refers to meditation practices or exercises that repeat a sound or sequence of words to clear the mind and go beyond thought.

Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Mantra Meditation

Mantra Meditation practices the repetition of a word or sound to focus the mind and achieve stillness. In modern language, mantra has become to mean intention, but actually the sanskrit word can be broken down and translated into man (mind), and tra (transport or vehicle). In other words, a mantra is a vehicle for the mind, a powerful object of attention that can be used to enter a deep state of meditation.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Chanting Meditation

Chanting Meditation uses sound to produce altered states of consciousness. Sound can be healing, calming, or stimulating. Meditations include chants of sacred words, mantras, and prayers. It involves relaxation and a willingness go within.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Kirtan

Kirtan is an ancient form of sacred call and response chanting. It uses Sanskrit mantras and devotional song to calm the mind and open the heart. Kirtan is fun and easy, requires no prior experience, and generates ecstatic states or moods of gratitude and joy.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Self Inquiry Meditation

Self-Inquiry (I Am) meditation is practiced in Hindu, Buddhist and secular traditions. Its goal is to remove illusions of ourselves (transcend the ego) and abide as our true nature. It involves constant attention on the 'I' or 'I am' as a means to achieve a state of self awareness.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Raja Yoga Meditation

Raja Yoga Meditation is an ancient practice centering on concentration. It aims to achieve a state of perfect concentration known as Samadhi. The practice may involve visualization, repetition of mantras (especially 'OM'), focusing on different energy centers in the body ('Chakras') or candle gazing.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Vedic Meditation

Vedic Meditation is a mantra-based practice that stems from ancient India. Popularized by Thom Knoles in the West, it is a form of silent mantra meditation practiced for 20 minutes, twice daily. It is an effortless mental technique where meditators can experience restful consciousness while fully awake.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Ananda Marga

Ananda Marga stems from the 7000 year old practice of Tantra Yoga. Meaning ‘The Path of Bliss’, it was popularised in 1955 by Indian social reformer and spiritual guru, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. Mantra chanting (kirtan) and meditation are used to expand consciousness and awaken our innermost feelings. Practitioners can experience inner peace, happiness, universal love and may develop deeper concentration, clarity and creative thinking.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Vedantic

Vedantic Meditation is a practice stemming from the Hindu philosophy Vedanta which centres on the state of Awareness or Being (Brahman). Meditators seek Awareness by removing identification with body and mind ('neti, neti' method), contemplating consciousness, or developing a sense of witnessing.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Ajapa Japa Meditation

Ajapa Japa is a yogic practice that syncs a mantra with breathing. Meaning 'effortless repetition', the mantra is combined with an awareness of the breath moving up and down the spine. Merging the mantra with breathing can stabilize concentration and reduce the mind’s tendency to wander. Over extended periods of time, the mantra's repetition occurs with effortless momentum.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Primordial Sound Meditation

Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) is a silent mantra-based meditation. It can help to access deeper levels of awareness away from the intellectual brain. The mantra selection process is unique to PSM - it is individually assigned based on time, date and location of birth.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is a form of silent mantra meditation typically practiced for 20 minutes, twice daily.

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Meditation practice: Gentle Repetition

Taoist Invocation Meditation

Taoist invocation Meditation is an ancient practice that uses words to refine energy. The meditations use a synergy of affirmation, intention setting and prayer as a way to invite positive energy into our lives.

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4. Movement

Movement refers to meditation practices or exercises that energize the body and mind through calm and purposeful breathing or movement.

Meditation practice: Movement

Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga is known as the yoga of love where the heart is the doorway to awakening. The Sanskrit word bhaj means 'to participate' or 'belong to'. It involves directing love and devotion towards something external such as a god, guru, or the Divine, filling the practioner with love. Practices include devotional singing and chanting (bhajan and kirtan), prayer, japa (mantra recitation), reading or listening to scripture, meditation, service and satsang (gathering of truth).

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Meditation practice: Movement

MBSR – Movement

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - Movement uses mindful movement to alleviate stress, anxiety, panic, depression and chronic pain. Developed in the 1970s by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR therapy was originally an 8-week course that combined mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga. MBSR - Movement focuses on simple yoga practices to enhance body/mind awareness.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a gentle style of yoga which originated in ancient India under Swami Swatamarama. It incorporates different postures (asanas) and controlled breathing exercises (pranayama) with the aim of bringing peace and calm to both the body and mind. The postures are intended to teach poise, balance and strength.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Walking Meditation

Walking Meditation is a simple practice for developing awareness. It requires being aware as you walk and use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence. It requires no experience and can be done as a stand alone practice, before or after a seated meditation.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Kundalini Meditation

Kundalini Meditation is an active and energizing practice which involves moving awareness through the chakras. It is similar to Chakra Meditation, Third Eye Meditation, and Ajapa Japa. Visualization, repetition of mantras and breathing stimulates the chakras and clears the path for the ascent of Kundalini energy from the base of the spine. The chakras are represented as lotus flowers and the Kundalini opening each chakra is likened to the awakening of consciousness within ourselves.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Pranayama

Pranayama are breathing practices from the Yoga tradition. Pranayama guides the breath in a specific pattern and can be calming or energizing. Breathing is seen as a lever to change mental states and a mirror of the mind. Modulating the breath can pacify the nervous system and calm emotions.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga, or 'Yoga of Awareness', stems from Hinduism. It is an ancient practice combining breathing techniques, postures (asana), mantra (sound vibration) and meditation. It works to ignite and balance glandular, circulatory and nervous systems to increase awareness, unlock potential and promote health.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Raja Yoga

Raja Yoga focuses on achieving control over the mind and emotions, and is often referred to as Royal Yoga or Classical Yoga. Sanskrit texts reference it as the highest state of yoga practice. Through control of the mind it is a path to enlightenment and Samadhi, the state of perfect concentration.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga is a gentle, slow-paced yoga. It involves holding poses for up to ten minutes. A typical sequence involves five or six poses and uses props such as bolsters and blocks for support. Benefits include deep, passive stretching and stress release.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Qi Gong

Qi Gong are dynamic breathing practices. Used in Chinese traditions (Taoist and Buddhist), Qi, or energy flow, is moved around the body through visualization and feeling. It can include movement together with specific breathing patterns.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Integral Yoga

Integral Yoga is a gentle Hatha yoga that combines physical and spiritual attributes. It was founded in the 1960s by Sri Swami Satchidananda, an Indian yogi and scholar. It is based on postures (asanas) and breathing (pranayama) and includes chanting, kriyas and meditation. Integral Yoga also teaches students to elevate their consciousness and connect with their inner being.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Sahaja Yoga

Sahaja Yoga is a meditation based on Self Realization. Founded in 1970 by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, it focuses on meditation and silent affirmations to activate our inner being. The Sanskrit word Sahaja meaning 'born with you', describes the subtle life force, or Kundalini, that the practice seeks to awaken.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Kriya Yoga

Kriya Yoga is an ancient form of yoga, similar to Kundalini and Chakra meditation. It is a set of energizing, breathing and meditation exercizes introduced to the West by Paramahamsa Yogananda in the 1920s. It focuses on chakra energy or life force, mentally drawing it up and down the spine with awareness and will.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga is dynamic yoga characterised by a smooth transition between poses. There is no break between poses (asanas) and each movement in the series is cued by an inhalation or an exhalation of the breath. It was developed as a 'free-form' offshoot of the more methodical Ashtanga Yoga.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Prana Flow Yoga

Prana Flow Yoga is challenging and rhythmic yoga practice. Founded by Shiva Rea in 2005, it is a form of Vinyasa Yoga. It features near-continuous movement and flowing sequences accompanied by music and can often involve dance. It aims to generate greater life-presence, vitality and joy.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Power Yoga

Power Yoga is an intense, fitness-based form of yoga. Classes move at a fast pace and are flowing, dynamic and energetic. Derived from Ashtanga Yoga, it follows the same series of poses holding each for five breaths before moving through a Vinyasa (movement between poses).

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Meditation practice: Movement

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic yoga which synchronizes the breath with a series of postures. Popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois during the 20th century, it is considered a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. A focus on breathing techniques (Ujjayi Pranayama), postures (asanas), and a gazing point (driste), helps to control our senses and gain self-awareness. It is traditionally taught in the style of Mysore where students learn a series of poses and practice at their own pace.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga that focuses on precision and alignment. It was founded in the 1970s by B.K.S Iyengar. It combines posture (asanas), breath control (pranayama), sequencing, timing and the use of props (ie, blankets, blocks and straps). It aims to develop strength, mobility and stability.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Tai Chi

Tai Chi, or 'meditation in motion', is an ancient Chinese tradition. It is practiced through slow, rhythmic, meditative movements designed to find a sense of calm and alleviate stress. It is based on the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, which stresses the need for living in spiritual and physical accord with the patterns of nature.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Baptiste Yoga

Baptiste Yoga is a type of hatha yoga that is vigorous and flowing, often practiced in a heated room. Founded in the 1940′s by Walt Baptiste, it has evolved and spread globally through his son Baron. It incorporates elements of Bikram, Ashtanga, Raja and Iyengar yoga with a focus on 3 elements: physical yoga postures (asanas); meditation; and self-inquiry to aid transformation. Baptiste classes encourage practitioners to tap into their creativity, build self-confidence and achieve their potential.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a type of hatha yoga involving a sequence of 26 postures. It is done in a room heated to 105 °F (40°C) with 40 percent humidity. The postures are repeated in set cycles of approximately 90 minutes. It can be physically demanding, working through the entire body. Practioners report benefits such as flexibility, increased blood flow and flushing out toxins through sweating.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is a style of yoga practiced in a heated environment. Rooms are generally heated to 80-100 °F (26-38 °C) and can vary in humidity. It is a fluid style unlike Bikram Yoga which follows a regimented set of 26 postures. Each session varies according to the teacher or studio and includes poses from Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa Flow and Baptiste Yoga.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Jivamukti Yoga

Jivamukti Yoga is a physically demanding and intellectually stimulating practice. Meaning 'liberation while living', it was founded in 1984 by Sharon Gannon and David Life, who were inspired by their guru, Swami Nirmalananda. It focuses on spiritual development through posture (asanas), breath control (pranayama), chanting and meditation. Practioners are encouraged to eat a vegan diet and get involved in social activisim.

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Meditation practice: Movement

Kundalini Yoga (Yogi Bhajan)

Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is an ancient practice of meditation and yoga centered on different kriyas (sets) which involve movement, sound, breath, hand position, focus and meditation. It is often described as a science of angles, or a geometry for the human self. Every angle created within the body is designed to bring about positve effects on the mind and body. After been handed down from master to student over thousands of years in India, a Sikh known as Yogi Bhajan introduced the praactice to the West in the 1960s. It is known as the 'yoga for householders.

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5. Sound

Sound refers to music-based meditation practices or exercises that use sound currents and frequencies to calm brainwaves and alter our mindset.

Meditation practice: Sound

Sound Meditation

Sound Meditation uses music and sound to clear the mind and deepen meditation. This ancient practice is used by many cultures, religions and mystic traditions. Music is multi-dimensional, linking realms of the brain and facilitating meditation independently of thought. It can ease anxiety and promote a sense of well being.

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Meditation practice: Sound

Brainwave Entrainment

Brainwave Entrainment is an assisted form of meditation using pulses of sound. Entrainment is a process of synchronizing two different beats to become harmonious. Brainwave entrainment works by pulsing a different sound in each ear to stimulate the brain into altered states of consciousness. Examples including Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones, which are best experienced with headphones to assist with relaxation, deep sleep and focus.

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Meditation practice: Sound

Chakra Balancing Music

Chakra Balancing Music uses sound to balance the seven energy centres (chakras) in the subtle body. Each chakra responds to a specific sound-healing frequency, known as solfeggio frequencies. Each frequency has individual spiritual and physical healing properties. Frequencies make up an ancient 6-tone scale used in sacred music and chanting. Music or sounds that generate these vibrations help balance the mind, body and soul and assist with the flow of energy.

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Meditation practice: Sound

Shamanic Drumming

Shamanic Drumming is rythmic form of drumming. Its purpose is to induce a range of ecstatic trance states in order to connect with the spiritual dimension of reality.

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6. Concentration

Concentration refers to meditation practices or exercises that focus on something physical and material, such as your breath or body, to distract the mind from thought.

Meditation practice: Concentration

Breathing Meditation

Breathing Meditation uses the breath as a tool to focus awareness on the present. It can be achieved by observing breathing sensations or counting the breath. The breath is also used as an anchor in many other practices to achieve a sense of calm and peace.

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Meditation practice: Concentration

Body Scan

A Body Scan brings mindfulness into the body to raise awareness of our physical experience. It originates from Buddhist mindfulness and is widely used in secular practices.

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Meditation practice: Concentration

Concentration Meditation

Concentration is the practice of directed thought whereby attention is placed on a single object of focus. Unlike mindfulness meditation, attention is held without interruption and free from distractions, helping achieve a sense of calm and stillness.

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Meditation practice: Concentration

Samatha

Samatha is the Buddhist practice of calming the mind. The Sanskrit word Samatha meaning 'tranquility', is a central goal of the practice. It involves practicing single-pointed concentration usually through mindful breathing.

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Meditation practice: Concentration

Nada Yoga

Nada Yoga is a meditation technique that uses sound to calm the mind. Attention is turned inward to perceive internal sounds. Patience and a receptive attitude can produce a state of calm, openess and awareness. Some practices focus on 'external sounds' such as calming ambient music where attention is directed to hearing in order to quiet the mind. The goal is to hear the 'Ultimate Sound' (para nada), a sound without vibration that manifests as 'OM'.

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7. Self-Observation

Self Observation refers to meditation practices or exercises that use reflective questions to peel back the layers which may hide your essential nature.

Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Pure Awareness Meditation

Pure Awareness Meditation aims to connect with the inherent awareness of the body. It is said to help gain entry into the domain of awakening, the pure meditative state that already exists within the human body. The practice focuses on being the witness of our own consciousness, or pure Awareness.

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Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Contemplation Meditation

Contemplative Meditation involves purposeful and deep thinking about a subject, where the mind is allowed to flow freely within the confines of the subject. It is a state of mind where thought is controlled, yet left open to receive.

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Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Non-Duality Meditation

Non-Duality Meditation views the essential nature of reality as one thing: Awareness. Realizing that everything is viewed as a temporary experession of that Essence can bring freedom and peace of mind. This meditation has roots in Dzogchen, Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Advaita. It aims to expand the sense of self (as body and mind) and experience our true selves as pure Consciousness or Awareness.

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Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Advaita Vedanta Meditation

Advaita Vedanta Meditation is a practice with Hindu and Vedic origins. The aim is to transcend identification with the body and mind, revealing our true nature. It is typically practiced through self-inquiry and contemplation.

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Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Analytic Meditation

Analytic Meditation is a reflective form of meditation that uses reasoning to observe thoughts. According to the Dalai Lama, decoding and decrypting information accumulated in our mind can bring about inner change and positivity. It allows us to use our intelligence and capacity for reason and analysis to alleviate negative thoughts and emotions.

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Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Contemplative Reading

Contemplative Reading is a Christian tradition of reflective reading of scripture, prose or poetry. It incorporates periods of silence which can foster a willingness to receive from God. Readings usualy promote a softening of the heart and renewal of the mind.

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Meditation practice: Self-Observation

Zen - Kōan

Zen Kōan Meditation involves a question or riddle which has the intention to break the mind from dualistic thinking, arriving at a realization of reality beyond words and concepts. The kōan has no answer - the answer is a state, not a concept. 'What is the sound of one hand clapping' is a typical Kōan given to novice students by Zen masters.

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Meditate with Insight Timer

Home to more than 5,000,000 meditators, Insight Timer is rated as the top free meditation app on the Android and IOS stores.