6 meditation techniques you should try.

“What ever you do mindfully is a meditation.” -Thich Nhat Hanh¹

You may already be aware that there is more than just one way to meditate. In fact there are many meditation techniques out there that are worth exploring. In this week’s post I broke down 6 major meditation techniques. I also have provided you with examples and guided meditations from the insight timer for each of them. They are all about 5 to 20 minutes long.
First of all, all forms of meditation practices have the following benefits in common:
Meditation reduces stress and can help control anxiety. It promotes emotional health and wellbeing and enhances self-awareness. It helps increase attention span and may reduce age-related memory loss. Each practice might have additional benefits, specific to the focus of the practice.

Without further ado, here are the 6 meditation practices you should try:

1. Focused attention:
This technique is very foundational. It is great for all beginners wanting to start meditating. All your attention is on a single focus point during this meditation practice. The breath is the most commonly chosen focus point but you can also focus on anything else. I personally also like to focus on my heart beat or rest my focus on a flickering candle light. This type of meditation is great when you find yourself overwhelmed, stressed, and scattered. It promotes a greater sense of peace and relaxation. It can reduce stress and anxiety as well as increase mental clarity and focus.

Guided meditation example:
Focused on the breath:
https://insighttimer.com/dylanzambrano/guided-meditations/breath-focus-2


2. Noting sensations, thoughts and emotions:
We live in a world where being constantly busy is the norm. On top of that we tend to face millions of distractions a day, which results in us getting more and more disconnected from ourselves and the world arround us. This second technique helps us to reconnect to ourselves again. You can either reconnect to your body via body scan or reconnect with your emotional and mental body via noting. See links below. This technique is all about noticing what sensations, emotions or thoughts are present during any given moment in your meditation. Those can be negative or positive. Try not to judge what’s coming up- just recognize it instead. And rather than trying to suppress what’s coming up, try to be present with it. The key is to explore and learn to be with those sensations, emotions and thoughts without trying to fix or change anything. When you learn to stay present with your sensations, emotions and thoughts (especially negative ones, such as pain, fear and anger), you learn to be ok with any given situation. You will also start to realize that you don’t need to constantly engage with your inner chatter, feelings or sensations and you realize that there is no need to suppress them either.
This meditation technique therefore can help boost emotional intelligence and resilience as well as body and self awareness. In addition to enhancing your connection and ability to stay present within any given moment, it can also boost self acceptance and self love. Because only if you’re willing to listen to yourself and fully see yourself, can you fully accept yourself.

Guided meditation examples:
Body scan:
https://insighttimer.com/dylanzambrano/guided-meditations/body-scan-75

Noting emotions:
https://insighttimer.com/brendajbentley/guided-meditations/ocean-meditation-mindfulness-of-emotion


3. Progressive relaxation:
This technique takes the body scan a step further. In this meditation you focus on gradually releasing all the tension in your body, by first scaning and noticing each body part and then allowing it to fully relax. This type of meditation boosts relaxation within your full body and mind.
I love this meditation right before bed. I tend to have trouble finding the “perfect” comfortable position when trying to fall asleep. I find I’m able to fall asleep much quicker and it gives my brain something better to focus on than for example reliving an upsetting argument that happened 5 years ago. Furthermore it is a great way to connect to your body and strengthen your body awareness. So many of us don’t even realize where in the body we’re holding tension throughout the day when we’re focused or distracted with a task such as working at a computer all day or watching TV on our couch.

Guided meditation example:
https://insighttimer.com/robinbyrne/guided-meditations/head-to-toe-body-relaxation


4. Visualization:
In this technique your focus is on a mental image- a picture of something or someone in your mind. There are tons of different meditation practices that use some form of visualization. Here is one of my personal favorites:

Loving kindness meditation:
This practice focuses on cultivating our natural capacity for loving kindness and compassion to ourselves and others. We direct positive energy and goodwill first to ourselves, and then, as a ripple effect, to others, which helps us let go of unhappy feelings we may be experiencing. This meditation promotes positive emotions, quites down our inner critic, and strengthens our capacity for empathy. Some articles suggest it can even help reduce pain and alleviate emotional tension associated with chronic pain.

Guided meditation example:
https://insighttimer.com/ucla/guided-meditations/loving-kindness-meditation


5. Reflection:
This technique promotes self awareness by inviting you to ask yourself a question and to contemplate the answer. It could be anything. Make sure that you ask the question in the second person. (What are YOUR goals, rather than what are MY goals) This will discourage the intellectual mind from trying to answer it. Be aware of the feelings, not the thoughts, that arise when you focus on the question. Your intuition might know the answer already. Here is one of my favorite examples of this meditation technique:

Gratitude meditation
This practice simply focuses and reflects on the things that you are grateful for in life. Practicung gratitude meditation can boost your sense of happiness and wellbeing. It connects you in a positive way to the world arround you and yourself. Simply ask yourself the question: What are you grateful for? Whether you feel appreciation for a loving family member or friend, a beautiful sunny day, or the pleasure of a good cup of tea, you have to really call in the feeling of gratitude to reap all the benefits of this practice. The more you can evoke the feeling of gratitude during this reflection, the more powerful this meditation experience can become.

Guided meditation example:
https://insighttimer.com/nmdrasing/guided-meditations/cultivating-gratitude-5


6. Movement meditation:
This technique focuses on meditating through and with movement. Movement meditation includes a wide range of techniques. Any movement can be performed as a meditation, if we apply mindfulness and a slow pace. Some of my personal favorites are yoga and tai chi. I love exploring my body through movement meditation. I apply it even to my gym routine. The key is to stay focused and attentive. Aside from all the benefits you get with meditation as a whole, this specific technique can additionally help you improve your body awareness and can help you reconnect to your body.

Guided meditation example:
Movement meditation:
https://insighttimer.com/dzungvo/guided-meditations/mindful-movement-2

Walking meditation:
https://insighttimer.com/bodhipaksa/guided-meditations/mindful-walking-9
(Please try this somewhere safe like at home or far away from busy traffic roads.)

Note that those techniques can be used in various ways. I often like to combine several techniques into one meditation session. No matter what technique you use or try out, I recommend starting with a focused meditation, such as focusing on the breath.

There are 2 more meditation practices I would like to share with you: Law of attraction meditation and chakra focused meditation. They both deserve their own blog post, since they are quite extensive and require some more background information. So stay tuned for next week’s post!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

¹Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and author of many books such as True Love.

Published by Jessica Messora

I'm a personal trainer and my life is all about physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Some of my passions are yoga, nutrition and photography.

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