What is the best meditation practice for you?
There are four widely used types of meditation practice:
Body and Breath awareness.
Mantras and Affirmations.
Using your senses (your vision, your sense of smell, your sense of hearing).
Meditation Practice: Body and Breath Awareness
Body and Breath Awareness is a really good practice to help you sense where you’ve got stress and tension in your body and helping you to relax. It’s a really good tool for helping you do the first part of any meditation process, i.e. relaxing your body and mind whilst still staying alert!
Meditation Practice: Mantras and Affirmations
Mantras and Affirmations are a single word, a sentence or a paragraph that you can repeat over and over again. This practice can be done several times during the day, or like me, just used once a day as one part of your meditation.
This year I have been using the mantra;
“Always have the support of a cheerful and optimistic state of mind”.
When I’ve been feeling a bit low or down about things (like Mum’s dementia), I can try and change that. I can think about what I’m worried about, what I’m anxious about and change those thoughts into more positive, action-orientated thoughts. This helps lift my spirits.
Mantras and Affirmations are really good ways of changing your mind from one state into another.
Meditation Practice: Visualisations
Some people find Visualisation practice really easy to do, some people find them quite hard. I find them hard! However, I still have a go at doing them because they strengthen your ability to focus. The process of focusing is a combination of four things:
Re-awakening it again.
Maintaining it for longer and longer periods of time.
When you’re building a Visualisation and your mind drifts off, it’s much easier to notice when you’re losing focus and your mind is ‘going’. You notice this and bring it back to the mental place where you were building your Visualisation. Then you stay focused in that place for as long as your meditation is set to last.
Meditation Practice: Using your senses
This is where you’re using one of your senses. For example:
Looking at an object like a leaf or a stone.
Listening to sound, like the sound of the rain or wind, to a clock, to some music or chanting.
Sensing how something feels. Two examples of this are feeling where is your body tight or stiff or the opposite, how does it feel to be relaxed?
These techniques are really good practices to build your meditation skills as they give your mind something tangible to focus on. That makes it easier to stay focused and notice when your mind is wandering and bring it back.
Bringing the techniques together
Meditation consists of 4 skills:
- Relaxation (but without falling asleep);
- Noticing when your mind is wandering off and bringing it back.
- Let everything else go.
Any of the above meditation methods will help you learn to do these things, though each method has particular nuances that may be useful for you to focus on for a period of time.
In my first year of meditation practice, I tried out about 15 different types of meditation! This was partly because I was worried about getting bored, but also because I also wanted to try out different ones and see which worked best for me. Now, 11 years later, my meditation has become a blend of several different types of these practices.
Where do I start?
If you are wondering, “Well, where do I start?” my recommendation would be to start with a breathing-based meditation practice. You can download a free one from my website. It’s called the Nine Breaths meditation. Use it as the starting point for learning the process of relaxation within meditation.
If you’ve got any questions about anything that I’ve said today or anything about meditation, then just pop those questions in the comments below and I’ll answer them as soon as I can OR you can contact me directly using this link
PS. For tips to quieten your mind in your meditation practice, click here for a free downloadable PDF