Types of Meditation
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There’s a myth floating around that a “real” meditation practice is only sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed. I call this formal meditation. And while it’s a valuable skill, it’s far from the only “real” type of meditation.
Meditation is about focusing your attention on the present moment, whatever it looks like. It’s about being here, and not anywhere else.
You can be here, fully present, at literally any moment. Therefore, a formal meditation practice is not necessary at all to benefit from mindfulness. Practicing meditation is so much easier than you might realize.
Beginner meditators often think their inability to sit in formal meditation consistently means they’ve failed, or that mediation “doesn’t work for them.” They create their own entry barriers and don’t even try to get past them.
Today, I’m here to outline five different ways to meditate that are perfect for beginners. If you have ever felt that you’re not doing meditation “correctly” because you couldn’t sit cross-legged for an hour every day, you’re in the right place.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga is moving meditation. Because breathwork is vital to the practice of presence, and yoga is the combination of movement and breathwork, yoga is the perfect practice of meditation.
I personally love yin yoga as a meditation practice. With yin, you relax into a pose until you find your edge. Then, you hold the pose for 2-5 minutes, breathing and allowing your body to sink into the pose.
This gives me the perfect amount of physical movement and stillness. But all types of yoga are based on moving with the breath. You could even get fancy and creative with the types of flows you do, if that pulls you deeper into the present moment.
The next best thing behind yoga for meditation is walking meditation. And there are even many forms of this practice, too!
Whether you’re on your daily walk outside, you’re on a treadmill, you’re hiking somewhere beautiful, or you’re circling a labyrinth, walking meditation pulls you into the present moment and your current body.
You can walk slowly or quickly. As long as your focus is on the movement of your body through space, you’re performing walking meditation.
The idea with walking meditation is to feel your entire foot on the ground (barefoot or not), and to only pay attention to the act of walking and your surroundings without judging them. Even if you’re immersed in nature, simply absorb it all without forming opinions about it.
There’s a reason so many artists talk about the epiphanies they get while creating art. Or how they get lost in their creation.
Making something beautiful with your own unique set of skills gives your mind the perfect focal point.
Sometimes, focusing solely on the breath isn’t enough for people to alter their state of consciousness. But painting, drawing, woodworking, pottery, music making, cooking, or whatever other artform allows the mind to focus while also getting lost in the present moment.
Similar to walking meditation, I kept writing meditation separate from art meditation, even though they are similar. Writing meditation, also known as stream of consciousness or channeling, gives that same great opportunity for a focal point.
However, writing meditation has the added aspect of easily communicating with your Spirit Guides, your Higher Self, and loved ones on the Other side.
Sometimes, people look back at their stream of consciousness writing and don’t remember writing any of the words. But they reread them and receive comfort, messages, and epiphanies just the same.
I love this one! It’s a double whammy like writing meditation. Cleaning your space pulls you into the present moment, but also gives everything an energetic boost.
Picking things up, cleaning around things, airing out the space, showing your home some love and care, all these things can make for a beautiful meditative experience.
You don’t have to love cleaning to be fully in the moment while doing it. Instead focus on how good it feels to transform a space. Especially once all the cleaning is done–notice how great it feels to be here, feeling refreshed.
We tend to overthink meditation, especially when we’re unfamiliar with the practice. Meditation really couldn’t be easier to understand and conceptualize: being right here, right now, and nowhere else.
It is the practice of meditation that begins to make things complicated for most people.
If formal meditation works for you, then don’t be afraid to practice it! But if it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. Working with lots of different people has taught me that most people need to work up to a formal meditation practice.
And some will probably never get there–and that’s okay. Especially if you’re anxious, high energy, or easily distracted. If you’re trying to force yourself to sit in a formal meditation practice, you might be setting yourself up for failure. Why force something that isn’t working when there are alternatives?
Meditation has no prerequisites or requirements. Meditation is not letting the mind run away with judgements, worries, stories, ideas, or anything else.
We are practicing meditation when we aren’t doing these things, which is easier to do when we have another task to focus on.
If you want to learn more about meditation and mindfulness, my book Mindfulness Made Easy is a great place to start. You’ll have all the tools you need to begin a daily mindfulness practice, leading to a more fulfilling life!