What is meditation and how do we practice it’s many kinds?

January 24, 2020

On this video, Muse co-founder Ariel Garten explains in easy phrases what, precisely, meditation is. You’ve heard about it, have pals who do it, and have perhaps even tried it your self, however what precisely is it?


She mentions that there are many completely different types of meditation and lists just a few examples. We went right into a bit extra element on each and defined a number of the benefits.

Strolling Meditation

Strolling Meditation sounds easy, however there’s extra to it than simply going for a stroll in nature – although that definitely has its advantages! This introductory practice is tailored by UC Berkeley’s Better Good Science Heart from the e-book Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by mindfulness skilled Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Walking meditation

The practice describes discovering a quiet, secluded house the place you’ll be able to stroll in a straight line for 10-15 paces. While you attain the tip of the road, cease and breathe for so long as you want, then flip round and stroll again alongside the road. As an alternative of strolling usually, nevertheless, Kabat-Zinn asks that you just deal with every step as 4 separate components:

  • Lifting the foot from the bottom
  • Shifting the foot ahead by house
  • Inserting the foot again on the bottom, heel-first
  • Feeling the burden of your physique shift as you place your weight on the foot

Strolling Meditation is all about taking inventory of the small, repetitive issues we do day by day, like strolling and respiration, in order to not take these very important acts without any consideration. When you’re comfy with strolling slowly in a managed atmosphere, you’ll be able to take this consideration to strolling rapidly–even operating–or whereas touring anyplace on foot.

“You aren’t your ideas.”

Take heed to “Mindful Walking” by Patricia Karpas within the Outdoor Assortment on the Muse app.

Zen Meditation:

An historical Buddhist custom, Zen meditation is an evolution of Chinese language and Indian meditation methods. Whereas many trendy, Western meditation deal with rest and stress reduction, Zen (and its Chinese language forerunner, Ch’an) digs deeper into bigger questions of life and the core points affecting you.

zen meditation

Zen meditation is just like mindfulness in that it makes use of consideration on the breath to deal with the current. Zen meditation is a type of “open-monitoring meditation” which reduces the activation of the default mode community, aka the a part of the mind that lets the thoughts wander.

The elemental aim of open-monitoring meditation is to watch your ideas with out judgment – a troublesome activity to make sure! Zen or open-monitoring meditation teaches you to pay attention to the judgemental, stream of consciousness ideas and, by being conscious, neutralize them to search out peace and calmness. 

How is it practiced? Typically, Zen is accomplished in lotus place however merely sitting with legs crossed is wonderful if lotus or half-lotus is painful. Zen meditation is uncommon because it doesn’t require the eyes to be totally closed. Some Zen practitioners want to focus their eyes on a single level within the room or to have their eyes half-open. The essential factor is to do no matter lets you focus greatest in your breath.

“You modified your relationship to your ideas. When you do that, you’ll be able to achieve management over your emotions.”

Take heed to “An Intro to Zen Meditation” within the Zen Assortment on the Muse App and attempt it out your self!

Mantra Meditation:

A mantra is a easy verbal repetition accomplished throughout meditation. Mantras could be any size: a phrase, a phrase, even a syllable or sound. Mantra meditations start the identical as different types of seated meditation, however as soon as deal with the breath has been achieved, the meditator repeats a mantra for so long as desired. 

mantra meditation

There are many completely different sorts of mantras to suit the wants of the meditator. Some want to repeat a constructive affirmation, whereas others have a religious connection. Most likely essentially the most well-known mantra is “Om mani padme hum” a Sanskrit mantra widespread in many types of Buddhism. Whereas the that means of this mantra is advanced, here are the fundamentals:

  • Om is believed by Yoga sages to be the sound of all creation. The sound “om” is meant to be prolonged into 4 distinct syllables, which every have their very own significance.

The next 5 syllables every symbolize dissolving one’s attachments to damaging ideas:

  • Mani means jewel and every syllable has its personal that means. Ma is meant to dissolve jealousy and “the attachment to fleeting pleasures.” Ni is the dissolution of ardour and want.
  • Padme additionally has two syllables: Pad dissolves our attachments to prejudices and judgment, Me dissolves possessiveness.
  • Hum is designed to remove our aggression and hatred

There’s no have to be so formal, nevertheless–a mantra could be one thing so simple as “I really feel comfy“.

Need assistance discovering your mantra? Take heed to “Let Things Be Mantra” by Taylor White Moffit within the Mantra Assortment on the Muse app.

Centered Consideration Meditation

It may be thought of the inverse of open-monitoring meditation, however the two usually are not mutually unique–you don’t must practice one or the opposite. If the aim of open-monitoring meditation is to watch what the thoughts and physique are experiencing with out judgment, the aim of focused attention meditation is to maintain the thoughts centered.

Mantra meditation is a type of centered consideration, in that the meditator is centered on the mantra and the repetition of the mantra.

focus attention meditation

Some issues you’ll be able to deal with are:

  • A Candle flame can induce a hypnotic effect in case you focus your consideration on the motion of the flame–assume again to any time you may have sat by a campfire or relaxed by a hearth.
  • Objective meditation is designed to make sense of an space of your life you want to enhance. This isn’t so simple as daydreaming–there are actual steps to comply with in making this a useful gizmo for achievement.
  • Soundscapes could be extraordinarily efficient in aiding meditation. Meditating on an unpleasant sound, such because the sounds of the town exterior, can carry mindfulness to it and assist you to ignore or settle for it. Muse makes use of soundscapes, similar to a rainforest or the desert, to focus the thoughts and the Muse headband interprets your mind exercise into the sounds of climate as an example how energetic or calm your mind is throughout meditation.

We advocate listening to “Fierce Focus” by Cara Bradley within the Focus Assortment on the Muse app.

This is only a partial record and it’s essential to decide on one which works for you. As Ariel says, an important type of meditation is one that you just practice recurrently.


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