In my last blog I talked about how NOT taking time to meditate daily was actually making your life busier. This week I want to share what I believe are the top 5 meditation styles for beginners or anyone who doesn’t know where to start.
There are many different styles of meditation and many more reasons why someone might be inclined to try it, so the first thing a beginner has to do when they are looking for the style that best suits them is to get clear about what he or she wants to get out of meditation.
Stress reduction is probably the number one reason people practice meditation, followed closely by pain management and improved mental health. There are more than enough studies that prove the benefits of meditation for each of these outcomes, but then there are those people who meditate to feed their soul and their results are more difficult to measure. For them, meditation is an addictive practice where mind, body and spirit come together in the same space in time and that refuels them at a very deep level. Like a rubber band that has been stretched, once you have experienced the sort of juicy depths of stillness, there is no going back. Visiting this space must become a regular practice or the soul withers.
Following are five different styles of meditation that I would recommend for beginners. Each one has the capacity to adequately meet any of the needs of a new meditator however, one style might fit better with you than another might.
#1 Zen Meditation
Zen is a form of mindfulness and a great way to practice being present in all areas of your life. It can be done anywhere at any time and it doesn’t require any special conditions except perhaps that you not be required to participate in conversation of any kind. The outcome of this meditation is not to empty your mind of any thoughts but rather to keep your thoughts in the present.
Simply sit comfortably and either close your eyes of fix your eyes on an object.
Start by becoming aware of your breath entering and leaving your body.
Notice how different parts of your body feel.
Notice the feeling of any breeze or sunlight on your body.
Notice any noises – near or far.
If you become aware that you are thinking about the past or the future simply bring your awareness back to your breathing and to the sounds around you.
Twenty minutes of Zen Meditation daily brings about amazing results.
#2 Movement Meditation
This type of meditation requires a little more preparation including finding the right type and the right amount of music, and the right location where you can move freely without interruption or danger of hurting yourself or anyone else.
Once those details are taken care of you simply close your eyes and move in a freestyle fashion as the music moves you. There is no right or wrong way to do this but the act of marrying the music and the movement to your meditation practice makes it easier to keep you focused in the present moment.
An hour to an hour and a half of this once or twice a week is a great practice and it really is quite enjoyable.
#3 Guided Meditation
Guided Meditation is the most popular and one of the best types of meditations for beginners because it requires little preparation and little thought. You simply show up, put your ear buds in and your mind will be taken on a tour of some sort that will often bring about a relaxed and peaceful experience that you can carry into the rest of your day – or in to your sleep if you meditate at night.
Dr Deepak Chopra does a free 21 Day Meditation Challenge every season and gives you a daily guided meditation to follow each day. It is a great way to get started for beginners.
#4 Progressive Relaxation Response
The Progressive Relaxation Response is a guided meditation with the deliberate purpose of taking your body from a stressed state (fight or flight) into a relaxed state. I give a free guided progressive relaxation meditation to all my subscribers because I believe it is a great place to start if you are looking for stress reduction, and most of us are stressed and don’t now just how much.
It is a simple process of deliberately tensing the muscles one at a time, holding the tension, then releasing the tension and what happens is that we come to a new awareness of what relaxed actually feels like. From there, we can detect tension anywhere in our bodies fairly quickly and that makes if more difficult for stress to build up.
There are so many benefits to practicing the Progressive Relaxation Response on a regular basis. Given that it is commonly thought that up to 90% of all disease begins with stress in one of more parts of the body, it is understandable why practicing this particular meditation is so important.
I recommend clients practice this for 14 days straight and then once or twice a week to maintain the body’s newfound relaxed state.
#5 Breathing, Mantra and Focus Meditations
These all require your full attention in the present moment and as such are considered forms of mindfulness. Practicing one of these on a daily basis has such a wide-reaching positive impact on memory retention and stress relief because you are literally exercising or training your brain to focus, and in doing so you are giving yourself a brief but regular holiday from worrying about the past or the future.
Breathing Mediation requires you sit quietly and comfortably with your back straight and simply focus on your breathing for 15 to 20 minutes.
Mantra Meditation requires you to focus on a particular word or phrase. An example might be that you repeat the word love or the word peace over and over. In doing so you will find yourself vibrating at the same frequency as the word so repeating the word peace over and over for 15 minutes would certainly put you in to a peaceful state of being.
Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian mantra used for clearing and resetting the mind body and soul into a loving state. The words are:
Please forgive me
I love you
It’s really not hard to repeat this for 15 minutes a day and it is quite enlightening.
Focus Meditation is simply the act of focusing on one thing for the duration of your meditation. It might be a flame, a flower, a photo or anything that will inspire the feeling you are seeking to embody from your meditation.
I highly recommend that you try as many forms of meditation as you feel drawn to. Just like trying new clothes on, some will fit better than others and that is ok. Using a range of styles is a good idea too. Just go with what feels right and practice, practice, practice. Remember that it is a life-changing habit you are forming.
You can download a free guided Progressive Relaxation Meditation when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter called The Juice. Fill in your details in the form at the bottom of the home page and you will be given instant access.
Much love to you all
Deborah Fay xx
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