How To Make Meditation Work For You: 9 Practices Beginners Should Know
Meditation is the practice of using presence and stillness to put your mind at ease. And there are so many ways to do so. Sitting still in meditation is not for everyone, but there are other options if traditional meditation isn't (pardon the pun) sitting well with you.
9 meditation styles for those who don't want to sit still.
Below, you'll find a few meditation styles that I have found helpful in my years of spiritual coaching. Once you identify one that you'd like to try, I'd recommend finding a consistent time to implement your new meditation practice daily.
Creating regular habits is necessary to keep the meditative moments alive. Sandwiching this special time with another habitual practice is the most promising way. For example, you can meditate right when you wake up, go to bed, or maybe right before your morning coffee, after brushing your teeth, lunch, or washing your face at night.
1. Present moment awareness.
As I said, meditation doesn't need to be a seated practice. Becoming conscious of your thought patterns, aware of eating habits, and checking in with your body are also ways to meditate and practice mindfulness throughout the day.
Promotes calm & relaxation*
The next time you feel frustrated with a friend, colleague, or family member, take a moment to take inventory or write down all the reasons you are upset. Then save that for later when you can decide where the emotions are stemming from. Are they coming from your ego, from past experiences, or are they coming from your heart?
Next time you eat, stop for a moment after a few bites. Notice what emotions are present. Are you stressed or eating while in a hurry? Your body will digest best when you're fully enjoying every bite and being present with the actual taste and smell of your food. See how you can shift your mood if it's not in a positive state as you consume your food. Eating is a very easy way to practice presence, although it's often neglected as society has us eating in a rush to get to the next thing.
A third way to get into the practice of presence is by setting alarms on your phone. You can set silent alarms and even label them if you wish. Set your alarms to go off every hour. During these times, stop what you are doing for a second, then pay attention to your feelings and what you are sensing. Even if you are feeling down, noticing and acknowledging that emotional experience is a beautiful way to practice present awareness. Then you can continue about your day.
2. Buddhist meditation.
Many effective forms of meditation we use in the Western world came to us by way of the Buddhist tradition. Here are a few Buddhist meditations you might find helpful as you ease into your practice:
- Reflective meditation: This is a meditation where you go inward during your practice and learn how you are connecting to the oneness of the world.
- Generative meditation: Pick the emotion you want to bring to life and feel it growing. For example, if you are looking to experience more love in your life, this would be a time to meditate on the experience of feeling the love within and all around you.
- Concentrative meditation: This practice leans into your body, and you can get started by paying attention to your breath and the expansion and contraction of your belly as you breathe.
3. Yoga meditation.
A moving meditation, like yoga, can be extremely potent as emotions are often locked up in the tissues of your body that you may not even be aware of. As you go through the various poses, they can release if in a state of presence.
If you want to take your yoga journey to another level, search for classes that teach the whole sequence in silence, or feel free to do the practice on your own at home. Utilizing different wordless music can also support you in tapping into certain emotions to let them go.
I would consider the ancient Chinese practice of qigong a moving meditation—one of ease, peace, and energizing harmony. Qi, pronounced "chi," represents the life force energy within your body. This chi is activated during a qigong session in your whole body, mind, and soul. The movements are very slow and fluid and usually, after a qigong class, your whole being will experience a sense of calm yet also an activation. I'd say that qigong in the morning is better than a cup of coffee in the way you hold on to this activated vital energy all day.
6. Chakra healing and energy work.
Through guided visualization meditations, you can activate and enhance the seven main chakras of the energetic body. Chakras can become dim and constricted as you deal with the choices of everyday life. When tuning in to the energetic body, you'll notice you may be draining or leaking energy. By bringing light back into your chakras and expanding them, you'll hopefully find yourself feeling more aligned and at peace.
7. Sleeping meditations.
Listening to relaxing meditations as you turn the lights out supports an easier transition from alert to asleep. If you're one of those people who have trouble falling asleep or your mind starts racing with all the things you didn't get done that day, this might be your answer. Your mind can latch onto the words of the meditation instead of ruminating on what you were previously thinking about.
8. Lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming occurs when you're asleep but aware that you are dreaming. If you are looking to solve problems, gain new creative insights and ideas, or tackle fears, some lucid dreamers say this practice could be the answer. In the art of lucid dreaming, you take control of your dreams from a conscious state and manipulate them to turn out how you desire. Here's what you need to know to give it a try.
9. Sound baths.
Sound healing can activate your body in many ways. Think about how you feel when your favorite song comes on; your mood instantly changes. Sound baths that use tools like singing bowls can help you experience sound healing, and I've found that they relax the mind similar to a lucid dreaming state. When you're immersed in soothing sounds, new information, awarenesses, and ideas can come to the surface.
As you can see, if sitting crisscross applesauce for an extended period doesn't suit you, you can still get the hang of meditation. Now you have so many options in your meditation toolbelt to bring a sense of ease, creativity, clarity, and more to your mind, body, and soul. The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are infinite. There is no time like the present to get yourself on the bandwagon and acquire some peace, love, and joy. You deserve the gifts that meditation brings!
Promotes calm & relaxation*
Promotes calm & relaxation*