Different Types of Meditation
By Shannon C
, last updated December 23, 2011
If you are seeking more balance, peace, and perspective in your life, then perhaps you are ready to join the millions of individuals who enjoy a regular meditation practice. There are many different types of meditation, which ensures that if you are interested in incorporating meditation into your life, you will likely be able to find a type of meditation that you can truly enjoy and benefit from. Whether you simply practice at home or take classes, meditation can be a great benefit to your life. Learn from experts about some of the many different types of meditation practices and choose the type that sounds like the best fit for your personal preferences.
Mindfulness meditation is also often termed "Vipassana" meditation by practicing Buddhist meditators, but you do not need to be a Buddhist in order to benefit from mindfulness meditation. Vipassana means "to see things clearly". With this discipline, you agree to abstain from what are called the "five moral precepts", which include killing, stealing, lying, sexual impropriety, and ingestion of intoxicants (alcohol, drugs, etc). The reason for this is that mindfulness meditation focuses on cleansing body and mind of toxins to focus on what you do and what is going on around you with greater clarity. Often mindfulness or Vipassana meditation students will take retreats of a few days or more to focus fully on deepening their meditation practice.
Transcendental meditation first came to the West courtesy of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1958, and has since become a popular meditative art in the United States. To practice transcendental meditation, you merely need to find a quite 15 or 20 minutes daily to close your eyes, sit in a restful posture on the floor or a chair, and breathe quietly. The purpose and goal is to release stress and fatigue to gain greater peace and clarity in life.
Zen meditation takes the help of a variety of sitting positions to help calm both body and mind. While Zen meditation ideally will ask for 60 minutes or more per day, the benefit is that as you deepen your practice of Zen meditation, your daily mental chatter will begin to still, your heart rate and breathing will become more calm, and you will eventually gain glimpses of the inner nature of being human and of your own personal being.
Taoist meditation takes ideas and concepts from both the Hindu and Buddhist meditative systems in India and China, but you do not have to be a member of any religious sect or have any specific cultural background in order to practice and benefit from Taoist meditation. With Taoist meditation, your focus will be placed on an inner energy called the "de chee", which continually circulates throughout your being. Using specific meditative techniques focusing on the breath and the navel, as a Taoist meditation student you will learn how to better monitor and regulate the inflow and outflow of breath through the nostrils and down into your abdomen, deepening your awareness, focus, concentration, and perception as your practice itself deepens.