11 Types of Meditation

There are many types of meditation that are available for someone who is looking to start a daily meditation practice. Have you decided to join us for our 90 days of daily meditation? If you are having trouble finding your way to that peaceful meditative state, it may not be that you are not cut out for meditation, but rather that you have not found the type of meditation that works best for you. If you read my Adventure Sister Emy’s blog, she found that she had to change the way she meditated so that it work for her and her current lifestyle. Check out her blog.

Hong Sau – When I first was learning to meditate, I was having trouble understanding the practice and feeling like I was doing it correctly. Lucky, I have a network of wise friends and I reached out to my friend Patrick, who taught me the Hong Sau meditation method. Here you focus in on the mantra. It helps relieve the worry that you are “doing it right.” You focus on the words or sounds so your mind is not busy assessing your practice. It was a great way to get started. When you do this type of meditation, you say the words silently in your head. “Hong” on the inhale and “Sau” on the exhale. 

Mindfulness or Zen – These techniques are similar. Although a devoted student of either of these types of Meditation could quickly explain the differences. They both come from Buddhist traditions.  This is the type of meditation that is done in silence, focusing on something like your breath. When the mind wanders, it is gently brought back to the breath or area of focus. These are the types of meditation where you see someone sitting on the floor with their hands in their lap and their eyes closed. It can also be done in a chair, if sitting on the floor is not accessible or comfortable for you. There are many Buddhist centers that will welcome you to join their meditation sessions. 

Kundalini yoga meditation  – As a Kundalini Yoga teacher, this type of meditation is near and dear to my heart. There are many different Kundalini Yoga meditations. Some with silent mantras and others with mantras chanted out loud. Some take place in stillness and others have movement associated with them. If you would like to experience this type of meditation, videos can be found on You Tube or you can attend a Kundalini Yoga Class in your area. Meditation is typically a part of the classes. I have had amazing experiences in Kundalini Yoga classes during the meditation portion. There is something about the group energy that cannot be duplicated in solitary practice. If you are interested in learning more about Kundalini Yoga, stay tuned for a future blog, I intend to write one explaining Kundalini Yoga more. 

Tai Chi or Qigong – This is a practice of meditation in motion. Think of the images of people making the slow uniformed movements together. I have only had the opportunity to experience Tai Chi once, It was at morning prayer at a retreat center I went to, but it was an incredible experience. It is something I intend to experience more of in the future. 

Transcendental – This is the only type of meditation listed here that I have not experienced before. This type of meditation became popular in the 60s. For this type of meditation a Guru of the school of TM (Transcendental Meditation) gives you a mantra. This is a personal mantra and is kept in confidence between you and the Guru. If this is a type of meditation that is interesting to you, reach out to a TM Center to find a Guru to work with. 

Mantra – We have talked about a couple types of mantra meditations already but it doesn’t have to be limited to Hong Sau or Kundalini Mantra Meditations. There are the seed mantras, which are powerful sounds that resinate with the universe, like OM. Additionally, anything can become a mantra. The name of your favorite Saint, an intention you are working on (i.e. Peace, Joy, Love, weight loss), or even just a word like “breath.” I was raised Catholic and I very much see praying the Rosary as a form of mantra meditation. 

Loving Kindness – Loving Kindness is another type of meditation that has become popular with all the stress in the world today. This can be done with visualization or mantra. The focus is, you guessed it: loving kindness for yourself, others, and the greater world or universe. 

Walking – In walking meditation, mantra may or may not be used. Breath work is often a part of it. Your focus is internal, despite the fact that you are moving. Breathwalk: Breathing Your Way to a Revitalized Body, Mind and Spirit is a book full of walking meditations. I had the opportunity to experience a walking meditation led by one of the authors of this book. I fell in love with walking meditations. This is a particularly nice type of meditation for people who have a hard time sitting still. 

Focused – This was one of the first ever meditation practices I learned. The woman who taught me about it explained that it is a practice of sitting with your eyes open and gaze soft. You focus your vision on something in your space. A candle flame is a nice option for your gaze. Other options, for focus, could be the pattern in a fabric or the veins in a leaf. Either of which could be traced with your sight. The purpose of this is to keep your mind in the present. 

Guided – These are a great thing for beginners. There are lots of them on YouTube and available in Apps for your phone. See my previous blog Theres An App for That: A Review Of Meditation Apps. The nice thing about a guided meditation is that a facilitator helps you stay present. There are guided meditations for almost anything you could possible want. They can help you have very powerful experiences. Plus better learn how to meditate and what you should expect as you progress in your meditation skills. 

Healing Gong – These are events that are offered by yoga studios sometimes. The gong is the sound of creation. Lying on a mat, completely relaxed, while the sound of the gong vibrates over you can be a transformative experience. These are typically a special occasional event rather than a type of meditation practiced regularly. If you get a chance to experience this I would recommend it.

Learning to meditate can be a practice of trialing different types of meditation in order to find what’s a good fit for you. Even if you are an experienced meditator, you may find that what worked for you at one time, is no longer a good fit. You may need to try a new type of meditation that gets you to a deeper or more fulfilling experience. 

Please share in the comments if you have any experiences you would like the rest of the group to know about. If you have more or different information you would like to share, please do so in the comments. This is how we can help and learn from each other. We are a community. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish for you a meditation practice that is fulfilling and that you find the type of meditation that is just right for you in this moment and every moment. I love you. 

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9 Way to Improve Back Pain

Many people suffer from back pain. For some it is a chronic condition; for others, it is an occasional occurrence after a strenuous day or twisting the wrong way. It can be debilitating and western medicine does not always have the answers. There are many holistic options to treat back pain that are surely worth a shot as an alternative to narcotics, living with pain, or considering surgery. Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. Frankincense essential oil – I love this essential oil for so many things. Rubbing it on the bottom of your feet can provide miraculous relief from chronic back pain. 
  2. Ice – When I first started having back pain I always went to heat. Ice seemed intolerable. Once I tried ice, I knew I would never go back to heat. The problem with heat is that it increases blood flow into and out of the area. This can cause the inflammation in the area to become worse. Ice decreases swelling. It has made such a difference for me. At the first indication of any back pain I am reaching for the ice pack. Just remember not longer than 20 minutes.
  3. Yoga – The stretching and various poses Yoga has to offer can be great for back pain. There are Yoga kriyas or sets that are specifically formulated for back health. They help get the spinal cord moving, can help compress excess fluid out of the disks, and stretch bunched up muscles. Plus the meditative aspects of Yoga can help to provide over all calming, which can relax those tight muscle in the back. 
  4. Massage – Knots and tight muscles can cause a lot of discomfort in the back and the skills of a massage therapist can really work them out and help provide relief from the pain. 
  5. Acupuncture– If you have never tried this, I highly suggest it! I find it so relaxing. I know that sounds crazy but it provides a sense of calm I do not get from other modalities. The needles help increase circulation and chi to the areas of pain. I am not an acupuncturist but I am sure someone with the qualification could explain this better than I can. I know it works for my back pain. 
  6. Chiropractic – There are many different times of chiropractors out there. If you chose to seek this treatment, do your homework and ask questions. One type of Chiropractor may not be right for you while another may be very beneficial. Some Chiropractors use a tool called an “activator” while others uses their bodies to adjust yours and still others have tables that help to make the adjustments. There are also Chiropractors who work more energetically and with your breath. 
  7. Mantras – Louis L Hay felt that our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves cause the illness in our body. In her book, Heal Your Body A-Z, she has mantras for upper, middle, or lower back pain. This is another thing I have done to find my bodies own ability to heal itself. It is something you can try that won’t break the bank and puts the trust in your own body to heal itself. “I trust in the process of life. All I need is taken care of. I am safe.” is her mantra for lower back pain. For other types of back pain, check out her book. 
  8. Strengthen your core – There are lots of ways to do this. Crunches is one that we hear about a lot but there are many resources or personnel trainers out there who could help you with this. A stronger core means there are more muscle to help your back hold you up. 
  9. Turmeric– It helps reduce inflammation.  When I was doing my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training it was strenuous, with back to back days of full day yoga instruction. One blessed yogi would bring us golden milk to help our sore bodies. Golden milk is almond milk, Turmeric, and Honey. The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric helped us get through the growing we were doing physically, while our mind and spirits continued to be enhanced but the yoga. 

I hope you are able to give some of these a try. I hope that they are beneficial to you. If you have other tips for people suffering from back pain please share. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a day filled with flexibility and ease.

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5 Hints to Find Peace in a Noisy World

I am in the airport waiting for my next flight. There is music playing over the speaker system, airpot announcements, a man talking on his cell phone, a TV playing the news, a women watching something on her iPad, people chatting, someones cell phone ringing, and the electric cart zipping around making its beeping noise to warn unobservant travelers. Have you ever noticed how much noise seems to be around us all the time? At night I like to sleep with a fan because it’s noise downs out some of the other noise. So how can we find peace in a world that is always buzzing and beeping?
1. Recognize that peace lives inside of us. This may be easier said than done. If you choose to focus inward, the busy world can fad into the background.
2. Use ear buds to listen to something of your choosing or white noise to block out other distractions. I like to match music to my mood: Yoga music for meditation, Running playlist to get things done and “how I feel” playlist music when I am more emotional. If you have your playlists set, you are always ready to tune out the outside.
3. Understand that even in a quiet forest there is noise. It is just noise we find more acceptable. When we think we can make the noise stop, we feel frustrated when we can’t. By understanding that noise just is, and we have no control over it, we fight against it less. After all, “What we resist persists” ~ Carl Jung.
4. Use Mantra. Repeating a mantra silently in your head can help you go within and stop noticing all the exterior noises. In Kundalini Yoga we use Sat Nam, which means I am truth. You can use any mantra that works for you. Even the name of Jesus or a favorite saint or goddess can be used.
5. Exercise! Working up a sweat will help you find that inner peace and sweat out your demons. Whether you are a runner, walker, biker, or dancer you can use moving your body, as a way to feel better and find inner peace.
I hope you have good luck finding your inner peace today. Happy Monday and Peace to you!
What do you do to find quiet in a noisy world? What suggestions do you have for others who are distracted by the noisy world around them?

Thank you for reading my blog today! I wish you a day of peace and as productive as you would like it to be.

 

 

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