One thing I’m often asked is if there is a “best” way to meditate.
The short answer is….it depends.
I started meditating at 18, the summer before college, after reading the book Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Many years, books, classes, retreats, certifications later…it is still one of the most constant and necessary practices in my life. It’s how I got through chemo with grace and ease, how I lowered my need for anesthesia & pain meds with my surgeries, and how I make it through all the most difficult situations in my life without losing my shit.
Some days it’s a few hours, some days it’s 30 minutes, but along with its companion yoga, it is a practice that has quite literally kept me sane.
BUT, that still doesn’t really answer what KIND of meditation is “best”…so I’ll break down the 6 types that I use and teach most frequently, and why you might choose each type.
If you want to…
Align Your Mind – Mindfulness meditation in the tradition of Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Mindfulness meditation, which can be as simple as quietly focusing on your in and out breath, is one of the most researched and studied meditation practices. Even a few minutes a day can have a huge impact on how your brain functions, your memory, your ability to respond calmly to difficult situations, and your overall wellbeing. If you can sit and breathe, you can meditate this way.
Breathe into Compassion – Tibetan Tonglen Meditation for taking & sending compassion.
What can we do when there is nothing to do? One of my favorite meditations is the Tibetan Buddhist practice of tonglen. We can use it for releasing anger, sadness and grief, and it can be a powerful tool to address our concerns about social justice as well.
Overcome Your Obstacles – Japa meditation
With japa meditation, we use the repetition of a mantra as the focal point for the practice. When I teach this practice, I usually begin with the Ganapati mantra and include storytelling about Ganesh. Mantras help us with guiding our focus, and they have the added benefits of the sounds themselves and how they impact the acupressure meridians in our bodies.
Believe it to See it – Visualization & guided meditation
With visualization, we use meditation to shift our performance in life and fuel up to reach our goals. Ask any high-performing athlete…seeing what you wish to achieve in your mind’s eye is a huge step towards getting there.
Open to Love – Kundalini meditation & kriya practice.
The highest aim, the reason we are here, the answer to all of it…is love. There are many types of Kundalini meditation and kriya, and I love teaching the Reverse Adi Shakti kriya, the Sobagh kriya, and the Sat Nam kriya, all of which open us up to love, abundance and our truest selves.
Practice Radical Forgiveness – the Hawaiian meditation practice of H’oponopono
Forgiveness is not putting a Band-Aid on a wound; it’s doing the surgery needed to truly heal. H’oponopono is a powerful practice that we can use to cultivate forgiveness of others, self-forgiveness, and forgiveness of ancestral and global wounds. When I teach this, I pair it an embodied practice to check in on where our bodies are holding these hurts.
This is just the tip of the iceberg where meditation practices are concerned, but hopefully it piqued your curiosity and answered some questions about styles you might like to explore!
Do you have a meditation practice? Are you hoping to start one? Let me know in the comments!