Here is a list of common types of meditation and how they are practiced:
This is the process of being fully present with what you are experiencing right now – including your body and your thoughts – in a way that is focused, curious and open. “I define mindfulness as paying attention to our current experiences with an openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be without experience,” says Winston. “It’s a way to help us live more in the present moment, not get lost in the past and future.” A common technique to begin mindfulness meditation is with a body scan. This involves checking, or scanning, all parts of your body, from your head to your feet (or vice versa) to become aware of any pain, tightness, or other unusual sensations you notice, and observe them without judgment.
Mindfulness-based stress relief
This is a specific type of mindfulness meditation that is taught over an eight-week period using meditation and yoga. It usually includes group classes and daily mindfulness activities practiced at home. Researchers are currently studying its effects on stress
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
This is another type of mindfulness meditation, which combines facets of mindfulness-based stress reduction with cognitive behavioral therapy. According to Psychology Today, it is a common type of meditation used to treat depression.
Unlike mindfulness meditation, which encourages being present in a curious and open manner, a concentration practice keeps the mind fixed on one object, such as the body sitting on a chair. “Most of the time, you focus on one thing to focus, gather your focus, and calm your mind,” says Winston.
This is a type of concentration meditation that uses a repeated calming word, thought, or phrase to avoid distracting thoughts and support a focused mindset. According to Cleveland Clinic, the mantra can be said aloud or simply thought.
This is a style of mantra meditation that uses a personally assigned mantra, such as a word, sound, or small phrase, that is repeated in a specific way, per the Mayo Clinic.
This is another method of concentration meditation, where you form your mental images of situations that you find relaxing. “You could imagine sitting in a beautiful garden with the birds chirping,” says Winston. “So you use your imagination to create states of being.”
Loving kindness and compassion meditation
This is the practice of directing good wishes to others and wishes to help oneself or another to suffer less. “You may wish them happiness or peace or for them to be at ease, and what that does is it can affect the other person, but it’s really about cultivating it in ourselves,” Winston explains.
This includes the traditional Chinese practices of qigong and tai chi, as well as some forms of yoga and dance. In general, meditative movement is a term for forms of exercise done in conjunction with meditative attention to bodily sensations, according to a previous review.
Winston notes that certain activities, such as running, walking, or drawing, while not considered forms of meditation, can induce a meditative state for many people.
“I think of it as using art or running to help create a meditative approach or mind, but it’s not meditation in and of itself,” she says.