What do you think of when you read the word ‘meditate?’ Sitting still, eyes closed, focus on the breath? It is this. But it doesn’t have to be.
Many of us are put off by the hours of frustration, dead legs and frantic thoughts. But did you know, there are hundreds of ways to meditate with different effects?
We just have to find the method that speaks to us. I’ve tried my hand at a fair few, so here are some alternative meditation methods to cultivate stillness, transformation and peace.
I find anything that has some kind of repetitive nature, focus or theme allows the mind to find that juicy meditative state in which you can grow, slow and find happy.
All of these are genre’s which can be further adapted to what YOU specifically resonate with.
- Movement meditation
It could be walking, swimming, dancing, rowing, cycling, running – whatever YOU like! If you note the rhythmic nature of all of these movements, it allows for the decision making centre to turn off and switch to a really pure and focused attention that is free from wavering thoughts aka meditation! The physical exertion also naturally releases seratonin, it’s double win if you ask me!
- Creative meditation
Think drawing, colouring, cooking, woodcraft, painting, stitching, building, knitting – the possibilities are endless. Any creative craft that gets your hands moving is totally refreshing for mind, body and soul. Again, it’s often repetitive and gives your brain the space it needs. There’s a reason that colouring books have made a come back in recent years!
- Energy meditation
These are meditations which are guided towards shifting energy from your lower centres around the base of your spine, where energy is often stuck up to your higher centres which is through to the crown. This is called kundalini yoga and it works with holding positions and breath work to unblock stagnant areas and get energy flowing around the body. The meditations are transformative and invigorating!
- Active meditation
These are incredible ways to shift old habit patterns, release suppressed emotions and find freedom. Dynamic meditations can be intense but as my teacher would say, they are a ‘fast-track’ meditation which can get a lot of inner work done. They are very physical and often involve cathartic movement which is contrasted with stillness. They are known as method for the ‘modern-man’ or woman. It stems from the belief that enlightenment can’t be found sitting still under a tree in an age with so much stimulation and distraction. I recommend visiting this website for free guidance: https://www.osho.com/meditate
- Love meditation
Yep, you got it. Love can be a meditation. It’s called tantra. Now before you all jump to the preconceived ideas that it’s all sex and magic. Tantra doesn’t necessarily have to involve a partner. (though it can!) Tantric meditations can be be a powerful method of cultivating love within oneself and it’s one of my favourites because after all, love is the most powerful force in nature. It’s created every single one of us.
- Emotive meditation
Many buddhist meditations are based on the precept of emotions. An example is loving-kindness method which sends positivity to those people you know, strangers and yourself. There are also techniques which uses the heart as a transformer for example, breathing in suffering and breathing out positivity. Buddhist meditations have an incredible foundation based on the fact that ‘life is suffering’, it sounds bleak but when we accept this, life becomes is a blessing.
- Mantra meditation
A mantra is a phrase, prayer or sound which you repeat again and again. Note the pattern of repetition? This form allows the mind to achieve higher states of consciousness through focus and the vibration of sound. You can try to go to a kirtan night to chant in a group or if you would like a more western adept evidence based mantra meditation, you can check out TM (transcendental meditation)
- Body scanning meditation
Body scanning is a very powerful mindfulness technique which allows you to become present with what is happening in your body moment to moment. It is a good tool to use if you can’t get to sleep, want to relax or check in with yourself. To go further, an ancient technique using body scans is called ‘vipassana’. It teaches you how to observe and shift old patterns over a period of 10 days silence. Retreats are available all over the world and are run on a donation basis. Visit: www.dhamma.org
We are all individual humans with a common need to find peace, fulfilment and love. Meditation is how. There truly are hundreds of methods out there, all with different effects and outcomes which can help at different stages in our life. We just need to be committed and find the path which speaks to us.
I’d love to know: What’s your meditation method? Are there any others types you would want to add to this list? Did any of these resonate with you? I encourage you to search further! Leave me your thoughts.