If you’re tired of traditional seated meditation or looking for new ways to make your mindfulness practice a little more interesting, this article is for you.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore 14 ways to meditate that you probably haven’t heard of. From movement meditation to sound baths, we’ll cover unique techniques that can help you reduce stress, improve focus, and boost your overall well-being.
Meditation doesn’t always have to be a stationary activity. Moving meditation involves focusing your mind while engaging your body in gentle movements. It’s a great way to improve your mindfulness and relieve stress.
The added benefit of movement meditation compare to sitting meditation, is that you are also getting in some exercise, but you’re also building a healthier connection with your body.
There are several types of moving meditation, including walking meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi.
1: Walking meditation
Walking meditation involves focusing on the present moment while walking slowly and mindfully. You can practice walking meditation anywhere you can get a couple of steps; in your home, outside in a park, or even in the office.
You can try walking meditation with these steps:
- Find a quiet and peaceful place to walk
- Begin by standing still and taking a few deep breaths
- Then, start walking at a slow pace, paying attention to each step and the sensations in your feet.
- If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your steps
A benefit of walking meditation is that it can help improve your balance, and posture, help improve sleep, and overall well-being.
Best for: People who find it difficult to sit still or who want to combine meditation with exercise may find walking meditation beneficial.
Everyone has heard about yoga, but most people don’t know that yoga is another form of moving meditation. The original texts (Sutras) on meditations had 8 main pillars (limbs) and the seventh of those was meditation or Dhyana.
With each move you make and each pose held your attention should be focused on the sensations of the body. This focus on the present is exactly what meditation is all about.
Best for: Those who want to combine physical postures with mindfulness and breath awareness may find yoga meditation helpful.
3: Tai Chi
Another form of movement meditation is Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art that has been used for centuries. It involves a series of slow, graceful movements that are designed to improve balance, flexibility, and strength while also calming the mind.
Tai Chi meditation is a great way to help you reduce stress, improve your overall well-being, and increase your energy levels.
Best for: People who prefer a slow and gentle movement meditation that emphasizes balance and flow may find Tai Chi helpful.
Movement meditation is a great opportunity to combine physical activity with mindfulness practice.
By moving slowly and deliberately while focusing on the sensations in your body and surroundings, you can cultivate greater awareness and reduce distractions.
In addition to the regular benefits of sitting meditation such as improving mental clarity and reducing stress and anxiety, regular practice of movement meditation also has physical benefits, such as increased blood circulation and improved balance and posture.
Sound has the power to affect our minds and bodies in profound ways, making it a popular tool for meditation.
In this section, we’ll look at two traditional types of sound meditation: mantra meditation and gong meditation, as well as a more recent addition to the field – sound baths.
4: Mantra meditation
One of the most common forms of sound meditation is mantra meditation, which involves repeating a word or phrase (mantra) to help focus the mind and cultivate a sense of calm.
The sound of the mantra is said to have a soothing effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Popular mantras include “Om” and “Om Mani Padme Hum.”
But if any of these terms make you uncomfortable, you can still practice mantra meditation. Simply choose a mantra that resonates with you and repeat it silently or aloud, while focusing your attention on the sound and vibration of the words.
If you’re someone familiar with affirmations, these are also a type of mantra meditation. This could be as simple as something like “I am grateful.”
Best for: Those who want to focus their mind on a particular sound, word, or phrase to induce a meditative state may find mantra meditation helpful.
5: Gong meditation
Another type of sound meditation is gong meditation, which involves listening to the sounds and vibrations of a gong to induce a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.
The gong is played in a rhythmic and repetitive manner, with varying levels of intensity and volume. The sound of the gong is said to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to calm the body and mind.
Gong meditation is usually done in a group setting, but you can also practice it at home with the help of a recorded gong meditation session.
Best for: Those who enjoy the vibrational and auditory experience of gongs may find this type of meditation helpful for relaxation and mental clarity.
6: Sound baths
A relatively new form of sound meditation gaining popularity is the sound bath, which involves lying down or sitting in a comfortable position while being surrounded by the sounds and vibrations of various instruments, such as singing bowls, chimes, and gongs.
The sound bath experience is said to be deeply relaxing, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, promote deep relaxation, and increase a sense of well-being.
Sound baths are typically led by a trained practitioner and can be done in person or virtually. There are thousands of videos on youtube, and I’d suggest you use headphones to enjoy the full experience.
Best for: People who want to immerse themselves in a sound bath to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance relaxation may find this type of meditation helpful.
A popular channel on YouTube is Healing Vibrations:
Visual meditation involves focusing on a visual object or image to achieve a meditative state. The practice of visual meditation can really help in finding a sense of calmness, focus, and relaxation. Here are two types of visual meditation:
7: Candle Meditation
Candle meditation involves focusing on a candle flame to achieve a meditative state.
How to practice candle meditation:
- Find a quiet place, light a candle, and sit in a comfortable position
- Gaze at the flame without blinking for as long as you can while keeping your mind focused on the candle
- When your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to the flame
Read more about light meditation.
Best for: Those who want to focus their attention on a visual object to calm the mind and improve concentration may find candle meditation helpful.
8: Mandala Meditation
Mandala meditation involves focusing on a mandala, which is a circular, intricate design that is often used in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
To practice mandala meditation, find a mandala that resonates with you and stare at it for a few minutes. Focus on the design and the colors of the mandala, and allow your mind to become still.
Best for: People who want to use a visual object, such as a mandala, to focus their mind and enter a state of relaxation may find this type of meditation helpful.
Sensory meditation involves focusing on one of your five senses to achieve a mindful state. By focusing on your senses, you increase your awareness and connect with your body. Here are two types of sensory meditation:
9: Smell Meditation
Smell meditation involves focusing on a particular scent to achieve a meditative state. To practice smell meditation, find a scent that is pleasing to you, such as a favorite flower or essential oil. Inhale the scent deeply and focus on the sensations it evokes in your body.
You can also use different scents to achieve different states of mind, such as lavender for relaxation or peppermint for alertness. Personally, I start my day mindfully making coffee, enjoying the sounds and smells, and finally enjoying the taste.
Best for: Those who want to use the sense of smell to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve mood may find this type of meditation helpful.
10: Taste Meditation
Taste meditation involves focusing on the taste of food or drink to achieve a meditative state. To practice taste meditation, choose a food or drink that you enjoy and take a small bite or sip. Focus on the flavors and textures in your mouth and how they make you feel.
You can also experiment with different foods to achieve different states of mind, such as bitter foods for focus or sweet foods for relaxation.
Best for: Those who want to use the sense of taste to cultivate mindfulness and awareness may find this type of meditation helpful.
Tech meditation involves using technology to facilitate your meditation practice. While some people may view technology as a distraction, it can also be a useful tool to help you stay focused and motivated.
11: Virtual Reality Meditation
Nearly everyone is familiar with mobile meditation apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, but there is a growing, and I would say exciting, world of virtual reality meditation.
Virtual reality meditation involves using a virtual reality headset to immerse yourself in a meditative environment. There are several virtual reality programs available that offer guided meditations in a variety of settings, such as a peaceful forest or a quiet beach.
Best for: People who want to use technology to create a meditative environment or to guide their meditation may find virtual reality meditation helpful.
Writing meditation involves using writing as a tool for mindfulness and self-reflection. It can be a powerful way to connect with your thoughts and emotions and gain clarity and insight. Here are two types of writing meditation you can try:
12: Gratitude journaling
Gratitude journaling involves writing down things you’re thankful for, whether it’s a person, experience, or thing. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you can cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation.
To practice gratitude journaling, simply set aside a few minutes each day to write down three to five things you’re grateful for. Regular practice of gratitude journaling is said to increase happiness, positivity, and contentment.
Best for: Those who want to cultivate a sense of gratitude, focus on positive experiences, and reduce negative thoughts and emotions may find gratitude journaling helpful.
13: Stream of consciousness writing
Stream-of-consciousness writing involves writing whatever comes to mind, without worrying about spelling, grammar, or punctuation.
It’s a way to let your thoughts flow freely, and gain insight into your subconscious mind.
To practice stream-of-consciousness writing, set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write continuously without stopping or editing. The incredible results of stream-of-consciousness writing include increased self-awareness, creativity, and mental clarity.
Best for: People who want to use writing as a way to explore their thoughts and emotions, improve self-awareness, and reduce stress may find stream-of-consciousness writing helpful.
Mirror gazing meditation
14: Mirror Gazing (Trataka)
Mirror gazing meditation, also known as trataka, is an ancient practice that involves staring into a mirror to focus and calm the mind. This technique is often used in yoga and is believed to have numerous benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving concentration, and promoting a sense of inner peace.
To practice mirror gazing meditation, find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably in front of a mirror, making sure that you’re sitting at eye level with your reflection. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax.
Gaze into your own eyes and try to maintain your focus. If your mind begins to wander, gently bring your attention back to your reflection. You may also want to repeat a mantra or focus on your breath to help you stay centered.
Try to practice mirror gazing meditation for at least 5-10 minutes at a time, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice. You can do this meditation in the morning or evening, or whenever you feel the need to quiet your mind and reconnect with yourself.
Mirror gazing meditation is a powerful tool for self-reflection and self-awareness. The intention is that by gazing into your own eyes, you can connect with your inner self and gain insights into your thoughts and emotions. This practice can also help you with a greater sense of self-love and acceptance, as you learn to see yourself with kindness and compassion.
In addition to its mental and emotional benefits, mirror gazing meditation is also said to improve eyesight and reduce eye strain. By focusing your gaze on a single point, you can give your eyes a much-needed break from the constant stimulation of screens and devices.
Best for: Those who want to use the reflection in a mirror to focus their attention, cultivate self-awareness, and promote relaxation may find mirror gazing meditation helpful.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a boring or challenging task. There are numerous unconventional ways to meditate that you can try out to enhance your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Whether you prefer moving meditation, sound meditation, visual meditation, sensory meditation, tech meditation, writing meditation, or mirror-gazing, there is a form of meditation that will work for you.
The benefits of these unconventional meditation methods are vast, including increased self-awareness, improved emotional regulation, reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced creativity, and a deeper sense of connection to the world around you.
So why not give one of these unconventional meditation methods a try today and discover the transformative power of meditation for yourself?
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of any mental health condition, we strongly advise consulting with a qualified healthcare professional.