There are many different meditation techniques and although the aim remains the same – being fully present and bringing the mind to stillness – the various styles offer different vehicles to get there. The technique used is not the end goal but rather a support system, helping you to achieve a state of pure ease and stillness.
To find the method that works best for you try practicing with a different technique for a week and observe which one brings you the most ease in your practice and feels natural. Everyone is different and there is no right answer or one best method. It is worth taking the time to sample different methods to find the one you like as if you enjoy practicing you will be more consistent.
Regardless of what technique you use, remember the mind is restless by nature and will inevitably wander. When this happens remember that this is normal, do not judge yourself and each time bring yourself back to the moment. The fact that you notice when the mind is wandering is the first step!
5 Simple Meditation Techniques To Try
This is one of the simplest yet most effective methods of meditation and requires a complete focus on your breath. This means paying attention to the sensation of the breath as it moves in and out of the body, noticing the duration of each breath, taking smooth and full breaths and generally observing the feeling of breathing.
Yogi Aaron says the benefits of listening to your breath are huge:
“My favorite meditation practice is to sit quietly in stillness, listening to the sounds around me while listening to my breath. This simple but ancient technique focuses the mind powerfully while attuning it to a higher vibration. The ancient yogis referred to those higher vibrations of the sound of “nada”, the sound without sound that reverberates in the cave of our hearts. The key technique is to become nonreactive to the sounds you are hearing. You train your mind to just listen. Listen without any thoughts or judgments. Just be a listener.”
2. Observing your thoughts
For most of us it is near impossible to not have thoughts, and that’s ok! This technique involves witnessing your thoughts from the position of an observer. Allow your thoughts to come and go, observing them but not engaging or getting caught up in them.
Imagine you are standing at the side of a road and there is traffic passing by, each vehicle representing a different thought passing through your mind. You don’t want to run out onto the road and try and stop traffic, you just calmly watch the vehicles pass by without attachment.
Eventually, you can begin to focus on the space between your thoughts, and as you deepen your practice these spaces will get longer and longer.
For this technique choose a simple object or shape and bring all of your attention and focus to it. Once your full focus and attention is on the object and you have a clear image of it, close your eyes and continue to see this image.
This technique can also be done visualizing a person or place that brings you calm and peace, but it must be an image that you can visualize clearly and remain focused on.
4.Repeating a mantra
There are many mantras available, choose one that resonates strongly with you and is easy for you to remember. It could be as simple as one word such as “om”. Focus on continuously repeating your mantra, and when your mind wanders come back to the mantra. Prayer beads like a mala can be useful for this technique, repeating the mantra once for each bead.
One of the benefits of modern technology is the plethora of resources we have available, including some wonderful online guided meditations. There is something for everyone with meditations from five minutes to an hour and across all styles. For some of our favorites click here.
Meditation is without a doubt difficult and requires self-discipline and persistence, to come back to your mat every day and when practicing to come back each time the mind wanders.
Everyone struggles with distraction, it is the nature of our monkey minds. Learn to accept distraction and when it arises simply continue to sit in stillness gently return your mind to your practice. Slowly you will begin to notice moments of blissful ease, and these will become longer the more your practice.
About The Author
Raised on a farm in Australia Emma went to boarding school in Sydney where she also attended university and then worked as a commercial lawyer. A few years ago, after what she refers to as her “quarter life crisis”, she quit her job and moved overseas to travel the world and hasn’t looked back! Her love of yoga took her to study in Rishikesh India, and later to Blue Osa as a volunteer. A lover of the great outdoors her other passions include horse riding, scuba diving, hiking and skiing.
Keep up with Emma’s global adventures here.