Why experiment with different types of guided meditation?
Meditation can be as simple as becoming aware of your own breath. Yet, oftentimes this is too simple to keep our focus. Guided meditation draws the wandering mind back to the present moment, cutting short any distracting thoughts while allowing you to practice concentration. If you are just starting with meditation, it is a great idea to try varying techniques to see what works for you. Here are seven types of guided meditation that will bring peace, calm, and love into your life.
Gratitude is an appreciation of the good in our lives, often recognizing that much of it comes from outside sources. We acknowledge the benefits, gifts, and support other people have given us, strengthening our relationship with them. If we have a spiritual mindset, we might also be grateful to nature or a higher power that has brought goodness in our lives.
Over the past decade, there has been a variety of studies on the effect gratitude has on healthy participants and people struggling with depression or anxiety. Researchers explored how expressing gratitude influences mental health, partner relationships, and even workplace dynamics. Although most studies struggle to pinpoint the reason for it, they all come to the same conclusions: articulating gratitude leads to greater happiness, stronger bonds, and higher motivation.
Much like a gratitude journal, a gratitude meditation can help you focus on the positive things in your life. However, instead of mechanically writing that you’re grateful for “your health, your family, and having a job”, you are prompted to experience appreciation. Acknowledging your blessings in such an emotional manner allows you to come out of a meditation feeling grateful and optimistic about the future.
If you’re interested in trying a gratitude meditation, here is one that I love. Committing to doing it every day might sound overwhelming so aim for at least once a week. Science suggests that the benefit of gratitude is not immediate but it has a lasting effect that builds up in time.
When you happen to see someone in your gratitude meditation, I suggest you write them a “Thank you” letter. Whether you decide to send it or not, this will have a lovely impact on your well-being. Not to sound pushy but happiness grows when it’s shared!
Manifestation is creating your reality through your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. It’s the process of focusing on what you would like to have in your life to make it true. By consciously using the Law of Attraction, you can manifest anything, including better health, a new job, or a loving relationship.
Manifestation does not work instantly so proving it scientifically is not straight-forward. There are various studies that suggest your thoughts influence your life and the people around you. For example, a study involving 409 Koreans showed that positive thinking contributed by 17% to the variance of life satisfaction. In fact, these results suggested that the right mindset was slightly more important than demographic factors such as family income and occupation.
Furthermore, in the 1990s neurophysiologists found in monkeys the so-called mirror neurons that were later also identified in several parts of the human brain. These neurons respond in the same way when we see someone perform an action and when we do that action ourselves.
Through mirror neurons we imitate others, their gestures, speech, facial expressions and even feelings. Some suggest that mirror neurons form the basis for empathy and social behavior. They make us feel identified with a character in a movie or our favorite soccer player. With this said, it seems that positive people don’t attract positive people but rather “create” them as others try to mimic their behavior.
Manifestation meditation prompts you to visualize and experience your deepest wishes as if they are already real. This instantly makes you feel happy and grateful. Through repeated practice you get closer to your dream, increasing your life satisfaction and transforming the people around you. Try out this manifestation meditation I hold very dear to heart.
Yoga Nidra or yogic sleep is a consciousness similar to the stage of just before falling asleep. Contrary to the Western mindset of achieving more through doing more, Yoga nidra is about doing less, or nothing, to arrive where you want. In her book “Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep”, acclaimed author Kamini Desai describes yoga nidra as floating – “something that happens in the absence of doing”. “When you let go of any doing, everything gets done.” she writes.
Yogis claim that 15 minutes of yoga nidra equal an hour of sleep. This means you can get the energy from a full-night sleep in just two hours! In this state of consciousness, the body starts to heal itself, nourishing and rejuvenating the organs, and slowing down the process of aging. Similar to guided visualization, a therapy developed in the 1950s, yoga nidra aids with mental programming.
The deep relaxation of yoga nidra is present on a few different levels. On the surface, we let go of tension in the body. Simultaneously, we are able to change our relationship with toxic thought patterns (fear, worry, anxiety, etc.) that are exhausting to the mind. On an emotional level, yoga nidra helps us deal with overwhelming events of the past and let go of suppressed feelings.
As a result of this relaxation, stress is neutralized and sleep quality improves. You might think it’s best to do yoga nidra in bed, right before sleep. However, it’s very likely you’ll fall asleep, not reaping the benefits of this consciousness. In this article I have elaborated more on the best times to meditate and when yoga nidra is beneficial before sleep. Whenever you choose this practice, it’s well worth being regular with it.
According to both yoga and Ayurveda, nadis are energy channels that carry prana – life force, the original creative power, consciousness. There are 72,00 nadis distributing prana throughout the body. At the intersections of nadis, chakras – spinning wheels of energy, are formed. The three main nadis cross at seven different points along the spine, forming (you guessed it) – the main seven chakras.
When our chakras are balanced, the vital energy prana is free-flowing. Unhealthy habits, bad company, and pessimistic thought patterns disturb the chakras, leading to physical and mental disturbances. On the other hand, yogic practices such as Asanas (postures), Kriyas (cleansing techniques), Pranayama (breathing exercises), and Meditation enhance the flow of prana and keep us healthy and happy. Balancing the chakras also allows the individual to achieve a state of inner harmony, leading to harmony with the life-force energy.
It is best to start working your way up, from the Root chakra to the Crown chakra. You can either do a meditation that dedicates a few minutes on all of the chakras or meditate on each chakra separately. You can dedicate each day of the week to a different chakra, and follow this schedule for a few weeks. Alternatively, you can dive deeper into the topic, understanding the “symptoms” of imbalances in the different chakras. Thus, you can identify where the flow of prana is blocked and focus on releasing it.
You can try out this Heart chakra guided meditation that I enjoy.
“It’s what we all wanted when we were children- to be loved and accepted exactly as we were then, not when we got taller or thinner or prettier…and we still want it… but we aren’t going to get it from other people until we can get it from ourselves.” This is a wonderful quote from Louise Hay, a motivational author and one of the pioneers of the self-help movement.
Teachings of self-love and compassion already existed in Vedic times (about 1,500 years before Christ). Hindus believed that there are five stages of love, starting with sensory cravings and culminating with Atma Prema. This is a type of self-love that transcends our traditional idea of the term. Atma Prema is the love for the self that exists in the centre of all of us, recognizing that we are expressions of the same life force.
Around 500 BC Gautama Buddha was teaching that “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddhists place as much importance on compassion towards others as on self-compassion. This philosophy is supported by modern-day studies which suggest that self-compassion, not self-esteem, determines how well we manage unpleasant situations. When our egos are under attack, self-compassion permits us to admit our weaknesses, while understanding we all have them.
Self-compassion is an integral part of self-love because it is precisely at difficult times when we most need love for ourselves. Self-love meditation can help you focus on your strengths while forgiving yourself for your shortcomings. Such practices transform our life. If you are ready to deepen the relationship with the most important person in your life, try out this self-love guided meditation.
Moon Phases Meditation
Humans have seemingly always been fascinated with the Moon. It has often been associated with the female beginning. In Greek, Aztec and Chinese mythology the Moon was represented as a Goddess. Hindus, though, recognized the god of the Moon – Chandra.
We know that the Moon affects different natural mechanisms on Earth, such as the sea tides or coral reproduction under the light of the full moon. As the human body is predominantly made of water, people have long tried to establish how the Moon influences us physically and mentally. So far study results have been inconsistent, with some confirming that the Moon has an effect on us, while others failing to find a connection.
Whether you believe we can benefit from becoming in tune with the Moon cycles or not, I suggest you consider the following framework for driving positive shifts into your life:
- At New Moon is the time of new beginnings, the time to plant the seed of new intentions.
- Waxing Moon is meant for giving power to your intentions, by visualizing them (in a Manifestation meditation, for example) but also identifying the obstacles you are facing.
- At Full Moon creative energy and intuition peak. This is the time to be grateful and celebrate what has been achieved so far.
- Waning Moon is associated with freeing yourself of what no longer serves you. This is also the time to let go of your intention. Trust the Universe to make it happen when the time is right.
Following the rituals of a Moon, cycle gives you an opportunity to clear your intentions, focus on manifesting them, bring joy into your life through gratitude and free yourself from attachment (to a final goal, to how you want your intention to be handled or to negative feelings you might have been hoarding). There’s no downside to following the Moon cycle even if you’re not a believer. The structure of this ritual is nonetheless clear and effective. Worst case scenario, you’ll get some added boost from the Moon power, helping you to follow your chosen path.
Inner Child Meditation
The inner child exists in all of us as a reflection of the child we once were. Innocence, creativity, and enthusiasm are some of the “positive” expressions of the child within. At the same time, our inner child still carries repressed emotions, what you were told not to do, and feel in order to be loved.
We need constraints in order to grow into functional members of society. That’s why the wounds of that inner child are almost inevitable. However, holding on to sadness, rejection, and anger from our childhood comes up in adult life in the form of different challenges. The signs of a wounded inner child are many, such as being a people-pleaser or intentionally seeking conflict with others; rigidity and perfectionism, feeling inadequate and constantly self-criticizing, struggling to commit or trust, clinging to relationships, even when they’re toxic, etc.
Inner child meditation is one of the methods to connect to the child within, finding the root cause of fears and insecurities, and dealing with them effectively. Often, the idea is to create a healthy relationship with our inner child. The adult part of our personality starts to behave like a loving parent that provides discipline and structure, as well as giving nurture and support.
How to choose the right type of guided meditation?
You might have a preference for certain types of guided meditations. Maybe your beliefs might match the philosophy behind a particular technique. You might even recognize the need to work on defined challenges in your life. Whatever the case is, I am convinced all of these meditations can bring something you value. So before you decide to stick with something, give them all a try!
I’m curious about your thoughts. Have you already tried any of these meditations? Which one are you most excited about? I’d love to hear from you on Instagram.