There are many different reasons people take up meditation - which is why it’s so important to find a style that suits your individual needs.
Whether you want to de-stress, focus on your goals, quieten your mind or gain a heightened state of self-awareness, the list of techniques to explore is seemingly endless. That’s why we hit up Luke McLeod, former Bachelorette star and founder of Soul Society (a movement that’s teaching Aussies how to combat stress and anxiety with mindfulness) to help us make sense of it all.
“Just like how your body responds to different types of food and exercise, your mind does the same thing,” Luke says. “This is why a lot of people try meditation but don’t stick with it. They might have put their brain through a cardio session when it’s really asking for a strength session.”
There are numerous mental and physical benefits associated with each technique and there is no right or wrong way to do it, it’s just about finding what works for you.
With that in mind, here are three of the most common types practised today:
With its roots primarily coming from the Hindu tradition, there are a couple of slight variations of this type of meditation. Vedic, Primordial and Transcendental Meditation (often referred to as TM) are the most common. It is a practice where you repeat a word to yourself for a period of time, letting your focus sit simply with that word. What differs between them is how the mantra is given to you. A Vedic mantra is chosen by your teacher and is based on their ‘vibrational feel’ of you. Whereas a Primordial mantra is based on the time, date and where you were born.
Single-pointed meditation originated from the Buddhist tradition. Again, there are a couple of ways to practice this, but the concept is predominantly the same for all - you focus on one element of yourself or surrounding environment. In Samatha, your breathing is the point of focus, whereas in Vipassana you concentrate on a particular bodily sensation.
Derived from the accident eastern philosophy, this type of meditation is a more holistic system of coordinated body posture, movement and breathing. Qigong and Tai Chi are two of the most common types of this. Both involve coordinating slow flowing movement and deep rhythmic breathing in a calm state of mind.
For all those new to meditation, Luke recommends trialling one type from each category over a three-week period. The biggest telling sign that you’ve found the right fit?
“You’ll want to do it again, and again, and again,” Luke says. “You’ll have this joy associated with the practice, rather it being something you need to do, it will be something you love doing.”
And for anyone still unsure if meditation is their thing, this tip might be of help:
“Let go of what you’re wanting meditation to do for you. When the expectation is removed, that’s when it begins to work its magic.”