For thousands of years, meditation has been one of the most reliable tools to access spirit, reconnect with your higher self, and explore the true nature of reality. Despite its surging popularity and the robust research exploring its effects on mind, body, and spirit, the immense potential meditation has for your life is just beginning to be understood.
Types of Meditation PracticesHundreds, if not thousands, of meditation techniques exist due to the rich diversity of cultures and traditions throughout the world. A few popular types of meditation include:
- Mantra meditations
- Guided meditations
- Energy-balancing meditations
- Sacred chants
- Attention and intention meditations
- Sutra practices
- Mindfulness meditations
- Compassion practices
The most foundational practices taught at Chopra are Primordial Sound Meditation and the So Hum breathing practice.
What Are Advanced Meditation Techniques?But what about more advanced techniques? If you want to expand your experience by delving into deep meditation practices, where should you begin? This article will describe some more advanced meditation techniques as a guide for your personal exploration. First, let’s look at what is meant by advanced meditation techniques.
- Advanced does not imply increased difficulty. Advanced meditation techniques aren’t harder—the procedure is just more involved. If you can follow the instructions listed below, you can perform the techniques.
- There are no special prerequisites required. If you have an existing meditation practice, great; it’s not a requirement to take these techniques for a test drive.
- Essentially, what makes these techniques different is the intention behind the practice. If you’re familiar with Primordial Sound Meditation or the So Hum techniques, you’ll know that the general intention behind those techniques is to allow the mind to settle into stillness. For the techniques below the intentions will vary from practice to practice. Try the ones that you feel drawn to, test them out, and take note of your experiences. Below are some of the most common types of meditation techniques for advanced individuals.
1. Chakra-Balancing MeditationChakras are the psycho-physiological energy centers that reside in the subtle body. Each chakra is said to correspond to a major bodily system as well as a core psychological need. Located along the spinal column, each chakra has its own color as well as a specific mantra that resonates with its energetic frequency. The chakra locations, bodily system, color, and psychological needs are shown in the table below.
|Base of spine
- Sit or lie comfortably where you will not be disturbed for 7–10 minutes. Close your eyes and take several deep slow breaths, emphasizing slow exhalations.
- Now, put your attention on the area at the base of your spine. Visualize a deep red wheel of energy, about the size of a softball. While focusing on the deep red color, silently repeat the mantra LAM. Continue to silently repeat the mantra with your attention in this area for about one minute (the same will apply for the remaining chakras).
- Moving up, place your attention on the area of your reproductive organs. Visualize a bright orange while silently repeating the mantra VAM.
- Next, bring your attention to your solar plexus. Imagine a golden yellow ball of energy. Silently repeat the mantra RAM.
- Move your attention to your heart center. Visualize a bright green color. The mantra is YAM.
- Draw your awareness into your throat. In your mind’s eye, see a sky blue color. Silently repeat the mantra HAM.
- Focus on the area between your eyebrows. Imagine a beautiful indigo color. The mantra is SHAM.
- Guide your awareness to the crown of your head, visualizing a shimmering violet color while you repeat the mantra OM.
- After repeating each mantra for approximately one minute, repeat them all together one last time, LAM, VAM, RAM, YAM, HAM, SHAM, OM. Following the meditation, just allow yourself to sit quietly and notice any sensations in your mind or body before opening your eyes.
2. Tonglen MeditationTonglen meditation is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice that means “giving and receiving.” It is a breathing Buddhist meditation that includes visualizing the taking in of one’s own or another’s suffering and projecting out love, healing, and compassion.
- Sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed.
- Begin by centering yourself with a few full deep breaths.
- Now, keeping your focus on your breath, inhale and visualize either your own negativity or suffering or that of another person. Imagine sucking up the darkness, negativity, and pain like a spiritual vacuum cleaner.
- Pause for a moment and see that darkness transformed by the power of pure spirit.
- Exhale the white light of loving compassion back into your own space or that of the other you were focusing upon. Continue this process for 5–10 minutes or as for long as it feels comfortable.
3. The Microcosmic OrbitThis Taoist Qi Gong meditation helps to circulate subtle energy known as Qi (pronounced “chee”) or prana through the mind/body system. This form of meditation helps to energize the eternal organs, eliminate stress from the nervous system, and promote a deep feeling of well-being. This practice is said to embody the concept of “as above, so below” by capturing the essence of universal principles mirrored in your body.
- This meditation is best performed in a seated position with the eyes closed. Sit comfortably, but with a relatively upright spine.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the small ridge behind your front top teeth. Take a deep breath and focus your attention on the area between your eyebrows while visualizing a golden light.
- Exhale slowly, guiding your awareness gently down through your throat area, your heart, solar plexus, and navel.
- Inhale, filling up with energy from the lower abdomen, and draw the energy up the back of the body from the tailbone, through the kidney area, behind the solar plexus, back of the heart, behind the throat, back of the head, peaking at the crown of the head before exhaling the energy down the front of the body again.
- Continue this practice for 7–10 minutes.
4. The World Is in MeThis type of meditation is about reframing and shifting your identity from a being “in the universe” to “the universe being in us.” It is a subtle, yet powerful shift in attention that helps you redefine your place in the cosmos.
- Begin by sitting or lying comfortably. Take a look around your surroundings, taking note of the space. Now close your eyes and take a few full deep breaths.
- Once you feel settled and relaxed, place your awareness in the area of your head or brain and silently repeat to yourself, “I am not in the mind, the mind is in me.” Visualize a bubble of expanding awareness that grows to envelop your head. Feel yourself as the bubble of awareness as it continues to grow.
- Now imagine the awareness envelope your physical body. Silently repeat to yourself, “I am not in the body, the body is in me.”
- Watch your awareness expand to fill the room you are in. Repeat: “I am not in this room, the room is in me.”
- As your awareness grows, see it absorb the entire building. Again affirm: “I am not in this building, the building is in me.”
- Growing exponentially, your awareness expands to your town or city. Repeat: “I am not in this city, the city is in me.”
- Your awareness absorbs your state or province. “I am not in this state, this state is in me.”
- “Your country is enveloped within your expanding awareness. I am not in this country, the country is in me.”
- Finally, watch as your awareness embodies the entire planet. “I am not in the world, the world is in me, everything is within.”
- Feel free to continue this process even further to the solar system, galaxy, and the entire universe.
- Following the meditation, take a few minutes to allow this expanded sense of awareness to settle in before opening your eyes.
Choose from hundreds of guided meditations and cultivate a daily meditation habit on the Chopra App, available now.