8 Unique Forms of Meditation
If you regularly practice meditation, you are aware of the benefits. But, did you know that there are more forms of meditation beyond the tradition of sitting still in a quiet space? Different, unusual forms of meditation exist that allow you explore your mind and body, and find peace in unexpected ways.
1. Standing Meditation
Standing meditations are a great alternative to more traditional seated practices, especially if you are someone who has sports-related injuries, arthritis, or other conditions that prevent lengthy sitting. Not only is this practice great for those with injuries, according to some traditions standing meditations are a prime way to align body meridians and chakras to increase energy flow throughout the body. To practice this form of meditation:
- Start with your feet pointing forward, shoulder width apart.
- Once standing, begin a body scan to bring awareness to every part of your body. Pay extra close attention to the bottom of your feet, as you should feel as though your feet are grounded into the earth.
- Lift up your toes, spread them out, and set them down again. Feel the contact with the ground. You are now more grounded than ever.
- Straighten your spine, and refrain from arching. Stand stall and feel your mind open and relax.
Pro tip: A standing meditation is a great opportunity to practice a variety of pranayama breathing techniques.
2. Walking Meditation
This form of meditation, known as kinhin, can be performed indoors or outdoors. To perform a walking meditation:
- Find an open space where you can walk continuously without too many interruptions. The best places to walk is where you may not be observed, or limitedly observed — the ideal walking meditation is slow, and you may feel self-conscious about others watching if you are not used to meditating. The area you choose to walk in does not need a very long stretch of land, as the goal is to not reach a destination but to focus on walking and enjoying the journey.
- Begin walking. As you walk, focus on your breath, and stop to breathe for as long as you’d like. Additionally, try to focus your attention one or more sensations in the body. This may be the way breathe enters and leaves your body, or the mind-body connection you experience as your foot lifts and lands on the ground.
- Remember that it’s perfectly natural for your mind to wander. When it does, simply try to refocus on one of the senses you previously focused on in step 2.
Pro tip: As you grow in your walking meditation practice, you will be able to bring the same level of mindfulness to walking at faster speeds in your life — running can become a very cathartic experience when practiced with the same type of mindfulness that occurs in a walking meditation.
3. Crystal Meditation
You can call on various crystals to enhance your practice. In order to perform a crystal meditation, you first need to decide what crystal has the energy that is in-line with your intentions. Once that crystal is acquired, you can either hold it or place it in front of you as you meditate. According to Alcantara Acupuncture, some crystals you may consider meditating with are:
- Rose quartz can help you get in touch with your self-love and compassion for others. It can also help you heal from past emotional trauma and refresh your body with unconditional love.
- Carnelian can help strengthen your sacral chakra and help you creatively express yourself, as well as when you need to “take the leap” and take action towards your highest goals and dreams.
- Celestite is perfect for when you want to communicate with your guides and really feel their presence.
- Amethyst can be used when you want to heighten your intuition, psychic abilities, and third eye chakra wisdom.
- Selenite will create a protective grid in your home, and can be even more powerful when combined with black tourmaline.
- Black Tourmaline protects yourself from psychic attacks, negative energy, and deflect all negativity away from you. It will even protect you from electromagnetic pollution from computers and other business electronics at work.
- Moonstone is great to use when you want to get in touch with your feminine power, no matter what gender you are, since it is the gem of the High Priestess, and keeper of the feminine mysteries.
Pro tip: Combine crystal meditations with a yoga practice based on your chakras to enhance your spiritual practice.
4. Gazing Meditation
From the Sanskrit word Trataka, which means “to gaze,” a gazing meditation is practiced when you concentrate on a single object. This object may be physical, or one that you picture in your mind. Regardless of where or what the object is, you slowly begin to blank out other objects and bring your attention and practice to the present moment. From Ipnos, the two forms of gazing meditation are:
- Bahiranga, or external gazing. This form of gazing meditation uses a physical object as a focus point. Many people choose a candle flame as their chosen object, but any object is possible to use. A plain or simple object may be easier to focus on than one with great detail.
- Antaranga, or internal gazing. To perform this type of gazing meditation, close your eyes and focus on a specific image. Watch it with a steady, fixed gay, and hone your attention on the central point of the object. Some common images to use are candles, stars, the moon, or a bright white light that glows in the areas of your third eye. The goal of this type of meditation is to become one with the focal point, so you don’t recognize any difference between it and you — at that point, you will be able to travel beyond your ego.
Pro tip: Not sure how to start a gazing meditation practice? Try this one with Patrick Beach.
5. Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique
Better known as “Amma,” this form of meditation has gained international popularity. The practice combines yogic stretches, breathing, and concentration for about twenty to thirty minutes. This practice is not only perfect for the budding meditation student, but is also taught in corporations, educational institutions, and correctional facilities.
Some of the benefits of this practice are greater calmness and sense of peace, as well as greater ability to make decisions and use time productively. In some cases, participants report not seeing changes themselves, but are informed by loved ones and peers that a change for the better has occurred.
For more information: Check out the Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique website.
6. Dance (Kundalini) Meditation
Your meditation practice just got a soundtrack…how excited are you? Dance meditation, known as Kundalini Meditation, encourages a focused approach to dancing as you release negative energies or blocks in your body and mind. This form of meditation lasts one hour and has four stages, each lasting 15 minutes:
- Shake the body: Let loose and allow your whole body to shake so you can feel energy moving up from your feet. During this stage of the mediation, your eyes may be open or closed.
- Dance: Dance it out! Any way you’d like, and let the body flow and move as it so desires. Again, your eyes may be open or closed, and dancing should occur for about 15 minutes.
- Get silent: The third stage of this meditation involves being still and silent. Close your eyes and be still in either a standing or sitting position of your choosing. Bring your awareness to what is happening in and outside of you.
- Lie down: Time to relax. This fourth and final stage of Kundalini or dance meditation is to lay down in silence and be still. Let the energy you’ve created earlier in the meditation rush over you and calm your mind and body.
For more information: Take a look at the Osho Kundalini website.
7. Laughter Meditation
A very fun and easy form of meditation, all laughter meditation requires is that you laugh! Start by smiling deeply and then just start. It might seem strange and awkward at first but conscious laughter will help you bring yourself to the present moment. A more detailed laughter meditation entails:
- Stretching: Stretch the whole body for 1-2 minutes and get it prepared for the hilarity that is about to ensure. Be sure to stretch out the muscles of your face. A quick yawn may help stretch these muscles.
- Laugh: Our favorite moment. Begin to smile, and start laughing without exerting force. As you progress, begin to laugh from your belly in an effort to deepen the meditation. Focus your energy on laughing with yourself or with someone, not at or about something or someone.
- Find stillness: When you feel like your time to laugh is over, find stillness in your body in mind. Sit, stand, or lay down, and bring your awareness to the silence around you.
Pro tip: Try this meditation daily for a month to see it’s positive effects in your life. Nervous about what people will think about practicing this form of meditation? Practice letting go of those thoughts and feelings.
8. Hand Movement Meditation
Sitting still through a meditation practice can be a challenge for so many people. That pesky itch or the need to adjust your clothing can interrupt your practice. Instead, this unique form of meditation, a hand movement meditation, which uses breathing techniques coupled with specific hand movements. To perform this meditation:
- Find a comfortable, seated position on the ground and shake out your hands as though you were flinging something off your finger tips. Then, place your hands on your knees or thighs with palms facing up. Focus on the sensations in your hands.
- Focus on breathing deeply into your belly. While you breathe, imagine a light in the center of your body. Aas you breathe in, the light gets brighter, and as you exhale, the light becomes dimmer.
- Imagine that the energy from your lights fills your body as you continue to breathe.
- Shift your awareness from your breath to your hands. Feel the external and internal sensations.
- Then, lift your hands as slowly as possible, so slow that it feels as though they are moving by themselves.
- When the time feels right for you, turn your palms towards each other and pulse them. Imagine the energy from your core between your hands, and feel the sensation of the energy build between your palms.
- For the next few minutes, let your hands move naturally, and allow your mind to notice the smallest of sensations.
- On your own tie, let your hands come back to rest in your lap and sit for a few more minutes in silence.
Pro tip: Try incorporating mudras into this practice.
These unique forms of meditation are accessible to anyone, anywhere. Looking for a more traditional practice? Check out Sound Into Silence with Dylan Werner.