If you practice meditation on a regular basis, you probably already know all of these terms, and may even have a different definition for some of them. This article is more for the person who wants to learn more about meditation before diving in, so to speak. So let’s begin with some simple terms that you might hear in a class.
An asana is the pose, or position, you are in when you do formal meditation. Examples would be the full or half Lotus, kneeling, or sitting in a straight back chair. We’ve all seen the pictures of someone sitting in the lotus position, eyes closed, forefingers and thumbs touching, or hands positioned in the prayer mudra, with palms together at the center of the chest.
In the Hindu and Bhuddist religions, japa is the repetition of a mantra or divine name (more on mantras below). You may chant it, whisper it, or speak it within your mind.
More than a wall hanging pattern, the mandala is a sacred diagram used as an object of focus in meditation, particularly in Tibetan Buddhism. Mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity, harmony, and peace.
Traditionally, a mantra is the sacred words or sounds you chant, whisper, or silently recite in meditation. Some religions believe your mantra has transformative powers that aid you in freeing your mind and calming your nervous system.
Nirvana has different meanings in Hinduism and Buddhism. In all Indian religions, nirvana is considered to a state of perfect peace, freedom, and utmost happiness as well as the liberation from or ending of samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death
In Buddhism, nirvana is a state of consciousness. A state of profound peace and wisdom. Buddha taught that Nirvana should be the ultimate goal of humans.
Samadhi is a state of intense concentration you achieve through meditating. In Hinduism, it is the state of meditative union with the Absolute. Buddhists think of it as a high state of awareness and concentration that is just short of full self-realization.
Now that we have some of the basic phrases down, it’s time to look at a few of the more well-known types of meditation. There are many more meditation techniques, each with its own purpose. In all forms, you use various techniques to help you reduce stress, increase awareness, achieve better focus, and mental clarity.
In guided meditation, your teacher helps guide you thoughts. As human beings, the mind wanders -- so we find it easier to focus and relax our minds when someone is helping us stay on track.
A common form of guided meditation is mindfulness meditation. During the practice of mindfulness meditation, we train our minds to stop wandering off after each intrusive thought, and focus on a meditation support such as our breathing, a physical sensation or a sound.
Guided mindfulness meditation is a perfect place for beginners to start.
Our meditation classes here at DailyRitual.live are group guided classes. Most classes are a half hour, so it is easy to fit into your day.
Transcendental meditation®, or TM® , is a silent mantra meditation created by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. Many celebrities, including The Beatles, became followers. Many celebrities today are also practitioners. Most people who practice TM® do so twice daily, for 20 minutes each time. There is no mindfulness or attempt to focus.
We do not teach TM®. It is only available through the Maharishi Foundation.
Loving kindness meditation, also known as metta bhavana, is a method to help us develop compassion. While it comes from the Buddhist tradition, it can be adapted and practiced by anyone, regardless of any religious affiliation you might have.
Loving kindness meditation is frequently scripted, with phrases you recite, but can also be taught in a guided format. First, you practice on sending loving-kindness to yourself. Next, send loving-kindness to someone who has been nice to you. Then, send it to a neutral person -- perhaps someone you don’t even know. Take your time with each phase.
Then, you work on sending loving-kindness to a difficult person in your life. This is where it can get very challenging. It’s easiest to start with a difficult person who is only mildly annoying, rather than the person who has hurt you most. Try and let go of the negative emotions that may surface, such as anger. This last phase may take more work and effort than the first three phases put together. But with work and practice, you may find you experience deep healing.
The idea is that all living beings deserve loving-kindness. It should not be conditional. We are trusting in the divine, intuitive power that is shining within each of us, knowing that we are stronger together.
We hope that some of this information has been helpful, and has sparked your interest. There are many benefits of meditation, and most of us here at DailyRitual.live practice on a regular basis. We work with beginners and experienced students alike.
If you want to start meditating with the help of a teacher, sign up for one of our classes. We offer online classes, anywhere in the world you may be. Several of our teachers have extensive experience in meditation, and are ready to help you discover the benefits. Anyone of any age can take a class.
And if group classes are not your thing, we also offer private instruction for individual sessions. If you have any questions you would like to have answered before you sign up for a class, please feel free to contact us, and someone will get back to you promptly.