At a recent dinner party, meditative practices were the hot topic. I chatted with a Reiki hobbyist, a QiGong enthusiast, and a friend who insisted I try a “Chakra Lullaby” class at her drop-in meditation studio.
Of course it’s not news that an ancient practice dominates today’s wellness space — although a new CDC report states meditation is the fastest growing U.S. health trend. For years now you’ve read about the science-backed benefits of meditation here on Further, including stress reduction, better sleep, improved productivity, burnout relief, and real shifts in your brain composition for overall well-being.
As a Vedic meditation teacher, I’m thrilled to see so many people tapping into bliss chemistry to combat our “anxiety economy.” And I also see the challenge of McMindfulness — the commodification of well-being — where the avalanche of options, including 2,000+ apps, may be creating more stress than they relieve.
So how do you turn your hmm into an om and find the right approach for you?
Meditation isn’t one size fits all
Meditation has always been a personal choice: some yogis spend years alone in a cave, while others prefer sitting silently shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow meditators in jam-packed halls.
As Bob Roth, a leading meditation expert and CEO of the nonprofit David Lynch Foundation, notes, the key is to get clear on your priorities to find your own particular brand of Zen.
The future is more medical studies evaluating the types head-to-head and more people grasping that specific meditation practices have specific benefits for specific people. It’s not that one is better than the other, per se. And it shouldn’t be an either/or but really a yes/and—because we should think of meditation types as a personal toolbox.
Roth recommends thinking of meditation in three categories: focused attention, open monitoring and self-transcending.
Pick your prana
Focused attention clears your mind of thoughts by focusing on objects, body sensations, or your breath. If you want to improve your concentration and productivity, this is a good choice.
Open monitoring is essentially mindfulness meditation, where you observe your mind’s contents. This can be anything from taking a walk to a guided meditation. Improved emotional regulation, cognitive control, and ability to pay attention are all benefits.
Self-transcending requires no cognitive work; just a mantra to effortlessly dive into the silent depths of your mind. Studies support transcending techniques’ health (especially heart) benefits, as well as an awakening of the brain’s “imagination network” -— perfect for creative types.
You know how you work, so now you can pick the kind of meditation that works best for you. Namaste. 🙂
Meditation Goes Plural (Global Wellness Summit)