If you’re new to meditation you may find yourself confused by the range of meditations that are available out there on apps. Here is a short guide to the key mindfulness meditations:
THE BODY SCAN
The body scan meditation is a great stress reliever and the first meditation that you will learn in most mindfulness courses. Its aim is to make you aware of tensions and sensations in your body which may be overlooked in the rush of daily life. It is a good meditation to begin with as it is done lying down which helps complete relaxation. You will be guided to focus on each part of the body and note any tension there. You may also become aware of your thoughts and will gradually be able to let go of these thoughts and focus on the body.
THE SITTING MEDITATION
The aim of the sitting meditation is to encourage a complete focus on the present and a letting go of the past and future. The focus is on the breath, which is always with you, and it acts as an anchor to the present moment. During the meditation, you will find that thoughts come and go and you will bring your attention back to the breath. It is a powerful tool for moments of stress. As with the body scan, you will also bring attention to the body, explore the sensations and bring the focus back to the breath. It will give you a sense of being grounded and in the present moment.
Mindful movement meditations focus our attention on the present moment and bring kindly awareness of our bodies. Through gentle movement we become aware of any tensions or pain in our body, our focus is on our body and not on our thoughts. Mindful movement can also be done through yoga, walking, tai chi or any other exercise which places your full attention on the body. It warms our muscles and releases stress.
THE 3 STEP BREATHING SPACE
This meditation grounds us by giving us a space in which to reconnect with ourselves and the present moment. In the first step, we become aware of our thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations, acknowledging them and turning towards them with curiosity. In the second step, we turn our attention to the breath and the physical sensations associated with it. In the third step, we expand awareness into the whole body, using our breath as an anchor. These three steps lead us to an expanded awareness which we can carry with us as we resume our day.
If you’d like to try any of these meditations then I recommend the Insight Timer App which you can download to your mobile phone.