Meditation has been around for thousands of years. And while it originally was used as a way to connect with the mystical forces of life, today it's used primarily to help people find their inner calm.
Anyone can practice meditation. There are no qualifications to practice, and you don't need special clothing, a set location or a lot of money to do it. Meditation can happen at home or work, during your morning commute or on your evening walk – anywhere you choose, really. Whether you're seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply want relief from the stress of your day, there are several types of meditation you can try out – some of which are listed below. The end goal, however, is much the same, no matter which path you choose: bringing a sense of calm to your mind and body.
Guided meditation. In this practice, you are guided verbally by someone's voice or a recording of a voice that helps you visualize a place or situation that can help you relax.
Transcendental, or mantra, meditation. In this practice, you repeat silently a word or phrase to help clear your thoughts and focus your awareness only on the mantra to help you achieve stillness of mind.
Mindfulness meditation. In this practice, you allow your thoughts to come and go, and try not to judge them as they float in and out of your mind. This type of practice focuses on increased awareness of the present moment, and also what you experience during your period of meditation – such as your breathing.
Qi gong. This practice, part of traditional Chinese medicine, means "to cultivate life energy. It brings together meditation, relaxation, physical movement and breathing to help you achieve and maintain balance.
Tai chi. A gentle type of Chinese martial arts, this practice focuses on completing at a measured pace a series of postures or movements while practicing breathing.
Yoga. This practice brings together a series of disciplines involving the body, mind and spirit – postures and breathing chief among them – in order to achieve a flexible body and calm mind.
To connect with your inner calm and find a meditation practice that works for you, we encourage you to investigate any of the organizations below – or to do some research in your own community.
Note: This information is provided as a resource and does not constitute an endorsement for any group. It is the responsibility of the reader to decide what is appropriate for his or her needs.