Everyone is unique even for meditation style. Find out what is the best meditation style for you during COVID-19.
“I cannot stop my thoughts,” this is the first thing people often said to me when I asked them about meditation. The truth is, as long as our heads are above our necks and we have physical minds, we will always generate thoughts. Meditation’s goal is not to “cease” thoughts but to “watch, observe and then let go” the thoughts based on my trainings, practices and experiences.
How did my meditation journey start?
My first connection to meditation was in 2003 when I walked past a second hand book store on Oxford Street in Sydney during my exchange student year. I remember that was a sunny, blue-sky kind of day and I saw a little book called “How to meditate for Kids” in one of the boxes outside the store. I took the book and paid. With a very small fee, I felt I had discovered some wisdoms that will eliminate my troubles in life and that I would have hit the jack pot living ever happily after. With excitement, I followed the instructions by first going crazy with my thoughts, then visualising them dissolving down and eventually hoping them go away. But they didn’t. I was truly disappointed with my very first experience with my meditation and felt I was not gifted. Then I put the book aside and moved on to other more fun and sensory events in my life. What I remember though, even till now, was the weirdness and what-the-hell-am-I-doing feelings when I closed my eyes and just let my thoughts wonder. “Phew, that was strange and foreign.” Because I never came across anyone who closed their eyes when they were not sleeping before then.
I love self-help books and started reading them since my high school days. So meditation has always been an urban myth to me. I was intrigued and yet scared of it. However, what brought me back to resume the search again was when I broke up with my first big love in my late 20s. I was out of balances all the time. I felt miserable and my monkey mind was going banana. I had been practicing Yoga but I needed more. Something powerful and sustainable to “stop” my crazy thoughts. So again, I was just like everyone else. I wanted to meditate to cease my thoughts and I started to explore all styles of meditations I could find.
I resumed again with guided meditations with light, colours, chakras, auras, angels, inner child, past life progression, I am that I am from Wayne Dyer, all different techniques from Hay House authors, self-love, soul purpose, higher self, Alantis, singing bowl, crystal bowl, Japanese Zen, Chinese buddhism, Ayurveda, Bija Mantra, Kundalini, other Yoga meditations..,etc. I tried everything but it never really hit that spot. I could sit with my eyes closed for 20 mins then I started to fidget. Then I was introduced to Vipassana, the infamous 10-day complete silence meditation training (laugh). And it turned out to be the best and life changing experiences I have encountered. 10 days of intense over 10 hours sitting each day is the most efficient way to train the mind. And I have been sitting daily now and it has become a part of me.
So what which meditation style should you try? Hereby I am borrowing Ayurveda dosha types to offer you some insights:
VATA Dosha People/ Imbalances: For anyone whose innate body type is Vata or have excessive Vata in the body (esp during COVID-19), the best meditation is “silence.” This means you want to sit in a quiet, but not too open and safe space with no disturbance from outer world. You want to practice the simplest techniques, best with your own breaths and body sensations. Focus on your gross sensations first (such as your in and out-breaths), then the subtle sensations throughout your body after some time. This is called Anapana meditation, the first phase of Vipassana. Ears are main organs for Vata people, so remove all audio stimulations will be the first step. Minimise the audio instructions and music when you practice. So-Hum mantra is also good for Vata.
PITTA Dosha People/ Imbalances: For Pitta, excessive heat and water within the body, the suitable meditation will be Cosmic Orbit Meditation or Taoism Orbit Meditation. Eyes governs Pitta. You want to sit in a darker room or best in the nature, under full moon. A moderate amount of verbal guidance is good for Pitta but be mindful of comparing. Visualisation of Green, Blue, White and Peach-Pink will help reduce Pitta. The Mantras for Pitta will be Srim, Klim, Aim that you can chant the single Mantras repeatedly while closing your eyes for few minutes. The theme to practice is: do not look for achieving anything in your meditation, let it happen not to make it happen.
KAPHA Dosha People/ Imbalances: For Kapha, the stagnation and over-storage of energies and emotions are what to be balanced. Kapha needs a little push to sit into the meditation to avoid falling asleep (me sometimes!). Started with a short pranayama before sitting would be very ideal. I normally practiced a short Kapalabhati or belly deep breathing before sitting and it helped me set into the meditation straight away. Krim, Hum, Hrim are Kapha mantras. Visualisation with colors of Red, Orange, Yellow and Purple also help. Community feel is important for loving Kapha people, find your loved ones to sit together or a community online to motivate yourself to meditate more.
If you don’t know about your Ayurveda dosha type yet, please go here for a free self assessment.
I hope you find these tips helpful to you. And my personal experiences will never be the same as yours. It is you who creates your own experiences and realities. Explore and find out what’s best for you, even for meditation. I also know people who can only meditate when lying down, then Yoga Nidra will help. Yoga is the prep for meditation, so I feel it’s my ultimate wish and goal to share more about meditation while teaching Yoga. It is also important for you to know that the first benefit of meditation is to bring you some calmness and peace afterwards and the more you practice that will eventually sharpen your focus and your mind. After practicing regularly, you will notice the thoughts (negative and positive) will stop lingering, which is what we want to practice “equanimity” as the essence of all teachings.
This will teach us to become less attached to worldly things, including ourselves.
I am still learning and unlearning each day. And my meditation feels also different each day. I do hope to share more about my experiences here and do look forward to hearing yours as well.
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Good luck with your practice!