7 Different Forms of Meditation and How To Do Them

7 different forms of meditation

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There are many different forms of meditation.  In recent years, mindfulness meditation has become popular.  It’s a great place for beginners to start.

So what is mindfulness meditation? 
Mindfulness meditation is a way of being aware of or bringing our attention to, the present moment.  
This is done deliberately and without judgement.
Mindfulness is now recommended by health professionals as an effective way of addressing stress and mental health-related issues.
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Meditation has been shown to have many benefits, including:

  • Improved levels of calm and relaxation
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Higher energy levels
  • Increased levels of enthusiasm
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Increased self-compassion and acceptance
  • Increased compassion for others
  • Reduced levels of stress
  • Less danger of suffering the symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain or compromised immune system
Here are some different forms of meditation to get you started.

1.  Breathing Meditation

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash
This type of mindfulness meditation is particularly good for beginners.  Check out my simple two-minute beginners’ guide in this post.
Breathing meditations, as the name suggests, focus on the breath.
Closing your eyes, you can focus on how the breath feels.
Where can you feel it most?  In your nostrils?  The back of your throat?  Or with the rise and fall of your chest?
I have come across a number of different ‘counting’ breathing techniques lately.  I have found all to be very calming. Brilliant to use in any stressful situation.
You don’t necessarily need to be ‘formally’ meditating to do these.  All you need is a quiet place for a few minutes. Or even do them as you are walking along.  

Box Breathing

Breathe in for a count of eight
Hold for eight
Breathe out for eight
Hold for eight
Repeat eight times

Longer Out Breath

Breathe in for a count of five
Hold for seven
Breathe out for a count of nine
Repeat eight times
(You can also add a step to hold on the out-breath as in the first exercise).
Play around with these and discover which method works best for you.
Want to learn more about mindfulness and meditation?  Claim your FREE  comprehensive 54-page e-Book ‘The Calm Mind’

2.  Body Scan

One of my all-time favourites and another great one for beginners.  I’ve found this helpful to reduce pain as well as being very relaxing.
Here’s how to do it.
Get comfortable, ideally lie down for this one but you can also do it in a seated position on a chair or on a cushion.
Cover yourself with a blanket to keep warm and close your eyes.
Focus on your breath to begin with, becoming aware of where you feel the breath the most.
When you are ready, bring your attention to the points where your body is in contact with the floor, chair or bed.  Each time you breathe out try to sink a little further downwards.
Now bring your focus to your left foot. Focus on each of the toes of the left foot, then the sole of your foot and then the top of your foot.
Continue to move your awareness up your left leg.  Focus in turn on the ankle, the calf, the shin, the knee and the thigh.
When you are ready, feel the breath entering the nostrils, down into the lungs and abdomen.   Then as you exhale, try to imagine the breath travelling down the leg and out of the sole of your left foot.  (Sounds a bit weird I know, but I have found this to be a pleasant and calming experience!)
Photo by Javier Peñas on Unsplash
Continue this practice with your right foot and leg and then move up your body slowly.  Focus on each area in turn. If you become aware of tension or discomfort, try to ‘breathe into it’ as you did with your left leg.
Once you have finished scanning each part of the body, shift your attention to the body as a whole.  Be aware of the breath flowing in and out of your lungs.
Take a few final deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.  Stretch and ease back into your day.

3.  Sounds and thoughts

Another favourite form of meditation for me and again great for beginners.  I covered this one in my recent post on how to stop overthinking.  The guided meditation in the video below is a super way to have a go at this one.


A development of this, which is a little bit more advanced, is to shift your focus from sounds and thoughts to any emotions which arise.
Concentrate on where you feel the emotion physically.  Is it a tightness in your belly?  Tension in your jaw or shoulders?
Try to soften the area where you feel the sensation and ‘breathe into it’ as you did in the body scan.
If the emotion or sensations become too intense, shift your focus back to your breathing.
With any of these meditation practices, you will find that your mind wanders. This is normal, it doesn’t mean you are ‘doing it wrong’.  Simply acknowledge gently that your mind has wandered and bring your attention back to the part of the body you were focussing on.  You may need to do this many times, don’t worry!

4.  Visualisations

I love this form of meditation! 
Visualisations are a little bit more advanced so I would advise trying out the breathing meditation or the body scan for a while first
When you are ready I would definitely recommend a visualisation meditation.
My absolute favourite is called ‘leaves on a stream’.  In this mediation, you visualise placing your worries and concerns onto leaves. You then watch them float off into the distance down the stream.
There is a similar one with clouds, placing your worry on a cloud and watching it drift away.
The point to this is that thoughts, concerns and worries are all transient.  
They exist for a period of time and then they drift past until another thought comes along.  The visualisation can help to identify those thoughts and worries and to watch them pass without engaging with or judging them.
Try out the leaves on a stream mediation with the video below.


5.  Loving Kindness Meditation

I covered the importance of self-compassion in this recent post. 
This particular type of mediation can help us to cultivate compassion towards ourselves and others.
Again this one is a bit more advanced and if I’m honest, isn’t one that I have used a lot.  I think mainly because I carry a lot of physical tension and stress.  I find the other forms of meditation to be better for me at releasing this.
That said, it is something I would like to work on and I do love the work of Kristin Neff who is the pioneer in this area. Kristin has a guided loving kindness meditation if you would like to give it a go.

6.  Walking meditation

 woman walking
.Photo by Robin Joshua on Unsplash
There is no rule which says that you have to sit cross-legged or on a chair to meditate.  You can pretty much use any type of activity as meditation.  Walking is a great one to try. 
You don’t have to go on a long hike to try this mediation either.  Ten steps along the length of your garden path or even in your office work just as well.
Make sure there is nothing you can trip over, unplug any electronics and begin.
First of all, standstill.  Feel your connection to the ground through your feet.  Keep your eyes open and take in your surroundings.  What can you see, hear and feel?
Then, very slowly, begin to lift your right foot from the ground.  Notice the heel lifting off the ground and how the weight shifts to your other leg.
Then focus on your foot as it moves forward and reconnects with the ground.  As it reaches the ground shift your attention to the left heel and it lifting in turn.
If you wobble a bit from walking so slowly, it may help to imagine that you are following footprints in snow or sand.
When you have walked about ten steps, turn slowly around.  Notice how your body feels as you turn.  Where do you feel the turning?  In your hips, your torso?  Or more in your knees and legs?
Then continue forward as before.  Try to do this for about five or ten minutes initially, gradually increasing the time.

7.  Meditation Using Everyday Activities

 woman eating
You can use any everyday activity as mindfulness meditation.  Here are some examples.
  • Brushing teeth
  • Eating
  • Shower or bath
  • Driving
  • Doing chores
Whichever one you choose, focus only on the activity in hand.  If your mind wanders, gently acknowledge this and move your focus back. 
Use your five senses.  For example, if you are eating, focus on the smell of the food first of all.  Then take in how it looks, the colours, the shapes and textures. 
You can think about all the processes the food has gone through to arrive on your plate.  Then take a bite slowly.  Focus on the texture of the food in your mouth, the taste and the temperature. 
Slowly chew and focus on how the food feels in your mouth.  Then shift your attention to swallowing the food and any sensations in your throat and elsewhere as you do so.  
Focus on any sounds. The knife scraping on the plate, the sound of your swallow and also any sounds around you.
I’ve usually found when I’ve tried this with food, that the food tastes so much better than normal!
With all these meditation practices it is a good idea to do just that – practice!  A little every day will increase the benefits. 
So, there are many different forms of meditation.  Hopefully, you will find one or more ways that you can slip in throughout your day.


If you want to find out more about mindfulness and meditation, here are some fabulous resources that I have used.
Insight Timer is a free app which you can download on both Android and iOS. 
It has thousands of different guided meditations from some of the top gurus
It also has a timer which you can customise for your own meditation practice.  You can also access (for a small cost) a number of courses.  I have tried a couple and they are excellent.
I always recommend this website to anyone who asks me about mindfulness and meditation.  It is completely free.
It has the full eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course (MBSR) along with a number of guided meditations and many other resources.



 pile of books
Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash
The Mindful Way Through Depression – Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn
You don’t have to be suffering from depression to read this book.
I found it to be the most comprehensive guide to mindfulness and meditation that I have ever read.
Comprehensive but also very easy to read.  The paperback and audio versions come with guided meditations.
(If you are in the UK, you can get the audio version for free with an Audible 30 day trial).
Another comprehensive book based on the concept of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  MBCT has been clinically proven to be at least as effective as drugs for depression.  It is also excellent for managing symptoms of stress and anxiety.
(If you are now wondering what the difference between Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is, then check out this helpful article which explains).
The Little Book of Mindfulness – Dr Patrizia Collard
I found this pocket-sized book to be very easy to read.  It is set out in small digestible bite-size chunks.
The book has lots of different exercises to try including some of the ones I have covered.  Also yoga-based stretches and physical exercises.  All the exercises in the book are short and can be completed in 5 to 10 minutes.
Have you tried any of these different forms of mediation?  What are your favourites?  Is there anything you find difficult in practising meditation?  I would love to hear from you.

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  1. em

    These sound great! These will definitely help me as I get stressed easily. I will try one next time and see if it helps!

  2. Katie

    This is such an informative post, I certainly know more about meditation now! I really like the idea of using everyday activities as a way to meditate, that’s such a good way to fit it in to a busy schedule! Personally I enjoy walking meditation and also yoga. I find that the gentle movement helps keep me focused, and I feel great after!

    1. Alison

      Hi Katie, everyday activities are indeed a useful way to be mindful when busy. I love walking meditation too, I would love to get more into yoga as well x

  3. Lavrax Rinc

    Such a great and informative post. My favourite was the box meditation, I’m going to try that one tonight before sleep! Seriously in need of some relaxation x

  4. Chloe Chats

    Such a great informative post <3 I do a lot of the breathing meditations but also using meditation in every-day activities, when I'm doing something like cleaning I tend to focus on that and if my mind does try and wander I go back to it, it really helps me to stay concentrated and it helps me to feel calm and relaxed at the same time. Lovely post, thank you for sharing!

    Chloe xx

  5. Latisha

    Such a great topic and blog post! When I lost my mom in December 2015, the first thing my therapist told me was to continue journaling my feelings and to practice meditation. I have continued these suggestions and both of them help me cope with my grieving process, anxiety and depression. Happy Blogging.
    Latisha xx

    1. Alison

      Thanks Latisha. Sorry about the loss of your mum 😢 I lost my Dad in July, meditation and journalling have both helped me too x

  6. Deborah

    A very informative post I must admit. Covered from all angles.
    Pinning under “good health” 🙂

  7. Holly Bird

    I meditate daily..But i never thought about mindful meditation while I was brushing my teeth! LOL Great post!

    1. Alison

      Thanks, I tend to forget to do it when I’m brushing my teeth if I’m honest! I do often wash my hands mindfully though, great for bringing me back to the moment!

    1. Alison

      Thanks Naomi, I really like leaves on a stream and your version of it is very relaxing 🙂

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