10 Unexpected Ways to Meditate Every Day

Ready to get Zen? Meditation can do way more than people think — and it’s not just for hippies. Practicing meditation regularly has legitimate health advantages, especially for the brain. Studies suggest meditation can do it all: reduce anxiety and sensitivity to pain, make us smarterward off sickness, and prevent stress [1] [2]If carving out an hour to sit on a cushion doesn’t float your boat, there are many unexpected ways to meditate every day. Get the benefits of meditation by trying out an alternative style from the list below.

Zen Zone — Your Action Plan

Standing Meditation: Standing instead of sitting to meditate canrelieve lower back pain and promote a greater sense of internal stability. As with any form of meditation, begin with a short period of time — start with five minutes only. Stand in a comfortable, straight posture with the feet pointing straight forward, about shoulder width apart. After settling into the position, do a quick full-body “scan,” releasing tension and bringing awareness to every part of the body.

Walking Meditation: In walking meditation, called kinhin in the Zen tradition, practitioners move slowly and continuously while staying aware of the body and mind. For this form of meditation, use good posture (just like seated meditation), take deep breaths, and experience the motions of the body. The walking movement should be continuous, so pick a safe place with space to roam around, like a large park or field.

Tai Chi: This ancient wellness practice, which means “Grand Ultimate” in Chinese, is all about aligning energy in the body as well as the mind. In traditional Chinese medicine, illness or pain happens when the life force, chi, is disrupted [3]. The contemplative practice of tai chi — which looks like slow-motion dancing — is supposed to realign the body’s chi. This form of moving meditation may increase memory and brain size [4], as well as alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia. Find a local class here.

Qigong: Like Tai Chi, Qigong is a form of “moving meditation” that uses rhythmic physical movements to focus and center the mind. Qigong is also used to regulate, maintain, and heal the body’s chi or energy force. The practice works as a combination of meditation and low-impact exercise and can reduce stress and anxiety, improve blood flow, and increase energy. Studies have shown that qigong meditation is an effective therapy for those overcoming substance abuse, especially for women [5]. Because it combines mindful meditation with body movements, qigong can be used as a mental, physical, or spiritual exercise.

Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique: Mata Amritanandamayi, an Indian humanitarian and spiritual leader known as “Amma” (mother) or “The Hugging Saint,” invented this practice to help people redirect energyin a positive way. Each session of IAM takes 20 to 30 minutes and includes postures, pranayama breathing, and meditation. Participants spend the first eight or so minutes doing yoga, followed by deep breathing and meditation. According to one study, the practice actually lowers the levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in the body. Find a practice in your area here.

Dance Meditation: Get ready to boogie — meditation just got a soundtrack! Most people, at one time or another, have put on some tunes and cut the rug to chill out after a tough day. Dance or kundalini meditation takes that release one step farther by asking participants to let go of the ego and surrender to the rhythms and ecstasies of movement. Some classes encourage yelling, jumping, and even hooting like an owl! Dance meditation may not be for the faint of heart — or arm or leg — but it can be a great way to release tension and get in touch with our instincts.

Daily Life Practice Meditation: Does high-energy dance sound a bit too wacky? Bring meditation back to a more reasonable pace with daily life practice meditation, which is also called Samu work meditation in the Buddhist Zen tradition. In this style of meditation, practitioners slow down daily activities to half-speed and use the extra time to be mindful and focus on thoughts. There’s no need to sign up for a class when it’s possible to meditate while washing dishes, taking a shower, walking down the subway steps…

Hand Movement Meditation: For many people, the toughest part of meditation is sitting without moving for an extended period of time. It’s sohard to resist the urge to pick at an itchy spot because scratching activates areas of the brain that control pain and compulsive behavior. What’s the best solution to this conundrum? Try hand movement meditation, in which participants focus on moving the hands slowly and mindfully.

Gazing Meditation: If staring into space or spacing out is your jam, try Trataka or fixed-gazing meditation. This unusual style of meditation encourages participants to focus inward by staring at a fixed object while sitting or standing. Trataka has many alleged benefits, from physical plusses like eye health and headache relief to mental advantages such as lower stress levels and better focus. If outdoors, fix the gaze on a natural object like a stone, tree, or even the moon (just avoid staring at the sun). Indoors, try looking at the center of a lit candle or an interactive computer graphic. Trataka can be pretty intense, so start very slowly — stare for just 15 to 20 seconds, with plenty of rest time. Eventually work up to 10 or 15 minutes.

Breathing Meditation: This technique takes those pre-yoga class “Oms” to the next level. Also called yogic breathing or Pranayama, this meditation style is all about controlling the inhales and exhales. Greatist Expert Dr. Jeffrey Rubin explains, “Longer exhales tend to be calming, while longer inhales are energizing. For meditative purposes either the ratio of exhale to inhale is even or the exhale is longer than the inhale for a calming effect.” This type of meditation can be done anywhere, anytime (except underwater, for obvious reasons).

Meditation can mean much more than sitting on a pillow for an hour. Try one of these alternative meditation styles to find the best fit and incorporate mindfulness into any daily routine.

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Everything You Need To Know About Zen Meditation

The art of Zen meditation is a simple one. You don’t need any prior experience. The meditation is the experience. You don’t need to have read any books about it. The wisdom you receive from a Zen practice is original. It comes from the quiet space in your soul.

You don’t even need to know what Zen means. It’s not mystical or rare or even necessarily spiritual. It’s the simplest and most natural thing in the world.

Zen meditation is not a religious thing. Atheists practice and benefit from it in the same way Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims do.

Zen meditation has nothing to do with where you live or where you’re from. You can be anywhere in the world and benefit from it. Peace of mind is not geographically specific.

I believe even animals practice Zen. I have seen cats, monkeys, lizards, dogs, and many other animals behaving as though they were meditating. Not just staring intently at food bowls, but genuinely looking like they were actively seeking the quiet spaces within themselves.

I urge you to give it a try. Sit comfortably in a chair. Gently close your eyes. Bring your attention to the breath moving effortlessly in and out of your body. Feel how it ebbs and flows, like water lapping at the shore of the ocean.

If other thoughts come into your mind, simply acknowledge them and bring your attention back to your breath and how your body feels. Pain, pleasure, comfort, discomfort; just feel them. Experience these sensations without judgement about whether the sensations are good or bad.

Zen allows you to be aware of how your actions affect the world around you. This allows you to be more productive. A cluttered mind is like a cluttered desk. Makes it hard to be fully productive. Meditation clears clutter from your mind. It stops that endless wheel of worrisome thoughts and allows you instead to focus on how to move forward from where you are.

After practicing Zen and mindfulness meditation for over 20 years, I can honestly say I have benefited more from meditation than from any other single thing I have ever done. Seriously.

Give zen meditation a try. The worst thing that can happen is you feel like you wasted a few minutes of otherwise productive time. The best thing that can happen is that you’ll find a simple, free, and effortless way to make your entire life better.

Did you ever wish you could just achieve that peace of mind you keep requesting?

The art of just sitting in the mind, focusing on the breath, can bring awareness and enlightenment. This is the goal in the focus of the ancient Zen Buddhist practice of Zen or Zazen Meditation.a deep meditation The Japanese word for meditation, Zen, is a state of consciousness realized through the focus of sitting in a strong posture and focusing on breath to relax the body and open the mind. Breath is very important in Zen meditation as it becomes the focal point for you to allow the thoughts and stresses in your body to release their hold with each and every breath you take.

How to Practice Zen Meditation

Begin Zen Meditation in a quiet place, free from distractions. Place a small cushion or pillow on the floor. Sitting cross-legged on your cushion, place your feet on top of the opposite thighs (left on right and right on left) – this is called Lotus Position. If you are unable to maintain this position in the beginning, that is fine. You are welcome to sit with your feet tucked under you instead. Over time you will become more flexible and be able to reach the full potential of the position.
Once you are seated place your hands in your lap or on either knee in a restful way. Now you will begin to focus on the key ingredient to Zen Meditation – breath.

Allow you breathing to flow in deeply and do not judge how ‘well’ you are doing it. Just be in the moment and focus on the inhalations and the exhalations. Naturally these breaths will become more abdominally centered and natural. As thoughts and distractions flow into your mind, just accept them and refocus your mind on your breathing. It is okay if this feels difficult – as you practice it will become easier and easier to center your mind on the breath and nothing else. The goal is to reach a heightened level of awareness without judgment.

Once you feel balanced and sure that you have received enough from your session, you may slowly take in one final breath. For some this meditation is ten minutes, for others this could be much longer. Slowly release your position and praise yourself for giving you the time necessary to become a higher self.

Zen or Zazen Meditation practiced daily can create a calm and peace in your life – creating a happier more complete you.

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