The 7 Most Popular Types of Meditation

Types of Meditation – a quick overview


Meditation is a complicated subject. A discussion on the many different types of meditation can be long and confusing. I’ll try to break down the types into understandable categories.

There are two general approaches to meditation: Concentration and Awareness. Each will be discussed below, but in general Concentration deals with training the mind to focus on a specific sound, image or feeling. While Awareness is just the opposite, there is no focus, the mind is trained to encompass all and be aware of the all.

The 7 Most Popular Types of Meditation

Concentration Meditation

As stated in the introduction, Concentration Meditation is a broad category of meditation. The goal of Concentration Meditation is single pointed focus on either sound, breath, image or an object such as a candle flame. This practice is about focusing on a microcosm and the purpose of this is to train the mind to focus.

Why a focused mind? With Concentration Meditation training a practitioner learns to reduce the wandering mind or monkey mind as it is commonly called. This can improve memory, increase fluid intelligence and improve test taking ability.

The more popular styles of Concentration Meditation include:

  • TM
  • Body Rhythm Meditation

Of all the types of meditation, concentration meditation is probable the easiest for the beginner to learn. Just follow the breath or watch a flame and with practice the ability to focus and concentrate ill improve. Also, concentration meditation is a excellent stepping stone to learning more advanced practices that will be discussed below.

Awareness Meditation

Awareness meditation is pretty much the opposite of concentration meditation. The goal of Awareness Meditation is attention to and appreciation of the present moment. This practice is about focusing on the “Eternal Now” and the purpose of this is to understand our place in the universe as well as to spread good will. While this is a simplistic and somewhat incomplete definition, it conveys the general goal of Awareness Meditation.

Of the many types of meditation, Awareness Meditation is gaining in popularity. Some styles include:

  • Vipassana or Insight Meditation
  • Non-Duality Meditation
  • Zazen

Awareness Meditation can be a very difficult for the beginner. Yet it can be quite a rewarding style. While it is usually practiced by more advanced practitioners, the beginner can gain true insight with this practice, but only if they practice it correctly.

Mindfulness Meditation

Of the types of meditation practices that fall into the Awareness category Mindful Meditation is easily the most popular. Mindful Meditation can be a combination of concentration and awareness styles but the emphasis is usually on awareness.

Mindful Meditation usually focuses on breathing while at the same time being mindful of other phenomena such as walking, eating, cleaning dishes.

Like the Awareness Meditation category, Mindful Meditation is gaining in popularity. Also like Awareness Meditation, some styles include:

  • Vipassana or Insight Meditation
  • Non-Duality Meditation
  • Zazen

Energy Meditation

One of the more fascinating types of meditation is Energy meditation. Energy Meditation is based on the thought that everything is energy and, thru meditation, a practitioner can control this energy.

Although there are many different types of Energy Meditation styles in both Eastern and Western cultures, the most popular is kundalini

Kundalini meditation, sometimes called Kundalini Yoga, focuses on 7 primary energy centers called Chakras. Each chakra is the center of a different type of energy and thru meditation practice a practitioner can manipulate and strengthen these chakra centers.

Energy Meditation is very popularity. Some styles include:

  • Kundalini
  • Qi Gong
  • Tai Chi and some other Martial arts

Energy Meditation is a great practice for those looking for health benefits from meditation. But please, never rely on Energy Meditation as a sole source of health and always consult your physician.

Religious & Spiritual Meditation

Pretty much all of the world religions practice meditation of some form. Each religion has its own techniques and purpose for their meditation practices. While many call it prayer, most have a meditation practice that either reflects on the revelations of the specific religions God or Gods.

The types of meditation practiced by Western Religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam, usually focus on prayer, the revelations of God,  or the repetition of holy words.

In the Eastern Religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism, the methods and purpose of meditation count in the thousands. The most common types of meditation practiced by Eastern Religions focus on the repetition of a mantra, energy meditation, as well as breath meditation.

Religious and Spiritual Meditation is worldwide and as varied as there are religious and spiritual practices. Some styles include:

  • Eastern
    • Buddhism
    • Hinduism
    • Taoism
  • Western
    • Christianity
    • Judaisim
    • Islam
    • Jainism

While Religious and Spiritual Meditation is one of the more common ways to practice meditation, the techniques and purposes vary with each discipline. This short article can only provide a pointer to the variety of styles.

Contemplative Meditation

Contemplative Meditation, while frequently associated with Christian Meditation, has actually been practiced for ages. This meditation practice is commonly used to cultivate critical focus and promote the ability to think clearly and to think through a process or problem.

Philosophers from ancient Greece to the present day use Contemplative Meditation as do Scientists, and Engineers. If you look into the lives of some of the more famous Philosophers, Scientists, and inventors, you will find that they regularly used some form of Contemplative Meditation.

Of the various types of meditation, Contemplative Meditation is a very useful tool in developing clear and critical thinking. Some famous people who have used Contemplative Meditation include:

  • Benjamin Franklin – scientist & inventor
  • Marie Curie – scientist
  • Nikola Tesla – scientist & inventor
  • Bertrand Russell – philosopher
  • René Déscartes – philosopher
  • Aristotle – philosopher

Contemplative Meditation is a great meditation practice for someone who wants to train their mind for analysis or problem solving. It’s not just for Scientists or Philosophers, many use this type of meditation to solve personal, interpersonal and social conflicts.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is actually a technique rather than a style of meditation. With guided meditation, the practitioner uses verbal guidance either by a person of through audio or video products. Depending on the goal, the practitioner is helped through the meditation by suggested imagery, affirmations, for a visualized desired outcome.

Of the numerous types of meditation, Guided Meditation is the most versatile. It can be adapted to most any other style and can be used as a stand alone method for personal improvement. Some types of Guided Meditation include:

  • Deep Relaxation
  • Restful Sleep
  • Deep Sleep
  • Stress Relief
  • Peace of Mind
  • Increase Focus
  • Increase Memory

Guided Meditation is a great meditation practice for someone who wants to change their life. Guided Meditation can be used to quit bad habits such as smoking, over eating, or chewing fingernails. It can also be used to create positive habit such as increase self esteem, eat healthier, or reduce stress.


In this article I have described 7 of the most popular types of meditation. While I believe this has provided a good overview, If you are interested in any type, I would suggest you read further and develope a practice of that style to really gain a deeper knowledge.


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