Confused by meditation’s many varieties? Here’s our roundup of the most common offerings.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
Created by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts 30 years ago, it’s a westernized approach to meditation, though it has roots in Buddhist practice. It’s typically taught in an eight-week program and can be defined as “open awareness of one’s experience in the moment,” says Dr. Lucinda Sykes, director of the Meditation for Health clinic in Toronto.
Traditionally, to practice yoga meant to meditate. The poses are just one aspect, designed to prepare the body for long periods of sitting and quietly watching the mind. The good news is there’s meditative value in a physical yoga practice, too.
A favourite of Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz, this style aims not to focus you on your breath or a mantra, but to help you let everything go so you go beyond thought entirely. “You’re aware of everything going on around you, but you’re not actively thinking about any of it,” says Helen Foster-Grimmett, director of the Transcendental Meditation Centre in Victoria, B.C.
A popular type of Buddhist meditation that focuses on compassion for oneself and others, often practiced by silently repeating phrases, such as “May I be safe and peaceful.” Try our guided mantra here, or choose from hundreds of scripts available online.