One of the first things my meditation students ask me is, “What type of meditation should I do?”
If you’ve read my guide to the top meditation techniques in the world, you’ll know that there are plenty of different options to pick from.
There are different meditations for all different reasons. And if you read my guide to the benefits of meditation, you’ll know that different meditations have different benefits.
You need to know what benefits different types of meditation offer. Then you will know which meditation to do for any specific benefit. Otherwise, you’ll just waste your time.
To help you pick what type of meditation you should do, answer the quiz questions below.
What Type Of Meditation Should I Do? Quiz
Simply answer these questions to find what type of meditation you should do. Important: you can find a guide to all the different meditations here.
1: How experienced are you at meditating?
Before deciding the best type of meditation to do, we need to know how much experience you have.
Different types of meditation require different levels of experience. For instance, you wouldn’t want to do a full Chakra Dhyana meditation the first time you meditate.
Here are some of the best types of meditation based on your experience level:
Absolute novice: Just do easy breathing meditations:
Watch your breath and relax.
Basic mindfulness exercises
Listening to relaxing music.
Intermediate: If you’re an intermediate meditator, I recommend starting to use the Buddhist meditations. These include:
Anapanasati (mindful breathing)
Vipassana (labelling thoughts and feelings while meditating)
Samatha (focusing on an object and becoming one with it).
Tonglen: A compassion-based meditation
Advanced: If you’re advanced, try a new form of meditation you haven’t done before. For example:
Osho Dynamic meditation
2: Are you spiritual?
Some people use meditation for spiritual development. Other people use meditation for pure health. And different techniques are designed for different people.
If you’re a spiritual person, and you want to develop your spiritual practice, meditate in accordance with your beliefs. For instance, Christians can meditate on The Bible, and Buddhists can meditate on their favourite Buddha quotes.
If you’re not a spiritual person and you want to use meditation for health, take a look at the link at the top where I shared the benefits of meditation. In that link, I’ve discussed the meditations you should do for all different health reasons.
3: How important is relaxation?
Contrary to popular belief, not all meditations are relaxing. Some are designed to help you overcome painful thoughts and emotions. And some are designed to produce positive energy.
If you want to use meditation for relaxation, stick to a breathing technique. The reason is simple: deep breathing is perhaps the single best thing you can do for relaxation. So, if you want to relax, do mindful breathing or another breathing technique like Tibetan Nine Round Breathing.
4: Do you get bored during meditation? Do you prefer to be active?
A lot of people get bored during meditation. That’s understandable. When you’re just sitting there focusing on breathing, it can get a little boring. Thankfully, there are ways to mix things up.
If you get bored when meditating, or you prefer to be active, the best meditation for you will be an active type. For instance, Zen Walking, or perhaps mindfully hiking through a forest, or even doing Tai Chi.
5: Do you prefer to be alone or with someone?
Many people automatically assume that meditation is a solitary practice. After all, when you see people meditating, they are usually sitting alone with their eyes closed. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
If you prefer to be with other people, try meditating with someone. Dyadic Meditation (meditating with another person) can be a wonderful way to take your practice further.
6: How hard do you find meditation?
If you find meditation challenging, you might be better sticking to a non-formal type of meditation until you get accustomed to it. The key here is to use “Trait Mindfulness” instead.
“Trait Mindfulness” is the general quality of being mindful and does not require actual meditation. For instance, you can take a mindful walk, mindfully listen to music, eat mindfully, or do any other activity in a mindful way. This can be simpler than formal meditation and is great for beginners.
7: If you could pick one emotion to have more of, what would it be?
Meditation is a great way of cultivating certain emotions. Is there a specific emotion you would like to feel more of? If so, do the corresponding meditation, like so:
- If you want to feel love or positive social connections, do Loving Kindness.
- To feel more supported in life, do Karuna (compassion).
- For happiness, meditate on gratitude (visualize everything you’re grateful).
- If you want to feel excited, visualize the times in your life when you felt playful and excited.
8: What is your favourite thing in the world to do?
One way to find a really enjoyable meditation is to make your current activities mindful. For instance, let’s say you love gardening. Gardening makes you feel grounded and happy. Why not take it further? Turn gardening into a mindfulness activity. Whatever you love to do, you can choose to meditate on it and do it mindfully!
9: Concentration or creativity?
The two main types of meditation are Open and Closed. Open is when you let the entire world come to you through your senses. Closed is when you focus on one thing.
Open and Closed meditations have massively different results that you need to know.
Open meditations make you more creative, more playful, more spontaneous, more “free”, and more alive to the present moment.
Closed meditations train your mind to focus on one thing, which is why they are great for improving concentration, increasing productivity, and increasing your attention span.
Knowing the difference between these will help you pick what type of meditation to do.
I personally ask myself these questions all the time to help me choose what meditation I should do every day.
Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison