As a beginner in the practice of meditation, the first question you’ll be asked is whether you wish to be guided or unguided. But before you can decide which one suits your needs best, let’s learn what guided meditation means.
Guided meditation starts with being led into meditation by a guide, in person or through the medium of sound or video. Because the mind has a tendency to wander, many find guided meditations more effective as there’s a teacher present, physically or virtually, calmly leading our thoughts back to the ‘now.’
If you’re a novice, this type of meditation is recommended as having a teacher to learn from and relate to is essential.
A guide can help you visualise specific imagery or walk you through breathwork and mantras that can bring stability to your mind. You can practice guided meditation through the medium of a podcast, an online video or even with an in-person guide that can physically take you through the steps. Having a guide lessens the pressure of having to worry about your technique or form as well.
How to find a guide?
Finding a guide can seem like an intimidating task but isn’t so. Our digital world enables us to be connected with more and more people daily. Scroll below to find the right meditation guide for you, based on your preferences:
Subscription to an online streaming service such as YouTube will get you access to several notable meditation guides who can help you through different issues with the use of various techniques. This can give you a great range in duration, feeling and purpose.
If you’re struggling to find a place to start, explore our guided meditations playlist and find the one that suits you best.
Ranging from a thorough hour-long meditation to a 15-minute practice that you can do anywhere, podcasts can be a great way to introduce the art of meditation into your daily. They provide learning and practice opportunities and can offer a wide range of variety.
- Instructional apps
A study published in Cognitive & Behavioural Practice, conducted in 2018 proved that apps are a great help for those aiming to better their mental health. Researchers concluded that commercialised apps may not be highly beneficial. However, there are several well thought through apps that take your wellbeing into consideration and can take you by the hand and lead you into a guided state of meditativeness.
Being India’s no.1 meditation app, ThinkRight.me features powerful meditations, positive affirmations, educational courses and more, and can be your ultimate guide to a better self.
- Local yoga studios
If you’re looking for in-person sessions where you can be surrounded by people and can have someone looking over your technique, approach yoga studios and enrol in their guided meditation classes.
Why is guided meditation important?
Guided meditation allows you to achieve mental, emotional and physical stability and clarity while also healing and relieving stress from your body. The narrator walks you through changing neural pathways that bring a positive effect on your mind. Some of the major benefits of guided meditation include:
- Stress relief
A moment of stress can lead to a prolonged state of tension. Meditation can help you deal with these emotions and feelings in a mindful manner. It puts the body’s relaxation response into motion counteracting the body’s natural stress response. By restoring the body’s state of calm, meditation repairs the body and prevents any new damage from the physical repercussions caused by stress.
Unwind after a hectic day with our guided meditation.
- Increases self-awareness
Scientific American differentiates self-consciousness and self-awareness as: “to be conscious is to think; to be aware is to realise that you are a thinking being.” By being more in tune with your body’s state of being, you inculcate mindfulness and develop profound self-awareness that shapes your inner and outer experience.
- Reduces negative emotions
Remember, meditation can’t eliminate negative emotions but it can help you regulate them better. Those who are mindful and practice meditation daily can deal with negative emotions with more stability. It trains your brain’s cognitive flexibility and creates positive effects on emotion-cognition interactions according to Frontiers in Neuroscience.
If you’re someone who struggles with negative emotions, bookmark this guided meditation.
- Strengthens patience
Patience is a virtue but it comes with practice. Meditation requires you to have patience and when one practices meditation on a daily basis, they are bound to become naturally more patient or less impatient. It doesn’t happen from listening to mantras or guides but from the act of taking the time to sit down, regulate your breathing and look deeper within your mind and body.
- Fights insomnia
Sleep is one of the most essential things in our lives. It’s essential for our mental, emotional as well as physical wellbeing, yet thousands and thousands of people suffer from insomnia all around the world. Insomnia affects our ability to function during the day and can take a major toll on our health. Guided meditation increases our body’s melatonin levels in the brain which helps in getting restful sleep.
What are the techniques of guided meditation?
In guided meditation, the teacher walks you through the workings of the mind and how it behaves during the practice. They may also explain several different techniques and how you can incorporate them into your everyday life. A few techniques are explained below:
- Visualisation meditations
This technique promotes imagining calming scenes, relaxing scenarios and positive events that you may have a past connection with. They work best to help you prepare for high-performance opportunities such as athletic events, big presentations, important negotiations, or even office confrontations.
- Emotional release meditations
These meditations help you let go of negative emotions suppressed in your body. The practice observes these emotions and locates the stress it is producing in your body before releasing them. This is a great technique if you’re looking to improve your emotional wellbeing.
- Progressive muscle relaxations
These techniques guide you to tense and relax your muscles and release stress accordingly. By noticing the contrasting feeling of relaxation you’re more aware of where your body holds tension. It enables you to achieve a higher state of relaxation, mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Breath awareness meditations
Stress and emotional tensions have effects on our breath as well. As we pile on daily tensions in our mind and body, our breath becomes strained. Breath awareness meditation makes you focus on your breath throughout the session. You focus on the cleansing sensation of breathing out toxins and the fulfilling sensation of taking in a full, deep breath.
- Focused attention meditations
Focused attention meditations are wonderful for those who wish to improve their concentration. The practice encourages you to put your focus on a single object. It could be your breath, a sound, sensation, visual or even a part of your body. As and when your mind wanders, you bring your attention back to the established focus point and hone your mindfulness and concentration.
We recommended exploring various techniques with different teachers or mediums to find the voice, tone and style that fits your personal needs best.
Read more: 5 Yoga Poses To Burn More Calories