Welcome to TheDailyMeditation’s Complete free online meditation course.
Over the pages of this online meditation course you will learn everything you’ll ever need to know about meditation.
You’ll discover the best meditation techniques, including:
- Breathing Meditation,
- Chakra Meditation,
- Anapanasati meditation
- Loving Kindness Meditation
- Deep Meditation techniques
- And oh so much more
You’ll learn about the science of meditation and the effects of meditation for physical and mental health. Most importantly, you will learn how to use meditation in your own life to achieve your life goals.
The Daily Meditation Course: Introduction
Meditation and mindfulness are becoming more and more popular with each passing day.
Maybe that’s not surprising. In a day and age where stress seems the norm, we all need an effective way of handling the pressure of modern day life.
Meditation is the key. Meditation offers a healthy, fast and effective way to wind down and to focus your mind. And believe it or not. The simple act of meditating is one of the best things you can do for your health. Just take a look at this list of over 100 proven health benefits of meditation.
There are so many reasons to learn to meditate. So, let’s get started.
The free online meditation course part 1 : What is meditation?
Meditation is a technique in which you train your mind to focus. Focus on what? That’s actually where different types of meditation come in.
There are a great many different meditation techniques. They range from Zen walking meditation to Mindfulness meditation and on and on through more than 700 different forms. These different forms of meditation offer different benefits, from relaxation to improved focus to building energy (prana, chi, qi etc.).
In this free online meditation course we’ll be looking at the most important meditation techniques and why you would want to do them.
The meaning of meditation? Well, that’s up to you
“Meditation” means different things in different cultures and in different spiritual and religious groups.
Meditation has been a core component of many religions for thousands of years. These spiritual groups use meditation for all manner of purposes. Some groups may use meditation as a form of healing (meditation can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, help fight depression and anxiety and much more), where others will focus on core personality traits— one of the ways Buddhists use meditation, for instance, is to develop loving kindness.
So really, meditation means different things to different people. And everyone has their own reason for wanting to meditate. I’d love to hear about why you want to learn meditation. Leave a comment below.
The free online meditation course part 2: Meditation Techniques: An Introduction
In this meditation course we’ll look at all the major types of meditation, and we’ll look at meditations you can do standing, sitting, lying down, and even while moving. But for starters, here are just a few very basic things to note about meditation.
- Meditation may be done sitting (often using a meditation cushion), standing, lying down or while moving (Dynamic Meditation is a great example of meditation is movement).
- Meditation often uses objects (the most important is the meditation mala, a necklace of 108 beads that are used to count breaths or mantras while meditating).
- Meditation can also be done while performing mundane tasks. A Buddhist monk, for instance, would practice meditation while cleaning.
- You can learn much more about the fundamental basics of meditation here.
The Daily Meditation Course: Different Meditation Techniques
There are more than 700 different types of meditation. Let’s take a look at some of the most important.
Mindfulness Meditation: Past? Future? Or Present Moment Minded?
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most important meditation techniques and one of the most popular forms in the West.
In mindfulness meditation you nonjudgmentally observe your min in such a way that you come to recognise truths about yourself. You begin to realise, for instance, that a thought is just a thought, and this helps you to stop thinking too much.
Mindfulness meditation is also about living in the moment.
When we practice mindfulness meditation, we focus absolutely on one element of the present moment. If washing dishes, for instance, we would perform mindfulness meditation by placing our focus 100% on the process of the cleaning. This trains the mind to stay in the present moment.
For more on this form of meditation, read The Daily Meditation Guide To Learning Mindfulness Meditation.
Another very popular form of meditation in the west is breathing meditation. As you would expect from the name, breathing meditation has the individual focussing on their breathing. Generally the person meditating will close their eyes and focus on the feeling of their breath entering and leaving through their body.
Breathing meditation is one of the most relaxing forms of meditation. This is arguably the best form of meditation for people suffering from depression, anxiety and stress, but also for people simply wishing to promote relaxation.
Zen Meditation (Zazen) is the central practice of Zen Buddhism. There are many different practices in Zen meditation. The most basic and most commonly used is a simple breathing meditation. The individual assumes a specific sitting position and a specific mudra (hand position) and meditates on their breathing. This promotes a deep sense of relaxation. Zen meditation also utilises mantras for a variety of purposes.
Zen Walking Meditation
Zen walking meditation is the most popular type of movement meditation. Zen Walking Meditation is great for developing the mind body connection and for promoting relaxation.
In Zen Walking Meditation the practitioner walks up and down a straight path of around 40 feet in length. The person walks very slowly, focussing their mind on the process of walking (literally focussing on each element involved in taking a step).
Zen Walking Meditation is good gentle exercise which is great for recovery as it gets the body moving while also relaxing the mind.
Read the Daily Meditation guide to Zen Walking HERE
Depending on the individual’s spiritual or religious belief they will select a mantra which has been written to create specific benefits. Those of the Hindu faith may, for instance, recite a mantra for money or marriage or for having a child. It is believed that by reciting these mantras the individual will gain the blessing of their gods, who will grant them the benefit they seek.
Mantra meditation is not specific to religion or even spirituality. It can be used very practically for purposes outside of spirituality. For instance, a person who has been suffering from anxiety and depression may meditate on the mantra “I am feeling calm and happy.” This is a very simple mantra but when recited many times through meditation it serves to make the individual’s mind believe that they are feeling calm and happy. Once the individual believes in the mantra they will psychologically set to making the belief come true. This sounds like some form of magic but is based in science. Our mind sets about turning our beliefs into reality. If we believe we are happy we will make ourselves happy. This explains how a mantra works.
The Daily Medtiation Guide to Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving Kindness Meditation is a type of meditation that creates a sense of compassion and love for one and all. Loving kindness meditation is a very important part of Budddhism.
To perform a loving kindness meditation an individual begins meditating as normal (breath based meditation). Once the mind is still, the individual extends loving kindness towards themselves, reciting a mantra that shows love and compassion for themselves. The individual next repeats this loving kindness meditation for their family, then for their friend, then for colleagues, then for a neutral person, then for a difficult person (some may call this person an “enemy” but those of the Buddhists faith would not term it so).
Loving Kindness Meditation creates a sense of universal love and compassion in the mind of the practitioner. This benefits both the individual themselves—who learn to see a world of love and compassion—and those the individual meets (because the individual has learned to shows love and compassion to them).
Loving Kindness is one of the most important types of meditation and should be a staple part of meditation practice.
Read more about Loving Kindness Meditation
The Daily Medtiation Course to Mantras and Meditation
We have briefly discussed mantras above. Mantras are a core component of meditation and each different religion /spiritual group has their own mantras. In fact, many non-spiritual groups also have their own mantras. There are business mantras (“We are creating a successful and sustainable business,” for instance), sports mantras (“Just do it!”) and many other types of mantras.
In religion and spirituality different groups have different mantras. These mantras will have been taken from ancient scriptures.
Many mantras involve much more than simply reciting a phrase. Some mantras, for instance, must be recited a certain number of times, at a certain time of day, at a certain time of the year, or while making an offering to a certain god. Some mantras may only need to be recited 108 times where others may need to be recited over 10 000 times.
There are thousands of mantras for all different purposes. Some of the most commonly used types of mantras include:
Mantras for money
Mantras for marriage
Mantras for a baby
Mantras for peace
Mantras for happiness
Mantras for anxiety
Mantras for healing
And many more.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of mantras for all different purposes and people.
Read the Daily Meditation guide to the best mantra meditations HERE
The free online meditation course part 4: The Benefits of Meditation
There are a great many benefits of meditation which have been scientifically studied and proven. It is because of the many benefits of meditation for health that doctors have now begun to prescribe meditation as a means of healing.
Among the great many benefits of meditation are:
- Meditation helps in fighting cancer (source : Efferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine)
- Improved immune system
- Less oxygen consumption
- Higher tolerance of pain
- Helps beat stress (source : Journal Health Psychology)
- Meditation improves school grades (source: University of California, Santa Barbara)
- Meditation helps arthritis (especially if it is combined with Tai Chi)
- Meditation helps prevent mental health issues (source: University of Oregon)
- Meditation helps control pain (source: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)
- Meditation makes doctors better at their jobs (source: University of Rochester Medical Centre)
- Makes us appreciate sound more (source: Journal Psychology of Music)
- Helps people to feel less lonely (source: University of California)
- Improves tolerance for cold conditions( source: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Health)
- Reduces risk of teen depression (source: University of Leuven)
- Meditation helps with weight loss (source: American Psychological Association)
- Improves sleep (source: University of Utah)
Discover more benefits of meditation HERE.
5. Possible Risks of Meditation
The US government’s National Center for Complementary Alernative Medicine has stated that meditation is safe for healthy people. Some (rare) reports have shown that meditation could potentially worsen the symptoms of people with pre-existing psychiatric conditions though this has yet to be proven with research. Certain meditation practices are not ideal for people with physical limitations (movement based meditations). Those with existing health problems should consult a healthcare professional before practicing meditation.
Perhaps the biggest risk of meditation is that, because is promotes high levels of relaxation, it can sometimes prevent individuals from facing problems in their lives. For instance, a person with financial problems may escape their stressful mind when meditating, but this could potentially prevent them from facing the problem and solving it.
Take a look at my article on the health risks of meditation for more on this.
Kundalini yoga has been linked to “Kundalini Syndrome” –which can overwhelm and cause great distress to Kundalini Yoga practitioners.
The free online meditation course part 6: How Meditation Changes Your Brain
Substantial research has been conducted to learn the effect of meditation on the brain. This research has used EEG, fMRI and more to learn what happens in the body when meditating.
Richard Davidson and Jon Kabat Zinn have shown that activity in the anterior brain increases after regular mindfulness meditation practice. This increased activity leads to positive emotional states.
Research at the Mind Body Medical Institute has shown that meditation induces biochemical responses in those who meditate. These changes have been termed the “Relaxation Response.” This relaxation response alters a person’s heart rate, metabolism, blood pressure and respiration.
According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation creates a calming effect by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system while increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.
The free online meditation course part 7:
Mindfulness Meditation in Therapy
Mindfulness meditation has begun to be used in mainstream western healthcare as a means of reduction pain and stress. It is used in hospital on chronically ill and terminally ill patients to reduce complications. Stress has been linked to poor physical health. By reducing stress, meditation improves our overall health.
Meditation and Flow
Mindfulness meditation promotes awareness without judgment. This improves the individual’s ability to be aware of situations and thus to enter a state of “flow,” which is conducive to calmness, well-being and what positive psychologists term “flourishing.”
Insight Meditation and the Brain: Grey Matter
A research by Massachusetts General Hospital, Yale and Harvard has shown the meditation increased grey matter and helps to slow the rate at which the brain deteriorates. The study used insight meditation training and brain scans to show that individuals who practice insight meditation for 40 minutes a day increased their brain thickness. The study also showed that the longer an individual meditates the more positive an effect meditation will have on their brain
Integrative Body Mind Training
Research on college students has shown the Integrative Body Mind Training (which involves mental imagery and mindfulness) improves the integrity and efficiency of brain connections.
Research at the University of Colorado has proven that Zen meditation rewires brain circuitry.
Loving Kindness Meditation
EEG readings of individuals who had been practicing loving kindness meditation for between 10 and 20 years showed a significant rise in gamma wave activation. The same readings were taken of people who had been practicing loving kindness meditation for only a short time. While the second group’s gamma wave activations were nowhere near as high as lifelong meditators, they still showed a noticeable rise.
The free online meditation course part 8: Learning to meditate
Meditation can be learnt either through qualified teachers or through self study. The vast majority of meditation techniques are easy to understand and to begin. Provided an individual makes sure to research meditation properly before beginning, there is little reason why meditation cannot be self taught.
It is best to begin with the easiest form of meditation, which is breathing meditation. Breathing meditation will promote relaxation, promote positive changes in the brain and offer the majority of the benefits that we have discussed above.
Learning breathing meditation in easy steps
Simply follow these steps to begin a simple breathing meditation.
- Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed
- You may sit or stand and you may use a pillow if you wish. Make sure you have good posture and a straight spine.
- Close your eyes and just begin to quiet your mind. Take a few moments to settle and feel relaxed.
- Place your focus and attention on your breathing. Feel your breath entering and leaving your body through your nose.
- Thoughts will naturally occur as you continue to meditate on your breath. Be aware of these thoughts but do not judge them. Let them pass. Continue to focus on your breathing.
- You may find that it helps your focus to count your breaths. If so, begin counting. One full breath equals one count. Slowly count up to ten then begin from one again.
- Continue this process for twenty minutes.
Promise yourself to return again tomorrow and meditate.
I’ve create a much more detailed explanation about how to meditate here. It’s perfect for beginners. Take a look.
The Online Meditation Course Part 9: Guides to using meditation for your own unique reasons
You will probably have your own reason for wanting to meditate. That’s fantastic. I’ve create in-depth guides to help you with your unique aim. Take a look.
Meditation for Anxiety: Anxiety is caused by negative thoughts that overwhelm our mind and induce panic. Because meditation quiets the mind and removes negative thoughts, it essentially removes the cause of anxiety: our way of thinking. Beginning meditation for anxiety is simple and practically all forms of meditation will offer benefit to those suffering with anxiety. Read my guide to using meditation to cure anxiety.
Meditation for Anger: Anger, of course, is another thought process much like anxiety. Anger arises when we are unable to accept the present moment (which is usually because of mental associations). By meditating we train our minds to accept the present moment and therefore train ourselves to let go of anger. Take a look at my guide to using meditation to stop anger.
Meditation for Children: Meditation is a brilliant way of helping children to find relaxation and also of promoting compassion and positive behaviour. Meditation for children should be simple so it’s best to stick to the basic meditation techniques.
Read my guide to meditation for children HERE.
Meditation for confidence: A lack of confidence is essentially created because of fear. We have, through the years, trained our minds fearfully. We’ve have learnt to associate certain actions with negative consequences. Perhaps we are afraid of failure. There is an associate here between action and a negative outcome. When we meditate we remove that association, learning to act without fear of consequence. There are many techniques in meditation for confidence. Discover more about the link between confidence and meditation HERE.
Meditation for Concentration and Focus: When we meditate we train our minds to focus on one thing absolutely. We remove thoughts and thus all ourselves to be present and attentive to reality. This is something all forms of meditation help with. The best form of meditation for confidence, however, is candle based visualisation meditations. DRead The Daily Meditation Guide to concentration, focus and meditation HERE.
Meditation for Depression: Meditation for depression works along the same principles as meditation for anxiety. When we are depressed our minds are compounded with negative thoughts. When we meditate we learn to remove these negative thoughts and live in the present moment, outside of fear, worry and depression. Meditation is very powerful for depression. Read The Daily Meditation Guide to meditation and depression HERE.
Meditation for Energy: Another key reason why so many people are reading The Daily Meditation guide is to create energy.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to boost brain activity and thus create mental energy. We also conserve the energy we do have when meditating. The average human thinks tens of thousands of thoughts each day. These thoughts have an energy cost. The more we think the more energy we use. When we meditate we slow our minds and therefore do not expend so much energy on useless thoughts. Read The Daily Meditation Guide to meditation and energy HERE.
Meditation for Grief: Grief works along the same lines as the others benefits of meditation that we have discussed here. Grief is the obsession of negative thoughts. Meditation removes this obsession, trains our minds to see reality in a different and altogether more positive light and therefore removes grief. Read The Daily Meditation Guide to Grief and Meditation HERE.
Meditation for Health: We have discussed the myriad health benefits of meditation above. They are plentiful, ranging from regulated blood pressure to lower heart rate and lower oxygen consumption. There are literally hundreds of benefits of meditation for health. Read The Daily Meditation Guide to 100 health benefits of meditation HERE.
Meditation for Healing: Meditation is used by hospitals on chronically ill and terminally ill patients to help them cope with their situation. Because of the health benefits of meditation (see link above) meditation is also very powerful for healing. Read The Daily Meditation Guide to meditation and healing HERE.
Meditation for Insomnia: Meditating before bed greatly helps to promote a good night’s sleep. Discover how to meditate for sleep HERE.
Meditation for Love: There are two ways in which meditation and love come together. The first is in loving kindness meditation, which creates a universal sense of love and compassion. the second is in mantra meditations for love. There are many different mantras for love in various spiritualities and religions. Recitation of these mantras is believed to attract a loving relationship leading to marriage.
Read The Daily Meditation Guide to meditation for love HERE.
Meditation for Weight Loss: Weight loss is one reason why we see so many people reading The Daily Meditation Guide. Mindfulness meditation is a groundbreaking way of losing weight. Unlike diets that focus on what you specifically eat, mindfulness meditation for weight loss is about training your mind to recognise and respect the food that you are eating.
Learn about meditation and weight loss HERE.
Meditation for Optimism / Negative Thoughts: Mindfulness meditation, and long with other forms of meditation, can help us to become more aware of our thoughts. This awareness then allows us to change negative thoughts and promote positivity and optimism. Take a look at my guide to handling negative emotions.
Meditation for Pain: Many people come to the daily meditation guide for pain relief. As stated in our section about the health benefits of meditation, meditation is used by hospitals as a way of helping patients to cope with the pain of illness. Meditation is used in cancer, heart problems and many other illnesses to help with both the mental and physical pain. Discover more about pain and meditation HERE.
Meditation for Relaxation: Of all the reasons people use The Daily Meditation guide , relaxation comes out top. Meditation is extremely relaxing and allows individuals to enter states of calm and inner peace which they may never have experienced without meditation. Take a look at my guide to using meditation for relaxation.
I hope I have covered your individual need here. And I would love to hear more about why you are getting into meditation. What are you most looking forward to getting out of meditation?
Leave a comment.