What Are the Different Types of Japanese Meditation?

Brandon May

Meditation at its core teaches one to be relaxed and at peace, as well as mindful of the body, thoughts and inner sensations experienced every day. Japanese meditation, such as Zazen meditation, Buddhist meditation teachings and mindfulness and insight meditation, uses these core techniques in its practice. Often, a Japanese meditation will take place in a seated position, or what is commonly referred to as the lotus position. Some meditations, however, can be performed while standing or even walking, helping to bring the practice of meditation into everyday life.

Many types of Japanese meditation take place in a lotus position.
Many types of Japanese meditation take place in a lotus position.

Zazen meditation is a type of Buddhist and Japanese meditation that uses relaxation to achieve its aim of helping an individual become less involved in overwhelming thoughts and emotions. The process of Zazen meditation is usually accomplished through sitting quietly in a comfortable cross-legged position with closed eyes. Deep breathing is often the focus of this commonly practiced Japanese meditation, to help relax the body and mind, as well as provide the body with healing oxygen. The goal of this meditation practice is to let all incoming thoughts and feelings float by, without analyzing them or consciously trying to remove them from the mind.

Mindfulness is a common aspect of Buddhist meditation.
Mindfulness is a common aspect of Buddhist meditation.

Often, a Japanese meditation includes mantras and chants, as these are used to draw awareness away from the outside world and onto one specific phrase or word. These meditations are often performed in the lotus position, or the sitting position, and involve relaxation, connection to breath and the isolation of all thoughts and feelings. Some practitioners practice walking meditation, which uses the same techniques of relaxation and the connection to breath and the isolation of thought. This type of meditation might use mantras or chanting as well, but is often practiced with the eyes open to help the individual navigate.

Some people prefer to experience Japanese meditation as a walking practice.
Some people prefer to experience Japanese meditation as a walking practice.

Mindfulness meditation in Buddhist teachings uses the core technique of relaxation, which is then followed by deep concentration of one's thoughts and body. This type of common Japanese meditation also teaches one to be more aware of the moment and to be mindful of the present in everyday life. Serenity and insight meditations are also common meditation practices which focus on developing inner relaxation and serenity, as well as a deeper sense of one's self. An individual may use insight meditation, as well as serenity meditation, to help solve a problem that relies on his or her own senses and consciousness.

Japanese and other types of meditation practices can promote calmness and mental clarity.
Japanese and other types of meditation practices can promote calmness and mental clarity.
Soaking in warm water can help with meditation.
Soaking in warm water can help with meditation.

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