What: Visual meditation is used in many spiritual traditions, including yoga, Taoism, Christianity, and Tibetan Buddhism, as well as in secular and therapeutic settings.
There are two primary forms of visual meditation. One is internal visualization, during which you focus on a mental image of a color, symbol, object, place, or situation. Two is gazing meditation, during which you stare at a fixed object (such as a tree, candle flame, or statue of a deity) to focus your mind.
Types: Types of internal visualization include guided imagery (like yoga nidra), during which a teacher leads you through an imaginative, visual journey to a peaceful place (via a live class or an audio recording); deity meditation, during which you focus your attention on a visually detailed, internal image of a god or goddess; and chakra meditation, during which you visualize, in sequential order, images that correspond to the seven chakras in the body. External visual meditations include mandala meditation, icon meditation, and yantra meditation.
Benefits: A 2009 study published in Psychological Science found that Buddhist deity meditation gave monks the ability to access greater levels of visuospatial memory resources (such as being able to retain an image in their memory). Other research has found guided imagery can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and glucose levels, and lessen headaches and other pain. It has also been shown to reduce averse effects of chemotherapy.
Keywords: imaginative, beautiful, focusing
Try this: Record your own guided visualization using one of the many scripts provided by Inner Health Studio. Or try this Sri Yantra meditation (be sure to make the video full screen for the best viewing).
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies