What is meditation?
The term ”meditation“ (from meditation = to think, contemplate, devise, ponder) encompasses exercises to calm the mind. Some of these exercises are a few thousand years old and part of Eastern and Western religions, some are modern methods without a religious context. Within Yoga meditation is for instance one of the limbs of the eight fold path.
There are many different kinds of meditation. Most well known are the mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation (especially transcendental meditation), Vipassana meditation and Zazen meditation.
Common elements include being performed in a calm space with a minimal amount of distraction, performed in a certain position (seated or lying down, but there are also walking meditations) and using an anchor for the mind (a certain word – for instance a mantra -, an object, a special sequence of practice, often just the breath). In its optimal form, Ashtanga Yoga is also a form of meditation, movement meditation.