What is Zazen Meditation?
Zazen meditation is often referred to as seated meditation or zen meditation. It is the primary practice of Zen Buddhists. It is significantly different from other forms of meditation such as lovingkindness and metta meditation; so much so that some practitioners do not even consider it a form of meditation. Unlike other forms zazen does not make use of a mantra. Instead, the practice is meant to keep you focused on present awareness. It can help you expand your attention scope and become more aware of your internal biases in order to have a more well rounded understanding of yourself.
What are the Benefits of Zazen?
Like any form of meditation, zazen has a wide variety of benefits. Regular practice can help improve your attention span and have heightened awareness. Furthermore, it can be an amazing practice for those who struggle with anxiety. Due to the nature of the practice, zazen is able to help us access unconscious thoughts and gain deeper insight into why we feel the things we do. Once one has a better understanding we are more able to help ourselves and work towards positive growth.
How Do You Practice?
Zazen meditation is a seated practice. You can sit on the floor or use a cushion set. No matter what it is important to have a straight spine, keep your tummy relaxed, and make sure your shoulders are locked but not rigid. Sitting in both lotus and half lotus is beneficial for this type of practice. While it is not strictly necessary you may use different mudras if you would like. If not you may simply place your hands flat on your chest and stomach to focus on breathwork, or you can simply place your hands on your knees facing up. When practicing zazen breathwork is key. If you feel yourself start to slip away into your thoughts, bring yourself back by focusing on your breathing.