There are a wide variety of meditation techniques available, some for specific purposes and others just variations with the same ultimate purpose. However, two main categories comprise all forms. These are concentrative meditation and mindfulness meditation.
“Concentrative meditation focuses the attention on the breath, an image or a sound, in order to still the mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge. This is like a zoom lens in a camera; we narrow our focus to a selected field” (1stholistic.com) Sitting and silently focusing on dynamics of breathing is concentrative meditation in its most basic form. Breathing is a natural and readily available object of meditation. When a person is anxious or alarmed, his breathing becomes “shallow, rigid and uneven”. But when the mind is tranquil and balanced in concentration, breathing becomes slow, deep and even. Absorbing yourself in the repetition of your breathing will allow you to reach a point of simultaneous stillness and awareness.
Mindfulness meditation’s purpose is to increase awareness of the inundation of “sensations and feelings” around oneself, but at a distance. In mindfulness meditation, you experience every aspect of your environment without consciously thinking about it. “The person sits quietly and simply witnesses whatever goes through the mind, not reacting or becoming involved with thoughts, memories worries or images.” (1stholistic.com) Through this practice, meditators are said to gain an intense calmness and clarity.