Unique Meditation Experiences
I was surrounded by hundreds of people, yet all I could hear were the birds singing and the waves crashing over the sand.
My eyes were closed and the sunshine sank into my skin.
Every now and then, I was reminded to focus my attention on my breath by our meditation leader.
It was a mass meditation at Wanderlust 108 and one of my very first unique meditation experiences!
Over the last few years, I've explored meditation more and more. Not just in my own practice, but also by attending unique meditation experiences, such as Wanderlust 108 and a Yoga Nidra class.
Below, you'll discover 6 unique meditation experiences which you might like to explore, too!
Most of my recommendations are based in Melbourne, Australia, but a simple Google search will hopefully show you some options near your location. I've also included some meditation options which can be accessed online!
I also asked my community on Instagram about their experiences with some of these unique meditation experiences and I've included some of the responses so you can read about different perspectives. If you'd like to check out the original post on Instagram, click here.
Translating to "yogic sleep", yoga nidra is a deeply relaxed state between wakefulness and sleep which still allows you to maintain awareness.
I went to a 2 hour yoga nidra workshop at Light Space Studio and it was a really calming and beautiful experience. In total honesty, I can't remember much about it as I wasn't actively committing anything to memory or trying to think too much! However, I do remember setting the intention to "unravel", being guided through a body scan and visualising different images at a fast pace.
There were a few times when I felt distracted by various aches in my body, so I highly recommend taking the time to make yourself as comfortable as possible before beginning yoga nidra.
Over on Instagram, when I asked about people’s experiences with yoga nidra, Zoe shared that yoga nidra was incredible for her. She found it to be a really helpful tool for any sort of recovery or stress. She said she went into the session feeling defeated and heavy with the weight of life stressors and came out feeling light and rejuvenated.
In late 2017, I went to my first float session at Beyond Rest and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The room containing the flotation "pod" was private and had a shower, so I felt really comfortable to get prepared! There was a "pod" about the size of a small car (mostly filled with water), which I climbed into (sans clothes) and pulled closed. I lay down on my back in the lukewarm water (matched to our body temperature so as not to distract from the meditative experience).
The blue light and music helped me adapt to the somewhat strange sensation of floating in the water and before I knew it, I felt completely relaxed.
A few more details about floating:
-the water in the floating pods have high salt concentrations, which allows the floating to occur
-the air inside the pods is also heated to body temperature, so you don't even really feel as though you're floating in water; it's more like you're just floating
-it's normal to feel a little strange. I went through a stage of "this feels weird", then "this is actually really relaxing", then "my thoughts are going a bit crazy", then "I've lost all sense of time" and finally, acceptance that I could just be
There were quite a few mixed responses over on Instagram when I asked about floating, some people loved it and some didn’t.
Larry said he’s been floating twice and loved it because it was a great way to meditate. About halfway through, he had the sensation of just floating in space.
Sab from Retreat Here said she’d never been so relaxed in her life as when she tried floating. Afterwards, she felt like she’d woken up from a deep sleep and also felt really content. Caitlin tried floating to help find relief from chronic fatigue syndrome and she found it calming, though a bit weird at first, and the sensory deprivation was a relief for her. Gabrielle found floating to be claustrophobic and felt cold after half an hour, but she also said it’s a great way to practice mindfulness and meditation and if practiced regularly, could be a calming and relaxing experience. Sabrina also tried floating but found it really difficult to switch off, though she likes the idea of it and would try it again. So, I think when it comes to floating, people can have really different experiences and that’s totally normal.
Listening to meditation music is a huge part of my meditation practice because I find it a really soothing and calming experience and I find it easy to focus my mind on the different sounds. One of my favourite sounds is the hum of binaural beats, which are auditory brain-stem responses that result from two different sounds or impulses heard from opposite ears.
I personally find binaural beats really soothing and a unique way to practice meditation.
It's been claimed that binaural beats can also encourage more relaxed brainwaves and potentially promote relaxation.
I love listening to meditation music by Sonesence which incorporates binaural beats (my favourite album is Floating: Grounding).
If you're based in Sydney or Melbourne, I also highly recommend the Humming Puppy yoga studios (particularly the "Mellow Hum" classes). Their entire studios reverberate with a soothing humming sound and were conducive to incredibly relaxing meditation experiences.
Mindful colouring for adults has been mainstream for a little while now, but I wanted to offer a few extra tips!
Using mandalas- I found that colouring in mandalas felt much more relaxing and fun than colouring real objects and scenes. I'm not too sure why: perhaps, because there's no expectations of which colours to use and the mandalas create opportunities to colour in more repetitive ways as they use the same shapes over and over again.
Try a colouring app- the ease and portability of colouring apps make them a great option for anyone short on time or unable to access colouring books and utensils. Plus, they make a great alternative to scrolling on social media!
Meditating in a group can be a really fun and connective experience! There are large events like Wanderlust 108 and the MindbodySpirit Festival which host meditation sessions, or smaller groups which may even run on a regular basis.
When I asked about group meditation on Instagram, Sasha said she found it challenging to relax and concentrate in a group of people, which I do agree with because other people can sometimes be distracting and pull your focus away from the meditation. On the other hand, Cassady loved the energy of group meditations and Christina found that the concentrated and amplified collective focus of the group really helped her focus.
I tried a laughter yoga class during Bloom Anchor's 2016 Upbeat Retreat and had an absolute blast! It was hands down the most ever I've laughed over the course of an hour and I can't even begin to explain how rejuvenating and refreshing it felt.
It can seem awkward at first, but if you can keep an open mind and refrain from judgement, you'll sink into it. Some of the activities may appear silly, but again, try to embrace them and just let go.
I hope you've enjoyed discovering some unique meditation experiences! I also wanted to share a few more unique meditation experience (which I'm yet to try, myself!). You can read about other people's experiences via the links below.
Meditation Retreat: 17 Things I Learnt at a Vipassana Meditation Retreat by One Infinite Life
Transcendental Meditation: How to Practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) with Tom Bershad