What’s the Distinction? – Wanderlust


For some, deciding how to meditate is its personal low-grade stress inducer. Which, let’s face it, that’s the entire antithesis of the follow itself. Meditation, in any case, is a device to assist scale back the fixed overwhelm that infiltrates most of our over-stimulated minds.

To assist decipher what sort of meditation is greatest for whom, I had an insightful chat with world-renowned meditation instructor, Yogarupa Rod Stryker

A longtime member of the Wanderlust household, Stryker has been educating meditation for over 30 years. He’s the founding father of ParaYoga, the place he teaches yoga, meditation and tantra, and can be the creator of a highly-lauded meditation and yoga nidra app referred to as Sanctuary

Since Stryker is understood for his skill to make historic knowledge practices accessible to fashionable audiences, he was the proper particular person to simplify what some might really feel is the dizzyingly difficult world of meditation. 

Meditation, guided meditation & visualization: What’s the distinction, anyway? 

First off, let’s admit that questioning the distinction between meditation, guided meditation and visualization could seem a bit redundant. However take into account for a second that even I—a reasonably well-informed wellness author, every day meditator, and licensed yoga teacher (although I’ve by no means taught)—need to confess that I’m not fairly certain of the distinction. I’ve seen many pals get so befuddled by the categorization of meditation that they’ve really by no means even began. 

So, I began my convo with Stryker by breaking down my understanding of the meditation practices I hear referenced most. 


Stryker at Wanderlust Tahoe 2011

I shared with him that my base understanding was that common meditation consists of repeating a phrase or mantra, or alternatively, focusing in your breath. Guided meditation is, after all, a guided expertise. And visualization might be guided or not, however appears to be extra about seeing a brand new life expertise together with your thoughts’s eye with the aim of actualizing it. “Does that even qualify as meditation?” I requested.  

Although Stryker had no intention of sending my thoughts into extra confusion, he provided that there are, certainly, many extra types of meditation than these, together with mindfulness meditation and kriya. 

Ahh sure… After all, I’ve heard of these too. 

“Most types of meditation ask us to deliver our consideration to a selected object, breath, mantra, a part of the physique or chakra,” he coolly outlined. “We try to get to easy focus; to get the thoughts nonetheless.”

Guided meditation, he continued, asks you to maneuver your thoughts, to be able to deliver out its most optimistic qualities. 

He mentioned that though some types of visualization are meditation, others might not essentially be meditation in any respect. Nonetheless, visualization can be life-affirming and evoke optimistic, aspirational feelings—identical to meditation can. 

Kriya meditation is a type of transferring your thoughts, very like visualization. “Kriya means to maneuver or to purify,” he identified. 

How about Yoga Nidra? 

Yoga Nidra has at all times felt like a visualization follow to me, so, I requested Stryker to clarify how (or whether or not) it match inside the meditation equation. 

“Yoga Nidra is meditation with deep sleep. Its intention is a state of deep, dreamless sleep within the top of meditation. It’s a guided follow that takes you to the heights of meditation,” he revealed. 

Stryker is a outstanding advocate for the follow of Yoga Nidra. He determined to give attention to educating Yoga Nidra increasingly over time, as he watched the collective stage of societal stress rise, whereas sleep high quality deteriorated.

“This makes it tougher for folks to focus their consideration. The vacation spot of Yoga Nidra is just like meditation, however you do it mendacity down and enjoyable, and it’s guided. This helps folks really feel their our bodies and focus their minds, with out having to take a seat and focus.”

How do we all know which follow is greatest for us? 

Stryker in the end instructed me that all or any meditation practices could also be the best for anybody, at any time, relying on the place you’re at and what’s going on with you. 

WLCA11_Carl_Kerridge__CK09444_rod_Stryker“Typically the best type is greatest,” he reasoned. He means that inexperienced persons pattern completely different methods, beginning with watching the breath and guided meditation. When you’ve dabbled in a number of completely different strategies, Stryker mentioned you need to choose the one that gives you with a optimistic expertise.

“For anybody beginning, do the one which brings you some pleasure. That’s the one that may present probably the most profit,” he affirmed.

Why ought to we meditate, anyway?

Certain, we should always all meditate… The world is fairly darn loopy these days, and we might all use some good ol’ historic methods to control our minds and our bodies. Nicely, that’s my super-basic rationale, however in his a long time of expertise, Stryker has really seen meditation assist numerous folks. 

In his personal life, Stryker defined that meditation permits him to start out every day anew. “It makes it potential to step out of the difficulties of the pressure and stress of the previous, and present up as totally as potential.”

“A common meditation follow permits folks to dwell with extra pleasure and fewer concern,” he concluded. 

Labels and terminology apart, with Stryker’s steerage, in the end I understood that meditation actually is fairly easy in any case. 


Kinisha Correia is an award-winning journalist, content material author, editorial director and founding father of About Her Tradition, who has labored with a wide range of publications all through the US and the Caribbean. Her physique of labor largely explores the cultural intersections of wellness and its correlation to social fairness; a folks and planet-focused method to enterprise; and ladies of Caribbean and African descent effecting optimistic change throughout the globe. Kinisha is Jamaican and presently lives within the US.

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