Meditation is the basis of all Buddhist practice and the contemplation of the mind, body thoughts and feelings that is the path to freedom. In Theravada Buddhist countries the word Bhavana is used to describe the meditative life. Bhavana means “cultivation” which means that formal sitting meditation is just one aspect of a broader practice called Sati or mindfulness.
The practice of mindfulness is about the development of attentive awareness, of paying attention to the mind itself through contemplation of all the phenomena that arise within the body and mind.
Two main types of meditation are taught and practised. Samatha meditation is used to relax the mind and body and Samadhi is a range of practices designed to allow the mind to focus and stabilise around an object. The main method taught is Anapanasati which is mindfulness of in and out breathing. Each session also includes another meditation technique called Metta Bhavana which is often translated as “The cultivation of loving-kindness”.