Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness: Determining the Best Practice for You


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Mindfulness is a familiar concept. It’s been known and practiced for thousands of years. People practice mindfulness for different reasons. For some, it is to cope with stress; for others, it helps improve well-being and performance. Interestingly, there are various meditation techniques. Each of these techniques works differently, with often different goals and outcomes.

What’s the Best Choice: Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness Meditation

This article will compare two popular meditation techniques: Transcendental Meditation and Mindfulness. Transcendental Meditation is mantra-based. It aims to take an individual from the basic level of consciousness to a level of pure awareness. In contrast,  mindfulness is all about focusing on the awareness and attention of the moment, with no attachment or judgment. 

Both methods have different benefits. These differences make them ideal for different people. Hence, by pitching Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness, we want to help our readers choose the correct method. To do this, we will discuss each technique extensively. How do they differ? How do they relate? How can they help you to achieve your lifestyle goals? 

Read on to find answers to all these questions and many more.

Understanding Transcendental Meditation

Before we get to the comparison proper, let’s quickly familiarize ourselves with transcendental mediation. To do that, we will explore the definition of the technique and principles. We will also discuss the methods and practices involved and the technique’s benefits. 

Definition and Principles

Transcendental Meditation is a meditation technique. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced it in the 1950s. It evolved from the ancient Indian Vedic tradition. According to this tradition, a field of pure consciousness drives all creations. Transcendental meditation aims to use a specific mantra or sound as a vehicle to access this consciousness. Moving from the ordinary to this advanced consciousness opens a new state of bliss, creativity, and harmony. 

It is important to note that transcendental meditation is not a lifestyle, philosophy, or religion. It is a natural and straightforward technique open to anyone willing to participate. It requires no advanced concentration, contemplation, or visualization. Practitioners of transcendental meditation do not have to change their beliefs or behavior. Anybody can practice, irrespective of background, faith, culture, or values. 

Techniques and Practices

Moving on, let’s see the techniques and practices of transcendental meditation. The first step is to work with a certified transcendental meditation teacher. One must receive personal instruction from the teacher to practice this meditation technique. There are four sessions in the instruction. Each session runs for about an hour. 

  • The first season is the introduction. Here, the teacher explains the technique in detail. 
  • The second session is a personal interview. That is where the teacher chooses a mantra for the student. The mantra often depends on the student’s age, personality, and gender. 
  • The third session is the actual instruction, i.e., using the mantra comfortably and effectively. 
  • The fourth and last session is about verifying and validating the student’s practice. 

Once a student masters the technique, they must practice it twice daily. Each session lasts about 20 minutes. They must be in a comfortable sitting position with their eyes closed. It’s doable in any posture, time, or place, provided one is not doing anything that requires alertness. Once in position, repeat the mantra naturally. It is a gentle sound that settles the mind, taking it beyond the surface of sensations, feelings, and thoughts. 

The transcending mind makes the body more relaxed and calm. It reduces stress to zero, creating a state of restful alertness. In that state, the body is aware of its inner silence yet is alert and fully awake. 


Transcendental meditation offers many benefits, notably the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of the practitioner. 

Improved well-being: Body systems and organs function better with transcendental meditation. It also prevents aging and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, hypertension, and cancer. 

Less anxiety and stress: The level of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol drops with transcendental meditation. It also increases the rate of happiness hormones like oxytocin and serotonin. The immune system function also improves, and blood pressure drops. 

More happiness: Transcendental meditation also helps to develop inner joy and peace, independent of external situations. Mood, self-confidence, and self-esteem improve significantly—negative emotions like depression, fear, and anger drop. 

Improved cognition: A person practicing this meditation type develops better coherence and brain activity. Their problem-solving and learning abilities improve. They grow new brain cells and neural connections faster, boosting intelligence, memory, and creativity. 

Exploring Mindfulness Meditation

Exploring Mindfulness Meditation

Next up, on the mindful meditation vs transcendental comparison, we look at mindfulness meditation. In this section, we will discuss the concepts, techniques, practices, and benefits of the technique. 

Definition and Concepts

Like transcendental comparison, mindfulness meditation is also a meditation technique. Jon Kabat-Zinn made it more popular in the 1970s. The premise of mindfulness is the Buddhist concept of Sati, which means to be aware or remember. The aim of mindfulness is simple–to create a mental state where one is fully present and aware of the moment. It involves paying complete attention to the events in the here and now instead of drifting into the past or future.

In mindfulness meditation, the mind focuses on a particular object. It can be a sensation, a word, or just our breaths. It is all about observation with no reaction or resistance. It exercises the mental muscles of clarity, awareness, and concentration. Practicing mindfulness meditation calms the mind, improves well-being, and reduces stress. 

Techniques and Practices

An average meditation mindfulness session covers both the theory and practice of mindfulness. It also includes the application of mindfulness to different aspects of life. We discuss some mindfulness meditation practices below: 

Breathing Exercises: They involve counting, labeling, or manipulating the breath in different ways, for example, inhaling and exhaling through different nostrils or for various lengths of time. It calms the nervous system and helps with breath regulation. 

Guided Imagery: In these exercises, one imagines a pleasant or peaceful scenario and creates a realistic experience. Common examples include a mountain, a beach, or a forest. This mindfulness meditation technique stimulates imagination and positive emotions. 

Body Scans: These exercises are about scanning the entire body, from head to toe, or vice-versa. The goal is to pick up any sensations–tension or relaxation, warmth or cold, in any body part. It helps to destress and improve awareness of the mind and body. 

Mindful Movement: These exercises are about moving the body mindfully. You can walk, stretch, or do some yoga and tai chi. One must pay attention to the rhythms, movements, and sensations while at it. These sessions improve the connection between the body and mind.  


Here are some of the benefits of mindful mediation:

Improved mood: Mindfulness meditation can also improve one’s mood. A better mood translates to better self-esteem and more happiness. It achieves this by improving the activity of the prefrontal cortex. That is the part of the brain that handles positive emotions. It also reduces the activity of the amygdala, the part of the brain that handles negative emotions. 

More concentration: Practicing mindfulness meditation helps to improve concentration and memory. It does this by enhancing the link between the neurons and brain cells. It also expands the hippocampus, the part of the brain that handles learning and memory. 

Enhanced immunity: Mindfulness meditation boosts immunity by conditioning the body to produce more antibodies and immune cells. It also reduces inflammation, which, in turn, keeps the body in great shape. 

Less stress and anxiety: Practicing mindfulness meditation helps to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. It does this by lowering cortisol levels (negative emotion hormones) and improving serotonin levels (positive emotion hormones). 

Comparative Analysis: Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness

Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness

In comparing transcendental meditation vs mindfulness meditation, let’s see the key differences and similarities in both techniques. 

Key Differences

The key differences in both techniques lie in the goal, method, outcome, instruction, and practice. 

Goal: Transcendental meditation aims to go beyond the basic level of consciousness to a state of transcendental awareness. On the other hand, the goal of mindfulness meditation is to cultivate a state of attention and awareness to the present without any attachment or judgment. 

Method: Mindfulness adopts the breath or any other object of attention as an anchor. This anchor keeps the mind in the present while observing and accepting whatever arises in the mind and body. Transcendental meditation uses a certain mantra or sound as a medium to calm the mind and take it to a pure awareness state. 

Outcome: Transcendental meditation wants to create an awareness of one’s inner silence while staying alert and awake. Mindfulness mediation ends up creating an open awareness, where there is full awareness of all the sensory inputs, thoughts, and emotions. 

Instruction: Mindfulness meditation doesn’t need personal instruction or personalized teaching from a certified teacher like transcendental meditation. Instead, one can practice it individually, following any of the techniques previously mentioned. 

Practice: Transcendental meditation sessions are held twice daily, each session lasting about 20 minutes. The practitioner must be seated comfortably with eyes closed–no special posture, time, or place is required. Mindfulness can last for any duration but must be practiced sitting or lying down. The eyes can be open or closed.  


As part of this mindfulness vs transcendental meditation comparison, let’s consider their similarities.  

Origin and popularity: Both techniques originated from ancient Indian traditions. They have become more popular in the modern world for their spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Several celebrities, scientists, and thought leaders have endorsed both methods, with many personal testimonies available. 

Compatibility: Both mindfulness techniques are open to anyone, irrespective of faith, culture, or background. It does not matter what the age, personality, or gender of the practitioner is. They do not require any change in behavior, value, or belief.  One can combine them with other meditation treatments, therapies, and techniques. 

Factors to Consider in Choosing Your Meditation Practice

Choosing Your Meditation Practice

Ready to choose your preferred meditation practice between the two techniques? Here are some factors you should consider: 

Personal Goals and Preferences

The first step is to know what you want from your meditation practice. Do you prefer a breath-based meditation or a mantra-based meditation? Are you open to flexible attention or complete guidance by a sound or object? Do you want to meditate in complete silence or with sounds or sensations? 

Your answers to these questions will help you determine the proper meditation practice. If you want to transcend to pure consciousness or awareness, transcendental meditation is for you. However, mindful meditation is the way to go if you like to cultivate awareness and attention to the present. 

Lifestyle and Commitment

You must also consider your lifestyle and commitment. The amount of time and resources you are willing to invest into your mediation practice are huge determining factors. You should also consider your environment. Is your space quiet and stable enough or filled with distractions and noise? 

Another lifestyle factor is the availability of resources. Can you access a certified teacher, or do you have to rely on online sources? Are you self-disciplined enough to practice meditation on your own? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can easily determine which method is good for you based on your lifestyle and commitment. 

Conclusion: Making Your Decision

Making Your Decision Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness

In comparing transcendental vs mindfulness meditation, there is no outright winner. Your choice depends on what you want from your meditation practice. It also depends on your lifestyle and how much commitment you can offer.  

Whichever of the two methods you choose, you will get all the benefits of an effective meditation experience. Both methods make life better by reducing stress and anxiety. They also improve the practitioner’s general well-being, enhancing their happiness and fulfillment. 

Transcendental Meditation vs Mindfulness Meditation FAQ Questions:

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about mindfulness meditation vs transcendental meditation techniques:

What is the difference between transcendental meditation and mindfulness?

Both meditation techniques have different goals, methods, outcomes, instructions, and practices. Let personal goals, preferences, lifestyle, and commitment inform your choice. 

Can I practice transcendental meditation and mindfulness meditation together?

Yes, you can practice transcendental meditation and mindfulness meditation together. For such combined practice, it is best to do each technique at different times of the day. Don’t combine them into one session.  

Are there any notable figures or celebrities who endorse transcendental meditation or mindfulness meditation?

Yes, there are. Several popular individuals have endorsed transcendental meditation in the past. They include Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Brand, and David Lynch. Celebrities who practice mindfulness meditation include Emma Watson, Jennifer Aniston, Ariana Grande, Keanu Reeves, and LeBron James.

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