This post is dedicated to S.N. Goenka, the father of the current Vipassana meditation movement. He died on Day 4 of my meditation retreat – the day we learned to practice Vipassana meditation. Read more on S.N. Goenka and how his teachings have found their way into your life.
The Vipassana Meditation Retreat is a meditation boot camp!
Over 11 hours daily are spent meditating with breaks to eat and rest. Participants learn three types of meditation, that with consistent practice are believed to eliminate misery and end world suffering.
I completed this retreat and would recommend Vipassana to anyone searching for a way to increase personal peace. Here are a few things you’ll need to know before attending:
Vipassana Meditation Retreat Tips
Ten days of silence is easier than it sounds. It’s surprising how still your mind becomes when you decrease mental stimulants. This relaxed state of mind is essential for meditation.
Meditation includes sitting cross-legged or in another meditation position you find most comfortable. I struggled to meditate while ignoring the pain and stiffness of sitting for long periods.
Your body will loosen up over the course of the retreat, but start stretching and sitting in those positions in advance to determine which position is comfortable. You’ll stop discomfort early on and ensure the pain won’t affect your focus on meditating.
Take clothes that are loose fitting and cover most of the skin. My closet held very few bottoms fitting this description that could be worn on floor mats. So, I wore the same sweatpants each day, washing them as needed.
The last meal is served at 11 am. I thought I would struggle with this but had no issues. Plus, each lunch dish tasted like a culinary vacation to India. I fell in love with a new condiment called the mango pickle – so much so that I purchased a container after leaving the retreat!
At 5 pm, participants are served fruit and tea.
Some centers have dormitory style sleeping/bathing arrangements. I shared a room/bathroom with a dozen other women. Be prepared for everything that comes along with share space including uncontrolled bodily sounds, restroom lines and decreased privacy.
Vipassana Meditation Benefits
Meditating at home was odd! My mouth and eyes wouldn’t stop twitching and I’m sure it was the result of sensory overload after leaving the retreat facilities. Luckily, the twitches stopped after I focused on breathing and relaxed.
With practice of the Vipassana technique, I’ve increased my mindfulness of negative thoughts and actions. This benefit alone has the power to promote a life improvement.
I haven’t had a chance to see many results from continued meditation, so here are a few payoffs mentioned on LifeHacker:
- Better focus
- Less anxiety
- More creativity
- More compassion
- Better memory
- Less stress
- More gray matter
Great perks, right?
Although Vipassana originated in India and is most popular in SE Asia, meditation retreat centers and courses are popping up all over the world.
If you’re interested in learning more about the practice and signing up for a retreat nearest you, check out this link. Pick a date and sign up now.
Your course, accommodations, and food have been paid for by previous Vipassana students. Happy Meditating!