Vipassana Experience Report
Being back from my Vipassana I am super excited to share a few practical things for you to get ready for your own if you plan on going!
Vipassana literally means to “clearly-see”. In that meditation technique one aims at observing the sensations of the body as objectively as possible. Trying not to have any prejudice with an expectation of having an insight of what the true nature of reality is.
It is certainly not a retreat, where you can go to relax. You have to work hard and sit approximately 12 hours a day. 3 hours a day are sittings with discipline where you are not even allowed to move. Sticking to the position you chose and staying in your seat, no matter what comes up. However being a Yoga teacher and having heard of the term Vipassana Knee several times before when talking to students, I do still advice to be careful with your knees!
During the 10-day course you are not allowed to talk, to read, to do gestures, to write. Wakening is at 4am and then meditation starts at 4:30 - 6:30, right after breakfast is served. Also there is no walking meditation, you may walk in the breaks (which are rather short) but during meditation hours it is either sitting in the meditation hall, your room or in a meditation cell (not all centers are equipped with them)
Coming out of the course I feel grounded, having clarity and super inspired to be continuing on my path.
If You Consider Going On A Retreat Here A Few Tips To Take With You, Which Are Not Mentioned In The Regular Vipassana Lists
Massage ball, super nice to use it against the wall and massage your back a little to give some relief after all the sitting (officially this is not allowed, I didn’t make use of it, but I know that for people who have back problems this can be very beneficial)
Magnesium, as you will be sitting a lot also the body will become sore, so it can be wise to take magnesium with you to offer some relief
Meditation eye pillow, usually you will be sharing a room, so in case you wanna rest and your roommate is busy with arranging the room or coming back from the shower and lights are on, this can be super nice and comforting (i had one with lavender scent)
Oil, I ran through 500ml of oil. Since I study Ayurveda I know the importance of oil and lubricating the body/ joints/ mind/ muscles. So every day I would massage my entire body, let it sit for a little and then shower (i massaged in the shower not to disturb my room mate :))
Hot water bottle (if you go to a cold country definitely a have to, if you are always cold just as I am
Tea, they offer teas at the center, but they are rather basic and it can be nice to treat yourself with your favourite tea flavours, I choose a few different ones from Yogi Tea, so I ended up getting daily messages on the labels :)
Thermos, something to store your tea in
Sometimes it can be nice to just rest your legs up against the wall in the breaks (which also aids digestion) or to open the legs out to the side light in Dragonfly, this gives a gentle stretch and also enhances digestion
If you plan on doing Vipassana know that this will probably one of the toughest things you have done in life, the technique teaches that everything is impermanent and constantly changing. Knowing this will help at difficult times to sit through and also knowing that you are not alone on your meditation pillow given you share this with a few dozen students