Insight Meditation

There are many types of meditation techniques available, but one worth exploring is certainly Vipassana or Insight Meditation. S.N.Goenka has developed some of the most popular centers around the world and for no charge (donation based), you can attend an 10-day beginners course. During the course you will be provided vegetarian meals and a bed. What to expect from the beginner course? When you arrive, you attend a briefing that explains generally how the next 10 days of your life will work. Following the briefing, you will begin a period of silence which will last for the next ten days. It is quite a strange experience to not hear yourself speak for such a long time, but it can feel therapeutic.

The first three and a half days of mediation will consist of learning Anapana meditation which focus on observing attention and breath. Following this segment of the retreat, you will begin to practice Vipassana meditation. A taped Dharma talk from S.N. Goenka will be played nightly and periodically through the course you will have brief discussion with the teachers.

Although Vipassana is traditionally practiced by most Buddhist sects around the world, the technique itself is non-sectarian and has no ties to any particular faith based system. For the purpose of Ashtanga Yoga, it seems to be a good way to initially explore the Dhyana limb. You will be immersed in to the world of intensive meditation and will certainly experience the benefits associated with meditation. Once you have completed the intensive you can make the decision to either continue down the road of Vipassana or to explore one of many other types of meditation that are more commonly associated with Dhyana. Either way, it provides an excellent foundation for future mediation practice.

More information and locations for S.N. Goenka mediation retreats can be found at: www.dhamma.org.