Can Vipassana Be Done at Home? A Meditation Instructor Weighs In
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Vipassana Meditation is commonly taught at 10-day silent retreats around the world with the intention that students will integrate the practice into their daily life when they return home.
Here is some more information to help you get started with your practice. .
How to Learn Vipassana at Home
Like any skill, the key to learning Vipassana at home is good instruction and dedication. There are plenty of free guides online to teach you the basics, but I recommend taking an online course or listening to a guided meditation on youtube.
Another option is to find a local meditation teacher who can give you some lessons in your spare time. This means you get all the support you need while learning without committing yourself to extended residential courses.
However, paying for private tuition might be expensive and not possible for some people.
MindEasy’s 20-day Vipassana course offers you the best of both worlds.
Each lesson contains a short audio introduction covering one of the philosophical aspects of Vipassana, followed by a guided meditation that reduces its guide over time so that you learn to meditate independently.
The session will also come with a written article diving more in-depth into the theme of that day’s lesson.
You will also have access to a fully qualified and accredited meditation instructor (me) who will be available to answer any questions about the lesson or the technique and give support when needed.
Tips for Practicing Vipassana at Home
There are a few essential elements that you should try and get in place to create a home-retreat experience.
- Have enough time. You might not have 10 hours a day like on a retreat, but you can still create time for your practice. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or after dinner, make sure to set aside some time for meditation.
- Create a meditative atmosphere. A dedicated meditation space will help remove some of the steps that might dissuade you from the practice of meditation. You don’t need a whole room; just a cushion in a quiet meditation corner will do.
- Prepare for distractions. Having a phone go off or kids running around the house can pull you out of your practice. Try and minimize distractions as much as possible to have a successful session of Vipassana.
- Be consistent. There will be days when you simply don’t feel in the mood for meditation, but those are the days you probably need it the most. Keeping your Vipassana at home practice consistent will turn your practice into a habit.
Difference Between Vipassana at Home and at a Retreat
At a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat, you have the perfect environment for learning and developing your Vipassana practice.
Your day is structured to facilitate your learning, you have your own meditation space to sit, and you have an instructor ready and available whenever you need support.
However, when you go back to everyday life, the ball is back in your court.
The key to successfully continuing your practice when you get home is to recreate the retreat experience as much as possible.
Obviously, you can’t turn your home into a meditation retreat for 10 hours a day, but you can recreate the essentials.
Should I Learn Vipassana at Home or at a Retreat?
My first meditation experience was at a retreat, and it changed my life. If you have 10 days to commit to a course, then there’s no way that you won’t leave that meditation center without some profound insight into yourself and meditation.
However, the 10-day Vipassana meditation courses are incredibly challenging. I, like most people, came very close to throwing in the towel and waking out the door.
Probably the only reason I didn’t is that I was in India and I didn’t know where to go.
The daily schedule is grueling. If you’ve never meditated before, then suddenly going from nothing to 10 hours a day will come as a massive shock to the system.
Not being able to communicate with people is immensely isolating, and you will have to confront aspects of your life and yourself that you might find unsettling.
I would recommend getting to grips with the practice first and gaining insight into how the technique works before jumping into the deep end of a retreat.
Once you’ve learned the basics online, you will be in a much better position to attend one of the ten-day courses and will probably find it far more beneficial.
MindEasy founder & meditation teacher