Vipassana Meditation: what is it and what benefits does it bring?
Meditation is an activity that more and more people practice, and it has been shown that it has numerous advantages for those who carry it out.
While there are many types of meditation from different cultures, some of the most popular have come from the Eastern tradition. One of them, originally from India and which in turn serves as the basis for other current practices such as mindfulness, is Vipassana meditation .
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What is Vipassana meditation?
Vipassana meditation is a type of Buddhist meditation (although of Hindu origins) originating in India, which tradition considers was rediscovered by Gautama Buddha after centuries of loss. It is one of the oldest known forms of meditation, and is based on personal purification and transformation through self-observation. In fact, Vipassana means, approximately, seeing things clearly or as they are.
We are facing a type of meditation that is based on the enhancement of concentration and attention to one's own being , focusing in the first place on the breathing to later deepen in the sensations of the body and the mind. It is necessary to bear in mind that this meditation, although it has relaxing effects on those who practice it, does not focus on numbing the organism but on facilitating the connection between the body and the mental processes.
Vipassana meditation has been expanding to the rest of the world, there are several centers and retreats that teach it for free. As the grounds of religion are still very present in many of them, usually in these centers usually requires a previous period of ten days without killing, stealing, having sex and consuming psychoactive substances, and during the time the course lasts the subject You must not talk, read or write, or communicate. The individual is asked to be completely centered on himself.
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Once seen what it is, it is relevant to know how it is practiced. For starters, la person sits on the floor, initially with the legs crossed and the back straight (Although the concrete position may vary or it is even possible to sit in a chair if we have health problems that require it). It is not essential to close your eyes, although it facilitates the process.
After that, you should start trying to reach a state of calm, through breathing . We must focus on following the flow of air when inhaling and exhaling and the sensations it generates, trying not to stop at other elements that may distract. It is not about forcing the breath, but focusing on observing how it is produced. This process is known as anapana, and its main objective is to sharpen the conscience and calm our mind.
Once this is done, little by little we will be noticing the sensations, perceptions, thoughts and emotions that surround us, being important not to focus and work on them but simply observing how they arise and happen. This aspect is what is called per se meditation Vipassana, in which we will go running from the head to the feet all our body to go observing the different sensations of each part.
Concentration focuses on each body region , without operating in it. There is no judgment, not even labeling or reflection, just observation. It is about witnessing what goes through our mind and body without interfering in it. This aspect is much easier to say than to do. If we stop observing to take action on any of the elements, it is advisable to return to the breath.
After the body comes the mind: we can go observing our thoughts and emotions, without judging them , only by letting them flow. We can also focus on what surrounds us, feeling the different sensations such as temperature, light, smells or touch. In different courses that teach this technique, they also add part of metta meditation, in which the subject who meditates first cultivates love towards himself and then expands it towards others.
Advantages and benefits
The practice of Vipassana meditation generates different benefits for those who carry it out. Not in vain, it is a type of meditation that has existed for almost three millennia.
At the mental level, those who practice it mention feeling a enhancing your observation capacity and a higher level of peace of mind and relaxation . It also improves states of anxiety by allowing situations to be observed more calmly, and facilitates an improvement in mood.On the other hand, it helps us to identify ourselves and give a less exaggerated tone to the importance of our thoughts.
Vipassana meditation is also associated with the reduction of blood pressure, by reducing states of anxiety. It decreases the cardiac rate and helps us to have a better control of the respiratory tract . It reduces the importance we give to pain, both physical and mental, and helps us to know ourselves better, what motivates and hurts us, to better understand and accept our negative emotions.
Vipassana and mindfulness
Vipassana meditation may seem exotic and strange for part of the population, but the truth is that it is a way of meditating that has generated different techniques very popular today. We are, in fact, before the kind of meditation on which a technique nowadays as well known is based the mindfulness .
This technique, like Vipassana meditation, is based on conscious attention to our body and the present moment avoiding automatic performance. The focus on the here and now that allows this technique allows us to be much more aware of our being, and has shown to be useful both at a general level and in subjects with different problems such as anxiety, depression, pain disorders, post-traumatic stress and obsessive disorders.
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