Typically, students of Vipassana will devote seven days for the beginner's course, and the goal is to practise mindfulness, leading to intense concentration on the moment. Amongst vipassana's ideals are the following: to perceive the reality of things, to be unburdened of mental diversions, and to escape the clutches of illusionary concepts. These goals are reached by discovering, and experiencing through meditation the impermanence of things, the demands of the ego and how to respond to them, and achieving clarity of thought, inner calmness, and compassion.
To be ready to do vipassana, one should abstain from killing, stealing, deceitful conduct, sex and intoxicants. These things will impede one's focus during the meditation sessions. In practice, this also involves controlled indulgence, with no meals after noontime, no decorations from the body and no sleeping on soft or high beds.
Under the guidance of a vipassana centre, participants are enjoined to keep a "noble silence", which means no active communication between colleagues during meditation or outside meditation. One can share personal safety and living arrangement concerns only with the meditation teacher and the centre's facilitators. Here is a day by day desciption of the vipassana process:
: Starts by observing inhalation and exhalation and nothing else. The sessions last for a few hours each, repeated regularly throughout the day. Breathing is done more firmly whenever the mind wanders or the flow of air cannot be sensed anymore.
: Same as the first day, but with better body awareness of how the air flow touches the nasal membranes.
: Awareness now includes the sensations one is feeling on the tip of the nose, on the nose itself, above the upper lip and where the nose and upper lip meets.
: involves shifting the awareness attained on the already body areas to others you are taught to focus on, in order to improve control. Attention then shifts the focus to the top of the head, and then going through every part of the body up to the tips of the toes. Meditationers feel the sensations passing by every part of their bodies.
Concentration should be held below the nostrils and above the lips, striving to possess neither aversion or pleasure in the sensations. Awareness of breathing should be calm and relaxed.
: Shifting body focus is done through two routes: from the head to the toes and backwards. The sensations felt should be experienced by a balanced mind with calmness to realise the nature of everyone and everything's impermanence.
: same as the fifth day, the shift occurs through both arms and both legs at the same time, keeping symmetry and flowing on to the rest of the body from the centre going to all extremities.
: maintain the same process, letting it flow through as many parts as possible at the same time. Try pinpointing different resonances inside the body, letting your concentration penetrate through selected points in your body.
The first session at the week's start is meant to settle one's spirits down to perform the actual practice of vipassana. At the end, you can be talking again and return to normal dealings with starngers and friends, hopefully with newly attained insights blooming inside.
After a week of meditation, the energy pathways in your body should be clear and free-flowing with freshly-awakened awareness, letting you resonate with wellbeing and energising your body as well. Many people claim to have relieved back and head pains, reinvigorated their senses or kicked off vices through the power of vipassana.