Easy Vipassana Meditation Exercise to Calm Your Mind

Relieving stress with vipassana meditation

Vipassana Meditation is a technique used to calm racing and intrusive thoughts. It helps solve a problem that many meditators meet early in their practice – the ability to quiet the mind.

When I first started meditating, I had trouble clearing my mind even for ten minutes. Saying “stop thinking!” when thoughts barge in on your meditation isn’t always effective.

Disciplined meditators may also find difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. This is normal, our brains multitask every day and need practice letting go of thoughts.

Vipassana Meditation is an ancient technique used to create a more disciplined mind. It increases self-awareness and sharpens our ability to focus on one task at a time. Vipassana is a form of mindfulness meditation that uses breathing techniques and mantras. 

Benefits of Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana Meditation has many of the same benefits as common meditation practices, including: 

  • Reduced stress and anxiety 
  • Increased compassion
  • Improved brain plasticity 
  • Reduced brain degeneration due to aging

Insight-based meditation may help with addiction as well. A 2006 study tracked prisoners who used the technique daily. It found that Vipassana Meditation reduced the likelihood of substance abuse after release.

Try This Simple Exercise

Don’t feel intimidated – Vipassana meditation is simple. If you already meditate, you can add it to your existing routine.

This easy meditation exercise is ideal for practitioners of all levels. Beginners, aim for 5-10 minutes, building length over time in increments of 1-2 minutes. More experienced practitioners may enjoy sessions of 30+ minutes. 

  1. Sit in a comfortable upright position and focus on your breathing for 25 breaths. Breathe in, hold until it feels right, then slowly let your breath out until it becomes a single, fluid motion. 
  2. If thoughts pass through your mind, acknowledge them and return focus to breathing. Concentrate on the motion of your abdomen as it fills with air.
  3. Label intrusive events as they come and recenter your focus. It’s natural to feel drawn to intrusive stimuli. If a wailing siren passes by outside, simply think, “sound.” If you feel your neck tickle you might think “itch.” Label mental phenomena as “metal image” or “I am thinking.”
  4. Continue labeling, including the moment you open your eyes. Avoid shocking the body by immediately jumping back into your day. As you end the meditation, create intentions about the next thing you will do. To maintain the lasting effects of concentration, continue labeling events throughout your day. 

Through labeling and refocusing the mind, we practice being fully present. It’s important to take the exercise moment by moment and avoid rushing.

The positive or negative feelings we have in response to events around us will pass. Each emotion and thought is impermanent. Vipassana meditation trains our brains to accept the given moment as it is. 

Ready For a Challenge?

Try this 10 Day Vipassana Retreat. It’s free and open for registration. It is a meditation course that will challenge and expand your existing practice. 

Jack Dorsey (Twitter founder/CEO ) attends every year. Yuval Noah Harari (author) started at the 10 Day Vipassana Retreat but now attends a 60 Day Retreat.

Start small, stay committed, and build your meditation practice up over time.

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