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This is an open, ongoing weekly Vipassana meditation group for those wishing to deepen their practice with others in a group setting with an experienced Insight teacher. We practice Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, a style of meditation that trains us to live more mindfully in the present moment. Along with these and a long list of other psychological benefits, meditation has also been shown to reduce cortisol in the body (stress hormones), lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, prevent and reverse memory loss, boost the immune system, and strengthen DNA. While the forms of meditation we practice are rooted in Buddhist teachings, the study and practice of mindfulness is applicable to anyone from any background or religion, and all are welcome. The group is led by Shell Fischer, founder and director of Mindful Shenandoah Valley, who has been studying and practicing mindfulness for more than 25 years. If you're driving North on I-81, take the Middletown exit (302) to US 11, turn right, then continue north for about 3 miles to the church, which will be on your left. The white wooden entrance sign on Route 11, sits at the top of a hill, and the church is set at the end of a parking lot below it. This is an open, ongoing weekly Vipassana meditation group for those wishing to deepen their practice with others in a group setting with an experienced Insight teacher. WHAT WE PRACTICE: We practice Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, a style of meditation that trains us to live more mindfully in the present moment. If life puts Vipassana in your way and you are considering to take the course, then it is best to read a little about the technique, and how to be prepared mentally and physically so that you can complete the 10-days course. The purpose of this article is to tell you, from my own experience, what should be known before hand, what mental attitude to adopt, and any other aspects that can help you. The advises below do not follow any specific order, but all of them are essential points I discovered when I took the course. First things first, let’s get this most daunting aspect of the course out of the way. The first two days you may feel terrible, but that’s okay because after the second day you will start to get used to it. If you feel tired because of waking up early, then sleep during breaks but not during the time you should be meditating on your in your own room.
I knew that we are to sit and meditate at least eight hours a day, and naturally physical preparation is needed. It turned that being unprepared physically is as good as being prepared, because the key is not physical comfort-ability.
So do not stress yourself about your physical agility, just join the course and experience it moment by moment. Remember why you joined the course and that you are here to learn and to change or learn something about yourself. Whenever you find yourself counting days and not being in the moment stop yourself and remind yourself of why you joined the course.
Be responsible for every minute because the time you are spending during the course is a special time. Although I already spoken about waking at 4 AM and feeling sleepy, there is still one important thing to notice: You may feel terribly sleepy during the meditations, even if you slept uninterrupted 8 hours and you took an hour or half hour naps during the day. That means, if you are trying to be perfect in your practice, then you will feel frustration if you did not meet your expectation. Of course this could cause lots of physical and mental uneasiness, but if you are playful, you can allow yourself to change the posture once or twice, but you do that only to help yourself focus and stop generating negativity during the one hour sitting.
By responsible means that you know your own best interests. You know that no matter what, you will do all you can to get the best benefits of this program without being too hard to the point of generating lots of negativity (or aversion). Do not be careless, skip meditations or just sit physically in meditation but mentally somewhere else. The course is structured in such a way that you get to meditate three times in the hall and the rest of the time you can meditate in your own room.
You can easily be tempted to sleep or waste the time each time you go to your room, or perhaps not sleep but just lay there in the room and not meditate. Do not start a mental debate because of the things you heard that contradict your believes: it does not matter right now. Anyway, the very essence of this course is to have you experience truth and not have you intellectualize about it.

Remember that, essentially, you are not doing any rigorous physical activity so you do not need to eat that much.
Other thoughts (even more dangerous) will disguise themselves as positive thoughts but yet again their sole purpose is to take you from the moment, the present, or the actual reality. You are asked to focus on your breath (for instance) or on the bodily sensations, then any thought (negative or positive) is not doing you any service.
Do not be surprised if you suddenly feel you are the most creative person and you have an urge to write. The secret of success is the realization that you have to seek the truth moment by moment and be aware. With experience you will learn that there is no such thing as time for meditation and time for daily activity. That is all I can think of, and hopefully these are the most important points that can help you make best use of this 10-days Vipassana course. I have had so many questions about what should one bring with to the retreat. Here are some guidelines below. Good luck to you, even after many years now, I still consider Vipassana the best spiritual practice that touched me in my life. You are a very kind person, responding individually to so many readers and with such positivity.
This is a tremendous article, full of learning, precise guidance and above all, devoid of any partisanship.
If the temperature is too high causing you to sweat during the meditations then it won’t be so convenient for you but not impossible. Think of people attending retreats in rural areas in India where the weather is not so nice nor the facilities are necessarily equipped to regulate the temperature.
Allow whatever that will happen to happen: do not set any expectations and whatever is the outcome it is your success. I was initially doubtful of myself whether I can do it or not, but after reading this article my mindset it well prepared to go for 10 days course without any reservation in mind, I have been on ships for 2-3 months many time during my job so am quite used to be away from world and without any communication. Most nights, there are about 20-35 of us (even though Meetup might show that only one person is attending!) Beginners are welcome. Literally meaning "to see clearly," Vipassana enables us to experience all aspects of life from a greater stillness, and to relate to both ourselves and others with increased clarity and compassion, and less fear, anxiety, and stress.
It also increases the size of areas in the brain associated with attention, compassion, calmness, and creativity, among a host of other things.
Take a right off the exit onto Fairfax Pike, then turn left at the traffic light onto Route 11. If you've pulled into the smaller "Unity" church that's in the property next to it (which, coincidentally, is the old UU church), you're at the wrong place, but you're very close - the one where we meet is just south of it, up the hill, almost on the same property. There are plenty of chairs, but if you prefer to sit on the floor, which is hardwood, please bring a blanket or mat AND a hard pillow or zafu, since, when you're meditating, it is recommended that that your hips be higher than your knees. She's a full teacher and senior practitioner with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. And, if you've never tried sitting on the floor for meditation before, it's suggested that you use a chair in the beginning, and practice sitting on the floor at home until you get used to it.
It is a bit of a long read, but I think it is worth it especially that you are considering to take this life changing meditation course. The key is being aware, whether you are physically comfortable or uneasy, it does not matter.
The reason for this, is because your mind wants to escape the meditation, it does not like that. Do not be hard on yourself if you cannot follow the instructions to the letter initially, or if your body and mind are not helping you. You are your own police, and that, my friend, is being responsible. You have to tell yourself that no matter what, I respect this private time I am given and I want to meditate. I was still suffering from feeling sleepy all the time, and around the 3rd and 4th day I was still allowing myself to skip some meditations and sleep instead. It became clear (a truth for me) that it is important to be aware of what is happening in the mind. If my mind is so sleepy for example, I respect that sign.

Actually, when you act responsibly and respect yourself and your being, then your mind and body will start working for you. If you could make it turn into a monkey, you can turn it back into a sharp and useful tool.
They explain the technique, they answer your questions and most of all, they encourage you to continue and stay until the end of the course. So whether you agree with what you hear or not, it does not matter, just take what you like and do your best to experience the truth for yourself. If you want to think positive thoughts, imagine things or find solutions to problem that’s fine, but only do that when it is time to do that and not during your meditation. This is another trick of your mind to snatch you from the present moment and your meditation. Do not chew your thoughts and ideas, instead chew and feel the taste of food in your mouth. I experienced constipation for a while and wished that I had the laxative tea bags that could help me get the relief I want.
I will be going to my first 10-days Vipassana meditation on May 30th at the Georgia Center. I will be doing the course in October and wanted to know if I needed any specific preparation. Very helpful for me in preparation for a course starting on 26th September in Australia, north of Melbourne. I’m going next month to a retreat near Dallas, and am wondering if that was a great choice, given the extreme heat there.
Be sure to bring a warm shawl or sweater during the cooler months, since your body cools quicker when you're sitting still. Do not be sad because of that, do not be hard on yourself and start generating negativity (or aversion in Vipassana terms). The second time try to limit the times when you allow yourself to move or change your posture. Only after the 5th day that a sense of inner knowledge and inspiration about being responsible came to my understanding. I go wash my face, go for a walk, and perhaps sleep a little (though the need for sleep will not be a problem after the 5th day). Remember, even if the mind is like a monkey, jumping from a thought to another, it still is NOT an enemy. That is, as you will soon learn in Vipassana, that sensation is temporary and you can observe it (heat or cold) and return to your breathing without reacting to the sensation. I’m scheduled into a retreat in Georgia starting October 9, and have been wondering what to expect. Good thing is that I’ve been on a path of healing for last 14 months so I should be able to hold it together for longer.
She's a 1993 graduate of Naropa University, a Shambhala Buddhist-based university in Boulder, Co., and a graduate of the MBSR teacher training program led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She's a 1993 graduate of Naropa University, a Shambhala Buddhist-based university in Boulder,Co., and a graduate of the MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) teacher training program led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
That does not mean that if you feel sleepy go to sleep, but know that whenever you get a chance to sleep more, sleep more, perhaps eat less so you are more energetic. The process had not just begun…I have just become aware of the being in the process all along.
Along with Insight Meditation, she teaches MBSR as an educational partner with Valley Health's Integrative Care Program.
Along with Insight Meditation, she teaches MBSR as an educational partner with Valley Health's Integrative Care System. Please be mindful not to wear any perfume to the sit, as it can be very distracting to others.

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