Recently, I attended my first 10-day Vipassana Meditation Course. Vipassana, for those who are new to the term, is a type of meditation where you concentrate on the sensations in your body. The retreat calls for Noble Silence, which means there is no reading, writing or speaking for the duration of the course. Meditators are asked to turn in their phones and laptops upon arrival.
Intense as it may sound, it's incredibly liberating to practice equanimity, and to remain balanced in the face of both pleasant and unpleasant sensations. If the idea of meditating for eleven hours per day sounds challenging, well — you're right. However, the journey is one of incredible self discovery. Here are a few items I suggest packing in order to make your stay more comfortable.
1. Meditation Cushion or Chair
While the centre provides cushions and mats, having my own Halfmoon Meditation Cushion with me was a lifesaver! When I return next, I will also bring a Meditation Chair.
2. Hot Water Carafes and Water Bottles
You can only get hot water during meal times, so to indulge in tea at your leisure, you'll want to be filling up at every opportunity.
3. Foam Roller and Massage Balls (or tennis balls)
You'll soon realize that you have muscles in your back which seemingly never existed before, and they will be looking for some release! Massage tools are a great way to work out some of that tension.
4. Hoodies, Wraps andScarves
For the first couple of days, I found it easier to meditate if I was in my own little scarf cocoon. Keeping cozy helped me go deeper into meditation.
5. Body Care
Manicure supplies, face masks, eye masks, hair masks, foot masks the works! I loved rewarding myself after a long day of meditation with my own spa rituals, plus, with no need to wear make-up you'll feel great letting your skin take a breather.
6. Items from People who Love and Support You
There are times when you will yearn for loved ones, so having their energy around you will make a big impact. I wore a t-shirt from my boyfriend, a meditation blanket from my Mom, and woke up to my Dad's travel alarm clock each morning. I felt their love and support around me at the times when I needed it most.
7. An Open Mind
Staying receptive to the beauty which can unfold in your life, when you allow yourself to pause.
Cassidy is a meditation teacher and mindfulness coach in Toronto, with Radiate Happy. She studied Meditation in the Learn to REST program at Lululemon, and Mindfulness through the University of Toronto. Her practise was strengthened through travels to Bali, Nicaragua, India, Costa Rica and other destinations. A reiki level 1 practitioner and mindful meditation teacher, Cassidy will often remind you to "allow yourself to be here, now."
Many people asked when I was lying in a hospital bed, ventilated with no movement below my neck, “What will you do now? How will you practice yoga?” Many of them, knew me as either their yoga teacher or a yoga pioneer and entrepreneur. I established one of the first Yoga Alliance 200hr teacher training programs in BC and the first yoga studio in my hometown Nelson, back in early 2000.