The amazing side benefits of a Vipassana course.
I’m not your typical yogi, meditating Zen master.
My idea of eating clean consists of shaving my visits to Shake Shack down to once a week and my dedication to meditation is as consistent as an Oprah diet.
Be that as it may I’ve always wanted to try a Vipassana course. For those of you who may not know, Vipassana is a meditation technique originally taught by the Buddha with the aim of eradicating any mental impurities. Oh and it’s conducted in silence. I’ve always wanted to attend a silent retreat, that plus the added benefit of meditation—I was all in.
The first thought that came to mind when I got accepted to the course was, “Oh my God, what am I going to wear?” Then I promptly went out and purchased a Vipassana worthy wardrobe, loose pants and all. (I’m normally a skintight yoga pants type of girl.) Equipped with my new clothes, perfectly coordinated sheets and towels and freshly cut and colored hair (because how can one possibly meditate with visible roots) I marched off to my first intensive meditation experience.
Did I gain an insightful, deep and meaningful experience?
Absolutely, indeed I did.
I can highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn about equanimity and how to better handle life’s daily dramas in a more composed and healthy manner. This mediation technique literally has the power to transform your mindset and the way you approach life.
Now that’s all well and good but let’s get to the good stuff. Do you want to know the real reasons you should give it a try? Okay. I’ll tell you:
1. You totally lose weight.
So, if this is your first time, you have to complete a 10-day course. This is good and bad. Bad because it’s an awfully long period to do nothing but meditate. Good because it provides enough time for the clean eating and basically two meal a day diet to work its wonders. All I had for dinner for 10 days straight was a single banana and the occasional measly apple, and we ate at five. No more late night kitchen runs for me. Which was actually easier than I thought as bedtime was at nine and wakeup call at four.
Yes you heard that right, four, as in 4:00 a.m.
The structured meal plan is ideal for following a weight loss diet. Granted you’re not doing much movement as you’re constantly meditating so to combat this I highly recommend doing as much light movement as possible. Whenever I had alone time you could find me doing squats, lunges, pushups or walking around the field.
2. It’s a free detox.
Not only do you lose weight, you’re actually doing so in a healthy way. You’re provided with nothing but fresh organic nutrition. I was basically a vegan. I didn’t have any dairy, sweets or caffeine (unless you count the 10 cups of tea I guzzled per day). I seriously think this was the healthiest I’ve eaten during a prolonged period. If you’re the type to need a kick in the tush when it comes to eating clean, this is your chance.
3. It’s a rare break for your skin.
It’s probably one of the only times in life you’ll get to go makeup free. Yes, I admit I went supplied with the essentials. Mascara, blush, a light foundation, a neutral eye shadow, Okay, I even brought lipstick. But did I use any of it? All right, for the first day I did. But then I realized that it was totally unnecessary. In fact, I even felt a little ridiculous. Vipassana is neither the time nor the place for a made up face. You are literally allowed to look at no one and no one looks at you.
So the only possibility of recognizing the other meditators is by their vague bodily outlines and by their hideous yet wildly appropriate hippy shoes. I didn’t even realize my roommate, the girl I shared a 10×13 room with for 10 days, had facial piercings until the last day. Literally, no one is looking at you. So this is a beyond perfect opportunity to go makeup free and let your face breathe. You’re already detoxing your body, so why not go all out and detox your skin. I also applied this no fuss rule to my hair. No extra product, styling, blow-drying or heat of any kind.
4. You can finally stop all that fake smiling and prevent wrinkles.
If you’re prone to resting bitch face this is the place for you. As mentioned, no one can look at you, no eye contact allowed. So not only do you not have to talk to anyone you’re not even required to smile at them. Being a natural people pleaser I don’t think I’m capable of looking at someone and not smiling in everyday life. I think a lot of us, women in particular, can be this way. Unless you’re Russian—Russians are naturals at the blank faced stare. Do you know how much energy it takes to smile? I certainly didn’t until I was relieved of this tedious task. It was lovely. No sore cheeks, no crease causing grins. I had total freedom to look like I hated life and no one could say, “What’s wrong?”
With all of these amazing benefits you will emerge from your Vipassana course, skin glowing, hair shining, a few pounds lighter and oh yeah, maybe spiritually enlightened.
Author: Steffi Erbilgin
Editor: Travis May