Info for Parents
The courses available at Vipassana Centres and non-centre sites offer young people of 8 years old and above an introduction to Anapana meditation, which is a practice of the observation of natural breath to concentrate the mind. This method can be practiced freely by all, in any place, at any time. It is practiced by people of all races, communities and religions and proves equally beneficial to one and all.
Young people who have started practicing Anapana have realized many benefits. Their ability to concentrate becomes enhanced, their memory gets sharper, their ability to comprehend a subject improves and they become calmer. In general, they feel they have a practical tool to use in the face of any type of adversity or challenge.
During the course the students will be divided into groups according to their age for many activities. They will be assigned helpers who will assist them throughout the course, providing support and care as needed.
The intent of the course is serious. It is not appropriate for children who are too young or otherwise unable to follow directions or to participate in organized, self-modulating activities. It is also not appropriate for children who are too young or otherwise unable to follow instructions or to participate in organized, self-modulating activities. It is also not appropriate for children who are unable to understand the meaning or purpose of the daily timetable or to observe course related disciplines. To participate in the course children undertake to observe a moral Code of Behaviour. Segregation of the sexes will be maintained at all times in the accommodation area as well as in the meditation hall and during much of the course.
Your role during the course
It is not necessary that a parent or guardian accompanies a child during the course. Parents or guardians who are students of Goenkaji or his assistant teachers are usually welcome to stay and participate in work projects if the course is at a Vipassana centre. Those parents or guardians who are not helping on the course will follow a separate schedule.
Parents or guardians who have not completed a ten-day course with Goenkaji or his assistant teachers are welcome to stay with their children during registration, but should then leave the site and return at the end of the course.
To learn Anapana it is necessary to take an Anapana Course under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
There are three steps to the training:
In the first step the children make a conscious effort to abstain from all kinds of unwholesome actions. They undertake five moral precepts: practicing abstention from killing, stealing, lying, misconduct and use of intoxicants. The observation of these precepts allows the mind to calm down enough to proceed for the next step.
Next they learn and practice Anapana meditation– focussing attention on the breath as it comes in and goes out naturally.
The course concludes with the practice of Metta (loving kindness or good will towards all) in which peace and happiness gained during the course is shared with all beings.
The entire teaching in all these courses is conducted through audio and video recordings in the local languages. Each course is divided into small sessions of 30-40 minutes which includes both practice and understanding of the theory. Courses also include creative and physical activities where time permits. However more time is allocated for the practice of the technique.
Continuing the practice after the course
Continuity of practice is essential for children to get the true benefits of the technique. It is therefore recommended that the child be given an opportunity at home to continue practicing Anapana for a short period of 10 -15 minutes each day, after the course. They can also be encouraged to attend more courses.
Applying for a course
The age range accepted and the length of courses varies. For a list of courses in your region, please refer to the Course dates section, select the required date and ask your child to fill in the application form. You should also fill in the Parent/Guardian form.