Some people tend to focus only on post-workout supplements and while it is no secret these products are essential to help recovery, let’s not forget that something else can really make a difference on your workout. Pre-workout
supplements may be equally as helpful as they provide the extra energy push needed to get through the entire workout.
Since you already know what to take after your workout, let’s look at the 5 best supplements to take before your workout.
1. BCAA’s – Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are essential to regulate protein metabolism, stimulate protein synthesis, and suppress protein breakdown.It is important that you get the ideal ratio of 2:1:1 for leucine to isoleucine to valine respectively. Taking BCAAs before your workout allows your body to break them down and use them as an energy source. Drinking them during the workout can prevent the decrease in BCAA levels, helping to delay fatigue. On top of that, BCAAs help decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the following day.
You can’t exercise if you don’t have energy and no matter how much some people avoid it, caffeine is an effective performance booster for both endurance training as well as short, sprint workouts. Plus, caffeine will not only fire you up for a workout but it can also help decrease the rate of fatigue, increase muscular endurance, enhance the rate of fat oxidation, and improve mental focus and drive.
3. Citrulline Malate
A natural amino acid, Citrulline Malate is produced in the body from other amino acids you consume. Boosting the levels of Citrulline Malate in your body can help increase energy levels and performance while speeding up the recovery rate. If you often wake up sore from a hard workout the next day, this ingredient can be helpful. Citrulline also helps remove the byproduct of lactic acid from your muscles during a set, which would otherwise create that intense burning sensation, causing you to stop early.
A great ingredient to increase muscular endurance and improve overall training volume, beta-alanine works by buffering hydrogen ions which help keep the intensity up for longer periods of time. Beta-alanine is excellent at diminishing the sensation of fatigue you experience during each session by maintaining a favorable pH level in the body.
5. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate is a well-proven ingredient you’ll want in any pre-workout product as it saturates muscles with the energy source needed to produce fast and big energy pumps. Used by bodybuilders for decades, creatine works by boosting the level of ATP generation in the muscles, allowing you to perform more before hitting the point of fatigue, as well as enhancing strength, lean mass muscle, and sprinting capability.
The winter is almost over. Longer days and warmer weather seems like the perfect combo to get some people exercising and burning the extra calories
from the winter months. So, it’s time to start up your fitness program.
Overdoing your fitness capabilities is one of the most common mistakes people make when starting, or re-starting, a new exercise routine. It’s understandable. Many people get excited about it and want to burn off a 3-month, sometimes 5-month, extra weight in 2 weeks or less. Unfortunately, our bodies do not work like that and time is needed to lose weight properly.
Slowly but surely. It fits perfectly as it’s more important to take time and ensure you are doing a fitness program that fits your needs than trying to get it done as quickly as possible.
If your goal is the upcoming summer, no hurry, you have plenty of time. Organize a good monthly plan and go from there. Another great tip: set up short-time goals. Some people find it helpful to divide the goal in stages. For example, if you are trying to lose 10 lbs. by mid-August, it may sound too difficult and you may find it difficult to motivate yourself. Let’s say you set up a goal to lose 2 lbs. per month and you may find that you are way more likely to reach this goal. Short-time goals with less intensity are a great way to reach better results.
Lacking energy is another issue many people face when starting to exercise. Your body isn’t used to a higher amount of activity and as a result, you may need an extra kick. On top of that, many people eat less when trying to lose weight and this combination may result in lack of vitamin and minerals and, therefore, lack of energy.
Energy supplements or drinks can be helpful as these products provide the necessary energy for your workout without the unwanted calories.
Get started, slowly but surely, and you will reach your fitness goals without any issues.
Lucky Vitamin is introducing another premium brand to keep you prepared both in fitness and outside the gym: Hydracup
Hydracup was originally developed for carrying pre and post workout in one shaker but it didn’t take time to realize it can be used to replace all other shakers. Today, this innovative shaker bottle is being used by hundreds of thousands of followers in over 100 countries. With over 400,000 sold in only two years, Hydracup has added something original and fresh to an industry that was flooded with cookie cutter and knock off products but, more importantly, the company has helped customers save time and stay prepared.
Designed to help customers take control of their fitness goals, Hydracup’s 28oz total capacity is equal or bigger than comparable shakers and is super easy to use. Just fill both sides up with the same ingredients or when you don’t need two drinks, use it as a regular shaker. Even if the dual function isn’t your main priority, use Hydracup just like a normal shaker and you will never need another shaker again.
The company believes in taking chances and being different as opposed to the corporate approach of only chasing $ signs. That’s the reason Hydracup is always making progress to bring you the freshest colors and as well as fun and motivational quotes that you’ve never seen before.
You can save even more when you shop Hydracup products at Lucky Vitamin com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
Lucky Vitamin continues to add new sport nutrition products to our customers. The latest addition is an innovative, fast growing company that provides high quality products with the most up-to-date formulations: Swole Sports Nutrition
Swole Sports Nutrition strives to provide supplements to all athletes who are looking to amplify their current workout routines. The company creates and develops products that are designed to help everyone train like a professional athlete.
Swole Sports Nutrition innovative formulas can deliver high potency with low dosing, a perfect combination to obtain optimal results. Additionally, Swole is fully committed to researching and formulating the best supplements that haven’t been created yet. The company seeks to push the limits of sports supplementation and the evolution of athletics through science.
Swole Sports Nutrition believes that training and proper nutrition are extremely important, and that proper supplementation can give you that extra drive and push you beyond your expectations, improving your results in less time. It’s time to experience the next level of sports nutrition.
Choose from pre-workout supplements to post-workout formulas, BCAA products to creatine supplements and much more.
You can save even more when you shop Swole Sports Nutrition products at Lucky Vitamin com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation and a distinct philosophy. Because of its historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy, yoga was once considered ancient practice. However, all over the world, yoga is gaining popularity. In America specifically, the growth of yoga is astonishing. Since 2012, the percentage of Americans aware of yoga has increased from 75% to 90%. In addition, approximately 37 million Americans practice yoga today, which is a significant increase from the roughly 20 million Americans reported to be practicing yoga in 2012. It’s not just consumers who are catching on to the practice of yoga. Therapeutic yoga programs are now in place in many hospitals and health centers. Why has this practice gained such popularity? It might be because yoga compliments other forms of exercise or maybe it’s simply because yoga is good for you.
Benefits of Yoga
- Improved flexibility
- Stress relief
- Improved relaxation
- Enhanced performance in other forms of exercises
- May reduce fatigue and inflammation
- May reduce low-back pain
- May lower heart rate and blood pressure
- May help to relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia
- May improve quality of life
Common Types of Yoga
- This is the term that is used to describe any type of yoga that teaches physical poses. Any Hatha class you attend will focus on postures. Most Western yoga classes are a form of Hatha yoga. These classes tend to be slower paced and more relaxing.
- This style of yoga incorporates six poses broken down into a series and performed in a sequential manner. Each pose is connected and every movement is linked to a breath. It is a more rigorous and physically demanding style of yoga.
- Vinaysa is a more active and movement-rich style of yoga that incorporates a sequence of poses. Unlike Asthanga yoga, the poses change from class to class depending on the teacher and what they have choreographed for that day. Similar in intensity to Ashtanga yoga, these classes are generally fast-paced, physically demanding and lively.
- This type of yoga incorporates poses performed in heated studios at temperatures around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. In order for it to be truly considered Bikram, these classes must include a series of 26 unchanging scripted poses that were created by the founder Bikram Choudhury.
- Yin is a quiet more relaxing and meditative form of yoga. The slow-paced style of yoga incorporates poses that are held for longer periods of time.
- As the name implies, this form of yoga is for expecting mothers. It incorporates breathing, gentle stretching, poses and relaxation. This form of yoga is great for helping moms-to-be stay in shape, develop or maintain strength and flexibility and may even help prepare them for labor.
Yoga Practice Essentials
- Yoga Mat – A non-slip yoga mat is preferred.
- Yoga mats come in different sizes, depending on the amount of cushion you are looking for. For example, a 1mm yoga mat will offer less cushion between you and the ground than 3mm yoga mat.
- Fitness Apparel – Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is sweat-wicking and has stretch is ideal.
- Yoga Blocks – These are intended to help support poses and aid alignment.
- Yoga Straps – Like blocks, straps provide help with support, alignment and posture.
- Mat Carrier – Some mats can be heavier than others, but all are awkward to carry by hand. Yoga mat bags and straps can make lugging your mat around much easier.
Tips to Consider if You’re Going to Start Practicing Yoga
- You don’t have to incorporate yoga into your life every day at first. You can start slowly with one or two classes per week. You may even want to get started by just adding some poses into your cool-down routine after a run or workout.
- If you have any medical conditions make sure you speak with your health care provider before starting any type of yoga practice.
- Start by taking a beginners yoga class, although not as common as the classes above, many studios offer them.
- Find a studio that is convenient and easy for you to get to.
- Make sure to attend classes from experienced and certified instructors.
- Educate yourself on the type of class you are taking before taking it.
- Inform the teacher of any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries.
- Go with friends or workout partners.
- If practicing at home, find a clean and quiet area where you will not be distracted or bothered.
- Everyone is different. Make sure to modify postures based off your individual needs and abilities.
- Try out all different styles of yoga until you find the style that fits you.
Lucky Vitamin is happy to introduce a revolutionary product to our customers: Boost Oxygen
Boost Oxygen offers a unique supplement used to enhance sports recovery, alleviate high-altitude effects, remedy fatigue, and otherwise promote a heightened sense of personal health and well-being. These portable, lightweight, 95% pure oxygen canisters have used by people visiting high altitude locations, professional and amateur athletes, senior citizens, and famous celebrities alike. Founded in 2006, Boost Oxygen is currently the best-selling and most trusted oxygen canister brand in the world.
Boost Oxygen is all-natural, safe, and provides pure oxygen in a convenient, non-prescription form. Unlike stimulants and energy drinks, Boost Oxygen does not contain caffeine and sugars that can actually harm the body over an extended period of time. Considered by many as nature’s body supplement, oxygen is obviously required to sustain human life. When deprived of oxygen, performance of the body and mind can suffer. At sea level, the average oxygen content in the air is 21%. At altitude, it can be much less. Boost Oxygen provides a convenient source of 95% pure oxygen.
Oxygen is more than a life sustaining element. Studies have shown that the right amount of oxygen can significantly impact mental acuity, muscle strength, blood flow, organ vitality, stress abatement, and overall well-being.
You can save even more when you shop Boost Oxygen at LuckyVitamin.com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
Fitness is about exercising and accomplishing goals, but feeling good and comfortable are also important factors for those engaged in physical activities. In fact, wearing proper clothing is essential to succeed in basically any fitness activity as improper clothing may cause discomfort. Learn more about three of our new fitness apparel brands below, but don’t forget to check out all of the new items at LuckyVitamin.com.
Handmade in the US, this small, woman-owned business offers a unique line of clothing made with locally sourced fabrics, using non-toxic water based inks and low impact dyes, and creating pieces slowly and sustainably in small batches. The company staff consists of two happy and honored gals who can only produce so many pieces per week but ensure that every single piece is made in a ritual of art and creativity that transfers directly to the beloved customer. Plus, a portion of all proceeds goes to sponsoring two children and their villages in Africa through worldvision.org.
Manduka already creates quality yoga mats and accessories, but now add clothing to the mix. This top-quality brand of yoga clothing was designed to support your practice. You’ll find a variety of men’s and women’s yoga pants, shorts, cropped leggings, tanks, sports bras and more. Built by and for yoga teachers and their students, Manduka celebrates the spirit and wisdom of yoga and you can too with these new products!
Did you know clothes could be made from recycled water bottles? Yes, it’s possible and that’s what Teeki is all about. This very eco-friendly brand is an eco-conscious active wear line that can help you dance, stretch, run, hike, swim, and explore new adventures. Teeki clothing is made from fabric that is spun from fibers made out of recycled plastic water bottles, then cut, printed, and hand sewn with love, using only environmentally friendly practices. Made in the US, Teeki products contain only sustainable or recycled goods and the company is proud to keep plastic out of landfills. It takes over 400 years for plastic bottles to fully biodegrade. By recycling bottles into clothes, Teeki is offsetting the need to produce new raw materials.
Try out these and all the new fitness apparel products at LuckyVitamin!
Running is one of the most popular physical activities and,despite being a simple, easy-to-do exercise, it’s not always easy to go for a run. Many people feel lack of energy and soreness which can lead to discomfort and eventually stopping a run or running a shorter distance than what was originally planned. In order to help people achieve their goals and really go the distance, Lucky Vitamin is introducing a revolutionary product that can give you a quick boost of energy when you need it the most: Run Gum
Run Gum utilizes chewing gum as the delivery vehicle for stimulants to the body. This allows runners to have a lightweight, zero calorie option instead of traditional liquid supplements.
Run Gum products are designed with athletes in mind yet created for anyone on the run. This chewing gun is packed with caffeine, taurine, B-Vitamins and is available in three amazing flavors.
Run Gum is the fastest way to help energize and maximize your performance in sport and life. This one of kind energy gum is similar to many energy drinks and energy shots, only you don’t need to put anything in your stomach. Plus, as a gum, ingredients enters your system faster than drinks, shots or gels, so you will be ready to perform at your highest when it matters the most.
You can save even more when you shop Run Gum products at LuckyVitamin.com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
If you are looking to reach total wellness in 2017, Lucky Vitamin has great news for you. We are proud to introduce PharMeDoc products
to our customers.
PharMeDoc offers a variety of products that cater to the total wellness of each and every single customer. Distinctive in quality and design, PharMeDoc prides itself on introducing healthy, affordable and well-made products such as the Balance Ball with Pump.
PharMeDoc Balance Ball with Pump is designed for multiple training methods, a total body training regimen for maximum results. You can use the Balance Ball to focus on major muscle groups and improve your body’s core strength and natural balance while getting trim and toned. Constructed of latex-free rubber material, expect a durable workout session from PharMeDoc when you can tone, sculpt, and chisel your shoulders, buttocks, back, arms, thighs, abs, as well as improve core strength, agility and balance. The Balance Ball is made of eco-friendly, non-toxic materials and is durable and made to last.
PharMeDoc ensures that every element of the business is designed to exceed your expectations. These unique, high-quality health and fitness accessories are created and designed by a dedicated team of health enthusiasts with years of experience in their respective fields, and are manufactured with at least 15% more material than other brands.
You can save even more when you shop PharMeDoc products at LuckyVitamin.com. No code needed at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand as savings are automatically applied.
2016 is over and the New Year brings hope to a lot of people. Eating well and enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle
is a target for many people as they hope for a fresh start in 2017. Losing weight and being more active are among the most popular resolutions as when a new year begins people start exercising, gyms get packed, and parks get more people running or jogging. However, one simple thing can make a huge difference whether you can accomplish your fitness goals or not: rest.
Rest is as important as exercising and this statement is by no means an exaggeration. When people are trying to establish an exercise routine, particularly those trying to lose weight, they often forget about rest, a very important part of any successful workout program.
The human body needs rest to recover and ensure that all muscles are ready for the next workout. For example, when people join a new gym and start working out every day, or even 3 or 4 times a week, all muscles are likely to feel the sudden change in the amount of exercise, and that can translate to soreness and pain.
Go easy on your workout, especially if you are returning after a long hiatus or if you are trying a new activity. If you don’t take the precautionary steps, it may lead to injuries, another issue that may hamper your workout program. A good number of injuries are the result of a tired body in need of recovery. For example, muscle injuries are often caused by fatigue. Plus, fatigue also leads to that feeling of exhaustion, tiredness, weariness, and lack of energy to do other daily activities. Studies have shown that lack of rest and fatigue play an important role in muscles strain injuries which can be easily prevented with periods of rest.
Plain and simple: get going in 2017 but make sure you rest up, so you can keep going during the entire year.
It’s not too late. Shopping holiday gifts
can literally be done in the last-minute. A lot of people seem too busy to shop presents ahead of time and the only option left is to do it as time expires. Since online shopping has become very popular, last-minute shopping
is now a little bit easier as you can still find the perfect gifts
and have it delivered to your door only a few days, even hours before you need them.
Lucky Vitamin has prepared a special Healthy Holiday Gift Guide to help your find the perfect gift. Click here to see all the suggested ideas available at our discounted prices.
Here you can find tons of exercise and fitness products, the perfect present for the fitness fanatic or anyone aiming to reach their fitness goals. The New Year is right around the corner, so there’s no better time for these types of gifts.
Personal care items can also be an excellent choice. Choose from items FOR HER or FOR HIM, and find great gifts for you mom, dad, brothers, sisters, and friends.
FOR THE DIYERS is one of the most interesting sections. Here you can find a perfect gift to support their next great project. Choose from many options that may spark their creativity and can also be fun.
Let’s not forget our furry friends. You pet deserves just as much love as anyone else on your gift list. Click here and find the perfect present for your furry friend.
With the New Year “write” around the corner it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to accomplish in 2017. Not surprisingly, many people choose to take this time of year to focus on improving their overall health. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to assess your health needs is to create a daily personal health and wellness journal. This journal can help you to understand your current health status and inspire improvements to better your overall health. Research has shown that individuals who write about traumatic, stressful and emotional events are more likely to have improvements in physical and emotional health than those who do not.
Combine these experiential writings with a log of other daily events such as what you’ve eaten during the day, how you feel, time slept, sleep quality, medications/vitamins/supplements taken that day, physical activity and overall mood, you have the makings of a personal wellness journal that can help you discover causes or correlations among behaviors, symptoms and health issues. These findings can help you assess your current health and help you form goals on where you would like to be in the coming New Year.
Short Term & Long Term Benefits to Consider of Journaling
- Identify personal habits
- Identify potential allergens/sensitivities
- Personal growth and development
- Problem solving
- Stress reduction
- Better diet
- More frequent exercise
- Improved working memory
- Reduced number of visits to general practitioner or health center
10 Tips for Successful Journaling
- Commit to a journaling schedule
- Keep your notebook or journal where you won’t miss it
- Try using email or calendar reminders so you don’t forget
- Write in a private place, free from distractions
- Stay organized
- Keep it short
- Keep it fun and interesting
- Don’t worry about being perfect – write what comes naturally to you
- Make time for some reflection
- Reward yourself!
How to Keep a Health Journal
There are pre-made health journals that you can use to keep yourself organized, but don’t worry, a general spiral notebook will also work just fine. To start, be sure to note the date and day of the week. You can record your blood pressure and sugar level if necessary, along with weight and body temperature. It is best if these are recorded at the same time each day. Record the total amount of sleep you had for that day including naps. You can also record the number of times you woke up during the night and your overall sleep quality.
Since many individuals feel that their health is affected by changes in the weather, you can note the temperature for the day along with any present weather patterns (such as sunny, cloudy, humid, rainy, snowy, windy, etc.). Log any medications you took as well as any over-the-counter items and vitamins, herbs or supplements. Indicate the brand name, the type of medication or supplement and the dosage or strength. As you get comfortable with journaling, you can simply write “same as usual” to save time and only make notes when changes occur. You should also write down any physical activity that you performed that day, including walking, running, weight training or even vigorous housework, gardening, dancing, etc.
Take note to any pain or discomfort that you feel throughout the day. You can log the area where the pain occurs and number it on a scale of 1-10 in terms of its severity (1 being very mild, 10 being severe). Sometimes pain occurs at the same time of the day, so be sure to take note if this happens. In addition to pain and discomfort, you can also note any symptoms that you felt throughout the day. These may include fatigue, nausea, gas, bloating, watery eyes, diarrhea, heart palpitations, constant hunger, etc. Focus on all the areas of the body (from your head all the way down to your feet) and don’t forget to include any mental or emotional symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness, sadness or anger. You may also want to rate the symptom severity and take note to what time of day they occurred. If you notice any rashes, bruises, bites or other skin conditions take note of these and log them as well.
Finally, log your diet for the day including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Feel free to note the amount of calories, fat, sodium, protein, sugar and other nutritional information consumed at each meal. Also log your water consumption throughout the day. Keeping track of what you eat may help you discover trends in your day to day health to figure out if you are allergic or sensitive to certain food ingredients. For instance, every morning after drinking milk at breakfast you may have noticed excessive gas and diarrhea, which could identify lactose sensitivity. Leave a final section for comments or to include anything else that comes to mind. Congratulations, you’ve finished day one of your health journal!
The holiday season is right around the corner and it’s that time of the year when sticking to your fitness program
and eating a well-balanced diet becomes so much more difficult.
Many people are likely to start thinking that it’s better just to take break now and star over January 1st. However, a pre-holiday workout program can be an excellent alternative to relieve stress and make the restart a lot easier come January 1st.
Planning a pre-holiday workout program can be challenging but a few tips can be helpful. First, splitting up your game-plan may be a great start. The first stage can be the week before Thanksgiving. Set up between 3-5 activities based on your schedule and try to reach that before turkey day.
Next, post-Thanksgiving workout. Set up a 2-week program that should get you anywhere between 6-10 activities from the Monday after the holiday to mid-December. Then, round up the exercise program with another one week, 3-5 workouts for the 10 days before Christmas and New Year.
Trainers often suggest a workout program divided in blocks to make it easier to reach your goals. The same principle can be applied on a pre-holiday workout program as you can anticipate busy days for party planning and shopping as well as some overeating at holiday parties and end of year celebrations. Finding time may be an issue as people tend to get busier during the two last months of the year but remember that your workout doesn’t have to be an hour long. A short session of 15-30 minutes can still keep you active instead of going into “holiday hibernation” until the first week of January.
Healthy hydration is essential for our bodies and Lucky Vitamin is happy to present a revolutionary product to our customers. Liquid I.V.’s Hydration Multiplier
is a great-tasting, portable powder drink mix that uses the breakthrough science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) to deliver hydration to your cells faster and more efficiently than water alone.
Based on science pioneered by the World Health Organization to combat dehydration in developing countries, Liquid I.V.’s Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) uses a specific ratio of potassium, sodium, and glucose to deliver water and other key nutrients directly to your cells. The specific ratio of electrolytes used in CTT creates a current in the bloodstream that allows water to be absorbed in the upper digestive track. Typical fluids pass through the entire digestive system, losing water and vital nutrients along the way, before entering the bloodstream. Think of Cellular Transport Technology as an expedited water delivery system in your body, resulting in rapid hydration and a wholesome feeling for you.
Liquid I.V allows your body to perform at the highest level and is great for exercising. Additionally, it can minimize the effects of jet lag as dehydration is one of the primary causes of it as well as its negative symptoms including fatigue, headache, nausea, and anxiety. It can also enhance calorie burn as Liquid I.V. helps you more efficiently absorb water, stay hydrated, and improves your ability to physically perform and increase calorie burn. Plus, drinking the proper amount of water daily is critical as you age as it aids in digestion, circulation, absorption, and even secretion.
You can save even more when you shop Liquid I.V products at Lucky Vitamin.com. Just enter promo code OCT16NEW16 at checkout to save an extra 15% on all items of this new brand. But hurry, offer expires 10/30/2016.
After making plans to attend a residential course to learn the ancient meditation called Vipassana, I told my friends about it. Their collective response included the words “relaxing” and “retreat”. I let them know that it’s actually intense and challenging – about 100 hours of meditation packed into 10 days – and noble silence, meaning no speaking, writing, gestures, or eye contact. Their encouraging facial expressions twisted as I added that course participants awake at 4am, the last vegetarian meal of the day is served at 11am, and there are no phones or internet. No reading, stretching, yoga, or entertainment is allowed and the accommodations are very modest. I realized it didn’t sound very vacation-worthy, but I knew it offered the possibility of changing my life.
Now that I’m back I can tell you that indeed, it did change my life for the better. And yes, it was different than an average vacation. I didn’t come home tan – or enlightened – but I now understand the choices I make and how they result in happiness or misery. I am now acquainted with this simple non-sectarian technique that has been trusted for over 2,500 years by people of all backgrounds and faiths. The practice helps me stay focused, loving kind, and receptive. I’m more emotionally balanced – responsive, not reactive – and I know how to enjoy life more thoroughly. I now recognize when I’m multiplying a physical pain into a mental pain, and vice versa.
What is Vipassana?
Vipassana is mental training that helps practitioners see things as they really are, not as they would like things to be. This provides groundwork for transformation through self-observation, and liberation resulting in true happiness, harmony, love, and compassion for self and others. The highly concentrated 10-day teaching (as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin) offers a way to become established in this technique that can provide understanding of the depth of your mind and the way it works – to understand at the experiential level (not just intellectually) – in the framework of your own body – how and where you started generating negativity and multiplying misery. By understanding and using the technique, you can locate the roots of your misery and break free from old habit patterns.
Vipassana is the simplest, yet most difficult form of meditation because it asks so little of the practitioner. There is no visualization, mantra, or breath control. The technique only requires equanimous awareness of bodily sensations and the impermanent quality of all things. Basically, it’s a body scanning process that can be learned intellectually in minutes. However, a concentrated and almost continual practice of at least 10 days is necessary to establish experiential understanding of the technique and its benefits. Awareness is moved systematically through the body while sensations are observed objectively and neutrally. Pleasant feelings are not to be craved and unpleasant feelings are not to be averted.
The course merely provides a Kindergarten-level understanding, yet for many, the subtle sensations experienced are so different than the gross sensations they are accustomed to, they may think they are experiencing enlightenment or bliss. During the 10 days, one learns to sweep one’s awareness of subtle sensations throughout the body, the result of which can feel something like a shower of tingling vibrations. Not all the sensations are pleasant however. Many people have to work through a variety of physical and emotional pains, so it can be cathartic and healing as well. Experienced practitioners explore even subtler sensations, penetrating their awareness through muscles and organs, while more advanced practitioners go even deeper, becoming aware of the subtlest of sensations, even into the depth of the spine.
During the course, one is to consider it as working in isolation. This is the first time that most people will ever be alone with their mind with no distractions. While everyone’s experience is unique, many get a chance to power through internal struggles in a way that makes them stronger.
Session duration is usually 1 or 2 hours long with 10 minute breaks in between. After 3 days of being able to shift position and futilely attempt to gain comfort, participants are asked to resist the urge to move during each 1 hour sitting. This teaches strong determination and practitioners learn they can make it through nearly torturous mental and physical pain. Everything arises and eventually passes away.
There are no charges for the course, food, or accommodations. Expenses are met exclusively by donations from students who complete the course. Donations pay it forward by providing someone else with the opportunity to experience the benefits of Vipassana. About 300 Vipassana centers located globally offer this unique experience to learn the basics of the technique in an uninterrupted, safe environment where one can practice almost continuously without concern for the chores of a householder. Volunteers silently cook, clean, and manage daily tasks so students may focus on learning and practicing.
If you are interested in learning more about the pure, original form of Vipassana and its benefits, visit dhamma.org. There are also many interesting anecdotal videos you may want to explore that have been posted online by individuals who have experienced the 10-day course. If you do not want to commit to 10-day course, know that the simple act of quieting the mind and paying attention to breath is in itself an act of meditation and can be a very beneficial way to begin a meditation practice.