Tips to prepare for your Vipassana Retreat

All the “Do’s and Dont’s” they won’t tell you about on the Dhamma website :-)

julie w.
julie w.
Jun 1, 2016 · 4 min read

DO :

Bring shoes you can slip in and out of easily !

This means no shoe laces, no boots, no high tops… I calculated that you’ll have to take off and put on your shoes at least once an hour, every hour between 4am and 10pm….

Think about bringing your favourite comfy sheets.

When you finally jump into your bed at the end of a looooong day, you’ll be so grateful to cozy up in a familiar scent and favourite fabric .

Plan and prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

You don’t want to start worrying too much during the retreat… so make sure to handle anything you need to before leaving as you won’t have internet nor phone access. No one wants to freak out because of an unpaid bill , a window left open or about who will be feeding the fish while you’re away.

Leave the Dhamma center’s office number with your friends or family as an emergency contact.

So your F&F don’t worry either and know where to find you in case of an emergency.

Bring layers! Layers! Layers!

During meditation your body temperature will go through all sorts, from cold to boiling hot, so come prepared.

Bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper.

Even if it is dead quiet, the complete silence will make any noise louder and you’ll hear doors slamming in the night when people go for a midnight toilet run.

Make sure to do some stretch training ahead of the retreat.

It will help you sit longer and prevent muscle stretchy pain.

In fact, bring some tiger balm, thai balm or bengay cream.

Because you will think you’ve hurt your muscles, whether back, neck, thighs or else. It makes it all easier. Meditating 10 hours a day is like a marathon for the mind, so be prepared, like an athlete.

Switch off your smartphone mobile data settings BEFORE the retreat.

Trust me, you want to avoid the explosion of apps notifications when you switch your phone back on, it’s unbearable and you’ll feel bombarded otherwise

Introduce yourself to a few people when you arrive.

That is BEFORE silence is enforced. This will help you figure out how to become social again, because nothing is weirder than to start talking again and have no idea of who everyone is. Awkward… !

Stay CLEAR of the compulsive extraverts…

Some juuust can’t help it… :-) You will notice their fidgety and impatient behaviour over the first few days… and they will attempt communication no matter what, verbal, gestural or eye contact.


… research the Vipassana technique ahead of the retreat under any circumstances.

It is pointless! Avoid building preconceived ideas and come with a virgin mind, trust me it is best!

… worry about digital detoxing or not speaking for 10 days !

Seriously…It is really THE easiest part of the retreat. In fact when silence is broken at the end of the 10 days, you might not feel like speaking for a while… most didn’t want to even look at their smartphones either…

… worry about your valuables.

You will provided a locker with a key which you will keep. And frankly anyone who signed up for this probably has something else on their mind than stealing your stuff.

… bring socks with holes.

It’s too embarrassing as you spend most of your time with your shoes off, and it will feel chilly.

… eat too much at breakfast or lunch by F(ear) O(f) M(issing) O(ut) !

Honestly it’s not worth the embarrassment of a noisy belly or squeezed farts, you won’t be able to hide, everyone will hear it, lol . So eat responsibly!

… think that you can be slick and can go around the rules and code of discipline.

This meditation technique is rather strict but it is for your own good. How can you expect to discipline your mind if you can’t stick to some rules for just 10 days….?

… Give up!

You might feel like giving up, packing and going home… but… keep going… it’s hard but well worth it. And if I managed to do it, you can too! I used to painfully meditate 10 mins maximum from time to time before doing this course.

… Look at and compare yourself with others while meditating.

No peeking! It will look like everyone is doing so much better than you, but the inside story is never what you think it is.

… Not worry if you leave the center ready to quit smoking or eating meat.

It’s weird, it just happens. Don’t ask me why. I have no idea…..

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