Anapana is the first step in the practice of Vipassana meditation. Anapana means observation of natural, normal respiration, as it comes in and as it goes out. It is an easy-to-learn, objective and scientific technique which helps develop concentration of the mind. Observation of the breath is the ideal object for meditation because it is always available, and it is completely non-sectarian. Anapana is very different from techniques that are based on artificial regulation of the breath. There are no rites or rituals involved in the practice or presentation of Anapana.
The ideal time to begin the first steps of this mental training is in childhood. Besides helping children to calm and concentrate their minds, Anapana helps them to understand themselves better and gives them an insight into the workings of their own minds. They develop an inner strength that helps them to choose right and appropriate actions over wrong actions, control and become master of their own mind. Anapana provides them with a tool to deal with the fears, anxieties and pressures of childhood and adolescence. Because of its simplicity, children find the technique easy to understand and practice.
Children today are growing up in a fractured and rapidly changing world. They need help to meet the challenges facing them and to develop their full potential. Anapana courses can help them find a way to live peacefully and productively, and to make the society in which we live more peaceful. In the words of Mr. S. N. Goenka, “They should grow up to be ideal human beings. That is our only aim.”
To learn Anapana, it is necessary to take an Anapana Course under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Conducting the course is a children’s course teacher, who has undergone special training at a workshop. Along with the teacher are group leaders, each working closely with a small number of children.
There are two 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, sexual misconduct and use of intoxicants and follow the code of conduct. 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 - focusing attention on the breath as it comes in and goes out naturally. The entire teaching in all these courses is conducted through audio & video tapes of Mr. S. N. Goenka, principal teacher of Vipassana meditation, who reintroduced this teaching in India and many other countries. Each course is divided into small sessions of 30-40 minutes which includes both practice and understanding of the theory. The course concludes with the practice of Metta-bhavna (loving kindness or goodwill towards all) in which peace and happiness gained during the course is shared with all beings.
At Dhamma Paphulla once a month Children course is offered. For this prior registration is must. Children courses are generally of 6 hour duration and are also conducted in schools, orphanages, Remand Homes, Ashrams etc. Physically disabled or mentally retarded children also are taught this simple yet very beneficial technique of Anapana.
Depending on the time availability of learners a 70 minutes Anapana sessions are offered effectively.