A completely different kind of spa is the world famous Igatpuri resort where you can learn Vipassana, the 2500-year-old art of meditation. This cloistered world offers a ten-day residential course in which no contact with the outside world is permitted. A demanding daily schedule is followed which includes about ten hours of sitting meditation, complete silence and no communication with fellow students.
There are three steps to the training. First, you practice abstinence from actions, which cause harm as well as the five moral precepts, no killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct or alcohol etc. It's tough, real tough getting up at four in the morning and sitting in silent meditation, no conversing through the day till your voice is a stranger to yourself. For the first three-and-a-half days, you practice meditation, focusing on breath control. This is supposed to help develop control over the unruly mind. The third step, undertaken for the last six-and-a-half days, is the practice of Vipassana: one penetrates one's entire physical and mental structure with the clarity of insight.
Students receive systematic meditation instructions several times a day, and each day's progress is explained during a taped evening discourse. Complete silence is observed for the first nine days. On the tenth day, students resume speaking, making the transition back to a more extroverted way of life. The course concludes on the morning of the eleventh day. The retreat closes with the practice of metta-bhavana (loving-kindness or goodwill towards all), a meditation technique in which the purity developed during the course is shared with all beings.
In addition to frequent ten-day courses, special courses and long courses of 20, 30 and 45 days are periodically offered for advanced students.
All courses are run solely on the basis of freely offered donations. No fee charged: the courses are financed totally by donations from students who have completed a prior course and wish to share the benefits they themselves received by giving donation for the students who come after them. Like the Indian tradition of gurukula, no money is exchanged between the guru and the disciple. Teachers volunteer their time and only effort is asked of you.