Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Vipassana Mean?

Vipassana means "insight into the nature of reality." Believed to have been taught by the Buddha himself, vipassana meditation focuses on purifying the mind and eliminating delusions, thereby ridding the individual of negative attachments such as pain, suffering and distress.

Vipassana is also called insight or mindfulness meditation. The term comes from the Sanskrit vi, meaning “intense” or “powerful,” and passana, meaning “seeing.”

Although vipassana originated in the Buddhist tradition and yoga in Hinduism, they are gaining acceptance as companion practices.


Yogapedia Explains Vipassana

Vipassana, also sometimes spelled vipasyana, uses breathing, combined with meditation and observation of the mind and body, to acquire knowledge of the true reality. Vipassana purifies the mind with the goal of eliminating all forms of attachment – both physical and emotional. The meditation focuses on anitya (impermanence), duhkha (sorrow or suffering) and anatman (the absence of a permanent self).

When perfected, vipassana leads to prajna (liberating wisdom) and, ultimately, nirvana (the ultimate state of enlightenment and freedom from suffering).

One type of yoga making use of vipassana meditation is Insight yoga. It integrates static and dynamic poses that focus on awareness of the physical sensations with the insights and mindfulness of vipassana meditation.

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