About MITRA Upakram
MITRA Upakram is an initiative of Government of Maharashtra to facilitate wholesome mental growth of school children. MITRA Upakram undertakes to inculcate Right Awareness aims to address 2.5 crore school children and 1 Lakh school teachers. MITRA, which stands for MIND IN TRAINING for RIGHT AWARENESS also means FRIEND in English language.
The participants learn to observe the incoming breath and outgoing breath by focusing their attention at the entrance of their nostrils. They simply observe their natural breath without trying to change or correct the flow of the breath. In this way, they experience the beginning steps of self-awareness. This technique being observation based and scientific, without any imaginations or evaluations, leads’ to Right Awareness and hence Right Concentration. This technique is known as Anapana, where ‘Ana’ means incoming and ’Apana’ means out going breath.
MITRA Upakram provides a tool which can liberates the Mind from various barriers like anxiety, anger, hatred, lack of concentration, doubts, laziness, greed, restlessness etc. A simple format of delivery has been chosen with the support of Vipassana Research Institute (VRI), where after an initial training of 70 mins, the school children can practice this technique daily for 10 mins before starting of school and repeat the practice for 10 mins before leaving for home.
Within regular practice for a few days, the school children as well as their teachers achieve enhanced concentration, memory, self confidence, productivity, effectiveness and are also able to experience compassion and joy for one and all.
MITRA Upakram: In addition, the Maharashtra Government has started a plan through which teachers of all the Government school are given Vipassana and the student are given Anapana. Teachers are given paid leave to participate in the course so that not only will they themselves benefit from this knowledge but they will also be more successful in encouraging the student to do anapana. In this manner, hundreds of thousands of people have been benefited. This plan should be further extended.
Kalyanmitra S.N. Goenka.
From Vipassana Newsletter June 2013.
What is Anapana ?
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 that 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 the artificial regulation of breath. There are no rites or rituals involved in the practice or presentation of Anapana.
Anapana provides a tool to deal with the fears, anxieties and pressures across all age groups, especially children. Besides helping to calm and concentrate the mind, Anapana help people to understand themselves better and gives them an insight into the workings of their own minds. Because of its simplicity, the technique is easy to understand and practice.