Many silent retreats and Vipassana retreats start off the practice with concentration. This is fine if participants already have a generally relaxed demeanor and open/immersed attention. However, most people who participate in technological and goal oriented cultures have developed a habitully narrow and collapsed focus. This stems from crowded and noisy environments where people must focus narrowly on their conversation, task or entertainment while shutting out competing ambient noise and commotion.
This seemingly productive form of awareness/focus becomes the only way of functioning. And, habitual narrow/shutting-out focus leads to stress, anxiety and a series of health issues that come with being in a perpetual state of fight or flight.
If your default state of being is other than a relaxed, open awareness that is gently taking in all experience as a calm unfolding of the perfection and nurturance of life, then I highly recommend that you begin a meditation practice with…
10-day retreats begin with Open Focus practices as they are guided by Dr. Les Fehmi as well as belly/breath awareness and relaxation exercises as promoted in The Way of Shambala. A guide of tantra practices. These are life-long practices that will develop with your other meditation techniques.
The retreat gradually adds concentration and scanning techniques. And, ends by turning our newfound strength and sensitivity towards unconditional compassion.
Food during 10-day retreats is wheat-free, vegitarian, with some dairy options.