Getting started

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

(also called Insight or Vipassana meditation)

BCIMS offers several introductory classes a year on mindfulness meditation. For more information about BCIMS classes browse our calendar.

If you are not able to attend an introductory class you may wish to consider attending a retreat where instruction for new meditators is offered. BCIMS offers several residential retreats a year which are suitable for beginners. For information on retreats click here or you can check out upcoming retreats on our calendar.

Weekly Sitting Groups

Meditators often find it helpful to practice regularly with other people. The sitting groups usually meet weekly or bi-weekly. As most sitting groups do not provide instruction we recommend that new meditators attend an introductory class or retreat before joining a sitting group. However, you may want to check with the individual sitting group to see if having prior meditation instruction is necessary. You can find more information about sitting groups here.

Books for Beginners

There are excellent books on mindfulness meditation for beginners. The following books provide an introduction to meditation practice:

  • A Path With Heart, Jack Kornfield
  • Mindfulness in Plain English, Ven. Henepola Gunaratana
  • Breath Sweeps Mind, Jean Smith editor
  • It’s Easier Than You Think, Sylvia Boorstein
  • Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, Goldstein and Kornfield
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Insight Meditation, Arinna Weisman
  • Being Nobody, Going Nowhere, Ayya Khema


On-line Talks & Resources

Many Vipassana meditation teachers also offer talks that provide instruction on mindfulness meditation. You may find the following talks helpful:

  • Dharma Seed Talks
  • Series of Talks by Tara Brach
  • Part 1 The Art and Science of Meditation Introductory Series
  • Part 2 Mindfulness of Emotions Introductory Series
  • Part 3 Mindfulness of Thoughts Introductory Series
  • Part 4 Living From Presence Introductory Series


Introductory Dharma Talks by Wonderful Teachers

  • Steve Armstrong - Introduction to Meditation Practice
  • Thanissaro Bhikkhu - Introduction to Breath Meditation
  • Sylvia Boorstein - Introduction to Vipassana Practice
  • Sylvia Boorstein and Donald Rothberg - Introduction to Lovingkindness
  • Matthew Daniell - Complete guided meditation instructions, beginning with breath and moving to choiceless awareness
  • Anushka Fernandopulle - For Love of the Body (Loving-kindness meditation towards the body)
  • Joseph Goldstein - Introduction to Meditation
  • Ayya Khema - Introduction to Meditation
  • Alan Lewis - Introductory Talk on Meditation and Guided Meditation
  • Michelle McDonald - An Introduction to Metta (Loving-kindness meditation)
  • Sharon Salzberg - Introduction to Metta (Loving-kindness meditation)
  • Diana Winston - What is Mindfulness?


If you are unclear which resources are most suitable for you please contact us to discuss your options.