After two challenging years, my parents recently moved into a senior living complex where they can live independently but receive support when they need it. It wasn’t an easy decision, but one they knew they had to make.
I planned a trip to see their new home, and it wasn’t long before my mother asked if I would teach a meditation class for their community.
I love how my parents embrace the work I do now. When I first got into yoga and meditation, it was so foreign them, that I fielded fearful comments wondering if yoga was a cult or a religion and what was I “getting” into?
So I arrived to the sweetest flier posted throughout the building, announcing my upcoming class. That Monday morning, I had the honor to teach meditation to beautiful and brilliant senior citizens.
It’s not easy growing old. Once-active, dynamic souls see their bodies start to stall or give them trouble and they can no longer do what they once found easy. It’s not only a physical challenge; our minds stall, too, and get us down when we identify so strongly with what we can “do” rather than who we are at the core.
It’s a byproduct of our society, of course, and one that is hard to shed as we slow down with age.
The people who gathered for my class in my parents’ community were souls that have lived through many of life’s major lessons. Most of them are no longer in the best of health and frankly, with good cause, many are fearful of this final stage of life.
I teach meditation all the time. But standing before mostly 80- and 90-year-olds, I was almost intimidated. Who am I to bring wisdom to these seasoned souls? In their eyes, I’m just a youngster.
But I began with what I know, from a place of compassion and love. What is meditation, why do we meditate and how does it work?
This was a subject that many had no knowledge of or experience with – and they were fascinated with the teachings. Many said they have never looked at themselves as energy or consciousness; the whole mind, body connection thing was new to them and a welcome concept.
This was a generation that was used to only a Western “medicine” or philosophy point of view. This was a generation that thought meditation was a religion, that they couldn’t not think or take the time to just sit and do “nothing” – that meant they were lazy.
Yet there I was, sitting in a room filled with a generation of people still open to learning something new. What a lesson for me!!
After a brief introduction, I tuned them in with a mantra, explaining why we “tuned” in to the bigger energy as we are always a part of it. I could feel the room immediately sync together and settle in. Relaxing and trusting had begun.
We did the Kirtan Kriya meditation from the Kundalini tradition for 18 minutes. This meditation has been studied and recommended by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation within the past few years due to its amazing results.
Clinical research has shown that practicing Kirtan Kriya for just 12 minutes a day can improve cognition and activate parts of the brain that are central to memory. There have been more than six studies done over the past decade that have demonstrated the impact of meditation on the brain.
It was beautiful to witness a room of people with their eyes closed, allowing themselves to let go and try something so new to them at this stage of their life.
This meditation is done in segments: human voice, whisper, silent (mental voice), back to whisper and finishing with the human voice again.
By the time we were at the first whisper section, many had stopped the hand mudra and had really “dropped in” or transcended! As we know, when 2 or more are gathered, everything is more powerful; amplified.
I felt the energy really rise in the room throughout the meditation. Even the temperature rose. The room got warmer, a beautiful sign that releasing of stress was occurring.
Afterwards, I asked them to share their experiences. One woman said she felt euphoric! Others felt peaceful, relaxed and blissful.
They even wanted to continue this once I left. They asked, “Can we do this as a group for 5 minutes on our own?” Yes!!!
I saw many of them throughout the rest of that day, and they kept sharing their positive experiences. I know I’ll be back soon. Thank you God; more healing to be shared by all.
Courtesy of: Katherine Austin, Karma Yoga Blog