In around July of 2021, I started teaching a meditation class at my local senior center.
It was a decision that I jumped onto initially; however, building up to my first session there, there was a part of me that wondered if some of the things I had to share were too "woo woo" or out there for them to either grasp or be interested in.
The reaction I received was quite the opposite. Many of the individuals who would come to my class were quite open about meditation and connecting to their energy. After class, they would even spread the word about our sessions to other seniors that attend the center because they were receiving life-giving benefits from both the practice and being in community.
I've had one attendee who, after a longstanding affair with a condition that causes her face to twitch, found that coming to meditation and participating would cause her face to relax and cease from twitching.
One of the most notable reasons why many people get into meditation is because it helps relieve stress - on not just a physical level, but also a mental and emotional one. When we consciously take time in meditation, we cultivate the skill of relaxation before anything else. And the more we do this - our body remembers, and can more easily drop into these states which, allow for more blood circulation, more calm, and access our parasympathetic response (that rest and digest response which allows our body to HEAL)
Another woman who has been attending since the beginning recently shared about a personal diagnosis of bladder cancer. When she shared with our group, she was scheduled for a surgical removal of the cancer. To share what was coming up for her and to ask for prayers was a leap of faith. Upon sharing she asked if after session that day we could send prayers her way.
I stopped her and acknowledged what she shared and said, "Why don't we just take a moment to pray now?" And so we did! And this attendee a couple days later after having had her surgery reached out to me over email and told me not only was she able to feel the energy continued to be sent to her by us outside of class, but that her surgery went smooth! So smooth that she would likely be returning to class the following week.
And then that week she returned to class, after our group meditation that day, she shared with the group her gratitude for being in the space and that the following month she would be turning 80 and that thanks to the weekly meditations at the center, she feels the youngest she's been in a long while.
To make a long story short, meditation as a standalone is powerful. However, from what I've learned in and beyond this space is that when we come together as a group to cultivate a collective intention of peace, healing, or even love, the ripples of this are deeply felt.
Not to mention, meditation DOES make us feel younger when we commit to a regular practice because it helps create a new relationship to stress, pain, our emotions, and ourselves - and in doing so, it also helps rewire our own neural pathways. Plus, when we can facilitate our own calm and relaxation, this is a superpower, especially when we live in a world that thrives off our attention and even productivity.
Last, a few months ago we had one senior pass away, which brought up quite a bit of grief within the community, understandably.
To be able to use group meditation as a place where grief could be processed is powerful.
One thing I tend to tell those I work with is that meditation is designed to be a space where ALL OF US can exist. This includes the parts of us that we've been taught to suppress by family, society, our education system, etc.
More importantly, what I find is that when people give themselves the space to allow for grief to arise, we becomes clear is that there is a deep love and gratitude for the people who passed. That, and a desire to make the most of life.
Overall, through meditation we become mindful of our present time experience in a way that steps out of the binaries that we were entrained since childhood. In doing do, we no longer suppress emotions and reject ourselves in the process, which can only lead to inner connection, relief, and appreciation for what is, was, and will be.
It turns out that there are a host of benefits that seniors, but also PEOPLE AS A WHOLE receive from practicing meditation.
Personally, meditation has allowed me to reverse a lot of the effects of stress, overwhelm, anxiety, and even aging. My practices continues to allow me to do just this while also cultivating more connection to myself and the love I have for my body, mind, and spirit.
Are there any benefits of meditation that stick out to you or any that you'd like to experience more of? I would love to know.
Additionally, if you feel like you would benefit from working together in a one-on-one container, you can always book a free consultation or view some of my services here.
Blessings and thank you for reading,