Relaxation, calm, peace of mind and overall feeling of wholeness, of being ‘together’
The word ‘meditation’ tends to scare people away as so much has been said about it but really nothing has stuck, except possibly the image of a person sitting in a lotus posture (that few westerners can manage to get into!), eyes closed, fingertips touching and the hands resting on the knees.
Then there is the sense that meditation is something difficult, demanding much mental effort and struggle.
The Lotus position has its benefits. I learned it as a Qigong exercise whose purpose is to open up some energy pathways. But the qigong master teaching it was Chinese and the Chinese have the joints of the lower body angled to pivot naturally into a more open position (which allows them to adopt the Lotus position more easily).
So I did not pursue that particular exercise, it was painful and there were many more exercises to train with that I could benefit from.
So, let’s get back to our subject: the benefits of meditation for seniors we can’t do without as baby boomers.
There are so many ways and methods of meditation – as many as ways to go from Carcassonne, where I live, to Paris! Some ways are more beautiful than others with more scenery and places to stop and enjoy oneself.
And over the last 30-plus years, by sitting, listening and practicing some meditation techniques with different masters, it has become clear to me (and I heard it from them too) that meditation can be practiced sitting, standing, lying down or walking – and not only that, but also you can come ‘dressed just as you are’, there’s no need to dress in any particular way!
For example, exercises of Chinese origin like Tai Chi and Qigong may certainly be described as meditation exercises as they demand our integrated attention on breathing, movement and inner sensations. Yet the beauty of them is that they are easy to learn! Such exercises, of course, have invaluable benefits to health of both our mind and body, which is why I like to call them body-mind exercises.
And easy tai chi is perfect for seniors because they’re gentle on the body, simple to perform – and yet powerful in their effects.
These days, I must say I just practise my daily exercise program that includes some gentle stretches, Tai Chi, some Qigong – inducing a very relaxed and integrated (holistic) state of being – and then some time sitting in meditation.
The benefits I could not do without (and perhaps you too, I believe!) are:
– a relaxed body, therefore healthier
– a calmer and more focused mind
– an overall feeling of wholeness, of being ‘together’ and therefore on target which is very satisfying and avoids the ‘scattered-ness’ of mind and energy
– more peace of mind
I can also notice that I am in good health and have been for many years. I feel even better than I did 30 years ago and put it down to the different easy processes I do that include some gentle exercises that can induce a state of meditation.
To provide a means to generate well-being from within, Francoise, a qualified Seniors Exercise teacher (for Over and Under 50’s!), has created a Best Exercise Program for Baby Boomers.