Yoga, Meditation & Concentration

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. March 2022

Yoga classes are back indoors, wearing masks and sanitizing our props afterward. It’s so good to be back together, bonding in the silent space of yoga. It is our refuge. Many students have told me how much yoga has helped as they went through the loss of a loved one. I encourage people to practice at home as well, but many prefer a class for the group experience, the structure, and learning.

We met in the chapel at winter solstice for sharing and good company. It’s a joy to get to know each other and make friends in these quarterly social gatherings. It’s also a unique experience to live together as neighbors as well as practice together. We were back in the chapel again for the fall meditation retreat. In the spring retreat, we talked about equanimity, the peace of mind that comes from yoga and meditation. People braved the ice and snow on New Year’s Day for our annual workshop, again the first time since quarantine began. The whole campus was a sheet of ice!

Classes are an exercise in concentration as well as movement, steadiness of mind and body. We need both as we age. A consistent yoga practice may keep us steady and mobile without needing a walker. We do lots of hip openers to release restrictions and build a more stable foundation. Science has been researching meditation and discovering neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to form new neural connections. An alert mind helps us to avoid falling as well. Over the years many students have told me they tripped over something but were able to recover before falling. Or they did fall but were able to brace themselves so they weren’t injured. Sometimes an older person falls and isn’t hurt but they’re unable to get up again. Hopefully that won’t to any of us with an ongoing yoga practice.

Students range from their 60’s to 90’s. There is something for everyone in each of our 3 classes. We all have restrictions and limitations. We just work around them, moving with grace and equanimity. Yoga means being in harmony with ourselves, in body and mind. Breath is the bridge in between. You can do a free trial of any yoga class to see how it feels. Everyone is welcome!