Are you a senior citizen who wants to become more mindful?
If so, you may want to consider Mabel Kay Senior Center’s donation-based mindfulness and meditation program, led by certified Gestalt practitioner, somatic therapist and private yoga and meditation teacher Batsheva Leshed. It coincides with May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
Program classes will take place on consecutive Thursdays at the Mabel Kay Senior Center on May 11 and continuing on May 18 and 25. During each hour-long class – start time is 11:15 a.m. – attendees will get to know each other and participate in a number of mindfulness activities, including sharing between participants and breathing exercises.
“The most important thing is to help them be more present and less in the worries of the future or the past,” said Leshed, a Cherry Hill resident. “When you really use all that it takes to create mindfulness and breathing, meditation, all the stuff we’re going to do, it’s just helping to be more present.”
Leshed shared her reflections on a previous class.
“We came to the realization that daily short practices are necessary to make progress, but it’s also okay not to practice every day as long as we have the awareness that practice leads to progress,” she explained.
“We emphasized that it’s never too late to start and that anyone can start meditating at any age.”
Each session will typically end with a 10-minute silent meditation session.
“I find that it’s very powerful and supportive to meditate in a group and a supportive community,” Leshed said.
The instructor noted the importance of people being gentle with themselves and open to experiencing things during the class, such as trying to meditate and finding thoughts racing through the mind.
“Acknowledge it, whatever emotion you’re feeling that comes,” Leshed advised. “And in that way, you can kind of create this awareness to the present moment. Pay attention to the breath and understand there’s nothing wrong.
“ … There is no failure in meditating,” she added. “This is beautiful: You show up here. You practice. This is the hard thing.”