It has been a few months now that I visit the frail care patients once a week at the Fairmed Care Centre in Durbanville. And yes, their bodies are frail but their spirits shine brightly.
It is honestly the most humbling and rewarding experience to do “chair yoga” with these elderly angels. Turning the wrists, rotating the ankles, raising one leg at a time and gentle breathing exercises may feel like nothing to us but it takes a lot of effort for them to do these minuscule movements. The lesson in this is that no matter how small our actions, they still have enormous benefits.
They sit or lie down for most of their days so this little bit of exercise has such a positive effect on their minds and bodies. I can only smile when some of them start a session looking all grumpy and tired of life to only end with smiles and a new lease on life. Even though they are old, their anxieties are just as profound as ours living in this fast paced world. One may be sad that they haven’t seen a visitor for days, the other might be annoyed with her polkadot socks – their fears and worries are real (whether it be about socks or even physical death).
They teach me so much about life. It is true that when one teaches, two learns 🙂 What I have really learnt most is that human touch is so healing. At the end of each session we end off with a visualisation exercise and a shoulder massage. My heart absolutely melts each time I touch their delicate shoulders and ask them to breath deeply as I apply a gentle touch to the shoulder muscles. They instantly release built up tension and I can sense how their bodies relax with the short but meaningful gesture.
One of the best highlights was when they did a guided visualisation where they had to picture themselves in the prime of their lives. They had to imagine what they looked like, who they were with and what they where doing. As they were imagining their golden years, some where smiling and some had tears running down their cheeks. The exercise was a reminder that they are still that same person. Even though their physical bodies are withering, their souls and spirits are still shining brightly.
I feel so incredibly blessed that I can work with these very special souls.