The Yoga of Aging - Sa Ta Na Ma

July 2, 2013
Katherine Austin Wooley


Recently, I was at a life care community in southern Florida, visiting my parents.  It started out as a simple visit to my parents' new home, but it turned into a much deeper experience that surprised me.

I arrived to find my parents, after two difficult years of illness, looking so good, healthy and happy.  They decided to make the move to a life care community for the support they really need.

None of us four children live nearby.  My Dad has several disabilities now, so this is much safer and freer for him.  Mom is still in good health.  This allows her to maintain her life as she knows it, confident that Dad is safe when she's out and about. Being his fulltime caretaker was taking a toll on her mind, body and spirit.

Sa Ta Na Ma -

Saa = Infinity, totality of the Cosmos
Taa = Life (birth of form from the Infinity)
Naa = death (or transformation)
Maa = Rebirth

This is the cycle of everything; Sa Ta Na Ma.  Whether  it's our life, a relationship, a job, nature, etc., nothing escapes Sa Ta Na Ma.

I spent 5 days among this community.  After I arrived, I quickly felt a heavy, thick, sad and stagnant energy, mostly in and around the main floor area.  It was beyond stifling.  It affected me quite strongly within the first two days of my stay.

I immediately started to feel heavy, burdened and exhausted, which is so unlike me.  I thought I was just letting down from a few busy months, but I quickly realized it was from the heavy energy in the building.

It made me sad to feel that energy for the few days I was there, and I had so much compassion for the residents who for the most part, are pretty unaware of energy and the effect it might contribute to their well-being or lack thereof.

It was hard for me day after day, dinner after dinner, to spend time with the long-time residents. Not their problem - mine entirely! It was hard for me to accept the Sa Ta Na Ma of life as it stared me right in the face.

This was such a great exercise for me to go through.  Once my "scared of death" ego let go, I grew to love and honor them from the deepest place of my soul.

Understand that my parents are in better shape at this point then most here.  They're the new "kids" on the block. Even my mom has struggled with feeling like she shouldn't be "here" yet.  It's time, she's there for Dad and for herself. They are a breath of fresh air and bright lights for this community.

Sa Ta Na Ma

Many of these beautiful souls who were once wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, held successful careers, experienced the loss of loved ones, have no visitors, and they are scared, angry, resentful, suffering from mental illnesses and numerous physical issues. And those are just a few of the challenges some residents face.  

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time visiting great-grandparents in a nursing home, so these revelations and feelings weren't new. I'd just been out of that milieu for quite a while, and feeling it again raised a different consciousness than the one I usually inhabit.

What made it unique now is that at 52, I'm much closer to understanding, seeing and realizing my future through their eyes and stories.  Yet on the other hand, I felt incredibly YOUNG amongst this age group!  I was!  I felt like I was 12!

Sa Ta Na Ma.......

I really felt myself cycling through my Sa Ta Na Ma, where I've come in my life and where I want to still grow to.

That I have so many wonderful years still ahead of me.

That I'm so grateful I was led to the healing path of love, yoga and meditation.

That by the Grace of God, I could possibly have a different outcome in my elderly years, than what I witnessed for the most part, because of my daily practices.

We were born for a time like this.  It's the Aquarian Age.  The Age of Enlightenment.

Now's the time. In the words of a dear friend;  "Let's do this!"

When we do our healing work we have the chance to be more awake & aware, to make better choices, to feel and stay healthier, to have more clarity, and lead a fulfilled life of joy, love and abundance in all forms way beyond anything we could have ever imagined.


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