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Virtual Reality meets Meditation at The Village

Jun 20, 2023 | Vanessa Tignanelli, Storyteller & Content Creator

seniors using VR headsets

Soft instrumental music plays. A calm voice tells you to breathe in and out, to feel your feet grounding you to the floor, and to listen to the sounds of the environment around you. Your body knows that you are seated on a chair in a classroom, but your eyes are telling you that you are standing on a beach, surrounded by mountains, with birds flying overhead.

Earlier today, The Village flex space transformed into a peaceful meditation room, with twelve of our community seniors gathered for a guided meditation workshop. Yet this was no ordinary meditation – this one used Virtual Reality headsets.

VR has the ability to transport us to other worlds. Combined with meditation, it has the power to deepen our experience of finding calm, coping with stress, and refocusing our attention to restore a sense of peace. 

Paige Lacroix (23) led the workshop, a Social Service Worker student completing her one-year Intensive program at Canadore College. She holds a BA in Psychology from Lakehead University and will be graduating from Canadore this coming October.

Paige decided to complete her placement with The Village as a way to gain valuable experience working with the older population, and has been assisting with programming since April. 

“We were using the VR headsets to get the members involved in using technology, and we came across the Guided Meditation VR app,” explains Paige. “The members are already very interested in yoga and meditation, so I decided to do my final placement project combining the two.”

The Guided Meditation VR app offers a wide selection of meditation focus areas and environments, such as calming breathing exercises on a beach to help cope with anxiety, to Zen meditations that take you to the deepest parts of the forest.

Hilda MacLean volunteered to wear the VR headset for the workshop, experiencing the meditation from inside the virtual world while the others watched and listened along from a screen connected to the headset. Although this allowed them to experience the meditation alongside Hilda, she says that the meditation was so much more powerful from within the headset.

“The guided meditation asks you to try to feel light within your body,” begins Hilda. “I felt like I was a wave. The VR made me feel like I was floating, looking down at the beach, so I already felt light before the guide even began. It helped me enter the meditation much more quickly.”

The Village owns seven pairs of VR headsets, and plans to continue to make them available for experiential workshops such as this, in an effort to support digital literacy and access to technology.


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#Canadore College #sustainability #The Village