Not surprisingly, death is something that humans have always been afraid of. Nobody wants to die. Yet, that is the most certain thing in our lives. We are born and one day we will die, even if we don't know when.
We spoke to Anna Von Lieven, who calls herself a soul doula and sheds light on how she supports older people to prepare for this moment. She supports older people in their lives and helps them prepare for their last breath.
We live our lives as if death didn’t exist. We don’t want to talk about it and sometimes it’s hard for our loved ones when they have nobody to talk about something that is worrying them. That’s when Anna comes in and supports all these people who want to prepare themselves for their last moment.
From Germany to Burgau
Anna works in Budens, Salema, in the Burgau area, but also makes home visits to the elderly and people with reduced mobility in the Lagos and Vila do Bispo area. Before moving to Portugal, she worked and lived in Germany, where she worked as a doula for pregnant women for several years. Currently, in the Algarve, she offers Yogatherapy and Yogacoaching, as well as Thai Yoga Massage. In addition, she does Transformative Coaching and Transformative Yoga Retreats in Nature.
"The end of a yoga class, "shavasana", is the most important part of yoga because that's when you practice letting go and you are back to what we believe in," Anna said. In this regard, it is important to note that she supports all kinds of religious beliefs people may have.
Anna said that we should always do this meditation and letting go. In fact, "this work of preparation should always be done, because we never know when our last moment will be”, she said.
Moreover, this daily practice can support us in all stages of our life and that is why it is so important to include this practice in our routine. For a better life, it is important to learn to "step into the unknown and overcome fear".
When it is the best time to start?
From what I understand, this is a practice that can be very useful during our lifetime and not only when we are getting older. "When people are well prepared, if they have their connection to the universe and their spirituality, they will not be afraid. So they can let go easily when it happens. You can start now, especially when you are in the second half of your life and not just when you are in a hospital bed."
According to her: “The sooner the better, but it's never too late”. There is an idea that yoga is for young and flexible women, but Anna points out that everybody can do it. There are a lot of movements people with less mobility can do and there is always the final meditation “shavasana” that is the most important part of yoga and everyone can benefit from it even without any flexibility. “Yoga is such a beautiful way to conqueror this fear of death”, she said.
Anna Von Lieven is a lovely human being who greatly appreciates supporting the elderly. "There are many elderly people who don't have their children here. I feel a call to support them. I think it's something that is really missing in our societies, which is to prepare for the last moment," she said.
"I really like this work. It's like a meditation. I found normal life too fast for me. I chose a job where I can slow down. This work is so magical when you are with someone who is going through a process of letting go. There is a very settled energy of listening and communicating with the soul," she added.
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252