MA Q&A – Rita Doherty

MA member Rita Doherty is passionate about meditation – and meditation teaching. Involved in the health and fitness industries for over 20 years – and also a marriage celebrant – Rita has been “teaching meditation for fifteen years and practicing for twenty-five”.

She brings a diverse and broad range of mind and body-based practices to a diverse and broad range of people. “I teach – and have taught – a variety of meditations to many different humans,” she says. “Having studied many forms of meditation over the past twenty years, I feel this has given me the awareness to ‘change up’ my teachings in different scenarios”.

To that end, Rita has taught meditation in a variety of different sectors and contexts, from aged care, corporate organisations and not-for-profits, to local studios, online, one-to-one and classes at her studio at home in Melbourne. She ‘goes deep’ with long-time regulars, and guides soft, gentle practices for relaxation at her monthly open drop-in sessions.

As she describes it, she teaches meditation “everywhere!”

What is the story behind your first meditation experience? 
My first meditation experience was at twenty-two years ago when I was twenty-nine. I had been going through a terrible, sad divorce and decided that I needed something to relax me other than partying up! I stumbled into the local meditation centre in Essendon, Melbourne, which was run by Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga.
The energy inside of the studio was so peacefully divine, I felt happy just being there. I signed up for the class that night and the experience was equivalent to having a few drinks – relaxing but without any side affects! I spent ten years deepening my meditation experience there, and was also introduced to Qigong, in which I also furthered my studies. I also studied mindfulness meditation, sound bath and ChiBall relaxation meditations.

How long did you meditate for today? And: cushion, bench, chair, standing, walking or lying down? 
Today’s meditation was a walk into parklands and Qigong practice in the sunshine, connecting into divine love for healing. Also sitting with my two cats listening to their purring and feeling their calming energies.

What meditation practices are you personally finding beneficial at this particular time of COVID-19?
I am enjoying the sustenance and teachings of BK (Brahma Kumaris) and also Mindfulness in May with Elise Bialylew. In the past I have never had the time to do it (MiM), so I’m feeling quite full with all of the teachings at the moment.

What or who inspires you? 
Looking into a blue sky or a sea of clouds inspires me; it makes me feel calm and happy. Listening to crystal and Tibetan bowls softly playing heals my heart, when I play them. And there are too many great teachers to list – there have been many BK teachers who have inspired and taught me meditation and spiritual sustenance!

How might you be changing or adapting your teaching practice at the moment, to accommodate the physical limitations brought about by COVID-19?
I don’t think there’s too much change other than going online. COVID-19 has certainly injected so much more fear into us all, which creates extra breakdown in the kidneys and our immune systems. Having studied components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Qigong, in my teachings I am strongly helping and advising my clients to become aware of their adrenals, giving them ideas, exercises and meditations to keep their immune systems up, and to become aware when they fatigue.
Do you sing in the shower?
No, but I love some Ooommming and chanting!

What’s the best, or most important thing, you’ve learned as a meditation teacher?
To be present, aware and to become a ‘Detached Observer’ of the whole experience of teaching.

What’s the most inspiring or loveliest thing you’ve seen or experienced today? 
Our amazing parklands, and my ‘fur-baby’ cats whom I never get tired of looking at, observing and enjoying them teaching me to be present…

Visit Rita’s website

Interview: Rita Doherty
Photos: supplied
Edit: Megan Spencer
Questions: Karen Stone & Megan Spencer
© Meditation Australia 2020