By Debbie Teofilo
Special to the Sun
Nearly everyone is feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the major life disruptions and fears caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This takes a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing just when we need to be strong to keep the virus at bay. Help is on the way.
Kern County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (Kern BHRS) has been in partnership with Helen Miller Lynch of MediYoga USA since 2019 to offer hundreds of in-person yoga classes designed to reduce anxiety and depression for residents. But during the current state-ordered “stay-at-home” period, these classes will instead be offered as free online sessions so everyone can easily access them from home at their convenience.
Two weeks ago Harvard Medical School published a health guideline recommending yoga, meditation, and controlled breathing as a way to relax and reduce anxiety caused by the global coronavirus crisis. MediYoga International, the parent company of MediYoga USA, has provided years of evidence-based data showing that its therapeutic yoga techniques developed in Sweden have beneficial effects on physical, mental, and emotional conditions. It has been so convincing that the Swedish and Norwegian national healthcare systems have integrated MediYoga into their clinical treatment programs. It is now used in more than 350 hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Scandinavia, and is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, including in the United States.
Kern BHRS has arranged to offer web-based MediYoga classes on demand to the general public over the next three months through June 30. On the mediyoga.com homepage, residents click on the “Kern County Residents” picture, then click on the “Register” button which gives them free access to all the yoga sessions on MediYoga Play. They can also take a voluntary survey before and after completing each session.
Residents can choose from a variety of therapeutic yoga sessions most suited to their own needs, including a short 20-minute “Quick Fix.” Helen Miller Lynch recorded all the practice sessions being offered at this time which are comprised of deep breathing exercises, yoga postures, meditation instruction, and guided relaxation. There are sessions to suit all physical abilities, including exercising in a chair, a bed, or on a floor mat, depending on which program is chosen.
The Kern BHRS MediYoga classes are funded through the California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). This act was originally known as Proposition 63 which was passed by voters in November 2004 to expand county mental health services through a one percent tax on individual incomes in excess of one million dollars. Kern BHRS is using part of its MHSA funds to provide community-based yoga classes and online sessions to help prevent and improve the behavioral health conditions of Kern County residents related to stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD.