Samsara Wellness Center brings free yoga to Bakersfield residents


Laura Lanfray

Instructor Linda Guerra ensures little interruption of library function by setting up the class in a quiet corner

Laura Lanfray, Reporter

The Samsara Wellness Center brings free yoga classes to the Bakersfield Community.

Owners of the Samsara Wellness Center, Katherine and Stephen Winters, teamed up with their staff and the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (KBHRS) in early September to share their knowledge across Bakersfield and host free yoga sessions for those who could use an uplifting and peaceful exercise.

Laura Lanfray
Participants enjoyed a relaxing yoga session on Wednesday night

The no-cost community yoga classes began in early September and will run through June 2019. The KBHRS funded the 10-month program in order to reach out and provide a sense of community to those who would otherwise think twice about joining a yoga class be it for financial, mental health, or other reasons.

In addition to the KBHRS, Samsara is working alongside the city libraries and a few affiliated health centers who have agreed to host the sessions. The Samsara website and social media sites list when and which facility will host a particular session.

Laura Lanfray
Linda Guerra demonstrates for the class. The quiet nature of the library provides an ideal environment for yoga

On Sept. 12, Linda Guerra taught the Gentle Flow class at the Baker Street Library. The hour-long session did not interrupt the regular library hours and even garnered some attention from curious onlookers.

Before each session, the participants are asked to fill out a survey to get a sense of their current emotional state. The idea is that by the end of the ten months, the participants will be able to look back on themselves and see their progress from beginning to end.

Geoff Taylor, a staff member at Samsara shared his excitement over this new program, explaining how one of the goals Katherine Winters has in mind is to create mindfulness in people that would help lead to less violent or otherwise negative behavior. It is a program to bring about positive change in people who might be struggling financially, with identity, drugs, or with mental health.

Laura Lanfray
Participants are provided with a yoga mat if they do not bring their own

“Bakersfield needs that kind of change,” Taylor added.

Taylor went on to express the fun it has been so far to reach out and meet such a diverse community, hoping more and more people will decide to take advantage of such a special opportunity.

“It’s free yoga,” he said, “Just come join us!”