OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - During this oil crisis, mental health officials have repeatedly said that economic losses and the unknown long term effects on the environment have created a cloud of depression along the coast.
Now, a California physician is using his Yoga skills to help people let go of some of their anxieties. This weekend Baxter Bell says he's teaching techniques to help South Mississippians de-stress and get back to feeling good about their lives.
After watching television images of the massive oil spill and its effects on the Gulf Coast beaches, marshes and wildlife, Bell said he knew the angst felt by coast residents had to be affecting their minds, spirits and bodies.
"The stress that that's created in people's lives resulting in all kinds of things from headaches to insomnia to digestive issues," said Baxter. "Arising both out of possibly the exposure to toxins in the environment or simply just the worry and stress and difficulty that's arisen because of loss of jobs."
Bell, who travels the country demonstrating Yoga techniques, created a series of classes especially designed to fit the needs of coast residents. Students say they can feel their worries melting away.
"A wonderful place to leave all of your daily problems right at the door. You walk in and you just shed all of it," said student Phyllis Cosetino.
"It also has a really nice effect on our emotional life as well," said Bell. "So if we're suffering from a lot of anxiety or nervousness or depression, the Yoga seems to have really powerful in balancing those things out for folks."
Practicing Yoga is something that Bell says anyone can benefit from regardless of age or physical fitness level. They just have to find the right class for them.
"There are students here from their teens to into their late decades. There are some students here that practice that are in their 80s," said Bell. "I think that depending on where you are and what stage of life your at and how fit you feel, you should be able to find a yoga practice that's just right for you."
Baxter Bell is teaching several classes this weekend at "River Rock Yoga" in Ocean Springs. One of them is called "Laughter, a Light Heart and Yoga."