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Sacramento Betsuin Offering Virtual ‘Medical Series,’ Yoga Classes for All

When the pandemic was declared at the end of April 2020, our temples began holding services and meetings using applications like Zoom, and we joined the virtual world.

At that time, we were able to revive an informative program that we called “The Thursday Night Medical Series.” When we began these gatherings about nine years ago, we would bring in experts to talk to our Sacramento Betsuin members and friends on topics like holiday stress, personal fitness and “Let’s Talk About Our Meds With Our Friendly Pharmacist.”


For the past 16 months, we have recreated this “Medical Series” for a new virtual audience. Our topics also have expanded, so we will be renaming this program our “Health & Wellness Series” in the new year.


In the past year, we have had speakers on the topics like “Prevent Cardiovascular Disease” (Dr. Nancy Luo, Dignity Health); “The Healing Strength of Caring: JA Buddhist Activism (Naomi Nakano and Devon Matsumoto); Health in Humanitarian Crises and COVID Rsponse” (Dr. Jolene Nakao, CDC); “Introduction to Shojin Ryori Cooking” (Rev. Michael Endo); “Eye Health & Wellness” (Dr. Stephanie Yoshimura); “Trauma and Resiliency” (Tara Umemoto); “Radio Taiso” (Juliet and Grace Bost); and recently, “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia” (Kate Kriner).


After our “Introduction to Yoga” session in September with Bob Matsueda, there was so much interest to continue, that we began a weekly yoga class with him from 7 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. Matsueda has started a new series with different invited guests speaking on the roots of yoga and Indian/Eastern spirituality.


On Sept. 16, Rev. Bob Oshita was Matsueda’s first speaker and discussed the “Dawn of Human Spirituality.” the many questions that gave birth to the religions and mythologies of humankind. We look forward to future classes that he will be hosting.


We are planning to have presentations from Sydney Shiroyama, occupational therapist and graduate student at IBS on “Promoting Community Wellness Through Taiko” on Oct. 21; Aaron Lee, criminal investigator of the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office on “Crimes Against Seniors/How to Stay Safe During the Holidays” on Nov. 18. And knowing that music is healing, we have a wonderful holiday singing session with actor/singer Merv Maruyama on Dec. 16. All of our sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. and usually will go for an hour.


In addition, Sacramento Betsuin’s Rev. Matthew Hamasaki will be holding monthly “Introduction to Buddhism” classes beginning at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18. Other dates will be: Nov. 15, Dec. 20, Jan. 17, 2022, Feb. 21, 2022, and March 21, 2022. To RSVP, go to Betsuinprograms@buddhistchurch.org


Our virtual gatherings have been so well received, that suggestions were made to make this series available to all who might be interested to attend. And so, we would like to invite our friends and family from near and far, to join us for our once-a-month, virtual gatherings.


One of the lessons we have learned in adjusting to life in 2021, is that we can still enjoy interactive contact, we can still offer meaningful programs, and we can now expand our sense of being a Sangha; for there are no boundaries in the “virtual world.”


If you are interested in joining our “Thursday Night Medical Series” sessions or the weekly yoga classes, please contact Betsuinprograms@buddhistchurch.org for more information.

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