As we enter the fifth month of lockdowns and self-imposed quarantines, the rate of Covid-19 cases continues to skyrocket across larges section of the U.S.—and with that continued spread come stress and anxiety over personal health and job security.
Acknowledging gaps in the wellness industry for the country’s 41 million native Spanish speakers and programs that specifically address mental health in 2020, wellness pioneer Deepak Chopra’s integrative health company Chopra sought to fill it with a collaboration from an unlikely duo.
The latest 21-Day Meditation Experience program from Chopra features guided meditations, powerful storytelling and self-care wisdom in English and Spanish from Chopra and four-time Latin Grammy-winning artist José Álvaro Osorio Balvín, better known as J Balvin. Each 20-minute audio experience focuses on building resilience, finding healing and transformation at a time when those affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak need it the most.
The free bilingual program made its debut at the start of July, which is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. To ensure its accessibility, the program can be streamed from any smart device on its companion app, available for download on the Chopra site as well as on iTunes and Google Play. Moreover, Chopra has partnered with a variety of foundations that serve the Latinx community inside and outside of the United States to help distribute the free program, including the Hispanic Federation and local community organizations in Balvin’s hometown of Medellín, Colombia.
The first 21-Day Meditation Experience, featuring Chopra and Oprah Winfrey, launched in 2013. Since then, the franchise has attracted millions of participants around the world, and has expanded to feature a catalog of 17 different programs. This latest installment, Renew Yourself: Body, Mind & Spirit, underscores the company’s mission to empower and support a diverse, global collective with an interest in self-care and mental health.
In an interview with Adweek, Chopra CEO Tonia O’Connor noted that her over 10 years of professional experience at Spanish-language television network Univision absolutely inspired this collaboration with J Balvin.
When O’Connor joined Chopra last March, she was “very aware of the importance of serving all aspects of the population, especially those that are underrepresented, which includes the Hispanic and Black communities.”
Right away, O’Connor put together her strategic vision for growth at Chopra and signaled the company’s imperative to serve all communities. She also made sure Chopra was working with partners that represented those communities, because “people are only willing to enroll once they trust and they see representations of themselves.”
Balvin was an ideal partner for Chopra because of his personal struggle with anxiety and depression, and his openness in detailing how meditation helped him achieve mental and spiritual wellbeing. “Meditation is about opening your mind to self-awareness and understanding that your mind is something that needs to be cared for and looked after,” Balvin said in a statement, adding, “That goes especially for this moment we’re currently experiencing: where money is so tight for many; health is such a question mark on a global level; and the fight for racial justice is more urgent than ever.”
In a recent paper published by Chopra, he discussed studies that show meditation and yoga can reduce the stress response and boost relaxation, which can then reduce systemic inflammation, increase levels of melatonin and improve management of the stressors related to the pandemic and social distancing.
“I’m excited about the bilingual program because my Spanish audience is in fact larger than my English-speaking audience,” Chopra told Adweek. “I have been to Latin America every year for the last 25 years. I have taught meditation to two Colombian presidents.”
Per Chopra, the collaboration process with Balvin involved using FaceTime to record and collaborate. Since its launch, the reception has “been spectacular,” Chopra said, “especially among a younger demographic—and that includes my grandchildren.”
As the company continues to hone in on democratizing wellbeing and making self-care practices accessible to all, per O’Connor, the next generation of the 21-Day Meditation franchise will serve as a blueprint moving forward as the company partners with other like-minded thought leaders across art, entertainment and sports. O’Connor said Chopra’s next steps include a brand refresh and a mobile platform that will serve as a one-stop destination for all of its content.