Rodney Yee on Life as a Father
Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:46 Written by Urban Zen Saturday, 16 June 2012 11:41
My life started over again the moment each child was born. With every birth, I was propelled into a new universe where love, commitment, responsibility and fear took on radically larger proportions. For me, I could never have imagined what an impact children would have on both my internal and external life.
Yoga was essential to my own health and wellness, especially when there were so many core shifts. Even if totally arbitrary, I could use my practice as my sanctuary and my center. For my children, they saw their Dad get on the mat every morning and they began to adjust accordingly. They would sit on my lap as I did pranayama and they would use downward facing dog as a climbing gym. Practice became not only a time for myself; it became a time of togetherness for my family.
The challenges of being a father are different than the challenges of creating a balanced yoga practice, but both are essential for my psychological frame. Fear for my children’s well-being and safety can occupy my entire mind unless I practice and ground myself in the truth of the unfolding moment. Letting go of the pretense of control as your kids leave the house and become adults can serve as a wake-up call and an education in and of itself. Because of Yoga, this process is not unfamiliar and allows for a more skillful and easier transition. Everything about being a father is constantly in flux and takes great self-knowledge in order to bestow the light of love and compassion as clearly and deeply as possible.
The practices that are embraced in the Urban Zen philosophy of life are my tools for being the father that I so want my kids to have.Learn More
Jennifer Owens on Experiencing the UZIT Program
Last Updated on Monday, 19 March 2012 05:24 Written by Urban Zen Thursday, 15 March 2012 06:57
My Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) experience as a practitioner and patient, simultaneously, has led to deeper understanding of my body and its capabilities and the need for loving-kindness from within. Though short lived, my time as a UZIT student have left me with invaluable knowledge and, because of this, I will be eternally grateful to Twitter, as well as all of the mentors and teachers of the program.
Yes, I said Twitter! It was a random, regular day for me. I was browsing my Twitter timeline when I stumbled across a tweet from the fabulous Kris Carr mentioning @Urban_Zen. I felt compelled to find out whom or what Urban Zen was all about. One click led to another, and soon I learned about the Urban Zen Integrative Therapist program.
In the words of Oprah Winfrey, this was an “ah-ha” moment for me. Could it be that there are others who feel the same way I do about healthcare? I believe healthcare should be a personalized combination of healing modalities. Why can’t I go to my oncologist and say to him, “I’m taking astralagus and ginseng for immunity strengthening and overall improvement in energy,” without feeling dismissed? I believe that proper nutrition, exercise, and the mind-body-spirituality connection should be addressed at every doctor’s appointment.
When I saw this opportunity to become a conduit for change, my heart sang! Even though I wasn’t qualified according to the requirements listed,
I felt UZIT was for me. My heart sank when I saw the deadline had passed. Alas, The Johnson & Johnson Campaign For Nursing’s Future gave me a glimmer of hope. They were offering a scholarship to five nurses to attend the yearlong program. I was encouraged to apply for the scholarship anyway. Having nothing to lose, I uploaded a video, sans make-up and hair and sent it in hopes that my sincerity and eagerness to learn would be clearly communicated in my voice and body language. I said a prayer and went on about my daily routine.
The UZIT Experience of Bringing Hope to Haiti
Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 11:22 Written by Urban Zen Friday, 17 February 2012 11:22
By Keely Garfield
I am returning to Haiti, this time in the role of group leader for Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT), Clinical Rotation #5. As it turns out, we are an international cast of intrepids, hailing from Curacao, Argentina, Quebec, and London all by way of New York naturellement! This will prove crucial as between us many languages are spoken, but more fortunate is the “bonhomie” tendencies of my new friends and colleagues. Each night we shared good food (I salute the chefs who managed to turn coconut milk, a bottle of hot sauce, and rice into a killer curry!) and considerate conversation, which any way you stir the pot, makes us more human.
Approaching Toussaint Louverture International Airport, the woman sitting directly in front of me begins incanting loudly in Creole and French. She thanks the sky and the earth, she praises the mountains, and sings for dear life. Raising her hands, her fingers create notes in the air above her head. Her prayer is for protection for all of us. From the cockpit, the captain oblivious to the music coming from the cabin matter-of-factly tells us to prepare for landing. That I can do but having been here before, I know that beyond the citronella oil and power bars stashed in my bag, to try to prepare myself for what lies ahead is essentially futile. I come back to the moment exactly as it is and accept the woman’s benediction gladly.
There is so much to tell. Suffice to share just a few of the miracles. Many doors have been flung wide open for us since I was here as part of the UZIT leadership trip back in November 2011. In itself, this is an incredibly powerful testimonial to the efficacy and adaptability of the UZIT program, and its overwhelmingly positive reception in Haiti. In addition to our work at Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital, “Clincal #5” worked alongside the medical staff at St. Luc Hospital in the emergency room and elsewhere providing integrative therapies including in-bed and in-chair yoga, breath awareness, meditation, reiki, essential oils, and contemplative care to stroke patients, diabetics, and their families among others. We led integrative therapy sessions for the medical and maintenance staff both at St. Luc and Saint Damien, as well as offering individual sessions to doctors, administrators, volunteers and anyone else we could literally get our hands on! Another first for UZIT was teaching a Saturday morning yoga class to the children at Father Wasson Angels of Light Program Orphanage and School.Learn More