Reflections: Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Cycle 3 at UCLA

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 04:43 Written by nicole Tuesday, 21 May 2013 10:49

3590414135 a2c5cced7a Reflections: Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Cycle 3 at UCLABY GILLIAN CILIBRASI

“Imagine a healthcare system where the patient is treated, not just the disease. Imagine a system where eastern healing techniques, yoga therapy, essential oil therapy, nutrition and contemplative care are used in combination with western medicine in a holistic approach to patient care.”

In 2009 I was drawn to the UZIT Program as a practitioner and especially drawn to the notion that drove the program… to imagine. I love being a part of something new, something innovative. Donna Karan’s words inspired me to join a movement to revamp patient-care as we know it- especially since we will all likely be patients at one point in our lives.

Some time ago, I heard someone say that the word imagination means image in action. These words are especially resonant now with the work we are doing in the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program. As I sit here watching the 50 trainees in the current training at the UCLA Health System move through the integration of the UZIT modalities I realize that we know no longer have to imagine, we have acted. We are in this new paradigm of blending east and west. At UCLA Health they call it “East Meets Best”, signifying the arrival of the UZIT eastern modalities into the finest medical institution on the west coast. These trainees are telling me of the profound experience they are having- simply by being able to offer their patients a body scan or propping them in a more comfortable and efficient position for healing- drugless offerings that allow their patients to relax without having to administer additional medication. 

While observing these practitioners, I visualize a pebble being thrown into a pond- concentric circles radiating outward to encompass all of their patients, loved ones, and the staff that they will touch with this newfound knowledge. Many of them are just beginning their journey using the UZIT modalities of yoga therapy, Reiki, essential oil therapy, contemplative care and nutrition for self-care. For this, all of the patients at UCLA are blessed with the opportunity for an enhanced care plan and an invitation to become an active participant in their own healing. I am honored and grateful to be here to witness the realization of Donna’s vision.


In gratitude,

Gillian Cilibrasi

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program Director

Keep up with UZITs in training here.

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Urban Zen Integrative Therapy at the Yoga Journal Conference

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 01:28 Written by nicole Tuesday, 9 April 2013 02:34

yw+uz main Urban Zen Integrative Therapy at the Yoga Journal Conference
This past Sunday, April 7th, the co-directors of the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman, led a restorative Urban Zen Integrative Therapy class for more than 175 yogis at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York City. With the intention of providing an embodied UZIT experience, the participants were led through each of the five UZIT modalities including in-bed movements, breath awareness, body scans, restorative postures, Reiki and essential oil therapy provided by Young Living Essential Oils. Twenty UZIT graduates from the 2009 and 2011 accelerated trainings supported Rodney and Colleen by providing Reiki and essential oil therapy durning the class. Alumni alternated between Lemon oil for alertness, Lavender oil to help practitioners relax, and Valor to safely ground students in their bodies before reentering the world.  Students were also assisted by UZIT graduates in being guided to find each posture’s nuances, optimizing effects of the Yee’s deeply restorative sequence.

In a brief Q&A session following the class, participants were explained how the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy uses the five modalities in hospitals and outpatient facilities. They learned about UZIT’s outreach in Haiti and the upcoming Level I Self and Family Care Training at YogaWorks in Los Angeles and New York. You can find information on UZIT classes throughout the country here. For informations on trainings, please click here


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It Takes a Soft Back of Compassion: Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Accelerated Training

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:03 Written by uzcreative Thursday, 15 November 2012 06:21

yw+uz main1 It Takes a Soft Back of Compassion: Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Accelerated TrainingCurrently in session is a Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Accelerated Training Program, reducing what is normally a 12-month training educating on the modalities of Yoga Therapy, Reiki, Essential Oil Therapy, Contemplative End-of-Life Care and Nutrition to an accelerated track for individuals who are already established in one or more of these modalities. The UZIT training teaches an integrative approach to address the classic symptoms of illness: pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion (PANICTM).

In the first day of their training at Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor, the UZIT trainees were given attunements to the first degrees of Reiki and later taken through the mechanics of teaching basic chair positions for a Yoga Therapy class or private patient. Dealing with illness can mean facing an ongoing situation of PANICTM . The UZIT program equips therapists with the instruments necessary to avoid the burnout that we see all too often among nurses and caretakers. “When you have a strong back, you have the strength to soften into circumstances as they arise,” says Mary Taylor, who is a master instructor for the Contemplative Care modality. We cannot bring the old paradigm into the new paradigm. UZIT trainees learn to come from a place of balance first before giving.

Launched in 2009 the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program is an advanced program that empowers individuals to work side by side with western doctors, complimenting the course of treatment in focusing on the patient, nurses and loved ones enduring the changes together. This program is designed to connect the dots between the current paradigm in western medicine and the healing techniques of eastern cultures.

Learn more about our UZIT trainings here.

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