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.

Learn More

Finding Culture, Connection and Inspiration

Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 11:10 Written by Donna Karan Monday, 19 November 2012 06:06

dk inlondon Finding Culture, Connection and Inspiration

I’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip in London, England and I am excited to share some of the highlights of my journey with you.

London is a very special place to me- it’s where I first opened my stores; both DKNY and Donna Karan. I travelled with my team from Donna Karan to meet with press, connect with friends and find inspiration.

I loved being able to share all parts of my story with the London community: my life as a designer, of course, but also my love story with Stephan, the Connecting the Dots book and also my mission and initiatives with Urban Zen. It was such a beautiful thing to see the gorgeous papier mâché hearts from Haiti on display at DKNY on Old Bond Street; to me this is what connecting the dots looks like in action and it’s a very fulfilling experience.

Some of the highlights from my trip include an adventure in the London Eye, an expedition through vibrant Shoreditch, an evening with Kate Moss and Marc Jacobs and exploring creative venues like the Grace Spa (an initiative that completely embodies the Urban Zen’s philosophy of well being). I invite you to flip through our FACEBOOK ALBUM to see some of my photos from the trip.

And, catch more of the story in this interview I did with CNN.

For a more detailed journal of my trip to London, visit my diary.


Learn More

What’s Possible: An Interview With Our July Ambassador, Elizabeth Lesser

Last Updated on Thursday, 5 July 2012 12:01 Written by Urban Zen Thursday, 28 June 2012 04:45

 Whats Possible: An Interview With Our July Ambassador, Elizabeth Lesser
We invite you to read this interview by our March Ambassador,‘s Marianne Schnall. Here, Marianne shares an inspired conversation with our July Ambassador, Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute.

Please note that this interview originally appeared on

Marianne: What inspired the formation of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center?

Elizabeth: Since we began in 1977, Omega has offered big conferences and smaller workshops on a variety of subjects specifically for women. About 10 years ago, I began thinking about what happens when you put the words “women” and “power” together. From the beginning of recorded history, there’s been an unspoken law that it’s un-ladylike to put those words together. I wanted to turn that on its head and explore the whole issue. What is a powerful woman? As women assume more power, can we transform the way it is used? Can we help the world become more conscious about the uses and abuses of power?

We started offering Women & Power conferences and they took off in a way that surprised me—instead of just 50 or 100 people coming, hundreds of women came from around the world. By the third or fourth year, it had become one of the biggest and most influential women’s conferences in the country. We would hear how it changed the course of women’s lives. And we heard a lot about participants wanting follow up. They wanted to know how to take the inspiration from the conference and make changes in their workplace, family life, and the world. In response, we began to contemplate creating a more structured center at Omega where we could have longer trainings for women interested in becoming a different kind of leader.

Marianne: How would you describe the mission and vision behind the Omega Women’s Leadership Center?

Elizabeth: The overarching vision is that we believe women have the potential to change the way power is used in the world for everybody. We’re not interested in women taking over the old power paradigm. We think everyone will benefit when women not only join men at the table, but also help men turn the tables over and create something new. When the rules of power were made—way back in the early stages of human society-building—women weren’t part of the conversation. They weren’t consulted on questions like, “How do we share resources? How do we deal with conflict? What should we prioritize? What’s important for a society?” As women take on more and more powerful leadership positions—in the home, at work, in religion, and government—when enough of us get there, we might actually change what it means to be powerful and to lead. It might look more inclusive. It might look like a more care-based society. This has never been tested, because there have never been enough women in power and enough women empowered with their own voice to even test it. Our loftiest goal is to ask these questions of women leaders: “Can you show, in your leadership, a different way of dealing with conflict—a more constructive ways of sharing power? Do you have better reasons for wanting to lead then just to satisfy your own ego? Are you interested in leadership as a way of transforming our society?“

Learn More

Site Search