Use Movement as Part of Self Care with Urban Zen

Photo of Ellette Craddock by David Young-Wolff

We all feel the effects of the holiday rush, post-election or seasonal stress, and our world in transition as we prepare to welcome a new year. Fortunately, there are a number of remedies that can help support us through these challenges. Enter UZIT: Inspired by founder Donna Karan, a lifelong yogi and world traveler, Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) is the realization of her dream not only to dress people, but to address their care.

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) is transforming healthcare settings and self-care programs throughout the world. Designed by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee in conjunction with Karan, UZIT is a full-sensory integrative experience that supports self-care through the powerful synergy of yoga, Reiki, aromatherapy using essential oils, nutrition, and meditation.

To date, more than 175 members of the UCLA medical staff have completed the UZIT training and are using the techniques to enhance the inpatient settings where they work as well as to impact their own lives. However, you do not have to be a doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional to benefit from this experience. The tools for self-care are literally in the palms of your hands.

Try this ritual to create your own home Urban Zen self-care using movement, aroma, breath, and Reiki.


Choose your favorite gentle movement, perhaps an exquisite yoga pose, an empowering Pilates sequence or a simple spinal articulation. No judgment, just move.


Select a pure essential oil that you feel drawn to. Scents like lemon or peppermint can be uplifting and can clear the mind while lavender is calming. Place a few drops in your left hand, gently rub your palms together then tent your hands around your nose. Inhale the aroma.


Bring awareness to your breath with a simple practice such as inhaling for five counts then exhaling for five counts, or any variation that is familiar and encourages relaxation.


Place the palms of your hands on any part of your body that needs comfort or healing. Try two inches below the navel, on your temples, the top of your head, or the back of your neck. Allow the hands to remain there for a few minutes so the energy can move.

The possibilities for mind, body, and spirit connection are endless through simple ritual. You have the tools to transform each day with this therapeutic practice of self-care.

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) includes instruction in yoga and essential oil therapy, Reiki, nutrition and contemplative care. The Los Angeles UZIT accelerated training begins January, 2017: