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Applying UZIT to herself has helped Vandenbergh find some comfort and a home in her body through difficult symptoms and a daunting diagnosis. Her situation also underscores the flexibility of UZIT, which can be adapted to suit anyone in any state of health. Sick patients can be guided through yoga-based movements right in their hospital bed, or in a chair. However it is administered, the multifaceted therapy gives people a chance to pause and reset. Vandenbergh knows that UZIT won't cure her, but that hardly deters her from doing it. "During what could have been a very fear-driven time, I was able to keep my head on. I can only imagine what this would look like if I wasn't caring for myself in this way. If I didn't have a commitment to easing my body, my mind, my nervous system, what this could be is so much worse."
Whether it's rolled out in a healthcare setting or served up in a classroom, UZIT is not trying to fix anything. Instead, it's about helping people to "be here now," says Yee, quoting the American spiritual teacher Ram Dass. As an example of how the practice can help center and ground even the most hard-to-reach individuals, Yee tells about a story about how his UZIT-trained sister uses the therapy with her special-education students. "She had a kid they called the Screamer. He was autistic. After a few Urban Zen experiences, he would come into the room, pick an essential oil, lie down in a restorative pose, and wait to be Reiki-ed. He can learn now. It's about preparing the body and mind to receive."
The plan now is to take UZIT far and wide,with trainings in the works in more cities as well as internationally. Whether it's close to home, where the comforting therapies can help ease a child's stomach ache, or at a corporation, shelter, or hospital, relief is on the way.
Mary-Beth Charno Marybethcharno@gmail.com
Marina Vandenbergh Marina@embodiedcare.com
Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Uzit.urbanzen.org
Wellness Embodied Wellnessembodiedcenter.com
Rodney Yee Yeeyoga.com