Urban Zen

Living a Big Yes

“Our hospice staff works so very hard and needs the Urban Zen experience. Will you come to South Africa?” asked the head of Helderberg Hospice, Gail Sykes.  “YES!” Said Lori Moffett; “YES” I said after hoping for this moment for years.  YES, YES, YES! And so began our African adventure. One of the elements that remained a powerful gift throughout the whole trip--the planning, the travel to get there, the work itself--every part of it-- was the ongoing experience of a whole-hearted and whole-bodied “Yes.”

I hope you know this feeling--this knowing that you are doing what you absolutely must be doing in a given moment. Perhaps there is the sense of doing what you were born to do, or what all your time on earth has prepared you to do. There may be the beautiful sense of Life living through you in a way that is at once deeply personal and yet vastly impersonal. Or maybe it is the fulfillment of a deep longing of your heart. Whatever the details, there is a sense of being in the right place at the right time, a sense of purpose and flow that feels so right.

This feeling doesn’t need to wait for something monumental like a trip to Africa--it could come when you are playing with your cat or watching your baby sleep.  It could be you posting on Facebook, just the right comment to your friend who is suffering, or celebrating. It could be anything that is yours to do, that no one else could do like you would do it. And they don’t need to because they will hopefully do what is theirs to do.

Anyway, back to our trip….We lived in the flow of our big YES for 3 weeks. While much of what happened was challenging and required lots of effort we always knew we were where we were meant to be. That helped us to let go of any resistance to the moment and to be present over and over to what was actually happening. We used ALL our skills, including ones we didn’t know that we had. And because of this feeling of being held in something bigger than ourselves, we could just relax back and let Life happen through us and the people we were with.

For me, living in this experience for 3 full weeks gave me a deep drink of what it means to live from my heart, and I will use this feeling more and more as a guidepost for other things I am doing in my life. Can I live my big ‘yes’ and leave the rest for someone else? Can I discern more and more what is mine and mine alone to do? Why is my to-do list always bigger than what I can do? Can I use this ever-deepening compass to help me navigate? We’ll see but I’m definitely trying this on.

Marcia Miller recently traveled to South Africa with her friend and colleague, Lori Moffett and her husband Kevin Eigel.  They taught UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) to staff of over 15 hospices at 4 locations around the country. If you would like to hear more stories Marcia and Lori will be sharing on Thursday, September 15 at 6:30 at the Yohi Teacher Training Institute.


August Calender of Events

August 12 Ayurveda: Calming Anxiety with Jasmine Grace
August 13 – 14 Reiki Level 2 Training & Attunement with Marcia Miller and Linda Oshins
August 18 Sekoia Hike with Michele Vinbury
August 20 Meditation Teacher Training with Jasmine Grace
August 26 Potluck and Talent Show
August 27 Sekoia Chakra Journey with Michele Vinbury

August Reiki Shares: 1, 8, 15 & 29

Series Classes:
7:30p Tuesdays August 2 6-Week Ashtanga Foundations with Tom Griffith
10:30a Sundays August 7 6-Week Kids Yoga (ages 6-11) with Julie Standish
6:00p Wednesdays August 10 iRest Yoga Nidra with Michele Vinbury
5:45p Mondays August 15 Inversions from the Ground Up with Marcia Miller
4:00p Mondays August 10-Week Hatha Level 1 with Melanie Miller @ALC Powell

Upcoming Teacher Trainings:
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training -- Begins September 9, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Thursday, August 11 from 6:00p to 6:45p at the Teacher Training Institute
Sunday, August 28 from 12:00p to 12:45p at the Teacher Training Institute

UZIT (Urban Zen Integrative Therapy) -- Begins October 27, 2016
Free Info Sessions:
Thursday, August 18 from 7:30p to 8:30p ET- Conference Call
Saturday, August 27 from 4:00p to 5:00p at Yoga on High

Ayurvedic Heath Counselor (A.H.C.) -- Begins November 5, 2016
Free Info Session:
Friday, August 12 from 5:15p to 6:00p at the Teacher Training Institute


Practicing with Rodney through Tough Times

Rodney_MokuRodney Yee and his yoga DVD helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life. I had become addicted to cocaine and had decided that I needed to find sobriety. I declined help at any rehabilitation centers as I knew my addiction was one that I needed to conquer on my own. I could not be trusted to be around anyone who had the same problem I had. I was a manipulative drug addict with a heart as cold as ice.

I had a yoga DVD of Rodney Yee and started to practice with it daily. Faithfully every morning I settled on to my mat, focused on my breath and moved my body along with the cueing from the DVD. I had never done yoga before but explored every pose that I could and watched the more difficult poses with no thought that I would or would not explore those poses later. I think I just assumed that one day I might give that crow pose a try, but for today…..I will just do all I can do. There were days that I actually got on my mat more than once as a way to take my mind to that place where I began feeling secure, comfortable and welcomed.

A long story short, this little DVD led me to where I am today in my yoga practice, and although I am just scratching the surface of this journey I could not have been happier to be allowed to take a workshop with the amazing man who actually helped me through my sobriety. Every day of my life that man was with me, leading me to a place that was far better than any cocaine high I had explored.

He has no idea the impact he has had on my life, and at the end of the workshop he asked for one more person to help with adjustments in his and Colleen’s open class. I could not help but raise my hand. I knew I was way out of my league but could not pass up the chance to actually spend a few more hours learning from these two brilliant teachers.

I may not be the only one Rodney has helped via his DVDs. Everyone has a story….I may never get the chance to thank him for being with me every day on my road to sobriety, but I send love and light when I think about that journey and how I made it through.

MokuJacquie is an RYT-200 and currently enrolled in the 300-hour Teacher Training program at Yoga on High, deepening her knowledge and understanding of yoga practices and philosophy in workshops lead by some of the best teachers in the country. She teaches a deep-release yoga class at Yoga on High and a slow flow yoga class at Grow Yoga. For her full bio, please click here.

Join Rodney Yee for his teacher training workshop: Yoga Practice and Therapeutics September 14-16 at Yoga on High. Or, try Rodney and Colleen’s Urban Zen open class Wednesday evening, September 14th.


Big, Safe Space

scunningham“You’re so calm.”

So many people have said this to me in my adult life that I began to believe it was true.

I am an oncology nurse, a breast cancer survivor. I have witnessed and helped many friends and family members through illness and death. I am the middle child—the children known to be good negotiators, mediators, the calm ones. We middle children go with the flow to keep the family peace. I used these tools my whole life.  By the time I enrolled in the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) training I was convinced I was a calm person.

When Steve, my husband, was hit by a car one month into UZIT training I was sucked in to a space I have yet to leave. His injuries were severe. A brain injury and broken body from head to toe. I have vivid memories from this time. The sound of the voice of the surgeon, and this strange moan coming from my body. Of my niece Lauren’s strong arms wrapping a coat around me. The vibration of the car engine as she drove us to the ER. The strength of Lauren clinging to my arm in the waiting room. Feeling not only my feet firmly planted on the floor but my whole body…in this shape, sitting, breathing…I felt my breath go in and out of my body as I saw Steve’s bloody, bruised face amid the swirl of medical personnel and equipment. Vivid memories in the form of sensation rather than words or events. I shake as I write this. Read More…


A Dialogue about Death

marcia-3982_0_0“Seeing the end of your life is the birth of your ability to love being alive. It is the cradle of your love of life.”~Stephen Jenkinson

This is the quote that I posted on Facebook a few months ago as I started to read the book Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson. I tagged a couple of people who I knew faced death regularly in their work and asked if they wanted to read it with me. In one day I had over 40 people on a list who wanted to read it together and were asking if we could meet as a book club to talk about it. Dialogue About Death was born.

Last night 10 of us sat around my living room and two others joined us on Skype. More had wanted to come but were kept away by exhaustion or other circumstances. We came together because we had read, or thought about reading, Die Wise. We laughed more than you might imagine and got teary a few times too, as people shared their stories about why they came out on a dark Tuesday evening to speak of death. One of us is 88 and was relieved to find a group of people willing to talk about death since many of her peers won’t. Several of us have cancer and are already living in the “More Time” part of our lives that Jenkinson talks about. We love these people or others who are in a similar time of life. One of us teaches people who have cancer, yet is not “allowed” to talk about death even though her students are dying and the other students are eager to explore the topic. We came because we want to learn to speak of death more directly with the people we know and we want a safe place to experiment.

Read More…


Quantifying the Impact of Urban Zen

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy™ is a program that takes gentle yoga practices, along with Reiki and essential oil therapy, to patients in health care facilities, their families and their on-staff caregivers. It is designed to address the symptoms that often accompany illness and injury—pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion. Urban Zen therapy is extended to patients’ family members and caregivers because some or all of these same symptoms arise in them as a result of the stresses around caring for a loved one or patient who is ill or dying . Read More…


Above All, Bearing Witness

by Virginia Macali

There was an edge of anticipation for the second 5-day Urban Zen training that was palpable as we walked into the room. It was a mix of excitement for being together again, mixed with the anxiety of being assessed and tested on our learning over the past four months. The teachers and mentors guided us through more practices and language distinctions to help us to be even more precise with our language and more grounded and present with ourselves and others. Read More…

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