Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Urban Zen Comes to the Home

Urban Zen Comes to the HomeThe Los Angeles Jewish Home always strives to promote employee health and wellness. To encourage staff to live a healthy lifestyle, the Home provides a variety of weekly fitness classes exclusively for employees. The newest addition to these classes is Urban Zen. 

Founded by designer Donna Karan, Urban Zen is a holistic healthcare practice which was created to give individuals another option for treating pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation, and exhaustion. Urban Zen combines five techniques — yoga, Reiki, essential oils, nutrition, and contemplative care, such as meditation — and is often used as a supplement to conventional care. Here at the Home, Urban Zen sessions give employees the chance to step away from their hectic office settings and enter into a more tranquil atmosphere where they can find a sense of harmony within themselves.

Vice president of human resources Sharon Ginchansky explains, "At the Jewish Home, we want to help our employees be healthy and happy. A big part of promoting employee wellness is lessening their stress levels and Urban Zen is an excellent way to do this." She reports, "Taking a few minutes out of our day to focus on our own well-being can help us recommit to the work at hand and bring a sense of inner peace. Urban Zen is a great de-stressing practice because it can be as simple as inhaling fragrant oil or focusing on breathing."
While the calming effect of Urban Zen is something that must be experienced to be understood, the following is a description of what happens in a typical session: 

Once in the class, staff members sit on chairs in a room with dimmed lights and are given a few drops of essential oils to rub between their palms. Subsequently, once the oil is spread, participants place their hands close to their faces and inhale the fragrance. Then, the participants are led through a variety of light stretching and breathing exercises. The final activity in the session is a complete body scan. During this relaxing exercise, the instructor leads the class through a meditation that helps participants to get in touch with different regions of their bodies.

Due to its soothing nature, Urban Zen has become a favorite among many employees of the Home. Fund development's Cheryl Kater is an avid fan of the new program. "I'm so glad to have the chance to participate in this incredible activity," Cheryl expressed. "Urban Zen really helps to center me after I've had a busy day at work. The deep breathing and meditation are my favorite parts of the class — there's no better way to get into a relaxed state of mind."