Stress Reduction and Integrative Health
Countless studies have proven the physical and emotional benefits of including stress reduction as part of an approach to optimal wellness. Additionally, Smith Center’s yoga classes are listed with the National MS Society and we welcome patients and caregivers of those with multiple sclerosis to our gentle yoga classes.
Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, meditation, and other techniques, help to trigger the Parasympathetic Nervous System, also known as the PNS. The PNS is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. Stimulating the PNS helps to lower heart rate and blood pressure; it helps to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating healthily.
When this system gets out of whack, or when the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) gets over-stimulated, the PNS helps to bring all back in balance. It is believed that if the PNS is tapped out or under-active, illness pervades. Thus, forms of relaxation, such as yoga and meditation, that help to stimulate the PNS are generally beneficial for overall body health.
David Spiegel, MD, author of Living Beyond Limits, reports, “In medicine, we are learning that physical problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, can be influenced by psychological interventions, such as relaxation training. Mind and body are connected and must work together, and this should be a powerful asset in treating medical illness.”
Upcoming Movement & Meditation Classes
Weekly on Thursdays, 1:00-3:00pm, with the Energy Balancing Team (Sylvia, Ann, Anne, Connie, Margaret, Pat, & Ryoko)
Our Energy Balancing Program addresses the subtle energies of our body. When these energies are out of balance, all our body systems can become askew. One key to bringing us back into balance is deep relaxation. This is just what our volunteers provide – a half-hour of stress reducing relaxation to calm the body and enhance our well-being.
The Energy Balancing team will offer distance sessions during the regular 30-minuteThursday times, 1:00, 1:40, & 2:20pm.
Bi-Monthly on Mondays, 7:00-8:00pm, with Kevin Mutschler
This is an all levels introduction to the practice of Qigong. You will learn about the human energy system or subtle body. In the tradition of Qigong, we will learn practices to shape and sculpt this system for our highest good in 3 ways:
Purge or clear stagnant energy
Tone or nourish energy to replenish our internal resources
Regulate our energy system
This class will include discussion, movement and an energetic transmission and meditation.
Virtual Walk-n-Talk with 2Unstoppable
Monthly on Saturdays or Sundays, varying times, with 2Unstoppable
Amid Covid-19 and social distancing, our monthly Walk-n-Talks will look a little different for now. We are excited to try a new format that will bring the 2Unstoppable community ~ 2Ugether!
Here’s how it works:
We will meet up over Zoom for introductions and to say hello!
For those who wish to walk-n-talk with a virtual buddy, we’ll exchange cell phone numbers or you can choose to walk solo.
Choose a place and set the pace that’s right for you and start walking.
After 45 minutes of walking, we will reconnect on Zoom for some social time!
(Ongoing) – with Carole O’Toole
Cancer often initiates an intense transformational process that can raise more questions than answers, leading us to re-examine our beliefs and approach to life. We may feel called to explore opportunities for spiritual growth, feeling a desire to connect with the sacred in a more conscious way and define more deeply life’s meaning in the face of cancer.
Regardless of your personal beliefs or faith system, working with a spiritual companion offers you an opportunity to reflect with another on what is going on for you spiritually, and explore how to integrate your cancer experience with your personal beliefs.
Contact Carla at email@example.com to be added to the waitlist for an introduction to Spiritual Companioning.
Upcoming Capital Nature Programs
Smith Center invites you to join our friends at Capital Nature to explore practices, both ancient and new, that connect us to the potential healing power of nature in our lives. Check the Program Calendar for upcoming nature and healing experiences.
Meet Our Movement & Meditation Facilitators
2Unstoppable encourages and supports physical and emotional fitness among women with a cancer diagnosis; helps forge powerful, motivating and supportive connections to encourage exercise during cancer treatment and long after treatment ends; and promotes a supportive community of women interested in finding ways to stay active.
About Ananda Leeke
Ananda Leeke discovered mindfulness, self-care, and wellness when her career as a lawyer, an investment banker, and a digital communications professional stressed her out, caused burnout, and did not produce the level of success she expected. During Ananda’s healing journey, she studied and practiced meditation, yoga, reiki, journaling, art-making, and creative writing. They helped her develop self-care practices and become resilient. As a result, she became a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher, a reiki master practitioner, a sound healer, and an artist-in-residence for the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.
Today, she travels the world helping high achievers and mission-driven companies, organizations, and communities become resilient and thrive with mindfulness, self-care, wellness, and creativity as the Chief Mindfulness Officer of Ananda Leeke Consulting, a wellness company that specializes in personal and professional development. She leads the Thriving Mindfully Academy and hosts and produces the Thriving Mindfully Show on Eaton Radio. In 2019, she was selected by lululemon to serve as a lululemon luminary, received Acquisition International’s Influential Businesswoman in Professional Development – USA Award, and was named a Well-Being Warrior by the Well-Being and Equity Bridging Network.
Her books, Love’s Troubadours, a yoga-inspired novel; That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir; and Digital Sisterhood, a mindful technology memoir, are available on Amazon: https://anandaleeke.com/books. She speaks at trainings, conferences, and events sponsored by AT&T, Automattic, BlogHer, Body Connect Health Wellness, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Community Associations Institute, Eaton DC, Howard University, Institute for Medicaid Innovation, lululemon, Keela, Marisla Foundation, Meetup/WeWork, National Association of Corporate Directors, Nonprofit Technology Network, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Spelman College, The Conference Board, and Wonder Women Tech Summit. In addition, she regularly shares her meditation, mindfulness, and social media expertise as a commentator on WHUR 96.3 FM. Learn more at https://anandaleeke.com.
She is a proud alumna of Georgetown University Law Center, Howard University School of Law, Morgan State University, and Elizabeth Seton High School. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She lives in the historic U Street, NW neighborhood in Washington, DC.
About Ann Ringenberg, RM/T
I am a reiki master and have been practicing reiki for over 12 years. I have provided reiki through volunteering at Thomas Circle Retirement Community, The Smith Center and was approved to start volunteering at INOVA Life with Cancer center prior to the COVID pandemic. I also volunteer at the Charles County Hospice Center. Reiki helps me to stay centered within myself and helps me to give others the gift of relaxation and a moment of peace.
About Anne Molofsky
Anne has always been interested in promoting health and wellness. She had a forty-year career as a nutritionist, beginning as a research nutritionist in several NIH-funded clinical trials, then working for the federal government in policy and education, and subsequently counselling clients in her private practice. She received her reiki training over 10 years ago and was able to offer reiki sessions to her nutrition clients as part of their treatment. Since 2013 Anne has also volunteered at Walter Reed offering reiki sessions to Wounded Warriors and their families. She became a Reiki Master Teacher in 2017. Anne is thrilled to be joining the wonderful Energy Balancing Team at the Smith Center!
About Candida DeLuise, LICSW
Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy – Reiki, Energy work, Buddhist Psychology
As a contemplative psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience, Candida integrates mindfulness and psycho-spiritual approaches into the therapy process. She has worked with clients on transitions, relationships, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness and aging issues. Creating a safe and nurturing space, she draws on mind-body awareness and Buddhist psychology. Candida is also a Reiki practitioner and life celebrant, crafting rituals to honor significant events. She is licensed in D.C. to officiate weddings and loves working with couples to create a custom ceremony that highlights their unique relationship. An experienced coach, consultant and Buddhist practitioner, Candida teaches meditation and leads workshops on mindfulness in everyday life. She works with artists in the creative process, and with individuals and groups committed to social change. She believes that as we reconnect to our inherent wisdom, we empower ourselves to live a more full and expansive life. 240-462-9550. firstname.lastname@example.org
About Capital Nature
Capital Nature is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing nature into the lives of Washington Metro area residents and visitors. We are a fiscal 501c3 project of Green Spaces for DC.
We believe people are healthier, and our communities more resilient when nature is part of our lives. We envision a Washington DC region where a culture of nature engagement and stewardship thrives—where daily contact with the natural world supports human wellbeing and ecological health across our communities.
Capital Nature provides information on the region’s many available, but not always known, nature events: from forest walks to citizen science adventures to educational workshops and stewardship projects. We collaborate with partners and friends to create new opportunities for nature engagement, and invite all to share their stories of experience with the natural world.
Through Capital Nature’s Biophilic Practice Group, we develop nature-based designs and strategies for wellbeing and community health.
About Carole O’Toole
Smith Center’s Spiritual Companion, Carole O’Toole, was called to companion others following her cancer experience that led her to explore how illness offers opportunities for spiritual growth. Since 2006 Carole has served in many roles at Smith Center, including Director of Residential Retreats, Director of the Institute of Integrative Oncology Navigation, Director of Smith Center’s Integrative Navigation Training Program, and as a member of and mentor for our integrative navigation team. Carole is currently receiving professional training in Spiritual Direction through The Haden Institute, with a particular focus on grief and loss and the spiritual challenges of living with cancer.
Carole invites you to explore with her how to make meaning of your cancer experience and to look for where the holy is in your life. Currently, limited space is available for new clients. Individual appointments are available via Zoom or by telephone and are free of charge.
About Connie Custer, RM/T
Connie has practiced Reiki since 1998, and received her Reiki Master/Teacher credentials from GW Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine. She has been a Reiki volunteer at Life With Cancer and Capital Caring Hospice, and has a certificate in animal Reiki. As part of her energy work, she also practices qigong, and is certified to teach walking qigong.
About Kevin Mutschler
Kevin is a board-certified acupuncturist (NCCAOM) and Qigong educator with over twenty-five years experience in healing arts practice, research and education, including work in medical anthropology, somatic therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Kevin has special interests in working with patients living with chronic illness, migraine, MS and cancer. He is a Smith Center fellow in Integrative Cancer Care Navigation and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology.
About Ryoko Julia
Ryoko was born and raised in Japan. She studied economics and business management and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for about 25 years in Asia-pacific and the US. She started learning traditional Japanese Reiki in 2005 in Japan and became a master in 2012. As she deepens her understanding of Reiki, she decided to leave the corporate world and focus on deepening and teaching the core Reiki philosophy to more people. She has actively been involved in volunteering at Walter Reed and Shady Grove Medical Center for about nine years. Ryoko is also trained in clinical aromatherapy.
About Sylvia Sturm, EEM-CLP, RM/T
Sylvia Sturm, EEM-CLP, RM/T, heads our Energy Balancing volunteer team. Sylvia is a Certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner and a Reiki Master Teacher. For many years she has managed a Reiki Volunteer group at a seniors’ residence and has served for 6 years as a Reiki volunteer in GWU Hospital. She is delighted to now work with a dedicated and wonderful team to address the balancing of one’s subtle energies in order to allow the body to completely relax. She has an independent practice in Kensington, MD. To learn more about Sylvia and subtle energies, please visit her website www.sylviasturm.com