If you have a problem accessing our program calendar, please email programs@smithcenter.org. We will be happy to talk about our program offerings and assist you with registration.

Movement & Meditation Classes

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.”

Program Participant Hillah Culman demonstrates extended side angle
small group meditation

Upcoming Movement & Meditation Classes

Energy Balancing (IN-PERSON OR REMOTE)

Weekly on Thursdays at 1:00pm or 2:20pm (Remote: 30-minute appointments) or 9:45am or 10:45am (In-Person: 45-minute appointments), with the Energy Balancing Team (Anne, Margaret, Pat, Sylvia, Gail)

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.


Bi-Monthly on the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays from 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. This class will include discussion, movement and an energetic transmission and meditation.

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

LGBTQIA+ Morning Meditation

Weekly on Tuesdays from 7:30-8:00am, with Susan Salek

An opportunity to come together as an LGBTQIA+ community for a weekly morning meditation sit.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Bi-monthly on Wednesdays from 2:00-2:30pm, with Jessica Gelfarb, MSW, LICSW & Sara Richman, LICSW

Developing mindfulness skills can help combat stress, anxiety, and uncertainty in everyday life. Join us for regular sessions to help you better understand and transform your mind.

All experience levels are welcome to attend! Open to patients, survivors, caregivers, medical professionals and the community. This group welcomes all levels, including those who have not tried Mindfulness and Meditation before.

Spiritual Companioning

(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 Olivia at olivia@smithcenter.org for an introduction to Spiritual Companioning.

Move Your Lymph (IN-PERSON)

Monthly on the 1st Tuesday from 4:30-5:30pm, with Liz Hoffmann, BS, LMT2180, CLT

If stress, surgery or cancer treatment have created swelling in your body, this class is for you. We will practice techniques that you can take back to the comfort of your home. Breathing techniques, exercise and self massage will be included in this 45 minute class. Bring a water bottle to keep hydrated and improve the flow.

Community Sound Bath

Monthly on the 1st Wednesday from 8:00-9:00pm, with Mikaela Bekenn

We come together in community to be supported by the soothing vibrations of breath, silence, and sound. The session begins with setting an intention for your practice, followed by gentle stretches and breathing techniques to guide you into deep relaxation and surrender. The remainder of the journey is a sound bath guided by crystal singing bowls, tuning forks, drum, guitar, and vocal toning channeling the frequencies of love.

Join Michaela on the first Friday of every month for an opportunity to nourish your body, mind, and soul. Give yourself the gift of loving care, attention, and a space to relax and release at the end your day. Sweeten your sleep by entering this sanctuary of self love and connection.

No prior experience with meditation or sound healing is necessary. Wear what makes you feel most comfortable, have a cushion and blanket near by. Bring a curious mind and an open heart.

Meet Our Movement & Meditation Facilitators

About Pat Spellman

Pat Spellman

Pat studied English literature and has a special interest in reading and writing poetry. She has been certified as a Reiki master and as a practitioner of reflexology and Feldenkrais movement. She is a long-time member of the Self-Realization Fellowship, which teaches meditation methods and principles for harmonious living. After a career in publications in DC, Pat retired in Baltimore where she continues her active interest in the Smith Center and its clients.

About Sylvia Sturm

Sylvia Sturm

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.

About Jessica Gelfarb, LICSW, OSW-C

Jessica Gelfarb

Jessica is a licensed clinical and certified oncology social worker who has experience working with patients and families facing a range of medical diagnoses in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Michigan and her masters degree in social work from University of Maryland with a focus on clinical and medical social work. Prior to her role as a cancer center social
worker at GW, Jessica worked extensively with organ transplant patients at Medstar Georgetown Transplant Institute. She has also spent time working on cardiology and intensive care units throughout her career. She is passionate about partnering with patients in order to provide psychosocial and emotional
support as they navigate their diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.

About Sara Richman, LICSW

Sara Richman, LICSW is a licensed and certified oncology clinical social worker (OSW-C). She received her masters in social work (MSW) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Prior to working at GW, Sara was an oncology clinical social worker at MedStar Washington Hospital Center where she worked with all types of blood cancers and disorders.

About Carole O’Toole

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 Liz Hoffmann, BS, LMT2180, CLT

A Japanologist by education, Liz Hoffmann solidified her movement toward the healing arts by becoming a full time shiatsu practitioner in 1994. Her certification from the Ohashi Institute was followed by training in reflexology, aromatherapy, massage, and eventually Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) for general health and cancer patients. In 2022, she became a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. As a non-smoking lung cancer survivor, she personally experienced how MLD and bodywork enhance healing. She has a private shiatsu and MLD practice a few blocks from the Smith Center. For more information see  www.5elementwellness.com.

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 Margaret Haggerty

It is a privilege for to be part of the energy balancing team for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Having had a long and gratifying career as a registered nurse, I bring a wide range of experiences. Before my retirement nine years ago, I had worked for 47 years as a nurse in a variety of capacities. Whether I was taking care of a tiny two-pound NICU infant or doing diabetic teaching for a centenarian, I realized that there was a larger Presence who was always guiding me. And I believe deeply that whatever experience of healing we receive, involves body, mind and spirit. I became a massage therapist and Reiki Master in order to incorporate a more deliberate approach to healing touch. It was a privilege to work with many clients who were dealing with cancer. What a joy it was to offer some hope and gentle touch as they faced many medical and emotional challenges. Now in my later years I am happy to bring the soft, caring touch of energy balancing to help those who come to Smith Center, to relax in order for. their bodies to mend and their spirits to heal.

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 Michaela Bekenn

Michaela Bekenn (she/her/they) is a Toronto-based certified sound therapy practitioner, yoga teacher, meditation instructor, and singer-songwriter. She is a certified facilitator of Compassion-Based Resilience Training and mindfulness for stress reduction, addiction recovery, and chronic pain. Michaela offers a variety of wellness-focused experiences that are always informed by the needs and goals of each client and group. Her extensive interdisciplinary training in theatre, music, dance, yoga, mindfulness, and Traditional Chinese Medicine allows for an eclectic approach in her practice. Michaela sources great joy from serving a wide range of demographics including youth, neurodiverse adults, corporate groups, and seniors. She is currently expanding her practice through a Master’s in Music Therapy & Psychotherapy. Michaela believes in the power of integrative community wellness. She is committed to holding inclusive space for participants to feel supported and nourished, wherever they may be in their personal journey.

Stay Connected: @michaelabekenn

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