Gahanna residents seeking relief from stress or chronic health conditions might benefit from urban Zen classes offered though Gahanna Recreation & Parks Department.

Gahanna residents seeking relief from stress or chronic health conditions might benefit from urban Zen classes offered though Gahanna Recreation & Parks Department.

Diane Schaefer, who assists instructor Lori Bower, said the program is geared to help anyone experiencing stress of any kind and/or seeking healing, whether it's physical, emotional or spiritual.

The next sessions in Gahanna will be offered from 5:45 to 6:55 p.m. and from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 7 through Feb. 13 and March 6 through April 13, at the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course clubhouse, 220 Olde Ridenour Road.

Cost is $75 for residents and $85 for others.

"The best way to describe the urban Zen experience is that it's an immersion into peace and calm," Schaefer said. "As participants relax into comfortable restorative yoga poses, they are invited to tune out the outside world, draw their awareness inward to savor the present moment.

"With the help of meditation, breath awareness, aromatherapy and reiki (a form of spiritual hands-on alternative medicine), they are able to do this."

Schaefer said she has experienced urban Zen firsthand and can attest to the benefits.

"It has made a difference in my life by improving my ability to manage and reduce stress," she said. "Just think how everyone's lives would benefit if they had a refuge of calm and peace for an hour-and-a-half? We do have it. We need to make the public aware of it so it can make a difference in many more lives."

Urban Zen is an offshoot of urban Zen integrative therapy, inspired by fashion designer Donna Karan and developed by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee. It's offered in New York, California and now Ohio.

Bower studied and trained with the Yees, spending time in New York with them. After she became certified, she wanted to offer the program to the Gahanna community, she said.

The class first was offered in Gahanna in September and again in November.

Bower previously taught a restorative yoga class for the Gahanna Parks & Recreation Department, but the urban Zen program has been substituted for restorative yoga.

The classes have attracted men and women from all walks of life, including attorneys, office workers, teachers, stay-at-home moms, students, retirees, nurses and businesspersons.