Singing at the Soup

By Steven Libowitz   |   July 19, 2018
Here's the soup: Britta Gudmunson conducts In-Courage Chorus at Yoga Soup

What’s that? You’re wondering what a column on spirituality is doing featuring an item on singing? A sensible query, to be sure, and while the answer could be a smarmy “Anything is spiritual if that’s your vantage point,” the inCourage Chorus truly takes a heart-based, spirit-invoking approach to vocalizing with melody, rhythm, and harmony in a community-based song circle.

Song carriers Ben Gould and Britta Gudmunson, who also lead yoga with musical accompaniment at Yoga Soup, are the creators and leaders of the inCourage Chorus who teach from the heart in the oral tradition (meaning no sheet music) where anyone can raise your voice, your vibration, and your spirit in song. No experience is necessary as singers, “recovering non-singers,” breathers, and talkers of all levels are invited to commune in songs from around the world spanning culture, tradition, and language.

Summer Singing with The inCourage Chorus, the second of three unrelated song circles being offered between the inCourage Chorus’s spring and fall 13-week sessions, takes place 7 to 8:30 pm on Monday, July 23, with the final session slated for Monday, August 27, at Yoga Soup, 28 Parker Way. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 day-of.

Keep Your Cool

This weekend at Yoga Soup, Taran Collis and Corinna Maharani collaborate for a special Summer Yoga & Ayurveda: The Healing Power of Nature workshop, diving into the ancient sister sciences as a guide to deepen relationship to the healing elements of nature. The workshop includes yoga, meditation, self-healing practices, and nourishing treatments in an effort to balance heart and mind and connect to the innate ability to self-heal and stay cool this summer. The mini-retreat is geared toward students and teachers interested in deepening their understanding of Ayurveda and Yoga, though no prior Yoga or Ayurveda experience is required and all props will be provided.

Participants will learn ways to balance the hot, sharp, light, moist, qualities of the summer months with cooling breath practices to keep the mind and body chilled out, plus grounding and stabilizing yoga to keep your body supported for summer fun, and marma point self-massage to bring home practical ways to keep yourself in balance. 

The 2 to 5 pm workshop on Saturday, July 21, costs $45. Call Yoga Soup at 965-8811 or visit

Free Yoga

Purusha John Donahoe has taken over the free monthly Fundamentals of Yoga class offered at the area’s oldest studio, the Santa Barbara Yoga Center. The one-day, two-hour intensive is intended for beginning students who would like to learn the basics before attending an ongoing class, or for any yoga student who’d like a brush up on the foundational concepts of the practice. Emphasis is given to the understanding of the basic yoga postures, and their effect and correct alignment. Students are specifically prepared to proceed to SB Yoga Center’s ongoing Level 1, Level 1-2, and All Level classes, though the concepts apply to any next-level yoga offering. July’s session takes place from noon to 2 pm this Saturday, July 21.

Coming next weekend: Full Moon Kundalini Yoga & Gong Experience with Amardeep Kaur. The event features an interweaving of Full Moon Energy with Gentle Kundalini Yoga and Healing Vibration of the Gong, from 7 to 8:30 pm on Friday, July 27. Participants are invited to bring a yoga mat and natural-fiber blanket or shawl. Admission is $20.

Santa Barbara Yoga Center is located at 32 E. Micheltorena St. Call (805) 965-6045 or visit

Hands-on Healing

John McEnany, a Reiki master, HHP (Holistic Healthcare practitioner) and a practitioner of Bodywork Therapies and Energy Work, will be on hand this Saturday, July 21, to offer private healing sessions at Center of the Heart: a Center for Spiritual Living.

McEnany, who has accumulated 20 years of experience since graduating from the Utah College of Massage Therapy’s Medical & Eastern Studies program in 1998, uses multiple modalities and disciplines to bring balance to the physical body by manipulating energetic fields. He focuses on Tensegrity (the theory that if the muscles are at their correct resting length, bones will be pulled into their correct placement, as impinged nerves and other structural issues can shift in moments), Reciprocal Inhibition (the process of muscles releasing when their antagonistic muscles engage to accommodate concentric contraction, which is a method of sedating spasms) and Proprioception (employing sensory receptors that receives stimuli from within the body, especially ones that respond to position and movement, useful for inactive muscles that can be “turned on” post trauma).

McEnany will also offer cupping treatments as well, sharing the benefits including helping with pain, inflammation, blood flow, lymph drainage, relaxation, balancing life force energy (Ki/Chi), and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. The private healing sessions cost $100; reservations are available at

The following Saturday, July 28, McEnany will offer Reike 1 training at the center, imparting his knowledge and experience in the practice based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us all and can be transmitted to others via the laying on of hands. While Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind, and spirit, the simple technique is not taught in the usual sense but is brought to life through the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an “attunement” given by a Reiki master, allowing the student to tap into an unlimited supply of “life force energy” improving one’s health and enhancing the quality of one’s life. The 10 am to 5 pm training, which costs $250 prepaid by Tuesday, July 24, or $300 afterward, includes treatments by McEnany for whatever issues students may be having on the physical plane.

Center of the Heart is located at 487 N. Turnpike Road, across from SBCC’s Wake Center. Call (805) 964-4861 or visit


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