Back to School

By Steven Libowitz   |   January 10, 2019

SBCC’s Adult Ed, or rather its School of Extended Learning, has morphed back into a full-service educational institution, with a schedule that’s nearly as full as it was back in the heyday in the 1990s. Fee-based classes might outnumber the free ones, but there are plenty in both categories that fall under the wide umbrella of spirituality, self-help, or personal growth. Sixteen different courses fall under the new “Spirituality” heading, including such esoteric offerings as “Whale Whispering,” “Therapeutic Properties of Gems & Minerals,” and “Past Life Regression,” as well as classes on constructing personal shrines, making prayer malas and creating prayer flags. Also amid the usual selection of meditation classes and energy transformation sessions are mixed in other forms of mindfulness, through art or manipulating clay or playing drums.

Elsewhere, under Psychology, you’ll find “Nature and Self-Healing,” which combines hikes and meditation, both in beginning and advanced series, “Psychology of Aging,” “Adventures in Self-Esteem,” “Creatively Dealing with Life Changes,” and “Honing the Intuitive Edge,” all in the Older Adults area amid many other offerings, while those who want to bring a little mindfulness to the business world can find courses in time managements, emotional intelligence, and motivation in the Professional Development section. Happily, the new spring term also heralds the return of the Nonviolent Communication Conference (NVC) to the Wake Center for a three-day weekend in late March after a one-year hiatus when it sadly relocated to Westlake.

Many classes start this coming Monday, January 14. Get course descriptions, details and registration online at

Winter Retreat 

Inspiratia’s Timothy Tillman and Lamara Heartwell’s annual retreat takes place on their ocean-view land high in the hills above Mission Canyon, where the group will spend four days in a silent retreat that offers a balanced blend of mindful movement and embodied meditation with the goal of slowing down, rejuvenating, embodying intentions, and getting clear and open to what is true. Participants will stay on the site for the duration of the January 17-21 retreat, which includes nourishing vegetarian meals, communal lodging (tent, floor space, or vehicle). The all-inclusive fee of $425 can be paid in one payment, or via a payment plan, and scholarships are available. Call (805)-845-0514, email, or visit

Off-site Yoga: Church, a Wine Cave, and in the Park

Parish Hall at Trinity Episcopal Church hosts a “School of the Heart” Hatha Yoga class at 9:30 am on Saturday, January 12, that focuses on the connection of the mind to the breath, the breath to the Spirit, and the Spirit to the body. No matter where you are on the yogic path, you are welcome to the one-hour Mac McNeel-led session. Free will donation of $3. Email

Vineyard Yoga Santa Ynez Valley, which regularly conducts classes amid the vines, returns to Cottonwood Canyon Winery in Santa Maria for a Candlelight Cave Yoga session on Sunday, January 13. The gentle form of yoga takes place in the sanctuary of the underground wine cave sandwiched by a guided meditation and relaxation period before the class enjoys a special wine tasting selected and curated for the group. Cost: $30. Visit

Monday afternoon, January 14, brings another session from Wild Yoga Santa Barbara back for sunset at La Mesa Park, where bundled up practitioners will gather in the big green area close to the bridge for a slow, internal-diving flow to connect with the breath and the center. The one-hour session begins at 4:30 pm, timed to surround the sunset slated for 5:11 and accompanied by music from Mendeleyev who will share the sounds of his “Yoguitar” style. Suggested donation of $5. Next up: Wild Adventure Yoga at the top of Parma Park, following a short hike, on Saturday, January 26.

Soup’s On 

With the new year deep into its second week, activities are on the rise at the studio/events center Yoga Soup, which will be celebrating its 13th anniversary later in the season. This Friday, January 11, boasts two simultaneous (7 pm) offerings of very different approaches. The Holy Well of Grief: Reflection and Renewal finds veteran grief ritual facilitator Alexis Slutzky offering a vastly shorter version of her periodic retreats in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the debris flow and Thomas Fire. She will share some context about grief and its place in our lives, before participants open their hearts with the ancient technologies of poetry and song, and have an opportunity to speak and listen to each other, as well as engage in a simple ritual of honoring our losses and giving thanks for our blessings. Suggested donation $15-20 at the door.

At the same time, Lisa Citore and Len Van Nostrand host their bi-monthly Tantra Games: Mindful Connecting workshop where, in a Tantra-puja-style circle, participants pair up with different partners to share everything from fun communication games to Tantra practices, partner yoga, improv dance, heart-opening meditations, and other non-verbal interactions. The exercises range from playful and flirty to sensual to soulful, and are designed to inspire authenticity, vulnerability, acceptance, and presence. Admission is $18 in advance, $25 day of.

Veteran meditation leader Radhule Weininger, MD, Ph.D, teams up with yoga teacher Emily Benaron for Self-Compassion for Body, Heart & Mind, slated for 1-4 pm on Saturday, January 12. The afternoon of meditation and yoga explores integrative healing with heartwork, intimately tending to bodies, hearts and minds, and dedicated to finding the courage, pathways and clarity needed to embrace our lives with love. Cost: $60 in advance, $65 day of.

SoulCollage Playshop

Denise Foxwell is a fourth-generation Santa Barbara native whose paternal lineage includes the first jailer of Santa Barbara and the city’s first postmaster. A personal assistant and caregiver, she’s also a member of the Core Council at The Center of the Heart across from the Wake Center in Goleta, which is where she’s leading a New Year’s SoulCollage Playshop this weekend. Foxwell is a near-20-year veteran of the process in which participants make their own deck of “Intention Cards,” with each representing one aspect of their personality or soul. The cards are valuable to deepen your understanding of the relationships between your personality parts, your family/community/world, and your dreams, symbols, and spirit. They can be used intuitively to accessing inner wisdom, for daily guidance or simply as an avenue of self-expression. All supplies are provided at the 10 am to 2 pm workshop on Saturday, January 12, which costs $30 in advance, or $40 at the door. More details and registration at 

Impactful Issues

As part of its 45th anniversary, Fielding Graduate University is hosting two seminars from 4-6 pm this Friday afternoon, January 11, at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. Dr. Judy Stevens-Long, co-author of Living Well, Dying Well, will discuss Styles of Grieving, covering new approaches to coping with dying and bereavement. Her presentation will cover the four styles of bereavement and walk the audience through practical exercises in starting conversations with loved ones about preferences in the topic.

At the same time, Fielding experts will present “Eroding Lives: Soil, Social Justice & the Environment,” an examination of the socio-economic upheavals, including migrations of displaced people and threats to sustainability, regarding the issue of soil. The forum will discuss strategies for addressing possible solutions and adaptations. Visit   

MeetUp Mashup: New for 2019

The Santa Barbara Psychedelic Integration Circle aims to serve as a safe and inclusive space to share and discuss experiences with entheogens, psychedelics, and other plant medicines on such topics as how the plants can guide, change, heal, or transform people. The support circle, organized by Evin María, will be facilitated by an experienced group moderator for the purpose of integration, including group and individual work to discuss and explore experiences with altered states of consciousness. A first gathering to set community guidelines, create conversation, and discuss activities as well as a monthly topic has been set for 7-9 pm on Monday, January 14, at a still-to-be-determined location. Visit

The WaMe MeetUp, created by Benjamin Cziller, is a clever name for the ages-old practice of walking meditation, and is aimed at integrating meditation into everyday life in a non-sitting environment. The group is open to all, whether a sitting practice is difficult or simply not aligned with your vision of a contemplative experience, or even as an adjunct to a sitting practice. The first gathering is set for 4 pm on Sunday, January 13, although a location has yet to be confirmed. Visit

Raab-id Writing

Montecito Journal contributor Diana Raab, the PhD author and award-winning memoirist, poet, and teacher, has created a companion journal to her recent book, Writing for Bliss – A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life. The interactive journal is designed to be used in conjunction with the main book but also serves as a stand-alone workbook for reflection and self-discovery. The Companion Journal is filled with writing prompts, exploratory exercises and inspirational quotes – all of which are aimed at guiding readers to tap into the messages of our own heart and lead us through the healing and transformational process of telling our own stories via chronicling and navigating life’s challenging times, along the way becoming a path to bliss.

Raab will discuss the book and sign copies at Chaucer’s Books in Loreto Plaza at 7 pm on Thursday, January 10. She will conduct similar events at Lily’s of Montecito and at Ikat and Pearls in Ventura on as yet undetermined dates, and also offers her “Writing for Bliss: Writing Workshop” at Yoga Soup on February 9.


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