Soothe Your Qi by the Sea

By Steven Libowitz   |   January 24, 2019
Jessica Kolbe hosts Soothe Your Qi, a day of self-nurturing that includes yoga, QiGong, massage, and more

With the stress and extravaganzas of the holidays a few weeks in the rear view mirror, Qigong and Tai Chi instructor Jessica Kolbe is collaborating with her yoga instructor husband Ray Kolbe in a daylong immersion this weekend for people to nourish and pamper their bodies, hearts, minds, and spirits. Among the activities beyond practicing the two disciplines during the “Soothe Your Qi: A Day to Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reconnect” workshop are periods of deep breathing and guided meditations, sound healing, a professional massage, beach time, and even a gourmet lunch.

Jessica Kolbe also teaches and leads workshops through SBCC School for Extended Learning and privately at various venues, and also has a myriad of offerings online, including videos and full courses. The Kolbes also produce Wellness TV shows for the local TV access channel TVSB and lead study/immersion trips to China. Jessica will teach “Happy Heart: Dance to Free Your Emotions,” combining Nia movements with Tai Chi energy work, on Saturday, February 2, through SBCC, and lead an “Introduction to Qigong and Tai Chi: Self Care, Stress Relief, Grace & Balance” class on Saturday, February 16.

She talked about QiGong and the Soothe Your Qi event earlier this week.

Q. How does QiGong heal beyond the body? How is it different from yoga? 

A. Like yoga, its roots go back 5,000 years to ancient Chinese practices that to this day are still the foundation of the Chinese health care system. It works by coordinating the breath with the intentions of the mind to move energy. What makes it different from yoga is that every movement has intention, whether to dispel disease or frustration and fear or to attract healthy and happiness. We’re not just stretching. The mind is very much engaged, occupied with moving the energy in or out or within our bodies. If you’re reaching up, for example, the thought might be about reaching for a desire, grasping it and pulling it into your energy body. 

How did you get involved and how has your practice affected your own healing?

Twenty years ago was interior designer in Montecito, which is stressful. When I went to my first QiGong class and knew right away that I’d found what I was looking for. I was already doing lots of yoga, and other martial arts. But QiGong resonated with me. I love all the visualizations, evoking animals and aspects of nature. I practiced for 10 years and it helped me control my stress. Then I became a teacher and in furthering my studies I realized that it had also healed my emotions, the anger and fear. It gave me the tools to release those toxic energies. I just wanted to share it with everybody who would listen.

There are many practitioners and teachers in the area. What makes your approach special?

I’m known for focusing on visualizations and imagery. That’s the feedback I get from my students. And I’m not a strict teacher. Everybody is different, and has their own interpretations. With QiGong there’s no judgement. It’s about what’s right for your body. And having studied with masters for 20 years I have a deep foundation, and more knowledge about the emotional healing aspects, the five elements, than most of the other teachers around.

The Soothe Your Qi day features a wide variety of activities. How did you develop it, and how do they complement each other?

We had a hard year in 2018 [with the fires and mudslides]. Many people still have PTSD. We wanted to encourage people to spend a whole day on self-care, and let us guide you. Ray is doing restorative yoga, I’m doing QiGong at the beach at low tide, and we’re both leading meditation. The sound bath is about vibrational healing through our voices and gongs and serving bowls. Everybody also gets an hour massage from therapists we’re bringing in. We want people to feel nurtured. The idea is to become clear.

(Admission to Soothe Your Qi, which takes place 8:30 am to 5 pm this Saturday, January 26, at Carpinteria Woman’s Club, costs $175. Info and advance registration at or 805-705-3426. Visit

Qigong & Music Medicine Sound Bath

If you’re not ready or available for a full day commitment on Saturday, Montecito 22-year veteran yoga teacher Chloe Conger and yoga-community choir-mindful eating-essential oil maven Britta Gudmunson are collaborating on a 90-minute mini session at Yoga Soup starting at 7:30 pm on Friday, January 25. Beginning with Conger’s Radiant Heart Qigong offering, an embodied meditation practice to soothe the nervous system and integrate the body, mind, and heart into a seamless whole, will be followed by relaxing into restorative poses while bathing in sacred sound and transformative music medicine from Gudmunson. Cost: $20 in advance, $25 on Friday.

For a deeper dive, Conger will also be leading a three-weekend series serving as an introduction to Radiant Heart Qigong at Yoga Soup next month. “Living with Ease: Qigong and Meditation” takes place 2:30-4 pm Saturdays and Sundays, February 9-24. Admission is $20 per class or $90 for the series. Gudmunson and her husband Ben Gould preview the upcoming 13-week spring season of the inCourage Chorus that starts on February 11 with a “Mid-Winter Singing” introductory workshop for the non-audition, non-denominational, all-ages community choir this Sunday, January 27. Admission to the 3-5 pm gathering at Yoga Soup is $15 in advance, $20 day-of. 

Healing Through Rhythm and Voice

Elsewhere in the healing-through-singing realm, veteran Santa Barbara vocal coach Sloane Reali is joined by percussionist/sound therapist Nacho Arimany for a three-hour workshop this Saturday, January 26, at Center of the Heart. Based on the premise that there is no sound as powerful and healing as the authentic human voice, the event will employ body percussion exercises, group-created melodies and other modalities to help participants discover the transformative and healing power of your own voice, and allow the pulsating rhythm to drive you toward your deepest desires. Admission to the 10 am to 1 pm workshop is $55. Visit

Get Consciousness (Network) Now

It might seem to be a little strange for the Santa Barbara Consciousness Network to be throwing a third anniversary party when the nonprofit that once hosted monthly expos and expert talks – the speakers included Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks and World Business Academy founder Rinaldo Brutoco – has been dormant since before the summer, when its founder, Forrest Leichtberg, departed for New York City. But lo and behold, Leichtberg is back, having celebrated the new year by trading Manhattan’s skyscraper forest for the trees back here on our sunny South Coast, and securing a new job in the community.

Plans for what a new Networking Expo & Symposium might comprise are still being bandied about, although a vocal workshop with the Ojai-based Brothers Koren is already in the works for February. You can find out more at SBCN’s Conscious Community Celebration starting at 6 pm this Thursday, January 24, at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum downtown, where activities include announcements about future events, a short set of music from the Brothers Koren, potluck snacks and drinks – and lots of networking, of course. Free admission. RSVP at 

I.V. for Mantra Lounge

The Santa Barbara Mantra Lounge Kirtan began a few years ago with monthly meetups right here in Montecito at the community center in the Upper Village before heading downtown to the more centrally located, spacious, and spiritually-oriented Unity of Santa Barbara for roughly a two-year stint. After a hiatus that included the founders Divya and Sarvatmas’ annual trip to India this past summer, the gatherings to chant a form of meditative song known as kirtan followed by free plant-based food found a new home last October at the Yes! Dance Studio in Paseo Nuevo shopping center, a spot amenable to both acoustic alchemy and chant-inspired movement. It seemed like the perfect marriage. Alas, it was not to be. Now, three months later, Mantra Lounge Kirtan has resurfaced, once again with a new location, albeit one that’s quite a bit further from Montecito. The good news is that admission has been sliced in half to just $5 for An Evening of Melodious Kirtan, which resumes from 6-8 pm this Saturday, January 26, at Yoga Isla Vista, 900 Embarcadero del Mar Drive, in Isla Vista. As always, Divya and Sarvatmas provide the ambiance, music, lyrics, and tasty vegan eats served after the singing – you just need to bring your voice, and an open heart. Visit or

Finding answers through the Q Process

Unity Rev. Denese Schellink leads a one-day immersion in The Q Process, an interactive workshop of powerful exercises, multimedia presentations, and meaningful discussions, this Saturday, January 26, at the Unity Chapel. Schellink, a Certified Q Coach, will present the increasingly popular method that aims to offer an experience of “what your life be like if you lived from a deep place of peace, knowing that nothing and no one is against you.” The $129 fee includes the 9:30 am to 4:30 pm workshop, an official manual, and three follow-up coaching sessions. Partial scholarships are available on request. Call (805) 708-7345, email, or visit

Bored? Try a Vision Board

Heidi Jayne Biggs’ Take Healthy Back Meetup’s has staged sporadic events since the group’s founding, and has had a gap of more than four months since the last gathering. But the organization whose previous offerings include workshops on becoming your own health advocate and making salad in a jar and a soup swap, is kicking off the new year with two gatherings over four days. “Imagine a Life,” slated for 6:45-8:45 pm this Thursday, January 24, at a private home in town, features professional “recreationologist” Chris and “lifestyle master” Nikki Cotton, a couple who are “living their best life through a lifestyle of health and abundance.” The pair will share and facilitate a community conversation in a collaborative setting.

On Sunday, January 27, the Meetup holds its second annual Vision Board Party, a three-hour session for participants to employ the popular tool to help focus on their dreams and goals in 2019. The session starts with an interactive discussion to explore tools, resources and strategies designed to strengthen your belief and bring positive energy to all that you desire, followed by time and instruction in creating the vision board. Bring your own supplies, including poster board and magazines. The free 2-5 pm workshop takes place at The Hair Lounge of Montecito, 1807 East Cabrillo Boulevard. Visit


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