Summer Spirituality at SBCC

By Steven Libowitz   |   June 27, 2019

The community college’s School of Extended Learning slims down for the season, but still manages to offer a sizeable swath of learning opportunities, including a number of ones in the areas of spirituality and personal growth. To wit, two two-hour teachings from Dr. David Cumes, the veteran local urologist and surgeon who also happens to be a shaman. Cumes has been exploring ancient African wisdom on healing and was initiated as an African shaman (sangoma or inyanga) who can testify personally to the value of their divining techniques, the powerful rituals and plant medicines, the altered states of consciousness induced by drumming, and the diagnostic power of the “bones.”

Cumes, whose many books include The Spirit of Healing: Venture Into the Wilderness to Rediscover the Healing Force and Messages From The Ancestors: Wisdom For The Way, offers “Ancient Wisdom and Everyday Encounters” this Saturday, June 29, at the Schott Center’s Tannahill Auditorium. The 10 am to 12 noon event comes from the concept that teachings from ancient wisdom can magnify, actualize and explain everyday encounters on one’s journey through life. Participants will explore the hidden meanings found in rites of passage, nature and ancient wisdom, and learn to walk through life with more profound meaning. Admission is $19.

Cumes will also teach “Spiritual Materialism: Fallen Gurus and Perplexed Seekers” four weeks later on Saturday, July 27, examining why it seems to be getting harder to find competent and honest “gurus” or shamans who use authentic practices. Participants will explore avoidance strategies and how to discern predatory dogmas while learning to tailor your spiritual practice to your own unique needs. Same time, place and cost.

Also available during Summer Session II are a poetry class with Adult Ed favorite David Richo and beginning and intermediate levels of Nature and Self-Healing, both taught by Rodger Sorrow, a Nonviolent Communications practitioner who spearheads the annual NVC convention here each spring. He offers a mid-hike break for alternative healing techniques including meditation, stretching, journaling, examining limiting beliefs and the purposes of anger and gratitude. Meanwhile, Richo leads Reading and Writing Poetry for Personal Growth beginning June 29, when adults can examine what issues still need to be resolved and create and share poems in class to see meaning and purpose, and notice similarities in the human experience. All three of the classes are free. Visit for details or to register in advance. 

Yoga+, out in Nature

If you’re game to sojourn beyond the studio, there are multiple choices for outdoor yoga plus other activities, including two that take place this Saturday, June 29, starting at 10 am. DiviniTree Yoga teams up with Paddle Sports Center & Yoga Dance Magic for Summer Solstice Paddle & Silent Disco Yoga, which begins with a stand-up paddleboard journey from the marina at Santa Barbara Harbor to the nearby Sandspit Beach. The sandy shore will serve as soft support for a solstice-themed, all-levels yoga class during which participants will wear WireBliss headphones so that the class can easily transform into an epic dance party. The event ends with a cool down featuring gentle stretches and a sweet savasana, hopefully in the sun. Cost is $35 in advance, or $40 day of, with discounts for Paddle Sports and DiviniTree members.

Warm up early when Yoga Dance Magic offers a silent disco ecstatic dance at Breakfast Culture Club from 8-10 pm the night before, Friday, June 28, where $5 buys a night of free-flowing movement and dance, including the WireBliss headphones – no yoga, just dance grooving. Visit

Meanwhile, back to 10 am on Saturday, Born For More Family Wellness and Wild Yoga Santa Barbara are partnering to produce a mindfulness hike with yoga session to bring in awareness around #PlasticFreeJuly. The event starts with a short movement/warm up and meditation drop in before Corinna Bernasko leads a mindful hike up the Jesusita Trail with a focus on going plastic-free, with some special activities – picking up discarded pieces of plastic – along the way. Upon reaching an open meadow about 30 minutes in, Sonya Barriere will lead a yoga flow workout before close with some tips and a chance to pledge, voluntarily, to go Plastic Free for July. Participants are invited to bring plastic-free snacks for a communal zero waste picnic afterward. Suggested donation of $10-$15.

Finally, Power of Your Om brings back Wharf Yoga with a free/donation-based one-hour session at 9 am Sunday, June 30, out on Stearns Wharf near the Sea Center. Visit


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