Meditation Magic in Montecito

By Steven Libowitz   |   October 3, 2019

The Magic Castle Cabaret opened earlier this year just off Cabrillo Boulevard by the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. But even more magical moments might soon be taking place next door at the just-opened Montecito Meditation. The new center is designed as a non-denominational destination for the local meditation community as well as a retreat and seminar space for visitors from all over the world.

Montecito Meditation owner Tina Lyn, a Montecito resident who is a certified meditation and mindfulness teacher and a personal trainer who has been meditating for more than 15 years, opened her first meditation space called Vivid Minds on Coast Village Road a couple of years ago. But a personal health issue followed by a flood of the small studio gave her pause, and she soon also realized the location below a restaurant wasn’t ideal. The new space is much more amenable to her vision, she said. 

“I wanted to create a no specific tradition, any technique sacred space that is just a place to sit and meditate,” Lyn explained. “It’s a community-driven place for whatever kind of meditation, sound healing, or mindfulness program that people want to do.” 

Montecito Meditation’s first mission is to serve the community, Lyn said, adding “I’m just a quiet Montecito resident who doesn’t want to be out there. I’m not a public figure. I just want to sit myself, grow more, and teach other people how to meditate.” 

To that end, Lyn will begin leading twice daily meditation sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am and 7 pm, plus lunchtime offerings at 12 noon on Wednesdays, starting on October 8. To celebrate the grand opening, all of the sessions will be offered for free through the end of the month. 

“It’s important to have a community meditation program that happens weekly that people can depend on,” said Lyn, who described herself as a “super hyper, Type A personality who can cuss at other drivers on the road,” but wants others to know that “even people like me can meditate.” Her sessions will consist of an intro section offering some of her knowledge about the scientifically-proven benefits for body and brain followed by a 20-minute meditation split between guided and silent 10-minute slots.

“I also want other people, meditation teachers from the community, to join in and lead meditation, sound healing, of whatever kind of people want to do,” Lyn said. “It doesn’t have to fit any specific kind of technique.”

Accordingly, the initial schedule also includes twice weekly Release & Restore meditation classes featuring breathwork and light yoga with Jamie Zimmerman at 5 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Also on tap to lead lots of programs is Sarah McLean, Lyn’s teacher and mentor who has more than 25 years of experience in training other teachers, and last year relocated to Santa Barbara from Sedona, Arizona, where she ran a large meditation center. She serves as Montecito Meditation’s co-founder, and plans to move many of her retreats and other programs to the new local location as well as offer ongoing teacher trainings and drop-in meditation sessions. 

McLean was the founding program director for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and also ran programs for Byron Katie of “The Work,” then created the Meditation Teacher Academy, which offers training programs for meditation and mindfulness teachers across three continents. Her path took her from a Zen Buddhist monastery to ashrams in India (“My ‘Eat Pray Love’ story,” she said) and includes experiences in Ayurveda and Transcendental Meditation.

“There are so many ways to meditate depending on what you want to focus on – more peace, loving-kindness or maybe to explore existential areas,” explained McLean, author of the bestseller, Soul Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation. “Meditation is everybody’s birthright. And nowadays there’s so much research on the benefits. But in order to meditate you have to be trained or taught properly to avoid the pitfalls and practices that might have you give up altogether. But any technique that comes from love is good.”

McLean plans to offer a one-day immersion later in the fall, as well as a weekend retreat November 2-3 called “The Flourish Initiative” geared toward changemakers, entrepreneurs, professionals and other practitioners. 

Montecito Meditation is located at 1805 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Suite G. Call (707) 496-3011 or visit 

Herbal Happenings

Santa Barbara herbalist Emily Sanders’ calendar for the first week or so of October is jammed full of opportunities for locals to take advantage of her knowledge, experience, and contagious enthusiasm for using the bounties of nature for healing and more. Sanders’ immersive 100-hour Herbal Apprentice Program for Fall 2019 already got underway on October 2, as did her 38-hour Herbs for the Body course. But there are still several opportunities for smaller workshops within the fall program – including the 12-hour Holistic Nutrition class on three first Saturday afternoons, October 5-December 7, and a Medicine Making Intensive weekend October 19-20 – as well as ongoing offerings from her Artemisia Academy available.

Sanders’ monthly Santa Barbara Herbal Medicine Meetup gathers for an herb walk at Cold Spring Trail from 10 am to 12 noon on Saturday, October 5, with a creekside hike to learn about the folk, magical, medicinal and culinary uses of herbs, trees and shrubs that grow in our own backyard – including easy to make herbal remedies for everyday ailments. The fee is $30 ($20 for students and seniors) for the hike meeting at 824 East Mountain Drive.

Sanders’ ongoing free DIY Herb Class, which takes place every first Sunday of the month at IV Food Co-op, meets again on October 6, from 11 am to 12 noon before the herbalist hightails it back to Santa Barbara for her Medicine Making Workshop at the Botanic Gardens from 2-5 pm, with this month’s theme of creating herbal first aid kits for families. Sanders also teaches a one-hour “DIY: Herbal Self-Care Products” at 5:15 pm on Mondays through UCSB’s Dept. of Recreation.

Artemisia Academy is located at 928 Carpinteria Street, Suite 2. For details and registration, call (805) 769-4926 or

Unlock Your Greatness 

Jesse Brisendine. the creator of “Zero Limits Coaching” and the founder/leader of the Get Unstuck & Create an Awesome Vision Hike Meetup that hosted five events in the foothills this summer, hosts a much more immersive experience this weekend here in town. Unlock Your Greatness is a transformational training geared toward those who want to become their best selves and live their best lives. The experience aims to aid people who are fed up with having dreams but no direction, those feeling stuck instead of unstoppable, people who are ready to shed the weight of limiting beliefs and emotional baggage, and even people who are still trying to figure out “who do I want to be when I grow up?”

Brisendine has worked with thousands of people around the world, including business leaders, Hollywood celebrities, mental health professionals, entrepreneurs and educators, who have utilized his services to break through limiting beliefs, uncover their unique purpose, and create fulfilled lives. This weekend’s Unlock Your Greatness seminar brings it all together over a two-day training Friday-Saturday, October 4-5. Visit 

Soup’s On 

It’s a busy weekend at Yoga Soup, with both of its studio spaces hosting special events. Wild Yes founders Lora Amber and Skyler Levenson – who believe that creativity is an integral process of being a healthy human and that the balance between wild exploration and coming into focus leads to inner expansion – return on Friday, October 4, for a new monthly offering of “imperfect art making,” a 3-5 pm afternoon of explorative play with your creative genius. The workshop invites participants to come together with curiosity to see what authentic creation might emerge within a container formed with clear intentions of non-judgement and playing at our edges. Participants will explore prompts through partner and personal art exercises with an “anything you make is wonderful” attitude to practice trusting and loving the creative process. Admission is $15… October 4 also brings the monthly First Fridays Ecstatic Dance, a barefoot, substance-free, live DJ “get-down dance party” that begins at 7 pm with a Contact Improv Warm-Up followed by ecstatic dancing from 7:30-9:30 pm. Admission is $15. 

Go into the Darkness

Suzanne Marlow, M.A., LMFT and Hannah Fries, LA.c, team up on Saturday afternoon, October 5, for a 2-4 pm Embracing Your Demons workshop. The event integrates the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chod through Lama Tsultrim Allione’s method, “Feeding Your Demons,” in which a demon can be perceived as anything that drains your energy and blocks you from being completely alive and awake – including fear, illness, trauma, depression and anxiety. Learn how to transform your relationship with your demons from one of resistance to one of curiosity, understanding and cooperation through a dynamic approach that includes meditation, visualization, acupuncture, and creative psychosomatic processing. Admission is $35 in advance, $40 day-of… Also on Saturday afternoon: a free talk from 2-3 pm on Integrative Investing with Tim Thomas, a 25-year veteran who is also a yoga teacher, featuring a discussion on how to develop a personal financial plan that is in line with your values, means and life goals, as well as typical considerations of investment directions and trends in financial decisions. 

Saturday evening brings the monthly Ecstatic Breathing evening with studio owner Eddie Ellner, featuring a few minutes of gentle yoga followed by an hour of intentional breathing to a selection of music designed to accelerate and amplify the breath to induce a non-ordinary state of consciousness. Admission to the 7 pm event is $35. 

Tonglen with Khaydroup

Tonglen literally means sending and taking. From ego’s point of view, we would want to take what is good and get rid of what isn’t, but from a Bodhisattva’s perspective, the ego’s view needs to be challenged as it is the cause of all our pain and suffering. Tonglen, a practice that can be learned easily, unburdens us from ego’s perspective and is effective in lightening the burden of self concern, thereby increasing our capacity for compassion towards all, including ourselves. Khaydroup Candace Podvoll will be teaching the practice at the Santa Barbara Bodhi Path Center on Saturday, October 5, with sessions at 10 am and 1:30 pm. Admission is $35 for each session, or $60 for both, with no one turned away for lack of funds.

Vines & Vibes in the Valley

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Santa Barbara wine country as The Yogi Sommelier presents Vines & Vibes at the Pence Ranch Vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills area of Buellton, west of Solvang. The day begins with a one-hour intentional sound bath guided by Pamela Robins, the founder of Meditating with Animals. Through meditation, aromatherapy, and body relaxation, Robins will lead a grounding and transformative sound healing experience featuring crystal and Tibetan bowls and more. Then it’s off to explore the vineyards and witness how organic farming works in harmony with the cycles of nature to produce world-class wines at the 200-acre working ranch. After the tour, sit down to a nourishing harvest picnic among the vines. Admission to the 11 am to 2 pm event on Saturday, October 5, at 1909 W Highway 246, Buellton, is $110 per person. Visit


You might also be interested in...