FireTending for Mature Males

By Steven Libowitz   |   October 10, 2019

FireTenders is a self-sustaining community of responsible men who are committed to wakeful living and are willing to support other men in the process of self-discovery, true masculine embodiment, and open-hearted relational engagement in the world. Normally the meetings are in closed, ongoing groups that are formed following a weekend or other immersive training. Now, FireTenders Men’s Movement founder Timothy Tillman, a Somatic Psychotherapist, Hakomi trainer and meditation teacher, is bringing the group process down the mountain from his Mission Canyon home office to Yoga Soup for a six-week series from 3:30-5 pm on Sundays, October 13-November 17.

The sessions are being offered on a drop-in basis, so it’s likely the gatherings will be more of an introduction vs. the deep dives into connection created by the committed containers. The gatherings are open to all men to build community, connection, self awareness and emotional skills. Still, men should get a healthy taste of FireTenders’ opportunity to stop, presence your life, and explore your current habitual patterns, belief systems, relationships and level of wakefulness with support and brotherhood through experiential exercises, embodied meditations, and individual somatic processing time. Tillman will be joined by FireTenders veterans Jordan Santoni, a leadership coach, conscious business consultant and certified facilitator candidate for Byron Katie’s “The Work,” and Damian Gallagher, who also facilitates breath work, meditation, sound healing and Authentic Relating. Admission is $10 per session, or $50 for the full series.

‘Radical’ Healing

Yoga Soup gets back into balance with the genders via Laura Penner’s women-only Radical Acceptance of Self workshop slated for 2-5 pm on Sunday, October 13, the opening afternoon of FireTenders. The practice offers an evolutionary path to freedom to combat the societal pressure for women to identify their inherent, internal value with their external body. Radical Acceptance of Self empowers women to liberate themselves from the false constraints and embrace all of their potential in full union with their ever-changing body, mind and soul. The workshop includes group sharing, partner practices, intentional journaling and gentle yoga before closing with a Women’s Ecstatic Dance.

Santa Barbara native Penner is a certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a local RYT-200 Yoga Teacher, and a professional photographer. Penner founded, a holistic health consulting company that combines yoga, holistic health and lifestyle to mentor women on their path to health and wellness. Admission to Sunday’s seminar is $25 in advance, $30 day of. 

Moving Bodies, Moving Souls

Donia Hames Robinson leads an Introduction to Soul Motion, an embodied awareness conscious dance practice that takes on an authentic form for each individual in a practice that views creativity as an inherent expression for every body. The offering, which takes place 7-9 pm Friday, October 11, at Yoga Soup, is about coming home to self through learning how to relate to others on the sacred space of the dance floor. Participants will experience moving from within, moving with others, and how to navigate that edge. Experience stillness, awareness, witness, and presence within movement, bringing this new embrace of life out from the dance floor into the everyday to empower your connection with self, others, community and beyond.

No experience needed, as you cannot get “you” wrong. Soul Motion is about courting relationships with another as a means for understanding self, so it holds deeply and dearly to the dance as a dialogue with reality. Robinson found Soul Motion after years of owning her own yoga studio, working at the Esalen Institute on the massage crew, and studying the dynamic form and function of the body, neuroscience, quantum physics and every healing modality she could find. After getting involved with Soul Motion in 2012, she has found the practice to truly get to the heart of life – the study of the now. “Soul Motion is a life practice in an intentional container of grace that allows for expression, play, healing and profound shifts to happen when we witness ourselves coming home,” she says. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 day-of. 

Sound Bath at the Soup

Shane Thunder uses alchemical gemstone and Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, drums, aromatherapy plus guided meditation to create a restorative evening. The sound bath, slated for 7:30-9 pm on Friday, October 11, aims to cleanse and purge emotional, mental, physical and spiritual blocks and purify the chakras so that the body, mind and spirit will have a blissful, transforming and uplifting experience. Admission is $25 in advance, $30 day-of. 

Compassionate Communication Connections

Veteran Nonviolent Communication practitioner and teacher Rodger Sorrow, who brought the annual regional NVC Convention back to Santa Barbara this spring, is resuming leading weekly gatherings to practice basic foundations of NVC as developed by founder Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. Under the aegis of SBCC’s School for Extended Learning, Sorrow – a Certified Trainer and Assessor in Training with The Center for Nonviolent Communication and co-founder of –  will cover the practice that aims to improve the quality of connection in all interpersonal relationships, including the spiritual basis of nonviolent communication, plus: listening more fully with presence, honest feedback without criticism or blaming, conflict resolution, forgiveness for ourselves and others, “beneficial regret,” role playing games and more. The 6:15 – 8:30 pm class runs for eight Tuesdays, October 22 to December 10, at the Schott Campus, 310 West Padre Street. Admission is free, but registration is required. Visit 

Practice Makes Purpose

Those already familiar with NVC as well as newcomers are welcome to join the ongoing NVC Practice Group that meets every second Monday of the month to engage in the communication approach centered on using language that honors and values everyone’s needs, employing a process of empathy, compassion and honesty instead of shame, blame and domination. NVC veteran Lesley Weinstock, who revived the group after last spring’s NVC Convention, will lead the next 6:30-9 pm gathering on October 14 at a private home in Goleta. The format includes a check-in, empathy exchange, a teaching topic, an exercise or game, discussion and a check-out. Tea and snacks are provided; feel free to bring other refreshments to share. Suggested contribution is $15-$20 but no one is turned away because of money. Details and directions upon RSVP to Weinstock at (805) 212-0052, or email 

Sunburst Seminars

Sunburst Sanctuary in Lompoc has an offering for those who might feel a calling to advance and deepen their Kriya meditation practice. At the heart-opening and informative weekend, slated for October 17-20, participants will receive the second initiation of Kriya as a powerful tool for awakening, learn to activate the healing and balancing power of your chakras, engage in interactive discussions with seasoned practitioners, and discover ways to help consciousness evolve, personally and globally. The workshop is accessible via a sliding scale donation of $175-$300 plus optional lodging or camping on site, and an ongoing practice of Kriya 1 is a prerequisite.

Those new to Kriya meditation might instead consider Sunburst’s New Year’s Kriya I Meditation Retreat: “Transform Yourself – Transform Our World,” which takes place January 2-5, 2020. Participants will learn scientific meditation practices in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda and partake in a New Year’s ceremony, periods of sacred silence and discussion, and be sustained by provided nourishing meals for the retreat amid the sanctuary’s pristine natural surroundings nestled amid the oak-dotted rolling hills of California’s Central Coast.

Also on the schedule at Sunburst is another Sacred Geometry Workshop: Exploring the Divine Signature, slated for 9:30 am-4 pm on Saturday, November 9. Visitors will learn to recognize the golden proportion in spirals found throughout nature via hands-on exploration and interactive presentations in the creative workshop guided by Sunburst’s sacred geometry expert Craig Hanson. Lunch is included in the donation of $35-$40.

Meanwhile, public meditation drop-ins at the retreat center continue at 10:30 am every Sunday, with a program that includes live, spirit-filled music, an insightful talk, quiet meditation, and time for socializing and connection followed by a vegetarian brunch. Children’s programs are available during the quiet portion, and there are optional group hikes most Sundays after brunch. Upcoming topics include The Mystery of Life and Death (October 13), Living Mindfully (October 20), and Honoring Illumined Souls (October 27). Visit for more information on all Sunburst activities.


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