Moved to Write

By Steven Libowitz   |   November 26, 2019

Elizabeth Schwyzer developed Write from the Body – a creative writing workshop that explores the intersections between language and physical experience – back when the Santa Barbaran was practicing dance and serving as an arts writer at the Independent before moving, marrying, and starting to raise children. Now Schwyzer – who holds degrees in art history and dance from UC Berkeley and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College – is back in town and co-leading Write From the Body at Yoga Soup with fellow writer/athlete Jenny Boyar, who holds a PhD in English from the University of Rochester, where she specialized in medieval and early modern literature, with an emphasis on poetry and memory studies. Much of Boyar’s teaching has explored writing at the intersection of literature and medicine, and she has led workshops and courses across a range of health and educational contexts.

The workshop, slated for 2-5 pm on Sunday, December 1, will build a safe space for creative experimentation and risk-taking and then begin to mine the body for its creative potential, using movement and improvisation as well as traditional writing prompts. Wear clothing you can move in, and bring a pen and notebook ($60 in advance, $65 day-of).

Sip of Soup

Also at Yoga Soup this week: November’s Ecstatic Breathing with studio owner Eddie Ellner begins with a few minutes of gentle yoga followed by an hour of breathing comprised of the simple practice of intentional breathing to a selection of music designed to accelerate and amplify the breath to induce a non-ordinary state of consciousness. Refreshments, conversation, and connection follow the session (7 pm Saturday, November 30; $35 in advance, $40 day-of).

Yoga Soup is located at 28 Parker Way. Call (805) 965-8811 or visit

Gong Before Gobbling

Turkey or turducken lovers alike are invited to Morning of Gratitude, a special Gong Yoga Nidra with Kundalini Yoga led by Mitsuko Conner-Newlan at 9 am on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 28, at Santa Barbara Yoga Center. A Kundalini Yoga warm-up will be followed by Gong Yoga Nidra (aka Yogic Sleep), with admission set at $20 – or free for those sponsoring monthly meals through the Organic Soup Kitchen. The OSK – which provides nutritious soup-based meals to the community, cancer patients, and house-bound elders – this year discontinued its annual Thanksgiving Day Community Meal at the Veterans Memorial Building after a decade of dedication (32 East Micheltorena Street; (805) 965-6045 or

Divinitree Yoga hosts its own special Turkey Day event, via Rachel Wilkins’ eighth annual Thanksgiving morning vinyasa flow benefit class in celebration of all the grace, blessings, and abundance bestowed upon us. Thanksgiving is a time for coming together in gratitude and in offering, so Wilkins invites yogis to take a moment to pause, move, reflect, and give back – with all donation-based proceeds headed to People Assisting the Homeless, the nonprofit better known as PATH. DiviniTree is located at 25 East De La Guerra Street. Call (805) 897-3354 or visit

More Yoga Gatherings

Wild Yoga Santa Barbara adds another location to its opportunities for assuming asanas in the great outdoors: Ellwood Mesa. Sonya Barriere leads an adventure yoga hike from the parking lot off of Hollister Avenue across the street from Ellwood Elementary to a spot overlooking the ocean Santa Barbara Shores Park & Sperling Preserve in Goleta for an all-levels class. Bring your own backpack to carry a mat, blankets, water, sun protection and any props you might need or want, and perhaps a snack to share, preferably zero waste. Admission to the 10 am to 1 pm event on Saturday, November 30, is by $10-$15 suggested donation. Info online at

Ascension Academy’s brand new How to Raise Your Vibration Meetup group, which got underway just this past Wednesday, November 27, plans to host weekly Kundalini Yoga and meditation groups in Ojai, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. All are welcome and no previous experience is necessary. The first of the local donation-based classes took place across from Old Mission Santa Barbara, 2201 Laguna, where host Flowing River and friends were to lead the session in front of the rose garden. No word yet on where subsequent sessions will gather for the sadhana (spiritual practice) where folks will do a series of breath-work, kriya (movement meditation), mantra (chanting), and meditation to return to a knowing of complete security and confidence. Visit

Healing Grief in the Four Directions

Yemaya Duby launches a new four-course series that will be held both online and in-person in Santa Barbara based on the age-old tradition that healing grief is a tribal affair. Grief can fuel our transformation and inform our growth when it is given the proper attention and the proper rituals, whereas isolation and numbing practices can result in depression and a descent into powerlessness. What better time to begin the journey than the winter holidays, when participants can employ the four directions of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth in a strong container of grace and support to resolve family and relationship difficulties before the New Year. Yemaya will lead practices to ground into your core essence in times of chaos and reclaim your unshakable sense of belonging and prosperity. Yemaya and her team will teach the course that runs from December 3-29. Visit, email or call (808) 651-0558 or (805) 225-6050 for details and registration.

Shrines are Fine

Although most spiritual practices focus on inner work, many traditions also set up shrines and altars to provide material external support for their practices. Buddha Dharma has a rich tradition ranging from small home altars to monumental shrine rooms, temples and statues. The Santa Barbara Bodhi Path Center is no exception, as its altar has numerous items and artifacts, all of which have symbolic purpose and meaning beyond what is evident to the general observer or newcomer. Join Resident Teacher Dawa Tarchin Phillips next Thursday, December 5, from 7-9 pm for Welcoming the Buddha Home, an explanation, teaching, and discussion on the set up, meaning, and tradition regarding Bodhi Path’s altar, practice meditation, and perhaps even leave with some inspiring ideas for your own personal practice space.


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