Montecito Meditation for Solstice

By Steven Libowitz   |   December 19, 2019

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with meditation with Sarah McLean – the 25-year veteran contemporary meditation and mindfulness teacher who co-founded the new Montecito Meditation Center. Participants will be guided into a solstice meditation practice to welcome the dark on the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and let go of what doesn’t currently serve us. This time of year is an invitation to surrender inward and accept the darkness, McLean says, and for each of us to plant seeds of intention for the springtime that lies ahead. McLean is the founder of the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Arizona, and a former program director for both Deepak Chopra’s mind body center and Byron Katie’s School for the Work. Her vast experience has drawn students from all walks of life, including Olympic and professional athletes, rock stars, and presidents of Fortune 500 companies as well as everyday people leading ordinary lives, including moms, dads, and their kids. The 5-6 pm meditation on the actual day of Winter Solstice, Saturday, December 21, at Montecito Meditation Center, 1801 East Cabrillo Boulevard, across from the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, costs $20. Call (707) 496-3011 or visit /

Solstice Season ‘Surrender’ Session

Winter Solstice Light UP with Amardeep Kaur, which also takes place on Saturday, December 21, over at the venerable Santa Barbara Yoga Center (32 East Micheltorena Street; 805-965-6045 or, offers participants the opportunity to be led by the veteran teacher in embracing personal darkness appropriate to the season, opening up energy freeways with a Kundalini Yoga practice, surrender to the soothing sounds and vibrations of the healing gong, and awaken the inner light with mantra and chanting. The 7-8:30 pm session costs $20.

Second Chakra on Solstice

Kundalini is also the container for the Ascension Academy How to Raise Your Vibration MeetUp group’s session on Saturday, December 21, when the focus will be on “Kundalini Yoga to Balance the Second Chakra and Our Desires.” The second chakra, located at the naval point, is the chakra of desire, and mostly deals with sexual and pleasurable desires; when it is imbalanced our desires become insatiable, suggests the Ascension Academy. This might mean that we are chasing one pleasurable experience after another, never satisfied with what we have and always wanting more. Perhaps not the best state of being during the already consumption-oriented holiday season.

On the other hand, balance in the second chakra shows up as contentment. We may still have desires for things which are pleasurable, but we do not develop an attachment around these things and instead fully experience pleasure from a centered space. The urges become an opportunity to redirect this energy towards creative pursuits as the second chakra is also the source of our creativity and the sense of absolute fulfillment.

At the MeetUp, which takes place at 10 am at The Rose Gardens at Mission Park in Santa Barbara, participants will employ meditation, kriya yoga, mantra chanting, and movement to balance the second chakra and create feelings of completion and contentment. Bring a yoga mat, water bottle, and a meditation cushion, and dress temperature appropriate and comfortable. The donation based class has a suggested donation of $5-25 per student. Visit

Mayan Solstice Ceremony in a Circle

Medicine Wheel at the Center of the Heart ups the ante in the winter celebration by hosting a Mayan Fire/Cacao ceremony at 12 noon on Saturday, December 21, the exact moment of Winter Solstice. The ceremony will be conducted by Abby Isadora Haydon, the author of The Mayan Sacred Count of Days and the Mayan Astrology Handbook. The solstices and equinoxes are sacred times to the Maya, she explains. They created a special fire ceremony to honor the importance of these days. In the center of the Medicine Wheel at the Center of the Heart event will be a special Mayan ceremonial pot containing candles representing the four directions, plus sage and copal, Mayan incense. Once the fire has been lit, each participant will be able to put a piece of copal into the fire along with their prayers for the New Year. Participants will also be able to sip on warm cacao (ceremonial hot chocolate) while standing in the circle, partaking of an ancient tradition wherein the drink was considered a gift from the gods, and drinking it was thought to be a way of merging with the divine. Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Contact Haydon at (928) 451-0890 or email; Center of the Heart is located at 487 North Turnpike Road. Call (805) 964-4861 or visit

Winter Solstice Community Cacao

Elixirs empress Emma London invites all to come celebrate Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, by getting out of our heads and into our hearts in a Cacao ceremony at Yoga Soup. The intention is to honor together our abilities to regenerate, renew and reflect by letting intuition serves as the guide to create the safe space to share stories, songs, movement, or just observe. The group will share cacao as the individuals witness themselves through the reflection of others. Admission to the 8-9:30 pm session on Saturday, December 21, is by sliding scale donation of $10-$20, although no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Yoga Soup is located at 28 Parker Way. Info at (805) 965-8811 or

Salt of the Season

Have you noticed that holiday stress has your nervous system on high alert and agitated? Perhaps it’s time to head into a cave – the Himalayan Salt Cave at Salt in downtown Santa Barbara, that is. Salt, located, appropriately, one flight below State Street, is hosting a special yoga and wine experience on the Sunday before Christmas that should do wonders to soothe the system, one way or another. The relaxing yoga class inside the Himalayan Salt Cave that is, reportedly, the largest one in North America, lets you practice positions surrounded by 60 tons of pink crystalline salt from the famous Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. So during the class, you’ll be enveloped in natural healing with each deep, cleansing breath, since salt is naturally anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, and has been used for thousands of years to keep people healthy from the inside out. Salt can destroy the irritants that prevent optimal well-being, so it’s perfect for the winter when the immune system is in overdrive.

The one-hour class begins with a guided meditation, ends with a 10-minute relaxation session and features a customized soothing playlist with binaural beats throughout. Following yoga, the group will take the four-block walk up State Street to Satellite, a farmer-to-glass wine shop and vegetarian restaurant where participants will partake of a guided tasting of organic wines, complete with explanations of each of the wines during the tasting. Bring your own yoga mat (there will be a limited number of mats to borrow), water, and a blanket, soft jacket, or sweater to wear in the cave. The 3-5 pm event on Sunday, December 22, created by Vineyard Yoga of Santa Ynez Valley, costs $55. Visit

Pre-January Journaling

Kelsey Cordle’s Santa Barbara Spiritual Growth Meetup Group – created to host journaling workshops where participants can learn and practice how to use journaling as a tool to deepen the connection with themselves – is finally having its first gathering after a couple of false starts. Divinitree Yoga and Arts Studio serves as the location for the 5:30 pm session on Sunday, December 22, which is meant as a powerful night of meditation, journaling, and spiritual connection. Given the season, the event is focused as a night of reflection on 2019 as well as intention setting for 2020. The group is open to anyone interested in pursuing journaling for spiritual or self-growth purposes, no experience necessary. Participants are advised to bring a journal, notebook, or loose paper and a pen or pencil, plus any favorites to create the container such as crystals, essential oils, or sacred objects. Admission is $10. Visit

Divinitree is also the new location for the bi-weekly Santa Barbara Ecstatic Dance Co-op, which was designed to be created by and for the Santa Barbara ecstatic dance community, meaning anyone is invited to serve as guest DJ, providing a 90-minute playlist for the participants to dance and connect. Singer, rapper, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and sound healer Shining Lion – whose motto is “Music Makes Me Stronger” – serves as DJ for the next event, 7:30-9 pm on Friday, December 20.

Pre-Christmas Aura Tune-up

Clifton Harrison – a locally-based homeopath, aura reader, and crystal healer who specializes in Auric Healing and heart repair to allow new love – is offering complimentary aura cleansing sessions at Paradise Found. Harrison, the creator of the Botanical Alchemy Flower Essences and the Isis Temple Aura Cleanser, will be demonstrating how to use the substances and potentially offering a soul path reading from 12 noon to 5 pm on Thursday, December 19. Call (805) 564-3573 to book a session.


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