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Health and Wellness Classes

Kickstart Your Health: The Power of Plant-Based Nutrition

Have you ever considered a plant-based diet to lose weight, improve your health, or because you’ve wanted to be kinder to our planet and the animals? Have you hesitated because you don’t know where to start or you wonder how you would get enough protein? Whether for health or environmental concerns, or just because you’d like to incorporate more whole foods and vegetables into your diet, you’ll want to join us for this class series. You’ll learn the latest in plant-based nutrition science, as well as how to select, prepare and cook tasty vegan foods while you concurrently “test-drive” this way of eating in a supportive class environment.

Family nurse practitioner, Susan Lavelle, will offer practical tips for getting started, provide updated information and discuss key nutrients and their impact on your health and longevity, as well as demonstrate how to cook a variety of delicious plant-based recipes at every class. You’ll see - it’s not as hard as you think! And, as a bonus, by the end of the class you’ll likely shed some unwanted pounds, reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, stabilize your blood sugar, and boost your energy and mood. So come test-drive a plant-based diet and see how this approach can help you feel better and be more energetic than ever!

This Kickstart Your Health class is a PCRM Food for Life class. The Food for Life program is a community-based nutrition education program of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

A $40 materials fee includes the book by best selling author, Neal D. Barnard, MD, “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart:  Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health”

6 Mon., Sept. 26 - Oct. 31
6 - 8 pm
Room: HW1119 (Inside the Stroke and Disability Learning Center)

Register by Sept. 12: $180
Register after Sept. 12: $195

Plus: Material fee of $40 payable to instructor in class


register online

Susan Lavelle is a registered nurse practitioner at Cabrillo College’s Student Health Services and also a certified PCRM Food for Life Instructor.  She passionately promotes healthy dietary and lifestyle choices to prevent disease and achieve optimal health.


Plant-Based Cooking For Busy People

no sweat


Have you noticed that when life gets really busy, healthy eating seems to go by the wayside? The reason most health conscious people eat poorly is lack of planning. But planning doesn’t have to be difficult! Come join us and learn ways to not only simplify your meal planning but to also cook delicious plant-based meals more efficiently.
By the end of this class you’ll learn how to:

  • Better organize your kitchen to promote healthy eating
  • Create a tailored meal planning “map” to help you navigate your family’s lifestyle and tastes
  • Design an easy shopping list that reflects your meal patterns and preferences
  • Prepare tasty plant-based meals everyone will enjoy (except the cat!)
  • Reduce waste by properly storing fresh produce and leftovers

This is a cooking class for your everyday life - we’ll be applying your real-life food preferences to help you develop effective planning tools and cooking practices. Although this is not a hands-on cooking class, we will be demonstrating many flavorful recipes that you’ll be able to sample and then replicate at home.

Note: This is not an “intro class” about plant-based (vegan) cooking. It’s designed for anyone interested in planning and cooking healthy plant-foods more efficiently so there is more time to attend to other aspects of your life.

February 15 & 22, 2017
6 - 8 pm
Room: HW1119 (Inside the Stroke and Disability Learning Center)

Register by Sept. 12: $100
Register after Sept. 12: $120

Plus a $20 materials fee is payable to the instructor in class.


register online

Susan Lavelle is a registered nurse practitioner at Cabrillo College’s Student Health Services and also a certified PCRM Food for Life Instructor.  She passionately promotes healthy dietary and lifestyle choices to prevent disease and achieve optimal health.

Jan Shaw has been a horticulturist for over 40 years and loves to cook. She was coaxed into plant-based nutrition for health reasons and along the way found the marriage of her two passions - plants and cooking - truly gratifying.


Life in the Balance - Mindfulness Meditation in the Workplace


This course introduces participants to a variety of mindfulness practices that are of great value in the workplace. A groundswell of brain research over the past 10 years affirms the benefits of mindfulness practice in workplace, medical and personal settings. So much so that numerous local tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and LinkedIn have seen the value in their organizations and established formal mindfulness programs. Benefits of these practices are improved concentration and attention, improved working relationships, the ability to handle stress more effectively, and an increased baseline happiness.

Over the course of the 7-week class students have sufficient time to practice between classes, then bring that personal practice experience into each class. We will have time to discuss experiences, share and ask questions.

FREE Introductory Session, Saturday - February 27th from 10 – 11 am
At this free, introductory presentation, we will discuss the what, why and how of mindfulness meditation... and its relationship to the workplace. In addition, we will review some of the scientific research and hear from Anderson Cooper about his experience learning mindfulness.

To RSVP please register online or call 831-479-6331.

7 Sat., April 2 - May 21 (No class May 7)
10 - 11:30 am (all dates except below)
10 am - 4 pm (May 14th only)
Room: 608
Register by Feb. 29: $245
Register after Feb. 29: $270


register online


Bill Culman, MBA, has been practicing various forms of meditation for over 40 years. After a long career in high-tech software engineering, he now teaches mindfulness meditation in corporate settings. He has completed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction practicum teacher training as well as Koru Mindfulness teacher certification training.


Meditation for Everyone


Meditation practice connects us with our natural happiness, relaxation, and vitality. This four week class will offer a basic introduction to meditation’s fundamentals, allowing you to create your own enriching daily meditation practice. The clarity, joy, and peace of mind derived from meditation can be applied at work, at school, in relationships, and provides insight into deeper questions about the meaning and purpose of our lives. This class will help you to apply meditation techniques to a variety of daily situations and major life transitions. People from all walks of life are welcome!

Please bring a yoga blanket or mat and a sitting cushion if you plan to sit on the floor, and a shawl or light blanket to wear while meditating.

4 Sat., April 2 - 23
10 am - 11:30 am
Room: 1117

Register by Feb. 29: $98
Register after Feb. 29: $110


register online

Jordan Leahy has an MA in Religious Studies with a focus on Meditation Theory and Practice and is an ordained spiritual teacher through Anam Thubten of Dharmata Foundation.


Early & Fit!

Coffee isn’t served but you will feel perky, peppy and ready to greet the day following each workout. Enjoy the support of humor, music and a great space with fun equipment for this early morning healthy start to your day! Count on gaining strength, stamina and flexibility using kettlebells, medicine balls, bozu balls and dumbbells. The class is accessible for adults with any experience level. Come workout, play, and make friends with your body.

Remember to bring a yoga or fitness mat for floor work.

4 Tue. & Thu., April 5 - 28
6:30 - 7:30 am
Room: 1117 (Dance Studio)

Register by Feb. 29: $95
Register after Feb. 29: $110


register online

Paula Saraga, M.A., is a Certified Personal Trainer (NASM), Iyengar-inspired yoga instructor and massage therapist. She has been educating folks about their bodies for over 20 years using various modalities. She excels at training couples and individuals, tailoring fitness programs towards their goals.


Medicare Choices – Finding What’s Best For You


Have you wondered, "What is Medicare and how does it work?" Are you nearing the age of 65 and soon to be on Medicare? This class is designed to help you! Insurance plans and options are changing yearly. This workshop provides information you need to become a more informed consumer. We will cover what Medicare is and how the program is overseen, review the profile of most Medicare customers, discuss coverage options offered to Medicare customers, define Medicare Star Ratings and the different types of Medicare plans, review Medicare prescription drug coverage, election periods, and the enrollment/dis-enrollment process. This user-friendly half-day workshop will change the way you understand Medicare and help you become a “Savvy Senior” for a lifetime!

Representatives from Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Physician's Medical Group, who represent 95% of the physicians in Santa Cruz, will be present to answer students’ questions about how Medicare plans affect patients’ healthcare options.

Sat., April 2
10 am - 1 pm
Room: 609

Register by Feb. 29: $48
Register after Feb. 29: $55


register online

Lou Tuosto is a Personal Financial Planner and insurance broker that has been offering workshops for Santa Cruz county seniors for over 20 years. He holds a certificate in Personal Financial Planning.


Chi Aura Integration - Level I

Chi-Aura Integration is a complementary alternative healing method using the vital life force. Chi-Aura is a set of skills used to read the health of the body and facilitate healing and balance. This method can be used by individuals for self-healing or by the practitioner in relationship with their patients. By learning how to relax into a state of mind that is able to "read" the energy field of the body and to work hands-on with the out -of-balance conditions which lead to illness, the nurse to patient relationship can be greatly enhanced by incorporating these skills.

This 2-day workshop will teach techniques that will elicit the relaxation response and help develop the "Awakened Mind State". You will learn to perform the specific Chi-Aura Integration hand positions learning specific acupoints, energy centers and parts of the body to release muscle tension and induce the relaxation response to promote healing. Chi-Aura Integration is relevant to nursing because it develops the nurse's ability to improve their effectiveness in treating clients.

This course is approved for 18 CEU's for RN's, 14 CEU's for massage therapists, and 15 CEH's for acupuncturists. A free downloadable manual is available to registered students before class.

Sat & Sun. April 9 & 10
9 am - 5:30 pm
Room: 406

Register by Feb. 29: $145
Register after Feb. 29: $158
includes manual

Click here for Chi Aura Intergration Student Information


register online

Timothy Dunphy has taught Chi-Aura Integration for over 22 years in the US and Europe, enhancing participant's personal growth and their therapeutic relationship to others.


Simply Wild: Hiking our North Coast


Come explore the majestic, less traveled beaches and mountains located between Davenport and the San Mateo County line. Our beach hike will include tide pool exploration and views from atop beautiful rock formations. Our two mountain hikes will include waterfalls and breathtaking views of the entire north coast. Although this is a beginning-level hiking class, participants must be able to hike up to twelve miles on moderately steep terrain. Our class will be centered on fun, exploration, exercise, and relaxation — the perfect combination!

See information below about attire, supplies to bring and meeting locations.

2 Sun., June 5 & 12
8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Locations: Berry Creek Falls, Chalk Mountain & Greyhound Rock Beach

Fee: $60

Click here for Simply Wild: Hiking our North Coast Student Information including locations for each week's hike and other detais about the class.


register online


Gary Marcoccia teaches in the Kinesiology Department at Cabrillo College and is a Certified Wilderness First Responder.


Hiking: The Path Less Traveled


Explore the greenbelts and State Parks of Santa Cruz County in this fun and challenging hiking class. You will become familiar with parts of the Santa Cruz Hiking system, learn a little natural history, identify some flora and fauna, and at the same time get some great exercise. The main emphasis is on movement and fitness. Participants should have at least average fitness levels and be able to hike 5-8 miles on moderately steep terrain. We move at a fairly fast pace, about 3 miles per hour. This class is not for beginning hikers. Each week will feature a different hike on trails not commonly known. If you are new to hiking, contact Phil ( before enrolling in the class.
Many questions can be answered in our FAQs:

See information below about basic dress and supplies to bring.

6 Sat., June 18 - July 30 (No class on July 2)
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Meet in Parking Lot K

Register by June 6: $98
Register after June 6: $114

Click here for Hiking: The Path Less Traveled Student Information including exact locations for each week's hike and other detais about this class.


register online


Phil Kaplan has taught in the Kinesiology Department at Cabrillo for over 25 years and has been leading hikes for the past 15 years.


Soap Making: An Intro to the Traditional Cold Process Method

soap making

This class will be a combination of lecture/discussion-format and hands-on experience. We will discuss the traditional cold-process method of soap making. Together we will engage in the process of hand-making soap in small batches using select oils and plant infusions. This class will equip students with the skills to reproduce this process at home themselves!

Sat. & Sun., July 9 & 10
10 am - 4 pm (Saturday)
10 am - 1 pm (Sunday)
Room: Horticulture 5110
Register by June 6: $150
Register after June 6: $165
plus $15 materials fee

Follow this link to our Class Resources page, which includes materials lists and other information about classes.

register online

Melody Overstreet, BA, is an Artist, Educator, and Maker of Sorts. She currently teaches Book Arts and Printmaking at Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School. Her ongoing work as an artist is inspired by the interconnection between human beings and the land. She explores these ideas through the production of various hand-made items including self-published stories, prints, and soap.


Apothecary: Herbal Body & Skin Care


This class combines time tested herbal wisdom with modern knowledge to explore a natural approach to making luxurious, organic skin care products for the whole family to enjoy. Eastern and Western herbs will be included as we explore classic and exotic base oils, essential oils, butters, and waxes that are essential for making all your body care products. Learn formulation strategies for creams, toners, scrubs, balms, clay masks, herbal pastes and more. Discover how simple herbal preparations can deliver herbs from the garden directly to the body to reduce pain and inflammation. Join us as we demystify common skin and body imbalances such as sore muscles, eczema, inflammation, minor wounds, cuts and abrasions; and feed the skin naturally. Participants will leave with abundant samples, as we will divide our time between lecture and hands-on creation of our herbal products.

This class is geared towards all skill levels, no prior experience is needed.

2 Sat., June 11 & 18
9 am - 1 pm
Room: Horticulture 5010
Register by June 6: $125
Register after June 6: $140
plus $25 materials fee at registration

register online

Jackie Christensen - see bio below


Handcrafted Herbalism: Infusions, Tinctures, Salves and More!


This course teaches students the necessary skills to become confident in basic herbal practices. Topics include: correct methods for drying; selecting and storing herbs; materia-medica and properties of herbs; as well as a hands-on lab teaching students how to make a wide variety of herbal remedies such as decoctions, infusions, tinctures, salves, lotions, oils, flower essence remedies, syrups, lozenges, throat sprays, liniments, poultices and much much more. At the end of each class students will have a variety of samples, formulas, instructions, and the necessary knowledge to expand on their own.

This class is geared towards all skill levels, no prior experience is needed.

6 Wed., June 22 - July 27
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: Horticulture 5010
Register by June 6: $180
Register after June 6: $195
plus $25 materials fee at registration

register online

Jackie Christensen, Ph.D., has a passion for herbology and education. She has served as a faculty member for many prestigious colleges where she trained students to become nutritional consultants, master herbalists, and holistic health practitioners. Jackie currently has a private practice in Santa Cruz and works as a master herbalist.


Introduction to Therapeutic Essential Oils


Since the beginning of time, our ancestors used pure essential oils for health and balance of body, mind and spirit. Unfortunately, at some point in our history, true essential oils were replaced by perfume grade oils.

In this workshop, we will go over the basics of true aromatherapy. What is an essential oil? What can it do for my body/mind/spirit? What is so important about integrating these oils into my daily life? While facts and science is an integral part of what we will cover in this class, without practical experience, knowledge is futile. Therefore we will integrate the experience of using the oils through hands-on application so that each student can have a memorable experience that may transform what they know of essential oils.

Wed., July 13
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: 1605
Register by June 6: $30
Register after June 6: $35
plus $25 materials fee at registration

register online

Colleen Ignaitis - see bio below


Aromatherapy Detox for Whole Life Wellness


Have you ever wondered what the missing link is to your health? Many of us focus on everything we are putting in our bodies. "I eat clean! Why am I struggling?" Are we equally as conscious about what we are putting on our skin, our body's largest organ? Are we aware of what we are breathing while we clean our homes? Are we conscientious of what we are brushing our teeth?

Essential oils can be infused into our everyday living, detoxing every part of our life. This keeps us aware of not just what we are eating, but the way our interaction with everything in our environment impacts our health and wellness. Learn how to get rid of the toxicities and explore how to keep you and your family safe with pure essential oil infused well-care.

Wed., July 20
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: 1605
Register by June 6: $30
Register after June 6: $35
plus $25 materials fee at registration

register online

Colleen Ignaitis is the Essential Oil Educator at Santa Cruz Core Fitness & Rehab where she is a Certified Massage Practitioner. She is the former owner of a massage supply and holistic health store that has been established for over 16 years.


Register for both Therapeutic Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Detox for Whole Life Wellness for just:


Register by June 6: $50
Register after June 6: $55
plus $25 materials fee at registration

register online




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