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Health and Wellness Classes

Ignited Women Weekend Retreat


Awaken your senses and begin to live more fully as a midlife woman! Through movement, meditation, discussion, and writing, students will be guided through a re-awakening into our physical bodies. This workshop is designed to help women reclaim our significance and value in a safe environment.

“Midlife” for women is a deep time of transition. As our bodies change we are challenged to understand what our role may be for this next phase of our lives. We may get a sense that it’s time to let go of old wounds and the notion that we are “not enough.” Instead, this is a great opportunity to step into our wisdom and power. In this workshop you will:

  • Re-awaken the connection between self and body through gentle yoga and meditation.
  • Uncover what's most important to you through inspired and stimulating writing exercises.
  • Discuss the myths and realities of midlife transitions for women.
  • Identify core desired feelings in various areas of your life.

This workshop includes an Ignited Women Workbook Journal. Included in the workbook are recommended meditations, yoga practices and other resources to support you in your midlife transition.

Sat. & Sun., October 27 & 28
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: Horticulture 5005
Register before Sept. 10: $78
Register after Sept. 10: $85
Plus a materials fee of $10 payable at registration


register online


Beth Nelson is a registered yoga instructor who is passionate about inspiring bold-souled midlife women to reclaim their own vitality in order to lead a deeply fulfilling life. She leads yoga classes, workshops and retreats throughout Santa Cruz County, and has worked at Cabrillo in the Academy for College Excellence.

Meditation: the Art and Science of Mind Training

people meditating

For thousands of years, human beings have responded to the challenges of their inner emotional life, and their outer material life, by developing ways to train their heart and mind. Known formally as “mind training,” these techniques reduce stress, increase awareness and concentration, and strengthen our ability to offer kindness and compassion. This class will help you to apply these “mind training” and meditation techniques to a variety of daily situations and major life transitions.

We will begin with a very basic introduction then progress to principles, philosophy, and finally practice. Students will leave with tools for crafting their own personal meditation practice, and meditative techniques for facing the challenges of daily life, and increasing their overall wellness.

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 Sun., Sept. 16 - Oct. 7
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register before Sept. 10: $88
Register after Sept. 10: $95

register online


4 Sun., Oct. 14 - Nov. 4
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register before Sept. 10: $88
Register after Sept. 10: $95

register online


Jordan Leahy holds an MA in Religious Studies, is an ordained spiritual teacher through Anam Thubten of Dharmata Foundation, has twenty years personal meditation practice experience,and twelve years experience as a translator and interpreter of Tibetan Buddhist lectures, trainings and educational programs.

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.

6:00 - 8:00 pm
Room: HW1119, inside of the Stroke and Disabilities Center

Register before Sept. 10: $100
Register after Sept. 10: $120
Plus a $20 materials fee is payable at registration.

Map and parking information for classes held in room HW1119/Stroke and Learning Disabilities Center


register online

Susan Lavelle & Jan Shaw - see bios below

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”

Map and parking information for classes held in room HW1119/Stroke and Learning Disabilities Center

Click HERE for Kickstart Your Health Student Information

6 Mon., Sept. 24 - October 29
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Room: HW1119, inside of the Stroke and Disabilities Center
Register before Sept. 10: $180
Register after Sept. 10: $195
Plus: Material fee of $40 payable to instructor in class

register online


Susan Lavelle is a Family Nurse Practitioner, a PCRM Food for Life Instructor and graduate from the Rouxbe Plant-based Culinary School.  She has been passionately promoting, cooking, and eating healthy plant-based meals for more than a decade because it’s good for health, the animals and the planet.

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.

Holistic Nutrition to Build Your Personal Health

food groups

Have you ever wondered about how to make “healthy” cooking oil choices, how many carbohydrates to eat, how much protein you need, or which supplements may be helpful for you to take? Have you ever wondered what exactly “holistic nutrition” really means? This class will help answer your questions from the perspective of your biochemical individuality and learn what is best for you in the world of holistic nutrition.

We will discuss macronutrients and the role of carbohydrates, fats & proteins in the diet, and help students understand what's important to know about fats & oils. We will explore the effects of blood sugar balance, and will provide the “how, when, & where” information about safe detox.

Students will leave with the tools needed to create a diet balanced for their individual and particular needs to help them thrive and keep their brain sharp in all phases of life.

Please see the Cabrillo Class Resources page for class lecture materials.

5 Thu., Sept. 20 - Oct. 18
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Room: 410
Register before Sept. 10: $98
Register after Sept. 10: $105
Plus a $5 materials fee paid at registration


register online


Ramona Richard, M.S., received her degree in Health & Nutrition Education, and has over 20 years of experience in wellness and health care. She is a consultant with the Way of Life, and a nutritional therapy practitioner with Radiance, a nutrition consulting company.

Fitness Nutrition – How to Increase Efficiency and Enhance Performance

healthy runner

Your body has a different response to an apple than it does to a slice of pizza. When we exercise, the complexity of our systems is amplified. Basics about sports nutrition and may seem obvious, but the conversation about diet and exercise often feels like an endless staircase – it just goes on and on with no clear conclusion. Happily, this class is driven by science you can understand, and strategies you can implement.

We will address the complex workings of the body during exercise, the chemical reactions within the body during physical exertion, and optimizing performance and recovery through dietary actions. Come explore the physiology around energy expenditure and specific needs around performance, how to optimize physiologic pathways like inflammation, oxygen utilization, and metabolism to increase performance. We will do simple activities and exercises to help you understand how to use the tools and techniques in your fitness regimen.

If your goal is to increase fitness, get more exercise or lose weight, then we will give you concrete tools and knowledge to increase efficiency and enhance performance. Students take home pathway diagrams, a list of resources, and recipes for performance foods.

2 Sat., Sept. 22 & 29
10:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: 323
Register before Sept. 10: $78
Register after Sept. 10: $85

register online


Sean Woolery, D.C., C.S.C.S., was born and raised in Santa Cruz County, He is a self-described geek when it comes to physiology and human movement. He received his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in Pre-Physical Therapy and went on to get his doctorate in chiropractic at Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Chi Aura Integration - Level I

chi aura

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 Nurses, 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., October 6 & 7
9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Room: 406

Register before Sept. 10: $145
Register after Sept. 10: $158
includes comprehensive 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.

Handcrafted Herbalism: Infusions, Tinctures and More!




Making herbal products is not only simple and affordable, but most importantly it’s fun! This dynamic hands on course will provide you with the necessary skills to become confident in traditional herbal practices. The goal of this class is to teach participants to select good quality herbs for the imbalance they would like to correct, and produce high quality herbal products for common health ailments to improve the wellness of friends and family.

The time spent together each week will be divided into discussion and herbal creation. As we dive into the art of herbalism the hands-on lab will teach students extraction methods to make a wide variety of herbal remedies such as decoctions, infusions, tinctures, salves, lotions, herbal oils, ghee, flower essence remedies, syrups, and throat sprays. Students will have products to take home, formulation worksheets, and the knowledge necessary to expand on their own. Discussion topics will include harvesting herbs, methods for drying, and storing herbs; formulation and dosages; materia-medica and properties of herbs. This class is geared towards all levels, no prior experience is necessary.

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

6 Wed., Sept. 19 - Oct. 24
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: 1520 - Please click HERE for an interactive campus map. Click on the buildings to see room numbers.
Register before Sept. 10: $195
Register after Sept. 10: $210
plus $35 materials fee at registration

register online

Jackie Christensen, Ph.D., see bio below

Ayurveda for Self-Care – Diet, Lifestyle and Stress Reduction




Ayurveda is a functional life science that works to balance each person’s constitution with their natural environment. In this class we will learn the basic principles of ayurvedic diet, lifestyle, daily routine and stress management techniques. Participants will determine their individual mind-body nature and develop a diet & lifestyle plan that is conducive to their true nature.  

This class includes an ayurvedic cooking lesson where we will cook and enjoy a balanced, healthy meal together. We will explore daily and seasonal routines that can be used to help detoxify and live in balance with our body’s own natural rhythms. Ayurvedic mind body techniques for stress reduction, relaxation and sleep will also be taught and practiced.

4 Mon., October 8 - 29
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: 1520 - Please click HERE for an interactive campus map. Click on the buildings to see room numbers.
Register before Sept. 10: $98
Register after Sept. 10: $110
Register two or more: $92 each
plus $25 materials fee at registration

register online

Jackie Christensen, Ph.D., see bio below.

Fragrant, Healing Body and Skin Care - Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Apothecary



Fresh, pure scents have an immediate, positive effect on us all. They can induce restful sleep, boost energy, reduce anxiety and help with healing. Whether you love peppermint, are immediately calmed by the smell of lavender, or the crisp scent of eucalyptus is comforting, this class lets you create something that fills your senses and soothes your body.  We will combine aromatherapy with apothecary as you hand-craft small batches of aromatic lip balms, soothing body butters, and other wellness products designed by you, for you.

Learn about quality essential oils and botanical infusions, how to safely and effectively use them for therapeutic benefit, all while getting hands on experience with the mixing, making and creating of these products.

Students will take home two lip balms, 1 oz. of body butter, 1 oz. of custom deodorant, 1 oz. of sea salt body scrub, and a 1 oz oil-based facial moisturizer(all in amber glass jars), as well as the knowledge and information needed to make more at home, either for you or those you love!

Please wear comfy clothes that can get messy. This class is full of hands on making with oils, plants and other luscious ingredients.

3 Thu., August 30 - September 13 - NEW DATES!
6:30 - 9:15 pm - NEW TIMES!
Room: 1520
Register before May 31: $88
Register after May 31: $95
Register two or more: $85 each
Plus a $30 materials fee paid at registration

register online

Melody Overstreet, BA, see bio below.

Herbal Body Care Apothecary

The body is our vehicle through life, so why not treat it with the loving natural care it deserves? This class combines time tested herbal wisdom with modern knowledge to explore a natural approach to making luxurious, organic topical, oral, and deodorant products for the whole family to enjoy. Eastern and western herbs will be included as we explore classic and exotic base oils and butters.

Learn formulation strategies for making your own non-toxic topical creams, clay masks, herbal pastes, body powders, mouth washes, tooth paste, ligaments, poultices and more. Discover how simple herbal preparations can deliver herbs from the garden directly to the body to reduce pain and inflammation. We will explore how herbs, vegetables, clay, roots and honey can be prepared in a variety of different ways to alleviate aches, pains and minor burns.

Please wear comfy clothes that can get messy. This class is full of hands-on making with oils, plants and other luscious ingredients.

2 Sat., Oct. 27 & Nov. 3
9:30 am - 1:30 pm
Room: 1520
Register before Sept. 10: $125
Register after Sept. 10: $140
Plus a $30 materials fee paid 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.

Cold Process Soap Making




This hands-on introduction to traditional cold-process soap making is a mixture of science and art! One of the main benefits of learning this particular process is that you can have complete control over your ingredients. You will learn how to create small batches of beautifully fragrant soap, using select oils and quality plant infusions.

Each student will leave class with several bars of soap from the day, as well as recipes and instructions for soap making at home.

Sat. & Sun., December 1 & 2
10:00 am - 4:00 pm: December 1
10:00 am - 1:00 pm: December 2
Room: 1520 - Please click HERE for an interactive campus map.
Register before Sept. 10: $125
Register after Sept. 10: $140
plus $30 materials fee at registration

register online

Melody Overstreet, BA, is a Master Gardener of California and certified California Naturalist through California Native Plant Society and UCSC's Arboretum. She developed a rooftop garden featuring edible, medicinal, and dye plants. Her work has been featured in publications such as Seed Broadcast, Inverness Almanac, and Chinquapin Quarterly. She was instrumental in initiating Santa Monica College’s Organic Learning Garden. To learn more about Melody go to

Pain Relief Workshop: Tools and Techniques of Self-Massage

self massage

If you worry that your posture or repetitive movements affect your life, or you struggle with old injuries or chronic pain, this workshop will help!

Learn how to utilize various acupressure points, postural awareness, self-massage tools, and stretching techniques to alleviate muscle tension and help with pain prevention. There will be demonstrations and plenty of time to practice in this primarily hands-on workshop. There will be demos and practice with self-care tools, including various sized myo-fascial balls, Theracanes, and foam rollers.

Students will leave with a myofascial ball, and the knowledge needed to get the most out of various self-massage tools, as well as specific ways to use them on common areas of tension. You will learn massage and stretching techniques that can be used anywhere, and quick and easy exercises that you can incorporate into your daily life to prevent pain and promote wellness.  

This three hour workshop will translate into hundreds of hours of pain-free comfort!

9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Room: 2100B
Register before May 31: $38
Register after May 31: $45
Plus a $10 materials fee paid at registration

register online


Jay Negron and April Schneider - see bio

Thai-Yoga Body Work & Partner Stretching

thai yoga


If you would like to increase flexibility, reduce stress and tension, as well as increase the movement in your joints, this workshop will help! Thai-yoga massage and bodywork is meant to open up and clear out energetic pathways throughout your body using active and passive stretching, breath-work, rocking, and gentle compression.

In this extended class we will include side lying, seated positions, flow sequences, percussion techniques, and other more in depth approaches, which we will have plenty of time to demonstrate and practice. These techniques are perfect for those with an active lifestyle, or those looking for “easy to do anywhere” series of movements.

The workshop is offered in a fun, safe and relaxing enviroment, where the techniques are performed on a comfortable mat on the floor with each partner fully clothed and without oils or lotions. Come on your own, or bring your friend, sister, roommate, or partner.

Students receive a packet with movement sequences to follow and large mats are provided.

Please bring a clean bed sheet, a large towel, lunch and lots of water to class! Before class, please check the Extension Class Resources web page for a list of required supplies and materials.

10:00 am – 2:30 pm
Room: 2100B
Register before Mar. 26: $148
Register after Mar. 26: $155
Register two or more: $145 each
Plus a $10 materials fee paid at registration

register online

Jay Negron and April Schneider are both nationally certified massage therapists. They have a combined 20+ years of massage and teaching experience specializing in therapeutic, Thai, sports rehab and prenatal body work and are the co-owners/practitioners for TULA Center for Bodywork.


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