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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 and group exercises.
  • Discuss the myths and realities of midlife transitions for women.
  • Identify core desired feelings (words that represent how you want to feel) in various areas of your life, and use them as a guidepost to make choices and set goals.

This workshop includes an Ignited Women Workbook Journal. It contains exercises from The Desire Map, a holistic approach to life planning that uses your core desired feelings as the guidance system for your goal setting. Also included in the workbook are recommended meditations, yoga practices and other resources to support you in your midlife transition.

Follow this link to our Class Resources page, which includes more important information about this class.

Sat. & Sun., Feb. 24 & 25
9:00 am - 12:00 noon
Room: Horticulture 5005

Register by Jan. 29: $78
Register after Jan. 29: $85
plus $10 materials fee at registration


register online

Beth Nelson - see bio below


Ignited Women: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom


In the second half of life there are new frontiers to face that come with unique and complex challenges. From age fifty onward long held beliefs or ideas about identity, relationships, creativity and satisfaction, to name a few, are often seen through a whole new lens. This course will help you expand your life skills and provide a framework for enacting practice and rites of passage that will help with these new chapters. They will prepare you to embody the wisdom from your life experience, and find meaning during the challenges you face.

Inspired by the book The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by Angeles Arrien, you will be guided through eight metaphorical gates that deepen your wisdom and help shift your perspective about what is available as you move into the third phase of your life. You will develop a deeper knowledge and awareness of what challenges hold you back in each gate, and you will develop a plan of action to move forward. With tools to help you master your lessons and gifts, you will be more deeply aligned with your purpose, discover your untended creative talents, and feel more fulfilled in midlife and beyond.

One of the 8 metaphorical gates is presented in each class and followed with discussion, written reflections, art work or rituals that explore and reflect the meaning of each gate in our lives. Using the practices covered in this class, you will find the courage to enact your highest values as midlife women, and experience deeper freedom and fulfillment.

9 Wed., March 28 - May 23
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Room: 1520
Register before Mar. 26: $148
Register after Mar. 26: $158
Register two or more: $145 each
Plus a materials fee of $25 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., Feb. 25 - Mar. 18 (Sunday, March 11 is Daylight Savings - remember to "spring forward"!)
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Room: Horticulture 5001

Register before Jan. 29: $88
Register after Jan. 29: $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.


Real Food and Real Facts – Simple Food Science as the Basis for Health

food 1

We all know that eating well, and making good food choices, is essential for our wellness. But how exactly do we make good food choices? With busy lives and so much information available, how do we build healthy eating into our day to day lives? Eating real food is the path to wellness, but where to start and what to do is not so clear!

In this class students will gain an understanding of the basic science behind GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and how they affect us, the benefits of buying and eating organic foods (and how to do so affordably!), explore genetics and the area of quantum healing, and learn how to navigate the seemingly endless avalanche of health, diet and nutrition information that is available everywhere we look.

With user-friendly science that every person can understand and implement, your instructor will explain how to make fact based food and nutrition decisions for your individual life. She will provide guides, lists and tips for day-to-day life that will help you shop, eat, and ultimately feel better! Based on research and data, you will be able to sort out fact from fallacy and put these easy-to-implement healthy food strategies to work for you.

6 Wed., March 28 – May 2
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Room: 403

Register before Mar. 26: $128
Register after Mar. 26: $135
Plus a $5 materials fee paid at registration


register online


Eileen Mackusick, MS, RD - see bio


Shopping for Real Food with Real Facts

food 2

If you’ve ever gone to the grocery store or your local farmer’s market and found yourself wondering how to
“shop healthy”, this two Saturday workshop will help. Using basic science about food and wellness Eileen will take students shopping at New Leaf Market in Capitola, and then to Aptos Farmer’s Market at Cabrillo. Just in time for the colorful bounty of spring produce, and the food-centered events that spring-time brings, you’ll learn tips and tricks as you shop with Eileen and learn how to buy fresh, local and healthy foods to support your healthy lifestyle!

Students are encouraged to bring $40 in cash to the Farmer’s Market – or more if you’d like! Please wear comfortable shoes and bring a re-usable grocery bags or baskets.

2 Sat., May 5 & 12
9:00 – 10:30 am
May 5 at New Leaf Market in Capitola
May 12th at the Aptos Farmer’s Market, meet in room 403
Register before Mar. 26: $38
Register after Mar. 26: $45

register online


Eileen Mackusick, MS, RD, teaches nutrition at Cabrillo and San Jose State University and has 25 years of experience as a registered dietitian and integrative nutritionist. As a graduate of the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Practitioner Training course, she is able to bring a unique perspective to her teachings that bridge the gap between holistic healing and current medical knowledge.  She is passionate about the detriment of processed foods on our bodies as well as the environment, and is dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and vitality through diet and lifestyle modifications.


Register for Real Food and Real Facts and Shopping for Real Food with Real Facts
for one low fee!

Register for both classes before Mar. 26: $160
Register for both classes after Mar. 26: $170

register online


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.

5 Tue., Feb. 27 – March 27
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Room: 403
Register before Jan. 29: $98
Register after Jan. 29: $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.


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.

2 Mon., Feb. 5 & 12
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Room: HW1119, inside of the Stroke and Disabilities Center

Register by Jan 29: $100
Register after Jan. 29: $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”

Click HERE for Kickstart Your Health Student Information

6 Mon., April 2 - May 7
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Room: HW1119, inside of the Stroke and Disabilities Center
Register by Mar. 26: $180
Register after Mar. 26: $195
Plus: Material fee of $40 payable to instructor in class

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


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.


Fitness Nutrition – How to Increase Efficiency and Enhance Performance

healthy runner

Your body has a different physiological response to an apple than it does to a slice of pizza, and when we exercise, the complexity of our systems is amplified. Although some basics about nutrition and sports may seem obvious, the conversation about diet and exercise often feels like an endless staircase – it just goes on and on with no clear conclusion. Happily, while there are 10,000 subjective arguments that we’ve all read about wellness and exercise, your body has function and physiology that work together, and 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, first taking a zoomed-in look at the chemical reactions involved within the human body during physical excursion, and then zooming out to larger landscape of optimizing performance and recovery through dietary actions. We will explore the physiology around energy expenditure and specific needs around performance, progressively taking a broad picture perspective of how to optimize physiologic pathways like inflammation, oxygen utilization, and metabolism to increase performance. We will do simple activities and excercises in class to help you better understand how to use the tools and techniques in your fitness regimen.

If your New Year’s resolution is to increase fitness, get more exercise or lose weight, then this class gives you concrete tools and knowledge to increase your efficiency and enhance performance.

Students will take home pathway diagrams, a list of resources, and recipes for performance foods.

2 Sat. March 3 & 10
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Room: 1521
Register before Jan. 29: $78
Register after Jan 29: $85

register online


Sean Woolery- see bio below


Workplace Ergonomics


In our increasingly screen-centered world most of us are faced with sedentary work environments. The average person spends 8 to14 hours a day sitting, yet we are unsure how to combat the detrimental effects of bad positions at work. The good news is that simple and creative solutions can reduce the amount of strain inflicted while perched in poor positions.

This one-day interactive workshop will involve alternating instruction with student activities. Students will learn and practice empowering strategies specifically for the workplace to prevent the common aches and pains caused by prolonged sitting, or as a result of poor body mechanics at work. It will be a kinesthetic learning environment where students will move and practice how to engrain the principles into daily living and working. Students will learn how to prevent hip, low back, neck, shoulder, and wrist pain derived from poor posture at work, and learn core-bracing and movement patterns to avoid repetitive stress injuries.

This knowledge will have an instant effect on daily life and movement, as students learn how to decrease pain and increase productivity!

Sat., Feb. 24
9:00 am  - 12:30 pm
Room: 1521
Register before Mar. 26: $38
Register after Mar. 26: $45

Register two or more: $35 each

register online


Sean Woolery, 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.


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!

Sat., April 14
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Room: 2100B
Register before Mar. 26: $38
Register after Mar. 26: $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.


2 Sat., May 19 and 26
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.


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., April 28 & 29
9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Room: 406

Register by Mar. 26: $145
Register after Mar. 26: $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.


Handcrafted Herbalism: Infusions, Tinctures 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 Mon., Feb. 26 - April 2
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Room: 1520 - Please click HERE for an interactive campus map. Click on the buildings to see room numbers.
Register by Jan. 29: $195
Register after Jan 29: $210
plus $35 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.


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.

4 Thu., April 5 - 26
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Room: 1520
Register before Mar. 26: $88
Register after Mar. 26: $95
Register two or more: $85 each
Plus a $30 materials fee paid 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




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