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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 or 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!

The book by best selling author, Neal D. Barnard, MD, “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart:  Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health,” will be provided to class attendees.

A $35 materials fee is payable to the instructor at the 1st class.

6 Mon., April 4 - May 9
6 - 8 pm
HW1119 (Inside the Stroke and Disability Learning Center)

Register by Feb. 29: $165
Register after Feb. 29: $178

Plus a material fee of $35 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, whole-food plants more efficiently so there is more time to attend to other aspects of your life.

2 Mon., March 7 & 14
6 - 8 pm
Room: HW1119 (Inside the Stroke and Disability Learning Center)

Register by Feb. 29: $100
Register after Feb. 29: $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., March 8 - 31
6:30 - 7:30 am
Room: 1117 (Dance Studio)

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


register online

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

Sat., March 12
10 am - 1 pm
Scotts Valley High School

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.


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




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