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May 04th
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Mind & Body

Tree Pose

Tree Pose

NAVIGATING YOGA > Vrkasana, a.k.a Tree Pose

This week’s yoga pose, Tree Pose, is one of my favorites to teach—it is always a great way to introduce balancing exercises, as it focuses on engaging your body from the ground up.

To begin, root down through your feet. While standing with your feet apart, press your weight into your heels and relax your toes. Engage your left leg by flexing those muscles, not so tight that you lock your knee, but enough to feel those muscles work. Begin to stand on that leg by lifting your right heel to your left ankle. Balance at that point. Focus your gaze on a particular spot in front of you that is not moving. Engage your core by bringing your belly button to your spine, and drop your tailbone underneath you so that you are balancing from your center rather than from your lower back. When you’re feeling balanced, you can start to inch that heel up a little higher up your left leg. If you’re feeling really balanced, reach down with your right hand to grab a hold of your right ankle, draw the foot up to place the sole of your foot against your inner thigh. Engage your hips by squeezing your inner thighs together and bring your right knee inward slightly so that you’re not hyper extending your hips or your low back.

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The Ticker

The Best Brassiere

The Best Brassiere

Capitola Soroptimists fundraise with their seventh annual 'Bras for a Cause' event

Bras are best known for being a literal support system. But one local group has found another way in which bras can help support women, and it involves everything from glass beads to feathers and sequins.

On Sunday, Aug. 19, the Capitola chapter of Soroptimist International hosted the seventh annual “Bras For a Cause” gala and auction at the Seascape Golf Club in Aptos. The event attracted nearly 100 participants who bid on 49 donated, bedazzled bras—16 more than were donated last year, according to co-chair Mary Kashmar.

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CultureBeat

Story Time

Story Time

Storytellers, poets and musicians perform in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Storytelling is much more than a method for putting children to sleep at night. A group of Santa Cruzan storytellers want to remind people that storytelling invites us to sit back with open ears, minds and hearts, and simply listen, letting the voices of others enthrall our imaginations and take us on a journey within our own minds.

“There are treasures hidden inside [stories], such as how to live a meaningful life,” says Sirena Andrea.

Andrea, a local storyteller and dancer, is most recently known for her presentation of the classic Russian fairytale “The Firebird” at the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival in July. She will be one of the headlining storytellers at the upcoming Santa Cruz Storytelling Festival on Saturday, Aug. 18, where she will be performing Martin Prechtel’s story “Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun: A Mayan Tale of Ecstasy, Time, and Finding One's True Form.”

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Staycation

The Little Basin That Could

The Little Basin That Could

Try Little Basin Campground for a local camping getaway

Local state parks make for the perfect summer staycation: they are nearby, affordable, beauteous, and, in Santa Cruz’s case, there are several to choose from. And now we can add one more valuable state park campground to our local trove—Little Basin Campground.

Formerly a retreat center for Hewlett Packard employees, the year-round campground is now part of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek. Its 524-acre lot is a medley of grassy meadows and majestic coastal redwoods, checkered with 38 tent sites, 12 tent cabins, and RV sites.

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The Ticker

New Slugs

New Slugs

SLUG REPORT > UC Santa Cruz gears up to welcome diverse freshman class following record-breaking application figures

For every few dozen incoming students who attended UC Santa Cruz’s freshman orientation last week, there was a “yellow-shirt” clamoring to organize them.

“Yellow-shirts,” more commonly known as orientation leaders, are nothing new at UCSC’s summer orientation week, but after a record-breaking 40,622 applications this past fall (an applicant increase of more than 17 percent since last year, second only to UC Los Angeles), these student workers were working with an evolving demographic.

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Mind & Body

Yoga For Fear

Yoga For Fear

NAVIGATING YOGA > Fear is a natural part of being alive. It reminds us that we are human, and that we are, in fact, imperfect. And we are afraid of everything, aren’t we? We are afraid of death, deadlines, change, the proverbial monster living under our beds, afraid we fear too much … Incessant worrying about the possibility of things going wrong or completely destructing around one’s self can cloud every experience in life. Mark Twain once famously quipped, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” I love this quotation because it reminds me that fear is instinctual, and that when we let ourselves be consumed by fear, we lose grasp of our ability to distinguish what is real and what isn’t.

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CultureBeat

Space-Age Entertainment

Space-Age Entertainment

Dancetronauts and Dancetrohotties hit the Cocoanut Grove

Ever seen a spaceship in Santa Cruz? How about one with a fuzzy white interior, fully equipped with a booming sound system, LED lights, DJs dressed like spacemen, and futuristic GoGo dancers?

The collaboration of CEOs Philip Plastina (Captain Philthy Phil) and Travis Richards (Captain Trav Nasty), the Dancetronauts are now a group of 30 members whose mission is to “live, love, laugh, and dance.” Together, the group has created a mobile entertainment unit that is a combination of fire, light, and the ultimate sound experience.

The Strip Ship, as this Burning Man-ready vehicle is called, will roll back into their hometown of Surf City on Thursday, July 26 to co-host a large, bright, electro space showdown with Bounce Camp for BOOM!, a show at Cocoanut Grove. Proceeds go to the Dancetronauts Burning Man camp, which will aid the Dancetronauts’ mission to inspire and support self-expression through music, dance, art, and an all-around good time.

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The Ticker

Surf’s Up

Surf’s Up

Cancer benefit for Surf City legend

“I was so involved with surfing that I barely graduated from high school,” says Thomas Hickenbottom. The class cutting was worth it. Hickenbottom bought his first board from Renny Yater in 1959, and continued on to become one of the top rated surfers in the world.

Since he first hit the sand as a young child in Santa Cruz, Hickenbottom has lived, breathed, and dreamed about the beach. He became an original member of the O’Neill surf team, and spent years traveling between Hawaii and Santa Cruz chasing waves.

“We competed locally and up and down the California coast,” he says. “It was such an honor to be involved with all those great surfers on the same team. We were like rock stars back then.”

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The Ticker

The Story of KP2

The Story of KP2

SLUG REPORT > Hawaiian monk seal inspires UCSC researchers and conservationists an ocean away

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched … humans want to save things that they love.” ― Steve Irwin

This is the story of an unusual monk seal pup, whose claim to fame, though not without tragedy, has triggered a renewed effort in species protection. In 2008, Hō‘ailona was speeding toward the trend of low seal pup survival rate, after being abandoned by his mother on a beach in Kuaui at two days old.

Biologists from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), who have jurisdiction over the monk seal species, found this Kauai Pup 2 (KP2) and oversaw his rehabilitation at a facility in Oahu. By completion, however, the seal pup had become whole-heartedly domestic—a regular at Molokai beaches who preferred spending time with humans over other monk seals.

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Staycation

Taking Refuge

Taking Refuge

A day at Carmel’s best day spa is just what the doctor ordered

Just a short drive south from Santa Cruz, tucked behind the remote Carmel Valley Athletic Club, is the small oasis of relaxation known simply as Refuge. It’s a day spa, but exists on a realm above most other establishments of the sort. Visitors enter through lavish locker rooms, plush white robe and towel in tow, and, from there, step into the equivalent of a very fancy, very large backyard. The spacious patio-like area is fenced in and lined with pleasant landscaping. Small pools of varying temperatures—cold, cool, warm, and hot—create a checkerboard of water across the co-ed space, where bathing suits are mandatory and the atmosphere is one of quiet relaxation. Spa goers sit meditatively around several fire pits, despite the warm day.

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Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Latest Comments

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence