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California Vegetarian Cuisine, Buddhist Thinking & Qi Gong

Program No. 7726RJ
Santa Cruz is a unique blend of coastal landscapes, world-renowned research centers and abundant art and culture. Come be inspired and learn a lot in this coastal California setting.

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At a Glance

Embrace your healthfulness at a retreat center in California’s redwood forest, immersed in three expert-led courses that explore wise eating, peace of mind and newfound energy. The Land of Medicine Buddha is your base to taste and learn to prepare delicious vegetarian cuisine, through lectures and demos. You’ll also take a plunge into the pools of ancient wisdom, according to Buddhist teachings. Finally, learn how to build energy and flexibility through the practice of Qi Gong. Be assured: When you return home, you will feel like a new person.
Activity Level
Easy Going
Short walking distances between accommodation, meeting rooms and dining room. Hilly terrain, uneven ground in places, fourteen stairs or a steep hill of 30 feet and then a ramp, to the dining room and meeting room.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn to make healthy vegetarian cuisine, through lectures and demos, that is low in fat and sugar yet high in flavor, including creamy soups, salad dressings, entrees and delicious desserts.
  • Through Buddhist lectures, discussion and guided meditations, learn how to move your mind to deep peace.
  • Activate and harmonize the “chi” — life energy — that flows through your body with gentle physical movements, mindful breathing and increased awareness.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room. Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Ingrid Mednis
Ingrid Mednis has taught numerous classes in herbology and frequently leads nature walks. She has been a docent at the University of California, Santa Cruz organic farm project for about 20 years and has worked in Henry Cowell State Park.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Ingrid Mednis
Ingrid Mednis View biography
Ingrid Mednis has taught numerous classes in herbology and frequently leads nature walks. She has been a docent at the University of California, Santa Cruz organic farm project for about 20 years and has worked in Henry Cowell State Park.
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Jon Landaw View biography
Jon Landaw is an instructor of Buddhist meditation and an author of several books on the topic including "Buddhism for Dummies" and "Prince Siddhartha: The Story of Buddha." From 1972 to 1977 he worked as an English editor for the translation bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. Jon has taught in numerous Dharma centers throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He currently leads courses and teaches in Road Scholar programs at the Land of Medicine Buddha retreat center in California.
Profile Image of Neal Hellman
Neal Hellman View biography
Neal Hellman is a nationally acclaimed performer and teacher of the mountain dulcimer who has been active in performing, teaching and recording acoustic music for the past 25 years throughout the U.S., Europe and New Zealand. He is the author of many books on the Appalachian dulcimer, and received an award for his score for the children’s video, “Princess Furball.” As the founder, director and one of the primary artists of the Gourd Music record label, Neal has produced over 35 albums of folk music.
Profile Image of Breige Walbridge
Breige Walbridge View biography
Breige Gormley Walbridge has been the Road Scholar program coordinator and group leader at Land of Medicine Buddha since 1999. During this time, she has organized and hosted approximately 200 programs. Breige is known for her warmth, hospitality and organizational skills.
Profile Image of Venerable Yangchen
Venerable Yangchen View biography
Venerable Yangchen is a Tibetan Buddhist nun, who has studied with many Tibetan Buddhist masters. Currently, she leads weekly meditations, facilitates a cancer support group for women, and teaches introductory classes on Buddhist concepts and meditation in the Road Scholar retreats at Land of Medicine Buddha. Venerable Yangchen also leads some meditations at Ocean of Compassion center in San Jose.
Profile Image of Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi
Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi View biography
Venerable Tenzin Chogkyi first became interested in meditation and Buddhism after reading “Be Here Now” and early translations of Buddhist sutras. In 1991, she became a student of Tibetan Buddhism, studying in India and Nepal with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Venerable Tenzin took novice ordination in 2004 with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 2006 she became a traveling teacher, teaching at various centers around the world, as well as visiting prisons on behalf of the Liberation Prison Project.
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Stephanie Rentz View biography
Stephanie Jean Rentz spent her teen years in the 80s working with her sister in the catering business. She has always been a foodie. Her mother was Navajo Indian and Spanish, her father German Irish. While raising children, Stephanie went back to school to start a medical career and worked with two private doctors specializing in human identical hormones for women. She then trained at Cabrillo College Culinary School in Calif. and is now the head chef at Land of Medicine Buddha.
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Ramona Richard View biography
Ramona Richard graduated with honors from the University of California with a B.A. in Psychology. She holds a teaching credential from the State of California, is a state certified Nutrition Consultant, and was a senior instructor at Bauman College from 1996-2005. She now owns a nutrition consulting company, is a Practitioner at Way of Life, a research assistant in the medical field, and an on-line nutrition instructor. Ramona teaches classes on aspects of nutrition in Road Scholar programs at Land of Medicine Buddha, CA.
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