CIIS Public Programs: A Hidden Gem In SF For Personal And Professional Growth

CIIS Public Programs: A Hidden Gem In SF For Personal And Professional Growth

By Rachel Nichols

The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), an accredited university rooted in progressive values that strives to embody spirit, intellect and wisdom, is a true hidden gem in San Francisco for anyone looking to grow. 

While CIIS is comprised of four schools and 25 degree programs that "combine academic rigor, consciousness and spirituality to foster personal and professional growth," they also offer an amazing array of Public Programs with 150 talks, workshops, conversations and performances every year. 

Remember when Deepak Chopra came to speak in SF? Yep, that was thanks to the Public Programs at CIIS! 

“Our programming is for anyone who is curious about themselves and the world,” said Britta Conroy-Randall, Public Programs Director at CIIS, noting that these programs offer opportunities for the general public to connect with the university. 

According to CIIS, their Public Programs "further personal and social transformation by bringing together the diverse voices of visionaries, artists, changemakers, and scholars to share compelling experiences, offer new perspectives, and expand creative horizons." 

Somatic Experiencing: A Body-Oriented Healing Approach

One of the upcoming Public Programs that I am super excited about is: A Workshop with Peter Levine on Trauma and Somatic Experiencing on April 28 and 29. Dr. Levine has worked in the field of stress and trauma for more than 40 years, and sees trauma as a consequence of trapped survival energy bound in the body. In the workshop he will demonstrate how the Somatic Experiencing approach he founded can release trauma. 

“Peter is well-respected within the field of Somatic Therapy and we’re thrilled to work with him and give the Bay Area an opportunity to learn with him," said Conroy-Randall. 

I was first introduced to the idea of somatics a little more than a year ago when I attended the East Meet West conference in San Francisco when a bodyworker spoke about the ways in which our old traumas can get trapped in the body. Since then, I have been fascinated with learning more about the research and approaches to mind-body healing, and am looking forward to learning from Dr. Levine at the end of the month.

One of the things that we learn in yoga is that "we have issues in our tissues" and that the practice of moving the body can bring some of the trapped energy (issues) to the surface. For example, it is not uncommon for yogis to find themselves in tears for what feels like no reason after doing several poses that engage the hips or open the chest/heart space. 

It made me wonder if any parallels can be drawn between the practice of yoga and healing old trauma through body-centered approaches, such as Dr. Levine's Somatic Experiencing technique. I will get back to you about that and other takeaways from Dr. Levine's workshop at the end of the month! Or perhaps I will see you there!

For more information on Dr. Levine and Somatic Experiencing, visit traumahealing.org. For more information on CIIS, visit ciis.edu or see their Public Program upcoming events here.

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