Good Times 5/16/12 (Green Issue)


NAVIGATING YOGA > NOURISH offers free yoga for firefighters

It is safe to say that NOURISH is a popular yoga studio around here. From their reasonable monthly membership of unlimited yoga, to their ongoing massage and informational nutrition consultations, it’s easy to see why the good karma has come back around in form of local newspaper readers voting them the best yoga studio for the past several years. Starting on May 15, NOURISH plans to give back, targeting their effort at firefighters.
From May 15 to June 15, “firefighters from anywhere get a free month of yoga to celebrate and thank them for putting themselves on the line for us all,” according to the NOURISH website.

Needless to say, firefighters are involved in high-risk situations that can create a lot of stress.  Yoga, says NOURISH co-owner Jocelyn Dubin, is a great way to help relieve that stress.

“The leading cause for firefighters’ death in the field is cardiovascular disease,” Dubin says, explaining that firefighters can die while on the job due to stress-induced strokes or heart attacks. “Firefighters have to go to ‘rehab’ after each fire that they fight in order to recover from the stress of fighting a fire. In ‘rehab’ they get their vital signs checked. They are not allowed to leave rehab until their vital signs show that the acute stress of fighting the fire has passed.” The signs that the stress has died down include blood pressure returning to normal, pulse decreasing to a healthy resting rate, and so on.

Dubin hopes that NOURISH’s offer of free yoga for firefighters will aid in the process,  “and give them a way to mitigate the intense stress they experience on the job.”
The ways in which yoga can be helpful are myriad: Through stretching, meditation and, ultimately, the overall relaxing benefits yoga has to offer, firefighters may hopefully feel a little more supported in mind and body when that bell rings for emergency action.

In addition to stress relief, NOURISH yoga teacher Roxanne Gingery says that certain postures and stretches will be particularly beneficial to firefighters.  “Everyone can benefit from yoga, but I think, for firefighters, the postures that help bring balance to the body—such as twists and [postures] that open the hamstrings and low back—can be particularly beneficial,” says Gingery. “Most of the firefighters I know are very tight in their hamstrings, so seated and standing forward bends can also be so helpful.” People who have jobs that involve carrying heavy equipment typically get stronger on one side of their body. Yoga postures that involve twists, as Gingery pointed out,  can help bring balance to the body. Twists help to neutralize the spine and bring you back to center in a physical (and emotional) way.

Dubin—the brains behind this event—was initially inspired to help firefighters by a devoted yoga student of NOURISH named Kim Borreson. “We needed some place that was not only a place for exercise, but a place where we could decompress from the stress of our careers,” Borreson says of his and a friend’s experience at NOURISH. “NOURISH is a sanctuary that works not only our body, but [also] our soul and mind.” Dubin saw how Borreson benefited from yoga in both his professional and personal life, and dreamed up this event to bring that same opportunity to every firefighter from Santa Cruz and beyond.  

When a yoga studio reaches out like this, we can recognize it as an act of seva or karma yoga. Many people associate yoga with the postures and perhaps the breath that goes along with meditation. Without getting too deep into it, those are only three components of yoga as a whole. When yoga is in act of seva, it’s an act of selfless service and virtuous action.  Of course, it may be difficult at first to see any random acts of kindness as an act of kindness without motive. But when we examine that it’s within human nature to be selfish, it is also within our nature to care. Karma yoga preserves this act of caring through giving back and the sheer joy of doing so. It can be argued that any real progress from yoga comes from selfless service—the idea that when the ego is acknowledged and then taken out of the equation, we can receive the wisdom, light and knowledge yoga really has to offer from beyond our asana practice. In this moment, let’s acknowledge Dubin for her inspiration to give back to others, specifically to give back to firefighters, who give the community so much. Bravo Jocelyn for reminding me what yoga is truly all about.

The month of yoga begins on May 15 and lasts until June 15. A firefighter’s free month can begin at any point between those two dates.  Visit for more information.

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Santa Cruz Community Credit Union - 2012

Member Spotlight

Victor Dubin & Jocelyn Dubin, founders

NOURISH is a wellness center in Santa Cruz where you can enjoy yoga classes, massage therapy, and nutrition consultations. Jocelyn and Victor Dubin started Nourish in 2009. In its first year, Nourish was voted best yoga studio, best nutritionist, best yoga instructor, and best new business by readers of Good Times and Santa Cruz Weekly. Not a bad start for a couple who upon graduating from UC Irvine, first headed off to New York City to teach in underserved schools, and eventually found themselves in Santa Cruz, helping the community get healthy.

Both Joceyln and Victor have been SCCCU members since they moved to the area in 1996. Someone told them they should join a credit union so they did some research and found that SCCCU's mission statement and support for the community aligned with their personal values. Victor opened the Om Room yoga studio on the Westside of Santa Cruz; nutritionist and registered dietitian Jocelyn started a private practice near the Santa Cruz Harbor. So, when it came time to join forces and start their new business, Jocelyn and Victor naturally turned to SCCCU to fund their dream. The credit union financed their SBA loan and the start-up flourished.

According to the Dubins, diet and exercise are both key to healthy living. Stress reduction is important, too. Their innovative massage program allows people to lower their stress more consistently by receiving unlimited massages for one low monthly price. In fact, all programs are available on an unlimited basis. By combining unlimited yoga, nutrition, and massage into one affordable flat-fee package, Jocelyn and Victor hope to get everyone feeling better without having to choose finances over fitness.

Nurses, teachers, doctors, attorneys, students, waitresses, and a wide variety of professionals have joined their wellness community. They've learned how to stock their kitchen with healthy alternatives and make good choices when dining out, how to improve their strength and flexibility through regular exercise, and how to simply relax through regular visits to a massage therapist.

This husband and wife team, both former inner city school teachers, are still teaching. The people of Santa Cruz are healthier as a result.

For more information on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, visit

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Bike to the future

Good Times 5/16/12 (Green Issue)

*Excerpt from Bike to the Future

What It does: This self described “wellness center” offers everything one might need (yoga, massage, nutrition counseling) to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.

Why It’s Green: Very little waste, everything is recycled, use cloth instead of paper towels, use recycled paper, only sells sustainable products. | LP

130 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz. 429-9355.

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The Skinny on Vitamin D 3/20/12

The best reason in the world to sunbathe, it's good for you

Call me an addict, but the first sunny morning following a slew of rainy days always propels me outside to soak it up with a maximum skin-to-clothing ratio. Sunshine on skin: an ancient, visceral pleasure, and one of life’s simplest. Too much of it causes wrinkles, sun spots, and skin cancer. But just a little bit of conscientious, unblocked sunbathing is actually as good for our body chemistry as it feels: it converts vitamin D, a unique and crucial nutrient, into one of the three forms that can be absorbed by the human body. (The other two forms come from the diet.)

Surprisingly, a deficiency of the sunny vitamin is more common in Santa Cruz, and more serious, than you’d expect.

“In my practice, I actually see very low vitamin D levels in the majority of people who get them checked. I would say nine out of 10 of my [Santa Cruz] patients who get their vitamin D blood levels checked come back with low levels,” says Jocelyn Dubin, registered dietician at Nourish.

A blood test is the most accurate way to measure levels of vitamin D, the main vitamin responsible for calcium absorption in the bones. “You can take all of the calcium in the world, but if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, that calcium is not getting into your bones,” says Dubin.

Vitamin D also helps the human body balance cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy metabolism and weight. And it plays a major role in immune system functioning: not only are low levels of vitamin D found in people who get sick a lot, but various studies conducted by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America have found vitamin D deficiency to be prevalent in cancer patients.

So how is it that an active, nutrition-conscious portion of Santa Cruz isn’t getting enough Vitamin D?

“We’re eating a lot more foods that have depleted levels of vitamin D,” says Dubin. “For instance, vitamin D is beautifully high in fish with bones, but most people now will buy a boneless, skinless filet of fish, or boneless skinless canned salmon instead of the ones that have the little bones in them. So by default, they’re getting less vitamin D because they’re choosing to eat the product that’s more processed.”

Salmon (with the bones, of course), herring, cod liver oil, eggs, Greek yogurt, fortified milk and fortified cereals are all good sources of vitamin D, according to Dubin. Vegans need not worry, either, as many plant-based milks like soy, rice and almond milks are now being fortified with vitamin D, just as cows’ milk is.

Health professionals recommend 10 to 15 minutes of unblocked sun on the hands, feet, or back at least twice a week for prime vitamin D absorption—and longer for those with a darker complexion.

When it comes to supplements, Dubin recommends taking a blood test first, which costs between $100 and $200, especially since too much vitamin D in your blood can be toxic. For now, I’ll continue reaching for the Greek yogurt.
For more information on getting your “body report card” from a registered dietician, go to

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NOURISH wins 'Best Yoga Studio' and Victor Dubin wins 'Best Yoga Instructor' in the 2010 Best Of Awards.

Good Times 4/27/2010

Yoga Instructor
If you're going to be bending, stretching, and letting someone guide you in the intimate nature of Yoga, your pick is Victor Dubin of Nourish, a new studio in downtown Santa Cruz. Victor's prior work includes owning Om Room."We provide a safe and professional environment where our students, clients and customers can implement healthy lifestyle changes," Dubin notes on Nourish's website. "We act as responsible stewards of the Earth." QUICK NOTE: They always say you can't do it without your better half, and that's exactly what Dubin is doing - he spearheads Nourish along with his wife, Jocelyn Dubin. | Christa Martin

Yoga Studio
In the heart of Downtown Santa Cruz on Walnut Avenue yoga enthusiasts abound. Spearheaded by husband-and-wife team, Victor and Jocelyn Dubin, Nourish has become the new "it" center for trying out yoga. With an inviting studio, an ideal location and myriad services, Nourish is doing just that-nourishing Santa Cruz. In addition to doing your Downward Dog, you can also get a massage at Nourish, or solicit some nutritional guidance, as Jocelyn is a dietician. She'll offer you tips on grocery shopping and eating out, as well answer your questions about what are the best dietary needs for your particular lifestyle or situation. QUICK NOTE: Its website,, offers a fantastic and educational blog, as well as extensive information on how to go about nourishing yourself. | CM"

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Shane Roth in People In Business

Santa Cruz Sentinel 5/9/2010

"Shane Roth has joined Nourish in downtown Santa Cruz as a massage therapist. After graduating from the Santa Clara Institute for Business Technology massage program in 2005, he worked at Tonic Space and as the private massage therapist of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Arnaz Battle. Roth lives in Santa Cruz."

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Jill Tardif in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

Praise worthy: Jan 18th, 2010

Miracle in Santa Cruz

Something miraculous is currently taking place in downtown Santa Cruz. In the worst economic conditions I have ever experienced, I am finding myself being given the opportunity to drastically improve my health for an outrageously affordable price.

I am referring to Nourish Wellness Center in downtown Santa Cruz. Since opening about nine months ago, I have taken advantage of all its offerings: yoga, nutritional counseling and massage. Simply put, because of its unusual business model, I am able to take as many yoga classes and massages that I can fit into my schedule, and get the most professional nutritional counseling I've ever had, all for less money than I'd be spending on four yoga classes/week or one massage/month, elsewhere. I still don't understand how they do it, but I thank you, Nourish, for all your gifts that I am taking with me as I begin 2010.

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Victor and Jocelyn's letter to Renounce Violence in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

As You See It: Jan. 24, 2010

Renounce violence

We oppose and renounce violence in all its forms. Non-harming is a fundamental tenet of yoga. Unfortunately, there are some yoga instructors in Santa Cruz and around the globe who may be subjecting students to verbal and physical abuse, coercion, intimidation and even sexual assault. While this may come as a surprise to some of you, there are others for whom this truth is all too real. If you or someone you know has been the victim of these or any other acts of violence, you are not alone. It is not your fault. You have trusted your body and spirit to the hands of what you perceived to be an authority in the field of yoga. If that trust has been violated in any way, then that instructor has misrepresented him/herself and the practice of yoga. Women's Crisis Support offers assistance to anyone affected by these violations. For confidential and secure support, contact Women's Crisis Support - Defensa de Mujeres, at 1570 Soquel Drive, 425-4030, or 685-3737,

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Victor' and Jocelyn's letter to Renounce Violence in the Santa Cruz Weekly

Letters to the Editor Feb 3rd, 2010

Victims Should Seek Help

WE OPPOSE and renounce violence in all of its forms. Non-harming is a fundamental tenet of yoga. Unfortunately there are some yoga instructors in Santa Cruz and around the globe who may be subjecting students to verbal and physical abuse, coercion, intimidation and even sexual assault. While this may come as a surprise to some of you, there are others for whom this truth is all too real. If you or someone you know has been the victim of these or any other acts of violence, you are not alone. It is not your fault. You have trusted your body and spirit to the hands of what you perceived to be an authority in the field of yoga. If that trust has been violated in any way, then that instructor has misrepresented him/herself and the practice of yoga. Women's Crisis Support offers assistance to anyone affected by these violations. For confidential and secure support contact Women's Crisis Support-Defensa de Mujeres at 1570 Soquel Drive, 831.425.4030 or 831.685.3737, or visit

Jocelyn and Victor Dubin, Nourish Yoga and Wellness Center, Santa Cruz

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Feature on Yoga Studios in Santa Cruz in the Santa Cruz Weekly

Jan 27th, 2010

During a recent lunchtime class in Nourish's small but aesthetically appealing upstairs studio, it became clear why teacher Victor Dubin has won a devoted Santa Cruz following. As hypnotic music played quietly, Dubin talked the class through poses, reminding us to make honest assessments of our limitations and occasionally pausing to gently correct technique. At Nourish, the former proprietor of the Westside's Om Room is joined by four other accomplished yoga teachers specializing variously in hatha, Iyengar and other disciplines. A highly regarded nutritional counseling program and the availability of massage make Nourish a truly full-service center for health, while the convenient location and thoughtfully constructed class schedule (lunch classes last just 45 minutes) make it one you'll actually use.

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Feature on the Resorts, Hotels and Spas in Santa Cruz County

Good Times 10/19/2009

"Nourish / 130 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-429-9355 / This bristling new business offers yoga, massage, nutritional advice and natural fiber apparel. Great downtown location."

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"Establishing a regular yoga practice at NOURISH has truly been transformative for me. I've never felt better in my entire life! I have so much gratitude. "

~P S

"I am so grateful for Jocelyn! We luckily found her after my husband was sick from a virus that landed him in the hospital and he didn't seem to be recovering from. The doctors did not know how to help and she did. She read his medical report, explained everything so clearly, and was a guide for us during a very scary time. I don't know what we would have done without her!"

~Monica Lee

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130 Walnut Avenue | Santa Cruz, CA 95060 | | (831) 359-5335