Health from the Inside Out (Class meets at Grays Harbor College)


Fall 2014, Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 quarters

Taught by

literature, writing, storytelling
Cindy Beck

During this year-long program, we will explore the human experience and health from the inside out. What can we do to achieve healthy bodies, minds, and spirits, sometimes referred to as being in the “flow?” Combining science and humanities, we will look at our relationships to food, family, community, culture, movement, fitness, and the environment.  Through a study of theory and practice, we will learn to cultivate healthy patterns and lifestyles that develop the body and mind, creativity and human potential, and sustainable relationships with our communities and the natural world.

Fall quarter

Food For Thought: What is our relationship to food?  How does it sustain healthy individuals and communities? How does it affect human potential?  What is the role of food in diverse cultures?  What is its influence on the history and environment of the places we live? As we explore themes through science, history, culture, literature, folklore, and social media, we will ask: How does the food we eat nourish our cells [another community], and how do our thoughts influence our cells and well-being?  We will study nutrition through a practical physiological platform as well as through the tantalizing effects food has in enhancing the senses, creating culture and identity, and through its symbolism in literature, memoirs, films, historical, and journalistic accounts.  Students will develop skills of analysis, writing, and performance as they explore the stories, myths, cultural and family traditions around food, from hunting and gathering and early agricultural communities to the global economic, political, and nutritional issues that challenge the world today. Participants will research locally raised and harvested foods including their cultural, environmental, nutritional, and economic influences.  Research projects will culminate in a media campaign to promote local foods and connect themes to the larger community. 

Winter Quarter

In the Flow: We will deepen our understanding of health, fitness, creativity, and well-being as we continue to train our minds and bodies. How do people achieve their peak potential? What are the principles of movement and mindfulness that give us clues to how the body's healing processes work? From science and medicine to psychology and contemplative practices, we will explore anatomy, physiology, psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, exercise, and psychosomatic processes. We will look at fitness versus sports in our society, and how we can incorporate movement into everyday life. Humans need to move and are not made to be sedentary; how has this relatively new phenomenon become a health issue?  We will also explore the role of creativity, emotional, and spiritual health, as we look at a variety of diverse philosophic, psychological, historical, cultural, artistic, and literary traditions. As we analyze texts from the world’s literary, mythic and wisdom traditions, we will ask: what have different cultures and traditions suggested about how to achieve balance and well-being?   How can we maximize various physiological and psychological processes that integrate our interior lives and imagination with outer experiences and healthy patterns?  How does this help us cultivate relationships to our communities and the natural world? Field-trips and activities will encourage both collaborative and self-motivated learning, and students will continue to refine their critical reading, writing, and thinking skills through research and writing projects, essays, poems, and memoirs about health and movement.

Spring Quarter

The Power of Place:  We will continue our study of health and the human experience by looking at our interactions with the environment; how does it nourish us, and how do we nurture it? How do healthy patterns help us cultivate relationships to our communities and the natural world?  We will explore the role of the physical senses, natural history, literature, and practices of writing, walking, and pilgrimage--even stargazing and basic wilderness skills--as we engage with the natural world through multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. We will study local landmarks, historical sites, and native flora and fauna, through scientific research, essay writing, community studies, oral history, art, performance, journalism, or media projects. Fieldtrips, assignments, and activities will encourage both collaborative and self-motivated learning. Students will look at issues unique to their local environment as well as conditions in the global environment. They will choose important issues to focus on, and present their work through final projects and public presentations.   


Program Details

Fields of Study

Location and Schedule

Campus location

Grays Harbor


Offered during: Weekend

Advertised schedule: Saturday and Sunday, every other weekend. 9am- 5pm Fall meeting dates: Oct. 4-5; 18-19; Nov. 1-2; 15-16;Dec. 6-7 Winter meeting dates:Jan. 10-11; 24-25;Feb. 7-8; 21-22; March 7-8 Spring meeting dates: April 4-5; 18-19; May 2-3; 16-17; 30-31                    


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.


Date Revision
September 29th, 2014 Grays Harbor Technology Fee Added

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Fall); 8 (Winter); 8 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (8 credits): 10261

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (8 credits): 20200

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (8 credits): 30217

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