Adyashanti is a spiritual teacher who experienced deep realization during 15 years of Zen practice. Founder of the Open Gate Sangha in 1996, his expression of truth springs spontaneously from emptiness, as he guides people into an intimate investigation of their true nature.
Leaders at Esalen
Learn more about Esalen workshop leaders from past and present.
Girish is an accomplished musician of many genres, and former monk infused in spiritual practice, who sings traditional Sanskrit mantras with a modern, funky, yet deeply devotional twist. He has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Johnsmith has been writing heartfelt songs for more than 30 years. He's won national awards and contests, was a staff songwriter in Nashville, and has recorded 6 CDs. He's taught songwriting workshops nationwide, and has been featured on NPR's “New Dimensions.”
Starhawk is an author, activist, permaculture designer, and one of the foremost voices in earth-based spirituality. Her books include The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and The Earth Path, and most recently, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups.
Adam Wolpert is a painter, facilitator, teacher, and art program director at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (www.oaec.org) in Sonoma County, Calif. He has offered workshops and exhibited extensively throughout California.
Alan Heathcock is the author of VOLT, which was named as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Prize finalist. Heathcock received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and he is a Literary Fellow for the state of Idaho.
Alanna Kaivalya, author of Myths of the Asanas and Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth and Meaning Behind Mantra and Kirtan (forthcoming April 2014), teaches and speaks internationally. She is a current PhD candidate in mythology at Pacifica University.
Albert Flynn DeSilver is a poet, author, teacher, and speaker. His latest book is Beamish Boy (I Am Not My Story): A Memoir of Recovery & Awakening. Albert teaches at The Omega Institute, Spirit Rock, and at numerous writing conferences. He has been meditating, writing and teaching for almost 20 years.
Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, has studied with eminent teachers of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon for more than 20 years, including Lopon Tenzin Namdak and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. He teaches internationally through the Ligmincha Institute and is assistant professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Allison Pescosolido founded Divorce Detox in 2009 and has helped thousands of men and women transform their lives through major life transitions. She is a life coach and certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, and her work is frequently featured in major media including the New York Times and CNN.
Aminah Raheem, PhD, is a transpersonal psychologist, diplomat of process work, and originator of Soul Lightening International, a non-profit organization dedicated to soul realization and wholistic health of the individual, family, and society. She is the author of Soul Lightning, Soul Return, and The Way of Soul Lightening.
Amy Weintraub, MFA, ERYT-500, is the author of Yoga for Depression, offers professional trainings internationally, and is involved in ongoing research. Her evidence-based protocol is featured on the award-winning LifeForce Yoga® DVDs and CDs.
Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RD, directs Mind, Body, Spirit Programs at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, Calif. She is a mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindful eating instructor, health educator, stress management coach, and registered dietitian.
Andy Abrahams Wilson is an award-winning, Oscar®-shortlisted filmmaker and photographer. President of Open Eye Pictures, Andy emphasizes using the camera as a way to bridge – and heal – disparate parts and people, and to connect to nature, ourselves, and each other.
Ann Bradney is director of the Radical Aliveness/Core Energetics Institute of Southern California. She studied under Core Energetics founder John Pierrakos and teaches internationally. Ann’s Radical Aliveness model expands Core beyond the individual, to address community healing and world issues.
Ann Randolph is an award-winning writer, performer, and educator. Her Off-Broadway hit, Squeezebox, was produced by Mel Brooks, and her current show, Loveland, just received Best Solo Show awards in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Her personal essays have aired on NPR, BBC, and the Moth.
Ann Weiser Cornell is the bestselling author of The Power of Focusing and The Radical Acceptance of Everything. She teaches her popular workshops in Inner Relationship Focusing and Getting Unblocked internationally, both in person and by telephone bridge line.
Anne Watts was deeply influenced by her father, the pioneering philosopher Alan Watts. She leads workshops on four continents, teaching adults to have more loving, fulfilling relationships. Anne has been leading Love, Intimacy and Sexuality workshops since 1985.
Anneli Molin-Skelton is living her dream of inspiring people to discover the forgotten language of their souls by embracing their sacredness and truth in movement. She is a cofounder of the movement sanctuary Spiritweaves.
Annellen Simpkins, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice who, with her husband C. Alexander Simpkins, specializes in research and practice of hypnosis, neuroscience, and meditation. Together they teach widely and have written 28 books, including Neuroscience for Clinicians, Tao of Bipolar, and Neuro-Hypnosis.
Anushka Fernandopulle has trained in Buddhist meditation for more than 20 years and is on the Teacher’s Council at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, Calif. She also works as a leadership coach and organizational consultant, informed by a BA from Harvard and an MBA from Yale.
Ashley Turner is a yoga-meditation instructor, registered marriage and family therapist intern, and writer. She has several best-selling yoga DVDs, is the co-author of Aroma Yoga and creator of popular digital programs that fuse yoga and psychology.
Athena Katsaros is a leadership and life coach, and a principal of IdeaTribe. She is a faculty member at the Coaches Training Institute. As an executive council member of Bpeace, Athena works with women leaders in Afghanistan and Rwanda.
Aviva Gold, has taught art and trained teachers for more than 30 years. Her background includes psychoanalytic, Jungian, and Gestalt psychotherapy. She is author of Painting From The Source: Awakening The Artists Soul In Everyone and Source Art in the World: How Your Authentic Creativity Heals the Planet.
Banafsheh Sayyad, MFA, LAc, is a Persian sacred dance artist, transformational teacher, and licensed acupuncturist. She is the founder of the pioneering synthesis of embodied spirituality known as Dance of Oneness® which beckons ALL to exalt. She teaches and performs worldwide.
Barbara Braunstein teaches hydrotherapy at the Ashland Institute of Massage, and is a certified deep tissue practitioner, Bach flower remedy practitioner, and meditator.
Barbara Kess Evarts, EdS, practices privately as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Reno, Nevada and Panama. She is codirector of the Couple’s Institute Reno-Tahoe/International and is a teacher for Integrative Body Psychotherapy Central Institute in Los Angeles.
Barry Robbins, is a long-term Esalen teacher and former nationally-ranked athlete who has used affirmations for peak performance. A student of Michael Murphy and George Leonard, Barry continues their ground-breaking work in Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), created from decades of collective experience at Esalen. He is the vice-president of ITP International.
Barry Vissell is a psychiatrist who, with his wife Joyce, practices the medicine of unconditional love worldwide. He and Joyce have coauthored many books, including The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Meant To Be, and A Mother’s Final Gift, among others.
Benjamin Fox is a licensed massage therapist, certified Zero Balancer, and Evolutionary astrologer. He is a co-founder of A New Possibility, Inc., whose mission is to transform people's lives through healing, education, and community-building.
Bessel van der Kolk, MD, is a clinical psychiatrist who has studied the impact and resolution of trauma on children and adults since 1982. He is professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston. He is author of Psychological Trauma and coeditor of Traumatic Stress.
Beverly Morse is a marriage and family therapist in private practice in Santa Monica, Calif., and executive director of the Rosenberg-Kitaen Integrative Body Psychotherapy Central Institute and the 12 IBP International Institutes. She is coauthor of The Intimate Couple.
Bill Plotkin, founder of Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute, is a depth psychologist, wilderness-based soul guide, and agent of cultural evolution. Author of Soulcraft, Nature and the Human Soul, and Wild Mind, he has guided thousands of people through initiatory passages in the underworld of soul.
Bob Doppelt is a counseling psychologist and ecologist grounded in socially engaged Buddhism. He integrates these fields into his work as a climate and sustainability consultant, educator, researcher, and writer. His most recent book is From Me to We.
Bradley Lewis MD, PhD, is an associate professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and a practicing psychiatrist. He has interdisciplinary training is in humanities and psychiatry and his recent books are Narrative Psychiatry: How Stories Can Shape Clinical Practice and Depression: Integrating Science, Culture, and Humanities.
Brother David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine monk, psychologist, and author, has lectured on five continents. He was Spiritual Teacher in Residence at Esalen, and is concerned with the unique challenges and opportunities of our time.
C. Alexander Simpkins, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice, and, with Annellen M. Simpkins, is the author of 24 books. Together they study and research mind and brain, teach meditation and hypnosis in seminars and workshops, and live in San Diego, Calif.
Camille Maurine co-authored Meditation Secrets for Women and Meditation 24/7. A dancer and performing artist who has taught movement, meditation, and expression since 1975, Camille is the creator of kinAesthetics and the transformational Moving Theater process.
Carol DeSanto is the cofounder of Nervous System Energy Work and a psychotherapist in private practice. She has been a longtime student of Rev. Rosalyn Bruyere. Her special interests in energy work encompass addiction-recovery, health and healing, and work with cancer and chronic illness.
Caroline Harvey, MA, LMT, a performance poet and professor at Berklee College of Music, has been featured on HBO's Def Poetry, in print, and on film. Caroline tours in Europe, the US, and Canada. Her recent collection, Bird Wing or Bone Marrow, received international acclaim.
Cassandra Vieten, PhD, is president and CEO of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a licensed clinical psychologist in San Francisco, and vice-president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. She co-wrote Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life.
Charles Muir has been a professional yoga teacher since 1967. Director of the Source School of Tantra Yoga, he is quoted in 125 books in print on Tantra, relationship, sex, and yoga. He is co-author of Tantra: the Art of Conscious Loving, which is printed in 9 languages.
Charlie Bloom is an educator, therapist, and seminar leader. He and his wife Linda are cofounders of Bloomwork and coauthors of Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love and 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married. He has facilitated workshops internationally since 1986.
Charlie Cascio managed the Esalen kitchen for six years. He is a chef, restaurateur, consultant, and lecturer on vegetarian and living foods who has worked and taught in the US and throughout Europe for more than 30 years. Charlie wrote the Esalen Cookbook.
Charu Rachlis, born and raised in Brazil, has been teaching yoga in San Francisco since 1997. She teaches in a Bhakti lineage. She has a 20-year history of Tibetan Buddhist meditation, and is strongly influenced by Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga.
Cheryl Strayed is the bestselling author of the memoir Wild, the essay collection Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Her writing has appeared in The Best American Essays and numerous magazines. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Christa Lancaster is cofounder of North of Eden Archetypal Dreamwork, a master dream analyst, and a master teacher at the Center for Archetypal Dreamwork. Her books include Flesh Off the Bone: Dream Descent through Past Life Trauma and Sex, Trauma and Conjunctio.
Christian de la Huerta has been a writer, speaker, and retreat and group facilitator for more than 20 years. Author of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed Coming out Spiritually, he is currently working on a new book called The Soul of Power.
Christian Pedersen is a relationship specialist and certified life coach, and has led relationship trainings for hundreds of singles and couples. He has a private coaching practice for men and has studied with The Option Institute, The Relationship Skills Center, and Abraham-Hicks.
Christopher Germer is a clinical psychologist in private practice, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, and a founding faculty member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He leads workshops internationally on mindfulness and self-compassion, and is author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion.
Christopher Griffin is a Master ChiRunning/ChiWalking Instructor, mentoring with the founder of ChiRunning/ChiWalking, Danny Dreyer. Chris lives in Marin County, Calif., and travels throughout the US and Internationally teaching this technique.
Chungliang Al Huang teaches Tai Ji philosophy, East/West synthesis, and the art of movement meditation. He is the founder-president of the Living Tao Foundation and director of Lan Ting Institute in the Sacred Mountains of China.
Cida Vieira has choreographed and performed in the US, South America, and Europe, with dance groups and artists including Xuxa, Ray Charles, Daniela Mercury, and Airto Moreira. Born at the heart of the dance circles of Brazil, currently Cida teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Clifford Henderson is cofounder of the Fun Institute in Santa Cruz, Calif., a school of improv and solo performance. She’s had numerous plays and sketch comedies produced in the SF Bay Area. Her published works include The Middle of Somewhere, Spanking New, and Maye’s Request.
Coby Kozlowski, MA, E-RYT, is a professional life coach, inspirational speaker, yoga and dance teacher, expressive arts therapist, and expert in transformative leadership. She is the founder of Souluna Life Coach Certification ™, Sacred Lasya Yoga Teacher Training, and rEvolution 180: Karma Yoga Leadership School.
Corinne Bourdeau is president and founder of 360 Degree Communications, an agency specializing in films that celebrate and enrich the human spirit through social change. Bourdeau’s portfolio includes Academy Award®-winning documentaries such as The Cove, Samsara, The Way, and Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
Cornelia Gerken integrates a spectrum of psychosomatic and healing approaches. With her husband Siegmar, she cofounded and codirects the International Institute of Core Evolution. She is the founder of CoreSoma.
Cris Williamson's body of work includes more than 30 albums. Recognized by Performing Songwriter Magazine as one of the decade’s most influential songwriters, her groundbreaking record, The Changer and the Changed, remains a best-selling independent record.
Cyndi Lee is the first female Western yoga teacher to fully integrate yoga asana and Tibetan Buddhism in her practice and teaching. She is the founder of NYC’s OM yoga Center and author of Yoga Body Buddha Mind and May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind, among other books.
Dana Moore, MAR, MA, LPCC is a therapist who uses elements of contemplative spirituality supported by neuroscience to treat psychological trauma. Dana co-developed the Yoga Program at the Trauma Center and regularly teaches at the International Trauma Conference in Boston.
Daniel Brown is an associate clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. He is author of 13 books, including Transformations of Consciousness (with Ken Wilber and Jack Engler) and Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition. He has taught meditation retreats since 1972.
Daniel Ellenberg, PhD, is founder/director of Strength with Heart men’s groups and workshops, co-founder of Relationships That Work, and a principle in the Rewire Leadership Institute. A leadership coach, organizational trainer, and psychotherapist, Daniel is co-author of Lovers for Life and is in private practice in the Bay Area.
Daniel Wile, PhD, is a couple therapist in private practice in Oakland, Calif. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has published 3 books and numerous articles on couples, and gives professional workshops nationally and internationally.
Daphne Rose Kingma is the best-selling author of ten books on love and relationships. Her most recent book, The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart: An Emotional and Spiritual Handbook, is a heartfelt guide to living through very hard times.
Darren Huckle, LAc, has a private practice as an herbalist and acupuncturist in Santa Cruz, Calif. He teaches holistic health modalities including herbal medicine, nutrition, acupuncture, and qi gong at Five Branches University and University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dave Stringer is an innovative artist of the new kirtan movement. His sound marries the transcendent mysticism of traditional Indian instruments with the exuberant, groove-oriented sensibility of American gospel. An articulate and engaging public speaker, Stringer probes the dilemmas of science and spirit with a wry and unorthodox sense of humor.
David Feinstein, PhD, a clinical psychologist, has served on the faculties of The Johns Hopkins Medical School and Antioch College. His books have won eight national awards, including the USA Book News 2007 Book of the Year in the Psychology/Mental Health Category.
David Presti is a neuroscientist at the University of California in Berkeley. His areas of expertise include the chemistry of the human nervous system, the effects of drugs on the brain and mind, and the scientific study of mind and consciousness.
David Richo, PhD, MFT, is a psychotherapist, writer, and workshop leader who shares his time between Santa Barbara and San Francisco, Calif. He combines psychological and spiritual perspectives in his work. He is the author of many books, most recently, How to be an Adult in Love.
David Schiffman has taught at Esalen for 40 years. His work combines creative elements ranging from sweet mischief to intelligent risk taking and including ceremony, music, movement, and inner work. He has been a consultant to California Institute for Integrative Studies and Saybrook Institute, in San Francisco.
Dean Marson teaches Esalen® Massage and Ocean Yoga. He integrates meditation, movement, and bodywork practices to assist people in enlivening their bodies and their lives. He has led workshops at Esalen and internationally for more than 20 years.
Debra Moffitt is the award-winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery. Her workshops use spiritual practices to inspire creativity and encourage people to follow their heartfelt calling.
Diane Waye, director of San Francisco’s Active Isolated Stretching clinic, is the leading West Coast AIS instructor. Her private practice includes Olympic athletes, 49ers, and others seeking performance and mobility optimization. Diane has specialized in AIS since 1997 and works closely with AIS founder Aaron Mattes.
Dixie Cox, cofounder of the Fun Institute in Santa Cruz, Calif., has been teaching people to re-create themselves through improvisational acting classes since 1993. She performs regularly with the improv troupes Loose Cannon Theater and Crash Test.
Donald Rothberg, PhD, the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World, is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council in Northern California, and teaches meditation, daily life practice, and engaged spirituality.
Donna Eden is among the world’s most sought, joyous, and authoritative spokespersons for energy healing. Her classic book, Energy Medicine, is published in 10 languages and won Health Book of the Year in the Nautilus competition. She teaches internationally.
Dorothy Kaufmann, PhD, is presently a marriage and family therapy Intern after a long career teaching and writing in the humanities. She works with couples and individuals in agencies and has a private practice in Berkeley, Calif.
Douglas R.W. Drummond teaches movement classes at the Moving Center School in New York City and leads workshops in the US and abroad. A nomad of motion, Douglas's offerings embrace the divine individuality that exists within all.
Dyrian Benz-Chartrand, PsyD, is a mindfulness and somatic psychology educator. A cofounder of Hakomi, he conducts trainings in Relational Constellations at the Constellation Institute of California. He is a longtime Diamond Approach student and co-author of Love and Belonging: Making Love Successful.
Edward Maupin, a psychologist who was an Esalen scholar-in-residence from 1966 to 1970, has practiced Rolfing since 1968, when he was trained by Dr. Ida Rolf. His early research in Zen Buddhism strongly influenced his approach to the Rolf Method.
Eleanor Criswell Hanna, director of the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training and an emeritus professor of psychology at Sonoma State University, is editor of Somatics, and author of How Yoga Works and Biofeedback and Somatics.
Elsbeth Meuth, EdD, is the author of Sexual Enlightenment: How to Create Lasting Fulfillment in Life, Love and Intimacy. She is an internationally renowned workshop leader, intimacy expert, certified Tantra Yoga teacher, and the co-founder of the TantraNova Institute in Chicago, Ill.
Emmett Miller, MD, is widely recognized as a founder of mind/body medicine and as the inventor of the guided-imagery audiocassette/CD. He is the author of Deep Healing and has recorded more than 50 deep-relaxation meditations and talks.
Eric Maisel, PhD, is the author of more than 40 books, among them Coaching the Artist Within, Making Your Creative Mark and Why Smart People Hurt. He writes the "Rethinking Psychology" blog for Psychology Today and presents workshops nationally and internationally.
Erin Gafill is an award-winning painter, writer, and teacher with deep roots in California's art history. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Big Sur Arts Initiative, founding member of the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association, and author of Drinking from a Cold Spring, A Little Book of Hope.
Ernest Rossi has received lifetime achievement awards from the Erickson Foundation, 1980; American Association of Psychotherapy, 2003; American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, 2008. He has published 38 books and 180 papers on therapeutic hypnosis, psychotherapy, dreams, art, beauty, truth, and creativity.
Flip Brown works with individuals and teams in socially responsible organizations, serving as a catalyst for increased success and satisfaction. He brings a background in international business, organic gardening, non-profit management, meditation, depth psychology, and rock ‘n’ roll to his work.
Frances Verrinder is a marriage and family therapist in San Francisco, Calif., with 35 years of psychotherapy experience with couples, families, groups, and individual adults. She is passionate about cultivating loving relationships of all kinds.
Francis G. Lu is the Luke & Grace Kim Endowed Professor in Cultural Psychiatry at UC Davis. Since 1987 he has coled 24 seminars at Esalen exploring film and the transpersonal.
Francis Weller, MFT, is a community builder, teacher, and psychotherapist in Northern California. His work embodies his love of soul, the arts, ritual, and his devotion to bringing these into vibrant community. He is author of Entering the Healing Ground.
Frank Evarts, PhD, practices privately as a psychologist in Nevada and Panama. He founded Mountain Employee Assistance Program and codirects the Couple’s Institute Reno-Tahoe/International. He is a certified practitioner-teacher for Integrative Body Psychotherapy, Central Institute, Los Angeles.
Freddy Zental Weaver is the author of Sexual Enlightenment: How to Create Lasting Fulfillment in Life, Love and Intimacy. He is an internationally renowned workshop leader, intimacy expert, certified Tantra Yoga teacher, and the co-founder of the TantraNova Institute in Chicago, Ill.
Fritz Smith is a physician, osteopath, cranial osteopath, certified acupuncturist, and founder of Zero Balancing. He is the author of Inner Bridges: A Guide to Energy Movement and Body Structure, and Alchemy of Touch.
Gahl Sasson has been teaching workshops on mythology, Kabbalah, and mysticism for more than a decade. His books have been translated into multiple languages and are endorsed by HH the Dalai Lama, Laura Day, and John Edward.
Geneen Marie Haugen is a writer, wilderness explorer, scholar, and guide to the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche. Her work has appeared recently in Parabola Journal, Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth, and Thomas Berry: Dreamer of the Earth.
George Protos has studied the “pointing-out” style of meditation with Daniel Brown since 1995. He leads weeklong retreats and an ongoing meditation study group in Marin County, Calif., and created an online user support group for meditators.
Gerald Smith is a licensed psychologist who has maintained a private practice in San Mateo, Calif., since 1964. He has led more than 100 workshops at Esalen since 1966. He is the author of Couple Therapy and Hidden Meanings.
Gina Ogden, PhD, LMFT, is a sex therapist, researcher, and shamanic practitioner who leads workshops internationally. She conducted the only nationwide survey on sexuality and spirituality (ISIS). Her latest books are Women Who Love Sex, The Heart and Soul of Sex, and The Return of Desire.
Govind Das is a California-based kirtan singer, yoga teacher, and servant of the divine. Together with his wife Radha, he is director/owner of Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica, Calif. Their commitment to love, service, and devotion is the essence which is reflected and transmitted through their music and teachings. www.bhaktiyogashala.com
Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life and This Business of Writing, is a former adjunct professor of journalism at the University of New Mexico who teaches widely on the subject of callings.