Mehrad Nazari is a master teacher of the Walt Baptiste Method of Raja Yoga. Dr. Nazari received initiation from Swami Veda Bharati, Kyozan Joshu Roshi, and H.H. The Dalai Lama. As an industrial psychologist, he applies the ancient spiritual practices to the corporate world.
Leaders at Esalen
Learn more about Esalen workshop leaders from past and present.
Kristin Neff, PhD, is an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a pioneering researcher into the psychological health benefits of self-compassion. She is the author of Self-Compassion and Self-Compassion: Step-by-Step, and is featured in the book and documentary The Horse Boy.
Yeshi Neumann, CNM, MPH, has been working as a midwife since 1970. Her two granddaughters were born into her own hands. She brings her passion for mindfulness, women’s empowerment, healing, and social justice to her work with all different kinds of families.
David Newman (Durga Das), is a Kirtan chant artist, sacred singer songwriter, and a practitioner and educator of Bhakti yoga. David is a recording artist for White Swan Records, the author of Merging with Grace, and the founder of The Stay Strong Project and Yoga On Main.
Michael Newman is an attorney-mediator, surfer, and lifelong resident of the Big Sur coast. He has an MA in psychology and promotes the integration of wilderness into contemporary life.
Sarah Newman designs and implements strategic social action campaigns for films. She has worked on a range of award-winning films, including FOOD, INC., THE COVE, LIVING FOR 32, BITTER SEEDS, WE ARE WISCONSIN and THE SOLOIST. She worked at Participant Media for five years and is now an independent consultant.
Linda Nicholls, DipC, PhD, is a dynamic facilitator with an extensive background in group process. Her direct yet compassionate approach establishes a respectful foundation for discovering genuine whole-person health and harmony. She has developed and taught energetically engaging workshops on five continents.
Mark Nicolson is an organizational consultant based in Silicon Valley, Calif. He specializes in leadership development and in the effectiveness of teams and organizations. He is also the co-founder of Ventana Group, LeadershipDNA, and the Tutu Peace Ambassadors.
Wes Nisker is a Buddhist meditation teacher, radio commentator, and performer. His books include Essential Crazy Wisdom, Buddha’s Nature, and Crazy Wisdom Saves the World Again! Wes teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, Calif. He founded and co-edits the journal Inquiring Mind.
TS O'Grady is a metal worker and builder who recently moved to New Orleans after a decade in Big Sur.
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.
Judith Orloff, MD, a psychiatrist and intuitive, is author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life and Second Sight. She synthesizes traditional medicine with intuition, energy, and spirituality.
Ji Hyang Padma has taught Zen for 20 years, 15 of these as a monastic in the Korean Zen tradition. She is the Director of Spirituality and Education Programs at Wellesley College. She is the author of Living the Seasons: Zen Practices for Transformative Times.
Christina Page heads sustainability at Yahoo! and is a leading expert on sustainability and systems thinking. Previously she worked with Amory Lovins at Rocky Mountain Institute. She is a Fulbright Specialist and alumna of Yale’s School of the Environment.
Wendy Palmer is a sixth-degree black belt in aikido and the author of two books, The Intuitive Body and The Practice of Freedom. She leads trainings internationally. She has been practicing aikido and mindfulness for 40 years.
Kristi Panik, MD, is a psychiatrist in private practice and on the clinical staff of the University Student Health Services at UC Berkeley, Calif.
Laurel Parnell is a psychologist, author, consultant, and EMDR trainer who has trained thousands of clinicians internationally. The author of numerous books, including the forthcoming Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Relational Trauma, she maintains a private practice in San Rafael, Calif.
Terry Patten is the co-author, with Ken Wilber, of Integral Life Practice. He is a pioneering innovator, advancing the evolutionary edge of spirituality as well as a facilitator of intimate collective awakening. He has a lifelong commitment to social activism.
Larry Payne was named one of America's most respected yoga teachers by the Los Angeles Times. He is coauthor of Yoga for Dummies and Yoga Rx, and founder of Yoga Therapy Rx and Prime of Life Yoga certification programs at Loyola Marymount University.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah Powers blends the insights and practices of yoga and Buddhism into an integral practice to enliven body, heart, and mind. She leads retreats and classes internationally and is the author of Insight Yoga.
Ty Powers, cofounder of The Insight Yoga Institute, has been a yoga practitioner since 1987, facilitating and leading yoga and meditation retreats throughout the world. Ty has been practicing Buddhism for many years under the guidance of Dzogchen teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche, as well as Ajahn Amaro. Ty has taught at Spirit Rock and the Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe.
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.
Joseph Price has been a psychotherapist, teacher, spiritual follower, and author since 1974. He lives on beautiful Discovery Bay, and practices at Quail Hollow Psychotherapy in Sequim, Wash.
Tigaro Tihikpas “He who flirts with all life," is a tribal elder formally educated in Europe and fluent in several languages. Tihikpas has facilitated sweat lodges at Esalen and across Europe. His theological background includes Native American, Judaism, Christianity, Gnosticism, Buddhism, and mystic traditions.
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.
Brenda Proudfoot is a senior teacher with Prajna Yoga and has her own studio, Valley Yoga, in Visalia, Calif. She is also trained in Thai Yoga therapy/massage. Brenda has searched deeply into her practice during difficult times and uncovered unexpected treasures she holds as precious and sacred.
Linda Prout, MS, is a speaker, nutritionist, and author of Live in the Balance – The Groundbreaking East-West Nutrition Program. She works with clients worldwide, creating personalized nutrition, lifestyle, and coaching programs coupled with energy medicine.
Jill Purce, international pioneer of the sound-healing movement, rediscovered ancient vocal techniques, the power of group chant, and spiritual potential of the voice as a magical instrument for healing and meditation. She is the author of The Mystic Spiral and Overtone Chanting Meditations.
Gustavo Rabin is a psychologist and an organizational consultant based in Silicon Valley, Calif. He specializes in improving leadership skills of individuals and the effectiveness of teams and organizations. Gustavo is also a cofounder of Skyline Group.
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.
Radha is a California-based kirtan singer, yoga teacher, and servant of the divine. Together with her husband Govind Das, she 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
Josh Radnor has written, directed, and starred in two feature films,“Liberal Arts” and “happythankyoumoreplease.” He also plays Ted Mosby in the Emmy-nominated CBS comedy, “How I Met Your Mother.” He is passionate about the intersection of spirituality and cinema.
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.
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.
Saul David Raye is an internationally acclaimed teacher, healer, and spiritual activist known for his empowering and transformational approach to yoga. He holds certifications in yoga, bodywork, and energy healing, and is an ordained minister and musician who infuses his classes with healing music and chants.
Shiva Rea is a yogini firekeeper, sacred activist, global adventurer, and innovator in the evolution of vinyasa flow yoga that integrates the tantric bhakti roots of yoga, Krishnamacharya's teachings, and a universal, quantum approach to the body.
Mike Rechtien, MA, LPC, earned his Master’s from Lindenwood University in St. Louis. He is trained in the Internal Family Systems model of therapy, Hypnotherapy, and administering and scoring the Adult Attachment Interview. Mike is a primary therapist at Castlewood.
Daniel Rechtschaffen, MFT, is founding director of the Mindful Education Institute. He also organizes the Mindfulness in Education Conference and teacher training at Omega Institute. Daniel maintains a private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area where he integrates cutting-edge psychological techniques with ancient wisdom traditions.
Stella Resnick, PhD, psychologist, Gestalt therapist, and certified sex therapist in Beverly Hills, Calif., trains and supervises therapists in her full-spectrum approach to psychotherapy and sex therapy. Her latest book is The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love.
Eliza Reynolds has led Mothering & Daughtering workshops with her mother Sil Reynolds, since she was 15 years old. She attends Brown University, and is a certified teen mediator and SOS-trained counselor with Planned Parenthood. With her mother, Eliza co-authored Mothering & Daughtering.
Sil Reynolds, RN, is a nurse practitioner and therapist who has worked with women and girls for 30 years. She is a graduate of Marion Woodman’s BodySoul Rhythms® Leadership training and a graduate of Brown University, where she majored in women’s studies. With her daughter, Sil co-authored Mothering & Daughtering.
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.
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.
John Robbins is author of Diet for a New America and many other bestsellers, founder of EarthSave International, and one of the most popular bloggers on the Huffington Post. He is a recipient of the Rachel Carson Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, and dozens of other honors.
Mike Robbins is the author of Focus on the Good Stuff and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken. He delivers seminars around the world, his books are translated into 12 different languages, and he writes for The Huffington Post.
Leslie Roberts has decades of experience offering Council trainings and nature-based awareness and wilderness programs. She has collaborated with and integrated Astonwork, Middendorf, Feldenkrais, and bioenergetics into her health care practice, and has developed Prayerforms, a breath-informed ceremonial movement practice.
Llyn Roberts, MA, is a teacher of healing and shamanism whose teaching style incorporates a background in psychotherapy, Tibetan Buddhism, and work with diverse, remote indigenous groups. Her Independent Publisher’s Award-winning book, Shapeshifting into Higher Consciousness, integrates shamanism with environmentalism.
Lorin Roche has meditated since 1968. He is the author of The Radiance Sutras, a new translation of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, and coauthor of Meditation Secrets for Women and Meditation 24/7. His other books include Meditation Made Easy, Breath Taking, and Whole Body Meditations.
Chelsea Roff is an author, speaker, and yoga instructor. She is managing editor for the Chopra family’s online media platform (www.Intent.com), and writes regularly for The Huffington Post, Yahoo, Care2, and Yoga Journal. She lives in Venice, Calif., where she speaks at recovery centers, universities, and professional organizations.
Yuval Ron is a musician, educator, and composer for film, television, dance and theater. He worked with the Dalai Lama, Sufi leader Pir Zia Iniyat Khan, Sufi master Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Zen Buddhist priest Hirokazu Kosaka, neuroscientists Mark Waldman, Andrew Goodman and others. In 2006, he won an Oscar® for West Bank Story.
Tommy Rosen is a Vinyasa and Kundalini yoga teacher who focuses on yoga for addiction recovery. His blogs and articles have appeared in LA Yoga, Huffington Post, MindBody Online, and The Daily Love. Tommy’s first book is Recovery 2.0.
Jack Rosenberg is in private practice in Venice, Calif. Founder and clinical director of the Rosenberg-Kitaen Integrative Body Psychotherapy Central Institute and the 12 IBP International Institutes, he authored Total Orgasm and coauthored Body, Self, and Soul and The Intimate Couple.
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.
Kathryn Rossi, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and certified yoga instructor (RYT 500). She recently coedited the sixteen-volume Collected Works of Milton H. Erickson. She and Ernest Rossi are in private practice in Los Osos, Calif.
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.
Peter Russell is the author of ten books, including The TM technique, The Global Brain, Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God. His work integrates Eastern and Western understandings of the mind, exploring their relevance to the world today.
MJ Ryan is a change expert who coaches executives and entrepreneurs around the world. The creator of a Microsoft women’s leadership pilot program, her clients include Shell, Facebook, Cisco, and Aon-Hewitt. She is the author of This Year I Will…and other titles.
Patricia Ryan Madson, an Emerita professor from Stanford, is the founder of the Stanford Improvisers and a certified Constructive Living instructor. Winner of the 1998 Dinkelspiel Award for innovation in undergraduate education, she is author of Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up.
Sy Safransky is editor and publisher of The Sun.
Kerena Gordhamer Saltzman, LCSW, is a licensed Gestalt therapist, trainer, and group facilitator. She founded the business Through Insight, and specializes in providing counseling and coaching to millenials (twenty-somethings) who are going through life transitions. Kerena facilitiates individuals and communities to use practices that create more authentic relationships.
Clifford Saron is associate research neuroscientist at Center for Mind and Brain and MIND Institute at UC Davis. His main research directions are investigating effects of contemplative practice from a multidisciplinary perspective, and multisensory integration in children with autistic spectrum disorder.
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.
Banafsheh Sayyad is a pioneer in her unique synthesis of dance and spirituality. A licensed acupuncturist with an MFA in Dance from UCLA, she teaches and performs worldwide a mesmerizing offering of the timeless sacred feminine inside a contemporary gypsy dervish.
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.
Meir Schneider, PhD, LMT, healed himself of congenital blindness and developed an original holistic approach to health. A globally respected therapist and educator, Meir is also a bestselling author. His latest book, Vision for Life, was published by North Atlantic Books.
Jon Schreiber is director of the Breema Center and the Breema Clinic in Oakland, Calif. The author of several books, he is also a licensed chiropractor. He has taught Breema worldwide since 1980.
Lori Anne Schwanbeck is a mindfulness-based somatic psychotherapist. Lori developed Sense and Sensibility, a sensory-focused mindfulness treatment for emotional regulation, which she teaches internationally. She is cofounder of Mindfulness Therapy Associates, located in San Francisco. www.mindfulnesstherapy.org.
Richard Schwartz, PhD, is a systemic family therapist and an academic. Dr. Schwartz developed the Internal Family Systems model (IFS) and founded the Center for Self Leadership. A featured speaker for national professional organizations, Dr. Schwartz has published 5 books and more than 50 articles about IFS.
Stephan A. Schwartz is Senior Samueli Fellow of the Samueli Institute, editor of the daily web publication Schwartzreport.net, and columnist for the journal Explore. He is the author of 4 books, and more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and technical reports.
Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, author of Full Body Presence, CranioSacral therapy instructor since 1987, and creator of the Healing From the Core training series, specializes in conscious awareness and its relationship to the healing process. She has taught with the Upledger Institute, and at Esalen since 1994.
Eva Selhub, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and trained in Eastern medical practices. A clinical associate of the Benson Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, she has a private practice and is an instructor at Harvard Medical School. www.theloveresponse.com and www.drselhub.com.
Paul Selig is a conscious channel, intuitive, and empathy. His books include I Am the Word, The Book of Love and Creation, and The Book of Knowing and Worth. Paul also directs the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.
Shantala leads kirtan worldwide with soul-stirring vocals, sacred lyrics and exotic instrumentation. The weaving of Benjy’s Indian classical singing and instrumentation with Heather’s soaring vocals is freshly original and profoundly moving. Shantala has performed and recorded internationally with such sacred music luminaries as Krishna Das, Deva Premal and Jai Uttal. In summer 2008, they were named as one of the top “Wallahs to Watch” by Yoga + Joyful Living.
Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D professor, internationally recognized expert in mindfulness, and author of the critically acclaimed text, The Art and Science of Mindfulness. She has been invited to lecture for the King of Thailand, Danish Government, Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine, and World Council Psychotherapy.
Neil Sharp, MD, finds the neuroscience, learning, and creativity of the Anat Baniel Method forges his diverse passions into a common purpose. He has collaborated with Ms. Baniel since 2006, teaching private sessions, groups, and doing research. He also is a professional musician.
Paula Shaw, a professional actress and acting teacher for more than 40 years, has conducted workshops for those interested in expanding their self-expression, well-being, and creativity, in the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK.
Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, is a biologist and author of 10 books, including Science Set Free. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, and from 2005-2010 the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project for research on unexplained human abilities.
Sianna Sherman is an inspired storyteller, devoted yogini, community activator, and innovator of Mythic Yoga Flow, which weaves mythic consciousness into the embodied art of yoga. Her lineage stems from a multitude of yogic disciplines and her years of dedicated study to Tantra.
Marci Shimoff is a transformational leader and New York Times bestselling author. Her books include Happy for No Reason, Love for No Reason, and six titles in the Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul series. Marci is a featured teacher in the The Secret and the host of a PBS show on happiness.
Stephen Sideroff is a clinical psychologist and peak performance consultant in Santa Monica, Calif., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s School of Medicine, and director of Moonview Sanctuary. He also founded the Stress Strategies Center at Santa Monica Hospital.
Tobin Simon, poet and educator, has been collaborating with Linda Trichter Metcalf since 1977. Coauthor of Writing the Mind Alive, he is cofounder of the PW Center, and is a poetry teacher and writing coach of more than 30 years.
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.
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.
Mariabruna Sirabella, LMFT, MS, is an artist, educator, and SoulCollage® trainer. Her clinical work blends ancient wisdom and Jungian humanistic psychology aimed at soul mentorship. She founded BodYnvocations™: Imagination in Motion.
Raj Sisodia, PhD, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., is a Franklin Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College. He has published over 100 academic articles and 7 books, including Conscious Capitalism and Firms of Endearment.
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.
Caleb Smith is an artist/blacksmith who resides in Santa Fe, NM. He creates custom architectural ironwork and also works as a glass artist and woodworker. He loves to bring all of these skills together to create artwork. He loves to teach and spread the joys of metal work whenever possible.
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.
Nancee Sobonya is a grief counselor, educator, and filmmaker who produced and directed The Gifts of Grief. She was the bereavement coordinator at Pathways Hospice in Oakland, Calif., teaches at Starr King School of Ministry, and is a minister of the Ridhwan Foundation. Nancee has been a member of the Glide Ensemble choir in San Francisco since 2000.
Heidi Sormaz, PhD, is the founder, owner, and director of Fresh Yoga. A senior Forrest Yoga Mentor, she has been practicing and teaching since 1996. As a yogi, she teaches embodied self-care as a response to the uncertainty of life.
Jessica Spain has a passion for teaching others to grow food. She has fourteen years of diverse agricultural experiences, from raising milk goats in California to working on a barley farm in Iceland. She is the former Esalen Farm Supervisor.
Tracee Stanley, ERYT, is a yoga and meditation teacher who specializes in Tantric teachings and practices in the Para yoga style. She has appeared in many international magazines and is featured in Yoga Journal’s “Yoga as Medicine” by Dr. Timothy McCall. She leads workshops, trainings and retreats internationally.
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.
Claude Stein has 29 years of experience blending psychology and voice training. His clients include RCA, Warner Bros., Sony, Atlantic, Island Records, Juilliard, the New York Actors Institute, Sprint, Siemens, JPMorgan, N.A.S.A and the U.S. House of Representatives.
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.
Susan C. Steiner, trained as an occupational therapist, has been affiliated with The Upledger Institute since 1989, and has been an instructor for CranioSacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release II since 1994. She maintains a private practice in Providence, R.I.