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Upcoming Work Study Programs

Upcoming Work Study Programs

Work Study - Speak to Inspire with Peter Meyers
August 2 - August 30, 2015

The opportunity to lead comes to us every day. Whether we're at the dining room table, in a conference room, or on a public platform, leadership in action is about bringing our best ideas into the world in ways that move others to action. 

Speak to Inspire is about creating a vision and dramatically increasing your ability to move hearts and minds through the power of the spoken word. It’s about the performative side of leadership. Peter Meyers will draw on his three decades of experience as a stage actor, director, and consultant to leaders in organizations across 29 countries. This is a dynamic, creative, and playful program that can help you recognize and release your hidden potential. You will be taught strategies for overcoming your fears (or limiting mindsets) and increasing your awareness of how to authentically influence the people around you.

The program will focus on these goals:

  • Structuring clear, compelling narratives in any setting
  • Using professional performance techniques to deepen your leadership presence and amplify your message
  • Managing your emotional state and transforming your fear into passion
  • Elevating your confidence, poise, and power in high-stakes situations
  • Building greater trust and rapport in one-to-one conversations
  • Storytelling and the power of sensory language
  • Recognizing blocks to effective dialogue and building bridges to engage and influence a conversation
  • Engaging in tough conversations without sacrificing a relationship or personal bond

Recommended reading: Meyers, As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have it Stick.


Legacy Program - Leadership and Presence with Suzanne Scurlock-Durana
August 2 - August 30, 2015

The more present we are in ourselves, the more present we can be with someone else.

Presence is the hidden key to successful leadership. This seemingly elusive skill is learnable, and this Legacy program led by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana contains the steps, through experiential work that is designed to help you pay attention to the subtle cues you receive from your body and the surrounding environment all the time. This will then give you access to your own, highly valuable inner landscape – the wisdom of your body-mind-spirit, which significantly enhances your ability to be more fully present as a leader. In this month we will share how to:

  • Assess your energy reservoir and refill when you are depleted
  • Be more able to BE present vs. DOING all the time
  • Be aware of, but not absorb the emotions of others
  • Make healthy connections (empathy vs. sympathy)
  • Stay open hearted and clear headed
  • Have more powerful leadership conversations

The deeper layer of this program will help you more fully utilize the navigational system of your body, including wisdom of the heart, gut, bones, feet, and legs. If you feel overwhelmed at times by your feelings or those around you, this course will help you develop your body and energy field into a container that can hold and modulate the whole range of human emotions. Learning to build this capacity within your navigational field enables you to have feelings and learn from them. Please bring a journal for reflection time and notes, as well as a binder for handouts.

This workshop is especially useful for those in the helping and healing professions in working with their clients and patients.

Required reading and listening: Scurlock-Durana, Full Body Presence: Learning to Listen to Your Body’s Wisdom, book and audio download or CD.


Work Study - 5Rhythms® Dance and Conscious Movement Practice with Geordie Jahner
August 30 - September 27, 2015

The body is the vessel in which the transformation process takes place. - James Hillman.

5Rhythms is an internationally recognized conscious movement practice that explores dance and movement as a healing art, as an expressive art, as a form of meditation, and as medicine.

During this month-long immersion in conscious movement practice led by Geordie Jahner, participants are offered a beautiful opportunity to ignite their ability to:

  • Nourish and deepen their creative relationship with self
  • Cultivate mindfulness, presence and awareness in the body
  • Connect movement, feeling, imagination and spirit
  • Cultivate a physical language for their emotions
  • Cultivate and deepen emotional intelligence, fluidity, resilience, and authenticity
  • Apply conscious movement principles to their lives

The sessions (totaling 40 hours of training) include a balance of playful exploration, thoughtful inquiry, and powerful exercises for skill-development. Participants will embark on deep personal discovery using movement, drawing, writing, sharing, and witnessing, while learning about and exploring the essential qualities of each of the 5Rhythms: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. These Rhythms can bring our physical, emotional, and spiritual energies more fully into motion.


Legacy Group - Inspired by Nature: Creative Expression in Esalen's Big Sur Landscape with Christina Dauenhauer
August 30 - September 27, 2015

“On Esalen’s property we have the opportunity to experience Big Sur’s dynamic wilderness, from the redwood forest to the rocky coastline,” writes Christina Dauenhauer. “During this program, we’ll come into contact with our own, individual inspiration through basic awareness practice, creating art out in the environment, and hiking. Slowing to the rhythms of nature, we will engage our creativity, while connecting with ourselves.

“We will use traditional and non-traditional media to explore nature and our place within it. You are encouraged to bring materials you are interested in using; Nature and Christina also will supply basic tools to create. The focus of our creative explorations and experimentation will be about the journey and play, not the result. You will delve into and have the opportunity to expand your creative capacity and discover new insights about yourself.”


All levels of artistic ability are welcome. Be prepared for the physical challenges of Big Sur, as well as sitting in stillness and creating in a natural environment. You will need to sign a waiver to explore wilderness areas. Please bring good walking shoes, a notebook/sketch book and a small bag/backpack to carry supplies and water.

($45 materials fee paid directly to the leader)


Work Study - Streams of Energy with Jim Gallas
September 27 - October 25, 2015

Jim Gallas leads this program of Eastern bodywork and movement, including Reiki 1 Certification, a thorough overview of Shiatsu Massage, an introduction to meridian theory, and an easy-to-learn, powerful Chi Kung form. Various meditations, self-massage, and improv games will be used to encourage awareness and expression. The program is designed to open students to their own innate healing potentials, to the power of safe, therapeutic touch, and to being more fully present in their ongoing unfolding. Participants will also receive valuable tools to facilitate the healing of others. In a spirit of compassion, laughter, and expanding awareness, students will be nurtured and nourished by the group interaction and by a deeper connection to Self.

CE credit for massage;


Legacy Program - Leadership for Radical Engagement with Mark Fairfield
September 27 - October 25, 2015

Under the guidance of community health leader and Gestalt trainer/author Mark Fairfield, The Relational Center in Los Angeles, Calif., has pioneered an innovative leadership training that inspires people around the globe to be more empathically engaged, to join and support social movements, and to catalyze a culture of interdependency. A relational leadership approach assumes that personal transformation and human potential are intricately tied up with the transformation and possibilities of the social context and natural environment. With this month-long relational leadership training program, Esalen and The Relational Center team up to offer participants cutting-edge tools in grassroots community organizing, somatic engagement, and shared leadership. It incorporates a strategic storytelling tradition to build trust, identify overlapping values, and elicit collective empathy. It also promotes a relational approach designed to teach and be sustained through peer support and more likely to be replicated through culture. The program provides a comprehensive learning experience designed to produce inspiring, skilled, and engaged leaders whose striving for personal transformation is bound up with social, economic, and environmental justice. During the month, Mark Fairfield will be joined by visiting teachers Lucien Demaris and Cedar Landsman. Lucien will bring his expertise in relational somatic work, and Cedar will share hers in grassroots community organizing.


Work Study - Relational Gestalt Practice with Dorothy Charles
October 25 - November 22, 2015

Living a full and connected life requires our capacity to feel and to make use of our emotional experience. Much of the alienation and separation that occurs in our relationships and family life is the result of the fear of feelings. We disconnect from our emotional life when we are afraid of being overwhelmed, humiliated, or perceived as weak or inadequate, only to pay the price later in isolation, anxiety, and depression.

Our relationships improve and deepen as a result of our ability to feel at ease with our own feelings and to be present with the feeling of others. In this workshop led by Dorothy Charles, we will create a safe and supportive environment in which our emotions can be met with curiosity, interest, and acceptance. The format will​ combine Gestalt Process, small group work, dyadic awareness exercises, discussion, and opportunities for individual work with the leader.


Legacy Group - Practicing Presence through Body Centered Awareness with Patrice Hamilton
October 25 - November 22, 2015

"The issues are in the tissues.” Habitual beliefs and behaviors formed early in life lead to habitual ways of responding that limit life experience. Our bodies are our greatest resource. They provide a direct path for exploring these unconscious beliefs and the emotions tied to them. By increasing awareness of our bodies, we connect with the here and now, where change and growth are possible.

This experiential class will blend the slow, developmental movement of Cortical Field Reeducation® with the mindfulness practices of Hakomi and Gestalt. Patrice Hamilton use these awareness practices to assist individuals in reclaiming and integrating forgotten or denied aspects of self.

Working in a supportive group environment creates a container in which new ways of moving and being can be explored and expressed. Exploring with curiosity and compassion allows for release of physical restrictions and suppressed emotions. You will emerge feeling more grounded and comfortable in your body, with an increased capacity to remain present within yourself and with others.

CE credit for bodyworkers.


Work Study - Embodied Relational Gestalt with Michael Clemmens
November 22 - December 20, 2015

“We develop relationships with ourselves and others through the physicality of our vision, smell, touch, and movement,” says Michael Clemmens. “These relationships, or dances, shape what we believe is possible and how we behave in the present. In this program, our focus will be on the ways in which we create relationships through our bodies. By attending to our present dance with others, we can become more aware of our existing context and optional ways of interacting."

“The structure of the program will be experiential exercises, practice sessions, and group discussion to develop our awareness of self and the group. We will begin with our earliest movements (prior to birth) and then explore how we co-create our bodily membership in the more complex gestalts of family, groups, and cultures. Our goals will be to experience how we create relationships through embodiment, and to develop skills in attending to ourselves and others.”


Legacy Program - Unveil Yourself through Mindfulness, Yoga and Conscious Dance with Jovinna Chan
November 22 - December 20, 2015

Are you ready to tap into your potential for deeper love, awareness, aliveness, and creativity? Then pause from your routine, and take on the role of a devoted apprentice to the mastering the mystery and science of being YOU.

During this Legacy immersion, experience the inner power that results from aligning every part of yourself with spirit. Through the practices of yoga, mindfulness, and conscious dance, unleash and nurture your own fulfillment and well-being. Be prepared to discover that your presence can move mountains and overcome separation in the world! Jovinna Chan invites you to drop into a field of deep communion that also includes resting, resetting, and awakening. In this program you can expect to:

  • Cultivate awareness, presence, and stillness
  • Release fear, inhibition, and judgment
  • Acquire transformational skills based on the yogic study of the koshas (multi-dimensional layers of being)
  • Master conscious communication skills, especially the art of listening
  • Design and implement a lifestyle rooted in yoga practices (postures, breath, and meditation) and conscious dance
  • Tune into and act on your life purpose

This program invites you to experience the core connection of body, heart, mind, and spirit. Create a practice that you can draw on for the rest of your life. You can make a difference in your own world, and that difference can change the world around you.

Please bring a yoga mat, and a journal for reflection and notes.


Work Study - Deep Bodywork® with Rob Wilks and Paul Wehrman
December 20, 2015 - January 17, 2016

Deep Bodywork® , as created by Perry Holloman over the last twenty-five years at Esalen Institute, is a method that integrates the qualities of a flowing Esalen® Massage with the therapeutic effectiveness of deep tissue work. Using deep tissue methods, massage practitioners can enter the body’s deeper soft tissue layers, freeing previously dense, hardened areas, which may have become chronically painful due to a lack of fluid exchange and energy flow. As these areas soften and “re-organize,” their chronic tension patterns release, revitalizing living tissues with blood, lymph, and chi (life) energy. Because living systems like the human body require a constant flow of chi energy to self-organize and heal, blockages to that flow within our tissues can create longer-term health problems like joint and soft tissue pain, movement restriction, and circulatory problems.

This month with Rob Wilks and Paul Wehrman will focus on exploring the modality of deep bodywork as a healing art, and is designed for massage and bodywork practitioners seeking to incorporate effective deep tissue techniques into their work. We will explore the common areas (back, neck, shoulders, hips, etc.) where these chronic tension patterns tend to stagnate. Students will be taught how to effectively address these areas using gravitational energy, proper use of body mechanics, the importance of working slowly, and self-care practices.

Professional massage experience is highly recommended for this advanced-level class. Please visit for more information.

Recommended viewing: Deep Bodywork I: Healing the Back, Shoulders and Hips (DVD), available at

CE credit for massage


Work Study / Legacy Program - The Heart of Buddhism with Noah Levine & Vinny Ferraro
December 20, 2015 - January 17, 2016

The Buddha offered a timeless teaching on how to live a life that is sourced from kindness, compassion, and appreciation. These teachings and practices are as applicable today as they were two thousand years ago. We all have the ability to access the innate wisdom and compassion of the heart—all we have do is turn inward through meditation and eventually we will uncover an endless source of happiness.

During this course, Spirit Rock Community Dharma teacher Vinny Ferraro will be joined by Noah Levine for a program that combines the regular and Legacy work study groups for a unique synergy. Legacy work scholars will have the opportunity to join the regular work study group for some portions of the course, and vice versa. Together, Levine and Ferraro will guide you into your heart’s depths through a series of guided meditations, small group explorations, lectures, and dialogue. The month will be based upon the Buddha’s teachings of the Divine Abodes of heart—kindness, compassion, appreciation, and equanimity, as well as an in-depth process of forgiveness.

All levels of experience are welcome, but be warned you will be asked to open your heart and stand undefended in the presence of your own truth.


Work Study - Integral Way Tai Chi® with Kenn Chase and Victoria Chase
January 17 - February 14, 2016

Regular practice of tai chi ch’uan can have profound effects on our neuro-biology, and it produces many health benefits. Through the centuries the Chinese have utilized tai chi ch’uan as a healing art. We now have current medical research to confirm the power of tai chi as an optimal preventive as well as restorative healing technique.

During this program taught by Kenn Chase and Vicki Chase, participants will be taught traditional Yang style tai chi ch’uan through Kenn Chase’s unique Integral Way practice, which incorporates Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement™, chi gung, and meditation practices. Didactic sessions will be included to enhance the understanding of medical, philosophical, and psychological applications.

Integral Way Tai Chi is an organic, evolving process of consciousness — a special domain in which people enhance and deepen their sense of self. This synchronistic interplay of mind-body awareness leads ultimately to a more comprehensive and complete experience. It is a moment-by-moment meditation of who we are and how we live.

Tai chi moves are based on nature; therefore, practicing tai chi at Esalen enhances the experience. As we tune into the subtle moves inherent in the natural world, we become increasingly tuned into the peace, beauty, and balance our natural world offers us.

During this program we will take an excursion to New Camaldoli Hermitage for group meditation in their sacred chapel, and a trip to the spectacular Sand Dollar Beach for Tai Chi by the Sea. No experience necessary and experienced practitioners welcome. This workshop is appropriate for health care professionals wishing to incorporate tai chi and/or stress management techniques into their professional practice.

CE credit Pending for acupuncturists; CE credit for nurses.


Work Study - The Art and Science of Living Well, Together with Linda Nicholls
February 14 - March 13, 2016

We are all interwoven within a dynamic, complex web of interdependent relationships. Whether we notice it or not, we are not separate from our engagement with others. Ironically, despite our multiple intelligences, tech smarts, mindfulness development, brilliant systems, getting along with one another in everyday life remains one of the most challenging endeavors humans undertake. Linda Nicholls is a senior faculty of The Haven, an international personal and professional development center in Canada. The Haven specializes in methods to integrate multiple east/west disciplines, including wisdom from science, psychotherapy, existential thought, and eastern philosophy, and this program draws from that rich well to guide participants in cultivating their relational skills. Our goals for this program are to:

  • Experience the juiciness of living life more fully
  • Deepen self-knowledge and move beyond self-imposed limits
  • Open to and express deeper dimensions of feeling in ways that enhance your life and relationships
  • Gain valuable insights to strengthen health and well-being
  • Learn and practice a transformative paradigm for communicating
  • Rediscover joy and meaning in life
  • Expand your capacity for harmonious, loving and fulfilling relationships

Through experiential exercises, body practices, and verbal and nonverbal conversations, each participant will travel their unique relationship landscape. Domains of relational territory visited by the group will include boundary definition, shadow and projection, engaging in conflict, deepening intimacy, sexuality conversations, and inward relating such as inner critic self-talk. The goal of this month-long study is to learn to recognize our individual impact and responsibility for the success and health of our relationships, which can enrich and strengthen our ability to live in harmonious interdependence.


Work Study - Seeing Eye to I: Learning the Art of Wellness with Sam Berne
March 13 - April 10, 2016

The eyes reveal many mind-body patterns related to health. For example, neuroscience shows that the eye pathway connects directly and influences brain function, the endocrine system and the nervous system. Hanna Somatics presents that prenatal infant movements affect adult postural, visual, and cognitive patterns. Traditional Chinese Medicine conveys that many of the energy meridians connect to the eyes, especially the liver (the major detoxification organ of the body).

This month-long program led by Sam Berne uses The Berne Method®, an individualized approach that begins by guiding each student to self-discover the visual patterns and imprints he or she may be using as an adaptive response to stress, trauma, and cultural conditioning. Sam will then offer a developmental process of eye-brain mindful awareness activities, Continuum movement, medicinal essential oils, and other subtle energy therapies to help students increase creativity and vitality. Sam believes the group dynamic or unified field amplifies healing. His gentle and humorous approach creates a safe, trusting environment for students to increase their wellness potential by learning deeper self-responsibility, self-regulation, and sustaining health practices.

Behind The Berne Method® are a diverse variety of disciplines, including vision therapy, biofield analysis, quantum physics, somatic movement, craniosacral therapy, dolphin-assisted therapy, and photo (light) therapy with respect to expanding human potential.

Required reading: Berne, I Sense: At Play in the Field of Healing (book or audio download), Creating Your Personal Vision: A Mind-Body Guide for Better Eyesight (book).

( $30 materials fee paid directly to the leader)


Work Study - Embodied Relational Gestalt with Michael Clemmens
April 10 - May 8, 2016

“We develop relationships with ourselves and others through the physicality of our vision, smell, touch, and movement,” says Michael Clemmens. “These relationships, or dances, shape what we believe is possible and how we behave in the present. In this program, our focus will be on the ways in which we create relationships through our bodies. By attending to our present dance with others, we can become more aware of our existing context and optional ways of interacting.

“The structure of the program will be experiential exercises, practice sessions, and group discussion to develop our awareness of self and the group. We will begin with our earliest movements (prior to birth) and then explore how we co-create our bodily membership in the more complex gestalts of family, groups, and cultures. Our goals will be to experience how we create relationships through embodiment, and to develop skills in attending to ourselves and others.”


Work Study - Write Your Life for the Page and the Stage with Ann Randolph
May 8 - June 5, 2016

As we write, we are both describing and deciding the direction that our life is taking.
— Julia Cameron

This is an invitation for you to discover your own unique and powerful story and the profound transformation that occurs when speaking it out loud. During this program led by Ann Randolph, you’ll learn how to trust your creative impulses, thus embracing all of who you are. By becoming the author of your own life and learning how to tell your own story, you can not only learn to craft your experience into a compelling narrative, but you will also unleash a sense of purpose in your own life you never thought possible.

Through writing exercises, group discussion, and improvisation we will support one another in creating and speaking our stories. Topics include:

  • Writing to simulate memory
  • Crafting story structure
  • Creating spontaneously
  • Writing on our feet
  • Overcoming performance anxiety
  • Releasing yourself from the inner critic
  • Transforming ideas/stories into performance

This is a workshop for those interested in personal essay, memoir or solo performance, and for anyone seeking to bring more meaning to their life through writing. All levels welcome.


Work Study - Bhavagad-Gita: Wisdom, Literature and Leadership with Brad Lewis
June 5 - July 3, 2016

The Bhagavad-Gita is the most popular and widely studied of the Hindu scriptures. Plus, it has become a classic of world literature, inspiring such diverse writers and artists as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Phillip Glass, Anita Desai, and Chitra Divakaruni. Most recently, it has become an invaluable resource for developing cross-cultural principles of management, leadership, and positive psychology.

This program is led by Bradley Lewis, New York University cultural studies professor and practicing psychiatrist. The month is devoted to an appreciative and critical study of the Gita’s lessons. When you pick up a copy of the Gita, it is encouragingly slim and may seem like a quick read. But if you delve into its philosophy for living, wisdom, and meaning, you'll find that it is a most enriching companion and a lifelong friend worthy of careful and detailed study. As Mahatma Gandhi put it: “When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see no ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad-Gita.”

Our Work Study program approaches the Bhagavad Gita through dialogic and participatory spirituality. It includes the following activities:

  • Appreciative and critical reading and discussion focusing on personal, political, and philosophic dimensions of the text
  • Spiritual and experiential exercises inspired by the Gita (yoga, meditation, chanting)
  • Creative arts and expression inspired by the Gita (memoir, music, visual arts, opera, film)
  • Engaged spiritual practice by applying wisdom gleaned from the Gita to larger work study activities
  • Journal writing and journal sharing of our processes together



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