Due to road closures along Highway 1 to our north and south, Esalen is closed through April 11.
Esalen Institute is open! However, Highway 1 to the south is closed — please review the alternate route directions.
Esalen is currently closed until April 26, 2024 due to a road closure. See our travel advisory for more information.

Workshops

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Esalen Environmental Stewardship: Enhancing Ecosystem Resilience and Human Well-Being Through the Esalen Farm & Garden

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Teachers In Residence
Esalen Environmental Stewardship: Enhancing Ecosystem Resilience and Human Well-Being Through the Esalen Farm & Garden
April 20 – May 3, 2024
April 20 – May 3, 2024
April 20, 2024
April 20 – May 3, 2024

Land and water are both sacred and foundational to Esalen. Deepening our knowledge of these natural treasures is crucial to protecting the planet. We are planting seeds for new opportunities to strengthen connection and understanding of the world around us through hands-on experiences that can be applied into daily life, working towards solutions.

Join the Esalen community for a two-week exploration that grounds the mind, body, heart, and spirit through connecting with nature. This eco-journey illuminates the importance of living harmoniously and in an intentional way. We are the caretakers of this Earth and we are responsible for its survival.

This immersion focuses time on and in Esalen’s Farm & Garden. Be prepared to get your hands dirty learning sustainable farming practices throughout the two weeks. We will also broaden our discussions to encompass other environmentally important topics such as climate, environmental justice and watershed conservation.

Classes will be led by the Esalen resident faculty in addition to visiting teachers to support the cultivation of sustainable daily practices.

Together, we’ll dig into:

  • Sustainable farming practices
  • Climate and environmental justice
  • Ocean and watershed mindfulness
  • Gestalt Awareness practices
  • Esalen-style “check-ins” — a six-decade practice of community mindfulness
  • Breathwork, yoga, and inspirational writing practices

Ensuring the world’s and humanity’s survival is our responsibility as Earthly citizens. Become a part of the Esalen community and discover the power and beauty of Mother Nature while experiencing transformation through service!

April
All Workshops
Nature & Sustainability

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Hardwiring Happiness: Rewire Your Mind for Calm, Clarity, and Joy

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Shauna Shapiro
Hardwiring Happiness: Rewire Your Mind for Calm, Clarity, and Joy
April 26–28, 2024
April 26–28, 2024
April 26, 2024
April 26–28, 2024

Revolutionary findings in neuroscience have demonstrated that we can literally re-architect the very structure of our brains. In fact, we can even rewire our neurology to be more focused, calmer, and happier.

In this workshop, Dr. Shauna Shapiro — a leading scientist studying the effects of meditation on well-being — will teach you the most powerful science-based practices for increasing the neural pathways of happiness. She’ll explain basic brain science and offer a clear roadmap for living a joyful, connected, and meaningful life. Be prepared for unexpected transformation and delight.

During this weekend workshop, we’ll learn:

  • Science-based practices to increase your baseline level of happiness.
  • How to cultivate greater joy, gratitude, and connection.
  • To integrate these practices into our everyday lives.

Recommended Reading: Good Morning, I Love You: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire the Brain for Calm, Clarity + Joy by Shauna Shapiro & Good Morning, I Love You: A Guided Journal for Calm, Clarity + Joy by Shauna Shapiro

*This workshop includes an additional $390 faculty tuition. For anyone facing financial hardship, Dr. Shauna Shapiro invites you to contact her directly for tuition scholarship at slshapiro@scu.edu.

April
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Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Embodying Resilience: A Movement Workshop on Stability and Chaos

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Andrea Juhan
Embodying Resilience: A Movement Workshop on Stability and Chaos
April 26–28, 2024
April 26–28, 2024
April 26, 2024
April 26–28, 2024

The seemingly opposing forces of stability and chaos are powerful currents we navigate daily. The dance between the two can become an intense emotional process that leaves us yearning for a sense of balance and ease.

Without inner stability, chaos can easily overwhelm, flood, and leave us feeling lost. We must redefine chaos, which is often compared to a natural disaster: a hurricane of emotion, a tsunami of details, a whirlwind schedule. These descriptions denote a quality of being out of control and unsafe. Learning to stabilize ourselves in an embodied way provides grounding, safety, a means to pace ourselves, and a resilient inner core. It transforms chaos from hazard to opportunity.

When we can meet chaos with an embodied sense of stability, we can expand our curiosity and delight in the unknown and unpredictable. This workshop will equip you with the physical and emotional tools needed to navigate the storms we encounter both within and outside ourselves.

10 CE units available for full attendance of this course

  • CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Academy (SCA) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Academy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Spiritual Competency Academy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • SCA is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California. RNs must retain their certificate of attendance for 4 years after the course concludes.
  • For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact Nicole@AndreaJuhan.com

For questions about CE, contact Spiritual Competency Academy at info@spiritualcompetencyacademy.com.

April
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Yoga & Movement

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The Deep: An Immersive Esalen Experience

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Sadia Bruce, Jovinna Chan, J.J. Jeffries and Cara Chandler
The Deep: An Immersive Esalen Experience
April 29–May 5, 2024
April 29–May 5, 2024
April 29, 2024
April 29–May 5, 2024

Join us for a total reset done the Esalen way: seven powerful days tending to heart, mind, body, and spirit. Reconnect with your sense of purpose and power while immersed in the medicine of our iconic, energized setting within a community of similarly minded seekers.

Not for the faint of heart, this deep retreat experience is a heroic dose of Esalen. You’ll engage daily with our lineage practices (Sensory Awareness, breathwork, intuitive movement, Gestalt process, and more) as never before —  intensely, purposefully, and under the close and compassionate care of our world-class resident faculty to usher you toward the most expansive version of yourself yet.

Each morning begins with embodied movement and seated meditation practice, followed by a silent communal breakfast. You’ll spend the first part of your day experiencing Sensory Awareness and Gestalt process. After some integration time and a nourishing lunch, you’ll transition to a yoga-based therapeutic movement session.

Afternoons are devoted to one-on-one, presence-based coaching sessions and bodywork with expert practitioners and gifted energy workers. A communal dinner is followed by either the balancing, down regulating practice of transformational breathwork accompanied by music at the silent baths — an experience reserved for this group — or the sublimely transportive modality of Yoga Nidra.

Prior to arrival, you’ll connect privately with a faculty member to set your intentions for the week. During your time at the Institute, you will experience:

  • Daily morning meditation and embodiment practice.
  • Therapeutic movement and breathwork each afternoon.
  • Small group and one-on-one Gestalt coaching sessions that allow you to metabolize your learnings.
  • Opportunities to engage with the healing properties of the water and the land.
  • A private ceremonial bathing ritual.
  • Two Esalen Massages.
  • An alternative healing service (astrology reading, Reiki, energetic cleansing)
  • Premium accommodations and communal meals
  • Additional only-at-Esalen encounters designed expressly for your cohort

We’ll follow up with you after your experience, and you’ll have the opportunity to join a remote reintegration session and receive guidance to help you stay on the path.

This experience is most appropriate for those in sound health. The activity level, while accessible and adaptive, is high.

This workshop includes an additional $500 tuition fee.

April
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Psychology & Self-awareness
Yoga & Movement

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Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Remember Who You Are

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John Vosler
Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Remember Who You Are
April 29–May 3, 2024
April 29–May 3, 2024
April 29, 2024
April 29–May 3, 2024

Experience five days of deep rest, reflection, and rejuvenation. Using the profound practice of Yoga Nidra, movement and guided meditation. We will restore the body, clear the mind, and shift the habitual patterns that keep us from being calm, clear and balanced.

Yoga (meaning “union”) Nidra (meaning “sleep”) is a path to that liminal state of being between waking and sleeping. This is where you can systematically release stored physical, emotional, and mental tensions.

Let go of old beliefs and habits that keep you stuck in the past and fearful of the future. Experience your emotions fully, knowing you have unchanging, unshakable ground beneath you — a calm inner presence that allows you to see clearly.

We will work with both our bodies and our minds and  create clear intentions to live, not from unconscious and automatic past programming but from a new perspective — an aware, deliberate way of being. We will learn how to take this felt sense of being — this new awareness of the True Self — back into our personal lives, family lives, work lives, and love lives.

Together, we will cultivate new tools to help us negotiate those times when we are under stress and feel lost, tired, and confused — when we forget who we are. These guiding instruments will help put us on the path to gaining life mastery,  welcoming your challenges, and remembering your True Being.

This workshop is an opportunity to recognize one’s wholeness, the truth of who you are, and that deep down inside is an inner peace that has always been there.

All that is being asked of you is to show up, lie down, and let go. Yoga Nidra will do the rest. Please bring blankets, a yoga mat, an eye pillow, and anything else you need to lie comfortably on the floor for extended periods of time. And we’ll have opportunities to practice outside, so bring layers!

Recommended Reading: Yoga Nidra: The Art of Transformational Sleep, by Kamini Desai; and Yoga Nidra: A Meditative Practice for Deep Relaxation Healing, by Richard Miller

April
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness

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Gestalt Practice and Principles: Cultivating Embodied Wholeness in Daily Life

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Steven Harper
Gestalt Practice and Principles: Cultivating Embodied Wholeness in Daily Life
April 29 – May 3, 2024
April 29 – May 3, 2024
April 29, 2024
April 29 – May 3, 2024

Gestalt Practice at its core is an awareness practice in which we cultivate embodied, present-moment awareness of the unfolding experience of the here and now on a journey toward authentic growth, wholeness, and aliveness.

Drawing from the foundations of Gestalt Practice, wisdom traditions, and contemporary approaches that cultivate awareness, we’ll learn to become increasingly aware of our habitual, reactive, behavioral and emotional patterns — especially those that may no longer be skillful — for a more deeply embodied daily life. We will exercise our emotional and somatic intelligence in parallel to support, respect, and gently turn toward what arises moment to moment — to allow more space and appreciation for silence, sensation, emotional expression, and communication.

During this workshop, we will explore the rich practices and principles of Gestalt Practice. By applying them to everyday life, we’ll begin to experience the simple yet profound potential for showing up more fully and authentically for the daily presentations of living an awake life.

Gestalt Practice cultivates curiosity, equanimity, and acceptance with greater choice for creative possibilities. Rather than focusing on fixing or achievement, this approach offers methods to encourage you to:

  • Cultivate awareness and embodied presence.
  • Grow responsiveness, resilience, and choice.
  • Trust in your organism’s inherent capacity for self-regulation and co-regulation.

Together, we’ll explore the elements of this approach, primarily through experiential personal practices, interactive exercises, and Gestalt Awareness Movement. Practices and exercises will be done solo, in pairs, triads, and groups, allowing participants to grow their awareness and learn how we can deepen our relationships — to self and others. There will be time for some participants to experience classic one-to-one Open Seat practice sessions with Steven in the roles of Initiator and Reflector while in the context of the group. To enrich our understanding, we’ll touch upon the rich history, theory, and neuroscience that supports this approach.

Through Gestalt Practice, we bear witness to ineffable mysteries that can bring us to living life more fully. Participants are invited to show up:  choosing to be present, paying attention to what has heart and meaning, and open to what life presents — letting life live through us.

The workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience with the understanding that participants are exploring a model of an awareness gym or lab — not a therapy. A welcome letter will be sent upon registration along with additional information about our time together.

April
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Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication

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Wild Pilgrimage: Backpacking Journey to Esalen

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Fletcher Tucker and Emily Linders
Wild Pilgrimage: Backpacking Journey to Esalen
May 3–5, 2024
May 3–5, 2024
May 3, 2024
May 3–5, 2024

Embark on an intentional wilderness journey through the sublime and seldom-traveled backcountry of Big Sur, concluding at the coastal grounds of the Esalen Institute. Among the fleeting gifts of Spring – free-flowing creeks, boundless wildflower fields and vibrant wildlife – immerse in the wild with an intimate cohort (up to twelve participants), practice awareness and community, and learn fundamental skills to feel at home on the earth.

Over the course of five nights and full days on the trail, we will embody a contemporary form of pilgrimage, traveling as reverent guests through this sacred wilderness (historic Esselen tribal territory). We will rise with the sun, carry only what we need, wander with presence and curiosity, and gather meaning from our inner and outer landscapes. Much of our time on the trail will be spent in spacious, contemplative, and challenging hiking. As the sun sets behind the mountains, we will share stories and meals by the fire, and sleep beneath a blanket of stars.

Inspired by Esalen’s co-founder Dick Price, who found healing and transformation wandering the Big Sur wild, we will engage Gestalt practices from the Esalen lineage – including group check-ins to help us connect with ourselves, each other, and the land. As we hike and camp, we will engage with what the landscape reveals, encounter philosophies and poetry of the wild, and learn foundational wilderness and backpacking skills.

After our trek, we will arrive at Esalen for a weekend of rejuvenation and integration of our wilderness time. Through the ardor and intentionality of our trek, may we shed some of what no longer serves us, and connect deeply with the sacred, living world.

Highlights of our Wild Pilgrimage include:

  • Four nights and five days of backpacking in the Big Sur backcountry, in the contemplative spirit of pilgrimage
  • Foundational backpacking and wilderness skills
  • Natural history, philosophy, and nature connection practices
  • Gestalt practices from the Esalen lineage
  • Weekend of integration at Esalen

Important Note: This is a partner program with Wildtender, an organization working at the intersection of wilderness and wisdom traditions. Visit wildtender.com/esalen2024 for more details and to apply. Please note the full experience takes place over seven days, from Monday, April 29th to Sunday, May 5th. Prior to registering with Esalen you must have registered and paid tuition fees through Wildtender for the wilderness portion of the program.

May
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Mindfulness & Spirituality
Nature & Sustainability
Psychology & Self-awareness

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Cultivating Vitality in Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Ecosystem of Mental Well-Being

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Cassandra Vieten and Elissa Epel with Guest Faculty Nichol Chase
Cultivating Vitality in Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Ecosystem of Mental Well-Being
May 3–6, 2024
May 3–6, 2024
May 3, 2024
May 3–6, 2024

What is vitality? Exuberance, vibrance, sparkle, spirit, and verve — terms rarely found in psychology textbooks. Vulnerability to depression and anxiety is widespread, and our culture traditionally emphasizes reducing symptoms with drugs that alter certain neurotransmitters, which is only part of the picture. We are living in a new era where vulnerabilities can become strengths, and what used to be stigma becomes common humanity. Good mental health is being redefined in terms of stress resilience, post-traumatic growth, and vitality.

This workshop explores evidence-based tools for living a vibrant life, even in the presence of stress, depression, anxiety, or any pain we may be carrying. We will help you build your own ecosystem of mental well-being — including new ways to foster vitality and purpose through caring for the brain, body, and gut. In this workshop, we’ll review the latest scientific findings on practices such as:

  • Hot and cold exposures
  • Optimal physical challenges
  • Breathing techniques
  • Meditation
  • Embodied movement

A mental health renaissance is underway. Mental well-being is being redefined, and a range of evidence-based, whole-person approaches are gaining ground. Learn from renowned authors and cutting-edge scientists to create a flourishing ecosystem of mental well-being for yourself and your clients.

Additional embodiment practices will be provided by Guest Faculty Member Nichol Chase.

Nichol’s yoga practice is informed by a vast and eclectic set of influences that blend invigorating flow with precise and insightful instruction and extensive study with a variety of innovative teachers. She is a Garrison Institute Fellow and a faculty member and teacher trainer for The Mazé Method.

12 CE credits available for professionals through the Spiritual Competency Academy.  Additional Continuing Education information here.

Recommended reading: The Stress Prescription: Seven Days to More Joy and Ease by Elissa Epel; The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel; Spiritual and Religious Competencies in Clinical Practice: Guidelines for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals by Cassandra Vieten; Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life by Cassandra Vieten

This workshop includes an additional $30 of faculty tuition.

May
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Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness

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The Relational Leader

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Kerena Saltzman and Ben Saltzman
The Relational Leader
May 3–5, 2024
May 3–5, 2024
May 3, 2024
May 3–5, 2024

When you are a leader, often people don’t understand all the complexities you face or the weight of your responsibilities. Being in charge can be isolating and lonely; it can feel like others are looking at a projected image instead of the real you.

Whether you’re leading an organization, managing a team, or are a coach, you know your capacity to form solid and trusting relationships is key to your success. You must become a “Relational Leader.”

As we move into higher levels of leadership and influence, we must bravely face our inner psychology to “get real” about the hidden core relational patterns holding us back.

In this workshop, we will create opportunities to shift these patterns through experiential activities, small group work, and Gestalt-based experiences. You will discover new skills to understand others, dynamic ways to build rapport quickly, and the confidence to navigate conflict and tension. Along the way, you’ll get to know a new network of like-minded leaders you can tap into for understanding and support.

  • Discover your hidden relational patterns.
  • Learn new skills to understand other people’s worldviews.
  • Learn dynamic ways to build rapport quickly.
  • Gain the confidence to navigate conflict and tension.
  • Create a network of like-minded leaders you can tap into for support.

Join us for this incredible opportunity to connect, grow, and become.

This workshop includes an additional $100 in faculty tuition.

May
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Leadership & Community
Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication

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Divine Eros and the Diamond Approach: Exploring the Relationship Between Love and Desire on the Spiritual Journey

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Jessica Britt and Vince Draddy
Divine Eros and the Diamond Approach: Exploring the Relationship Between Love and Desire on the Spiritual Journey
May 6–10, 2024
May 6–10, 2024
May 6, 2024
May 6–10, 2024

Join us as we dive into the mystery of spirit and matter in our human lives.

There are great and painful misunderstandings about the relationship between our physical nature, expressed in our instincts; our emotional nature, expressed through our relationship to love; and our spiritual nature. For centuries, these three realms have been held in opposition to one another. This is best expressed in the apparent polarity between heaven and earth. During our time together, we will dive deep into these apparent polarities, opening up the possibility that these realms not only serve each other but are expressions of each other.

We will inquire into these realms through the lens of the Diamond Approach, a modern-day spiritual path that utilizes the wisdom of modern psychological perspectives and ancient spiritual knowledge. Through this inquiry, we will uncover the interplay between the forces of the human soul and our most subtle spiritual nature. Rather than seeing spirit and the body as separate realms, our explorations will reveal them to be a unified expression of the true harmony of our nature. The power, excitement, and passion we all possess can become our entry into the deepest realms of the soul.

We will engage your direct experience through sensing, inquiry, meditation, and group exercises to support your understanding and experience of what we call Divine Eros. We will support the meeting of these forces with a love of truth expressed in curiosity, kindness, and respect.

By opening up the realm of the Eros, we can see how love not only unites the mind and body but also our desire for a deeper connection with the realization of our spiritual natures. Eros, which includes sexuality, is a profound force in the soul whose liberation is needed for deep inner work. The body and its forces can become vehicles for direct experience of the sacred nature of our instincts and desires, including our desire for freedom.

Our exploration will be grounded in meditation practice as a way to understand the various forces at work in our spiritual practices.

May
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness

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How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation

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Cassandra Vieten with Guest Faculty Nichol Chase
How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation
May 6–10, 2024
May 6–10, 2024
May 6, 2024
May 6–10, 2024

Have you ever worked hard to make a change, only to find yourself slipping back into old habits? Want to supercharge your ability to stimulate behavior change in others when it comes to the issues you care about the most? Is it time to break free from old patterns and build your next chapter? This workshop is for people in the process of change and those who work as change agents with individuals, groups, and organizations and in society.

Through dialogue, experiential practice, and creative process, we will bridge the science of breakthroughs with indigenous, religious, spiritual, and secular models of transformation. You will:

  • Learn what works and what doesn’t to inspire lasting change in yourself and others.
  • Explore how peak experiences, a-ha! moments and awe can stimulate change.
  • Examine how we and those we work with can get stuck or lost, and find ways to shake free from periods of inertia or patterns that prevent us from moving forward.
  • Investigate the transformative potential of pain, hitting bottom, and post-traumatic growth.
  • Delve into stories, symbols, and metaphors of transformation to guide your path.

Join us for this transformational exploration of our most deeply entrenched behaviors. Learn how to break free from the patterns that no longer serve you — and create new habits that will change your life.

Additional embodiment practices will be provided by Guest Faculty Member Nichol Chase.

Nichol’s yoga practice is informed by a vast and eclectic set of influences that blend invigorating flow with precise and insightful instruction and extensive study with a variety of innovative teachers. She is a Garrison Institute Fellow and a faculty member and teacher trainer for The Mazé Method.

Continuing education credit is available for professionals through the Spiritual Competency Academy, an approved sponsor of CE by the American Psychological Association. If you plan to apply for CE credit, please notify the Faculty during your first workshop session. Additional Continuing Education information here.

This workshop includes an $30 of additional faculty tuition.

May
All Workshops
Psychology & Self-awareness
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Introduction to Esalen Massage®: The Art of Healing Touch

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Char Pias and Silvia Guersenzvaig
Introduction to Esalen Massage®: The Art of Healing Touch
May 6-10, 2024
May 6-10, 2024
May 6, 2024
May 6-10, 2024

This workshop invites you to enjoy Esalen in the springtime as you gain foundational skills in our famed massage modality. Senior teachers will guide you in this experience of mindful touch translated to the massage table. Through lectures, brief demonstrations, and supervised practice, they will introduce the basics: quality of touch, rapport, massage skills with “the listening hand” and effective body mechanics.

The slow-paced practice of Esalen massage sets the stage for a pleasurable natural healing process to emerge, rather than any focus on “fixing.”  You will learn how to drape and how to easily apply Esalen’s signature integrative strokes, detail,  gentle stretches, with a concluding  pause. You will be encouraged to effectively share your experience. By  the end of the week, you’ll have the tools to offer comforting massage to friends back home. You may even enjoy giving a massage  as much as receiving one.

Classroom tools include exercises designed to awaken the senses and illuminate the value of boundaries in healing work, demonstrations, and tableside guidance tailored specifically for your experience level. The class is appropriate for the new and curious as well as the professional seeking to refresh their senses and the quality of their touch.

24 hours of continuing education provided by the faculty through Esalen Massage and Bodywork Association Teachers.

May
Healing Arts & Massage

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Welcoming Spring with Fresh, Fun, and Renewing Yoga

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Ulrika Engman
Welcoming Spring with Fresh, Fun, and Renewing Yoga
May 10–12, 2024
May 10–12, 2024
May 10, 2024
May 10–12, 2024

Welcome spring and nourish the spirit of renewal with this fresh and cleansing Mother’s Day weekend yoga workshop. By moving and weaving body, mind and spirit  through creative variations of Sun Salutes we revolve around the solar plexus to stimulate metabolism and a radiant, nourishing flow of energy.

All practices focus on sloughing off the old and welcoming new energy with playful flows, gentle backbends, and energizing movements. Learn prana pulsing, coconut oil joint rejuvenation, simple chi activation, the art and science of dry brushing for healthy skin, and tension-clearing yoga for the face and feet.

Certified in Anusara Yoga and the Halprin Life Art Process, Ulrika blends holistic practices of yoga, somatic movement therapy, and Swedish skin rituals with the elements of nature into movement medicine. The many layers and systems of the body are addressed with balanced attention given to the physical and the energetic, to form and to formlessness, to the unique individual and collective universal patterns.

Make sure to bring a dry brush, body oil for the skin, and your playful self for this fun, seasonal renewal weekend — deep nourishment for body, mind, and spirit!

Participants should have a minimum of three months of yoga practice.

May
All Workshops
Yoga & Movement

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Heart, Broken, OPEN: Cultivating Emotional Balance

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Eve Ekman
Heart, Broken, OPEN: Cultivating Emotional Balance
May 10–12, 2024
May 10–12, 2024
May 10, 2024
May 10–12, 2024

Our emotions help us respond to the threats and opportunities in our daily lives and profoundly impact our individual and collective well-being. Feeling the joys and pains of our emotions is universal, yet what makes us emotional and how we respond is unique. We become emotional without our conscious awareness. Developing emotional awareness is like navigating this otherwise invisible inner landscape by holding the full range of our human experience with compassion and creativity.  

In this experiential workshop, we will draw from the evidence-based Cultivating Emotional Balance training, which integrates the wisdom traditions of modern psychology and emotion research and ancient contemplative practices as a path for transformation.

Each session will balance learning, being, and connecting. Learning will include teachings on the scientific and contemplative foundations of emotional awareness. We practice being with guided meditations and reflective practices to develop mindful awareness and compassion for our mental and emotional patterns and habits. Connective practices include discussion and small group work to investigate the roots of our emotions through mapping of our emotional episodes. Mapping our emotional episodes is like slowing down the reel and seeing the story beneath what triggers us, how we feel, and how we respond to our fears, delights, frustrations, enjoyments, feelings of shame, and more.

The foundation for emotional awareness is connected with our internal longing for contentment and flourishing, reflections on genuine well-being and meaningful life, and meditations that establish the clarity of intention and commitment to our own and other’s well-being. Through learning, being, and practicing with our emotions, we can remove the “dust from the gold” of our compassionate hearts.

May
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Creativity & Culture
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Relationship & Communication

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Luminous Yoga Spring Renewal

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Ulrika Engman
Luminous Yoga Spring Renewal
May 13–17, 2024
May 13–17, 2024
May 13, 2024
May 13–17, 2024

Revamp, reinvigorate, and polish your luminous self this season with innovative yoga practices for body, mind, and spirit! This yoga renewal workshop includes energizing movement, flow yoga, core activations, meridian sequencing, tapping, rejuvenating holds, and cleansing rituals based on the five elements.

Yoga for the skin sloughs off the old with a potent five-step cleansing ritual. Revitalizing and fluid yoga sequences stimulate the body before thoughtfully weaving muscles and mind together into a recreated and radiant being. We will even take advantage of the potent Esalen springs with a specific bathing ritual. The daily practices of the sparkling Yoga Summer Renewal workshop will be fresh, fun, and rejuvenating — and will leave you feeling the same!

Certified in Anusara Yoga and the Halprin Life Art Process, Ulrika blends holistic practices of yoga, somatic movement therapy, and Swedish skin rituals with the elements of nature for movement medicine. The many layers and systems of the body are addressed, with balanced attention given to the physical and the energetic, the form and the formless,  the unique individual and the collective universal patterns.

Participants should bring a dry brush, coconut oil, and a facial clay mask.

May
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Yoga & Movement

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Love Thy Nature: Forest Bathing for Homecoming and Belonging

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Sylvie Rokab
Love Thy Nature: Forest Bathing for Homecoming and Belonging
May 13–17, 2024
May 13–17, 2024
May 13, 2024
May 13–17, 2024

What if you could heal modern-life isolation and thrive by deepening your bond with nature? By combining the ancient practices of forest bathing and mindfulness, this program guides you to awaken pleasurable embodiment, experience awe and wonder, and learn simple yet powerful daily practices to deepen connection with yourself, your loved ones, and all existence.

Join Sylvie Rokab as she leads you in meditative and sensorial experiences that lift the veil of separation to reveal the wondrous synergies of your inner and outer nature. Our culture’s dominant mindset of the solo self dissolves as nature reveals its marvelous web of “intra-connection” of which we all are a part.

Experience the alchemical power of the Esalen land, its sacred more-than-human stories, and the nature mindfulness processes that revitalize the body,  awaken the heart, and lift the spirit.

Sylvie closes the program with a tea ceremony – in joyful celebration of the nature-loving connections and practices you’ve created for yourself, your community and world.

Our time together includes:

  • Sensorial nature experiences
  • Talks on forest bathing and mindfulness
  • Deep sharing/listening circles
  • Contemplative practices
  • Music and tea ceremony

Participants often share that their stress dissolves, confusion lifts, insights awaken — and they take home a deeper sense of belonging to their community and our spellbinding world.

** Tuesday night provides an optional viewing of the film Love Thy Nature with a post-screening Q&A with Sylvie. Wednesday offers a wilderness excursion at the stunning Julia Pfeiffer State Park.

This workshop includes a $25 park entrance fee.

May
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Mindfulness & Spirituality
Nature & Sustainability

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Writing and Mindfulness: A Practice for Navigating Difficult Times

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Janis Cooke Newman
Writing and Mindfulness: A Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
May 13–17, 2024
May 13–17, 2024
May 13, 2024
May 13–17, 2024

A daily writing practice and a consistent meditation practice have the power to ground us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for the joy as well as the fear.

This experiential meditation retreat and writing workshop invites writers and meditators of all levels to delve deeply into both practices. We’ll begin each day with a burst of free writing — what Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice’ — generating work we will share with each other in a safe and supportive environment.

We will follow with guided meditations crafted to help us develop the resources necessary to cope in times of crisis, as well as nourish our creativity. Our meditations encourage presence to the world, forge strong mind/body connectivity, and greater access to our emotions and empathy.

The workshop’s meditations are supported by prompted bursts of free writing designed to help us tap into our creative energy, bypass our internal judge, and bring out our most original and deeply felt writing. We’ll explore how the dual practices of free writing and journaling can support us during times of uncertainty and change.

There will be time to write and time to share what we’re writing with the group. Everyone will leave with the tools and the inspiration to cultivate their own daily meditation and daily writing practices.

May
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Creativity & Culture
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Doorway to Joy, Connection, and Wonder

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Mark Coleman and Lori Schwanbeck
Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Doorway to Joy, Connection, and Wonder
May 17–19, 2024
May 17–19, 2024
May 17, 2024
May 17–19, 2024

Are you longing to feel enlivened by nature and expand beyond the virtual world, revitalizing your senses, body, and heart? Together, with the exhilarating Big Sur coastline, towering redwoods, and verdant gardens, we will access the clarity of the mind, feel the aliveness in the body, and the expansiveness of the heart.  

Following spiritual traditions that value the transformative power of nature, this experiential workshop will be spent meditating entirely outdoors in the awe-inspiring beauty of Esalen. Whether during a sunset meditation, while listening to the roaring waves, or as we sit graced in the stillness of cypress trees, we’ll open to the profound serenity and wisdom of nature through a variety of sensory and embodied awareness practices.

You will learn about the practice of mindfulness — the capacity to be fully present to ourselves and the world around us — and then explore this quality of attention as you enter a contemplative relationship with both your inner and outer nature. You will discover how nature supports cultivating expanded states of joy, wonder, and a loving connection with oneself, others, and the larger web of life.  

Recommended reading: Awake in the Wild and A Field Guide to Nature Meditation by Mark Coleman

This workshop includes an additional $100 of faculty tuition.

May
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Relational Gestalt Practice: The Transformative Power of Emotion

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Dorothy Charles
Relational Gestalt Practice: The Transformative Power of Emotion
May 20–24, 2024
May 20–24, 2024
May 20, 2024
May 20–24, 2024

Our sense of self develops in connection with others and our experiences in early relationships. They shape our beliefs — about ourselves, other people, and what is possible for us in our lives. While we cannot change the past, we can change the parts of our lives that we find difficult or unfulfilling through new experiences of contact. When our need for understanding and emotional attunement is met, our limiting beliefs can change.

In this workshop, we will:

  • Learn skills that will increase our presence and awareness.
  • Improve our ability to make good contact.
  • Explore how to establish healthy boundaries.
  • Develop and track awareness of our physical sensations and emotions.
  • Communicate our needs and wants effectively.
  • Discover habitual relational patterns that prevent us from cultivating the type of connection we long for.

This workshop includes time for basic gestalt awareness practices, a mixture of didactic and experiential exercises, and individual “open seat” sessions with Dorothy and with the support of the group.

Recommended reading: Korb et al., Gestalt Therapy: Practice and Theory; Mann, Gestalt Therapy: 100 Key Points and Techniques

May
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Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication

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Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Springtime

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Steven Harper
Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Springtime
May 20–24, 2024
May 20–24, 2024
May 20, 2024
May 20–24, 2024

Esalen is the trailhead to one of the most spectacular mountainous coastlines in the world. With the Big Sur wilderness as the primary teacher, participants will explore the beauty of this wild coast — one of the most spectacular mountainous coastlines in the world —  which includes ancient canyons of redwoods, dramatic coastal beaches, rugged rocky mountains, and soft grassy slopes.

Drawing from nature and using various experiential awareness practices, individuals will be encouraged to open to the landscapes of both the natural world and their inner world. It is said that Big Sur is not just a place but a state of mind. This wilderness experience seeks to merge mind and place, then to embody what is learned.

Participants in this weeklong workshop will venture out into the emerging springtime magnificence of Big Sur on day-hikes between four to eight miles. Steven will draw from a wide range of contemporary and age-old wisdom traditions, borrowing from psychology, meditation, aikido, and the natural sciences to weave together a holistic experience of self and the natural world.

Each hike will begin right after breakfast and conclude in time to enjoy the hot springs and dinner at the Lodge. Evening sessions will include informal sharing and basic awareness practices with attention to incorporating what we’ve learned into our daily lives.

All levels of experience are welcome. Be prepared for the invigorating challenge of physical activity that the mountains of Big Sur require and the opportunity to simply sit still in quiet reflection. More information and a waiver will be sent upon registration. For an equipment list and frequently asked questions about Steven’s workshops, visit FAQs.

This workshop has $80 of additional faculty tuition and $40 for park entrance fees.

May
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Nature & Sustainability
Psychology & Self-awareness

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The Wisdom of Aging: Self-Care, Community, Inquiry, and Celebration

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Jim Gallas
The Wisdom of Aging: Self-Care, Community, Inquiry, and Celebration
May 20–24, 2024
May 20–24, 2024
May 20, 2024
May 20–24, 2024

How do we celebrate aging and become wisdom holders for our communities in a youth-obsessed culture? As we ripen into the late summers and autumns of our lives, how can we let go of what no longer serves us and enjoy the abundance of each precious moment?

The experience of living through many years and different eras affords the ability to see life through the lens of compassionate presence. In this retreat, we will celebrate this perspective and create space in our hearts and minds for joy and curiosity about the future.

During this time together, we will:

  • Build the foundations of a consistent, sustainable self-care practice, including qigong, gentle meridian stretches, and shiatsu self-massage.
  • Explore the profound influence of breath on the autonomic nervous system and the relationship between breath and the quality of mind.
  • Open to the subtleties of the energy body, thus recognizing ourselves and all things as manifestations of the life force.
  • Develop healthy routines for a daily sitting practice and learn to consider meditation as intimacy with the self.
  • Practice silent inquiry, followed by group dialogue about grief, loss, death, mentorship, gratitude, and freedom.
  • Savor poetry from different wisdom traditions as nourishment from the divine.
  • Dance and sing — or, if you prefer, walk and hum — and play improv games offering laughter as gifts of the spirit.

Students aged 50 and older are welcome. Basic mobility is required; otherwise, please come with someone who can assist you. You must be able to lie on the floor and put your legs up the wall for five minutes and accept your physical limitations without judgment. Please come with a beginner’s mind, even if you’re not a beginner.

Recommended Reading: Still Here by Ram Dass

May
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication
Yoga & Movement

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RITUAL: Full Moon Women's Retreat

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Sianna Sherman
RITUAL: Full Moon Women's Retreat
May 20–24, 2024
May 20–24, 2024
May 20, 2024
May 20–24, 2024

Alchemize your life with the wisdom of the 13 moons! This is a spirited call to soul sisters, magic makers, and wise women of all ages. If you feel called to awaken and amplify your magic, this is for you.

Women throughout the ages have gathered under the light of the full moon, steeping in the mysteries and soaking in the healing essence of moonlight. Rituals with the moon help to heal the body, channel the emotions, and guide the soul with real power.

When we come together in true sisterhood, profound healing happens within a woman’s psyche. The heroine’s journey awakens to guide and help us navigate life with greater joy, confidence, and authenticity. We learn how to recognize and dismantle toxic narratives to live with full radiance.

In this immersive retreat, participants will dive deep into the realm of priestess — learning how to honor their own heroine’s journey with rituals, inner trance, storytelling, divination, shadow skills, astrological understanding, moon magic, and embodied wisdom. Through a combination of experiential activities and soulful connections, this will be a brave space container for personal growth, healing, and alchemical transformation with daily ritual, yoga, meditation, connection with nature, dream tending, and earth ceremony.

During this pilgrimage, we will celebrate through:

  • Sacred rituals to awaken your inner priestess and tap into your innate wisdom.
  • The Heroine’s Journey to retrieve your soul’s purpose and gifts.
  • Intuitive development to enhance your intuitive gifts through hypnosis, trance, and earth-based ceremony.
  • The magic of the moon with crafting spells and dream-tending skills.
  • Alchemical Archetypes to learn the Wheel of the Priestess and how to work with each archetype for your life.
  • Sisterhood and connection to build deep connections through sharing circles, collaborative rituals, and initiations.
  • Self-reflection through journaling and integration of experiences and teachings.

Rooted in the RITUAL Mystery School, this is a transformative journey into the path of the priestess to quantum leap your life in Sisterhood. Magic is afoot!

May
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Yoga & Movement
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Secrets of Great Relationships: For Individuals and Couples

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Charlie and Linda Bloom
Secrets of Great Relationships: For Individuals and Couples
May 24–26, 2024
May 24–26, 2024
May 24, 2024
May 24–26, 2024

For one human being to love another, that is the most difficult of all of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, for which all other work is but preparation. — Rainer Maria Rilke

A great relationship requires more than just staying together. Until we enjoy trust, intimacy, caring and love with our partner, we are merely sharing an arrangement, not a true partnership. Yet for an alarming number of couples, the dreamy honeymoon period of infatuation can quickly dissolve into a cold and joyless relationship or end in divorce. The biggest mistake that many people make is not that they expect too much from their relationships, but that they desire too little. A true partnership can be a means through which our deepest longings are awakened and ultimately realized.

In this experiential workshop, we will work in dyads, small groups and the group as a whole. The lecture component will be interactive, with plenty of time for Q&A from the group. We’ll also practice mindfulness meditation. Together we will examine the unique qualities that exceptional relationships embody and identify the various means through which it is possible to develop and integrate those qualities, and to manage the inevitable differences that arise. We will identify and engage in practices that can transform the quality of connection in ways that promote co-creativity, unconditional acceptance and spiritual awakening. This workshop provides tools that can promote enduring love and deep intimacy.

Recommended reading:  Happily Ever After and 39 Other Myths About Love, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last and That Which Doesn’t Kill Us : How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places by Charlie and Linda Bloom

May
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Relationship & Communication

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Beyond Duality: Healing Wisdom and Ceremony for Personal Health and Well-being

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Erika Gagnon
Beyond Duality: Healing Wisdom and Ceremony for Personal Health and Well-being
May 24–26, 2024
May 24–26, 2024
May 24, 2024
May 24–26, 2024

Join ceremonial leader and wisdom carrier Erika Gagnon on a sacred journey as we gather to look beyond the false duality of a divided self and the destructive concept of “self versus nature” to discover how to live in harmony and balance within ourselves and the world around us.

You are your greatest healer and greatest medicine. This is your opportunity to examine what that means while sharing healing wisdom and practices. This workshop will offer the tools to transform trauma and unhealthy patterns, to realign your body, mind, spirit, and soul, and to honor and heal all you have inherited from your ancestral lineage, along with the social, cultural, racial, religious, and historical energies tangled in your lives. You will learn about the origins of dis-ease in our physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual bodies.

Learn about the importance of ceremonies, sacred altars, and medicinal plants and participate in a traditional South American healing ceremony, a sound healing and “doctoring” ceremony, and a water blessing prayer ceremony.

You will be invited to reconnect to your authentic wisdom and power with clarity, gratitude, and forgiveness. When you honor and heal your ancestral lineage and connect to the natural and spiritual elements of this planet, you strengthen your connection to the sacred in everyday life.

We are all interconnected in this giant web of life, and every day is a gift in the service of unconditional love for yourself, your community, humanity, and our planet. If you feel the call to be a part of a new humanity that lives in harmony and balance upon this Earth, we invite you to join us in this celebration of life.

Note: Please bring a journal to write in, and items for our altar, including photographs of loved ones and ancestors and sacred objects that have meaning for you.

Special Note on Gift Economy:  For this workshop, Esalen will not be collecting the typical leader fees. Erika embraces the tradition of the gift economy and reciprocity. The leader’s compensation will be self-determined by each attendee. At the end of the workshop, participants will offer a donation amount that reflects their feeling of gratitude, value, and desire to support Erika and her ongoing work.

BIPOC SCHOLARSHIP: Erika has established a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, person of color) scholarship for her workshops.  For more information on receiving one to participate, please contact her at ErikaGagnon11@gmail.com

May
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Creativity & Culture
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychedelics & Plant Medicine
Relationship & Communication

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We Are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: Empowered Elemental Healing

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Erika Gagnon and Jovinna Chan
We Are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: Empowered Elemental Healing
May 27–31, 2024
May 27–31, 2024
May 27, 2024
May 27–31, 2024

We are not separate from nature. We are nature. If we separate from nature, then we separate from ourselves.

Join Erika Gagnon and Jovinna Chan for their first collaborative workshop: a dynamic weaving of ancient wisdom, somatic movement and dance, sound healing, breath practices, and traditional ceremonies and rituals.  

The four elements are the basis of life on this planet and the foundational makeup of our human body. Our ancestors understood our interconnected relationship with nature, but in this modern society, we are forgetting to honor this sacred truth. This is an opportunity for us to gather in community, remember our origins, and support one another as we reconnect to the natural and spiritual elements of this planet.

In this workshop:

  • We will embody and explore Earth, Air, Fire, and Water and how they relate to the body, mind, spirit, and soul and to the Chakra system.
  • We will examine how the elements influence our thoughts, emotions, and physical health and how we can transform and heal unhealthy patterns.
  • There will be opportunities to participate in a traditional South American healing ceremony, a sound healing and “doctoring” ceremony, and a water blessing prayer.

When we live in harmony and balance within ourselves, with others, and with the world around us, we naturally realign with our higher purpose. If you feel this call, we invite you to join us for this celebration of life.

Please bring a journal to write in, an eye pillow for sound healing, and items for our altar, including photographs of loved ones or ancestors and sacred objects that have meaning for you.

Special Note on Gift Economy: For this workshop, Esalen will not be collecting the typical leader fees. Erika and Jovina embrace the tradition of the gift economy and reciprocity, and their compensation will be self-determined by each attendee. At the end of the workshop, participants will offer a donation amount that reflects their feelings of gratitude, value and their desire to support Erika, Jovinna, and their ongoing work.

Scholarship: Erika has established a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) scholarship fund for her workshops. For more information on receiving a scholarship to participate, please contact her at ErikaGagnon11@gmail.com.

May
All Workshops
Yoga & Movement
Sound Healing
Mindfulness & Spirituality

Are you looking to immerse yourself in the peace, space, and natural majestic beauty of our campus without taking a workshop?

Choose Your Dates
Letting go of entrenched ideas — who we are, how the world works, our place in it — is a challenge. It takes energy. Time. Space. Security. This growth encourages us to examine ourselves and understand our connection to the whole. This more flexible, less structured model of change encompasses both personal and communal, aligning with the core of our mission. Self-Guided Explorations are designed to function outside of the group structures of our workshops for a more freeform, spacious healing journey. These experiences are for those who want to immerse themselves in the peace, space, and natural majestic beauty of our campus, exploring the edges of personal growth and open group classes when compelled. The beauty of our Big Sur campus supports serenity for the mind, the body, the spirit, and offers nourishment for all three. Exploring human potential.Our dynamic open class schedule changes weekly, but always features opportunities to sit in meditation and mindfulness, explore embodiment and movement practices, and connect with nature. An opening circle, hosted by an Esalen Staff member or a visiting teacher, welcomes you as you begin your stay. A closing circle on the final day provides a reflective conclusion to your time with us. Feeding mind and body.Savor three hearty, healthy meals per day. Our kitchen draws on global culinary traditions, using the fruits of the Esalen Farm & Garden and other local Big Sur providers to create delicious meals that support holistic health — for you and for the earth.Creating space for reflection.Esalen’s beloved mineral hot springs perch dramatically over the Pacific Ocean, a juxtaposition of intimate and infinite. A core part of Esalen from its inception, the baths and tubs are an ideal place to reflect, find clarity, and set new intentions.
All Workshops Yoga Movement Mindfulness Spirituality Creativity Culture Nature Sustainability
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Are you looking to immerse yourself in the peace, space, and natural majestic beauty of our campus without taking a workshop?

Choose Your Dates
Letting go of entrenched ideas — who we are, how the world works, our place in it — is a challenge. It takes energy. Time. Space. Security. This growth encourages us to examine ourselves and understand our connection to the whole. This more flexible, less structured model of change encompasses both personal and communal, aligning with the core of our mission. Self-Guided Explorations are designed to function outside of the group structures of our workshops for a more freeform, spacious healing journey. These experiences are for those who want to immerse themselves in the peace, space, and natural majestic beauty of our campus, exploring the edges of personal growth and open group classes when compelled. The beauty of our Big Sur campus supports serenity for the mind, the body, the spirit, and offers nourishment for all three. Exploring human potential.Our dynamic open class schedule changes weekly, but always features opportunities to sit in meditation and mindfulness, explore embodiment and movement practices, and connect with nature. An opening circle, hosted by an Esalen Staff member or a visiting teacher, welcomes you as you begin your stay. A closing circle on the final day provides a reflective conclusion to your time with us. Feeding mind and body.Savor three hearty, healthy meals per day. Our kitchen draws on global culinary traditions, using the fruits of the Esalen Farm & Garden and other local Big Sur providers to create delicious meals that support holistic health — for you and for the earth.Creating space for reflection.Esalen’s beloved mineral hot springs perch dramatically over the Pacific Ocean, a juxtaposition of intimate and infinite. A core part of Esalen from its inception, the baths and tubs are an ideal place to reflect, find clarity, and set new intentions.
All Workshops Yoga Movement Mindfulness Spirituality Creativity Culture Nature Sustainability
December
December
December
November
August
November
November
July
July
October
October
October
October
September
September
September
September
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