Esalen Institute is open! However, Highway 1 to the south is closed — please review the current travel advisory.
Learn More.

Learn more.

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 current travel advisory.

Esalen opens May 3, 2024

Visitors are now able to access Esalen as well as other businesses and trails in northern Big Sur via twice-daily convoys on Highway 1 operated by Caltrans.

Convoys run only at 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day. These are the only opportunities to travel into and out of Big Sur, so visitors must plan accordingly.

Learn more.

Workshops

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Continuing Education
Creativity & Culture
Healing Arts & Massage
Leadership & Community
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Nature & Sustainability
Psychedelics & Plant Medicine
Psychology & Self-awareness
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Stages of Tranquility and Insight

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Dustin DiPerna
Stages of Tranquility and Insight
July 26–28, 2024
July 26–28, 2024
July 26, 2024
July 26–28, 2024

Asanga’s Nine Stages of Staying is one of the oldest and most comprehensive systems of concentration in the Buddhist tradition. Sometimes called the Elephant Path, this approach was originated by the great Buddhist master in 506 A.D., and it is now the main method of training the mind in the Tibetan tradition.

In this weekend meditation retreat, participants will learn the stages of the Elephant Path using the body as the primary object of concentration. Students will also receive an introduction to the basic stages of ordinary insight. By the end of our time together, students will have all the instructions necessary to successfully incorporate a robust meditation practice into everyday life.

Training the mind in this way can lead to a direct experience of equanimity and can put the student in a range of practice wherein pointing out the real nature of the awakened mind is possible.

No experience with meditation is required. If you have your own preferred meditation pillow and mat, please bring them.

July
All Workshops
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Breaking Free From the Likability Cage: A Replenishing and Empowering Workshop for the Emotionally Exhausted Woman

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Nancy Colier
Breaking Free From the Likability Cage: A Replenishing and Empowering Workshop for the Emotionally Exhausted Woman
July 26–28, 2024
July 26–28, 2024
July 26, 2024
July 26–28, 2024

Summer is the time to take a break, step off the treadmill of modern life, take care of oneself, and refill the tanks before gearing up for the busyness of fall. What does taking care of yourself really mean—for you? What do you want and need at this moment in your life; what genuinely takes care of you?

For many women, these are questions we never ask ourselves, much less express or dare to live by. We’ve been trained to know what everyone else wants and needs but not what we want and need. We know who we are in all of our roles to and for other people, but not who we are for ourselves. We sacrifice authenticity for likability, abandoning ourselves in order to be pleasing and manage other people’s perceptions of us. But there’s a longing inside us that wants to live a more truthful and vital life—a life that’s truly ours.  

This is a workshop for that longing. Through teaching, meditation, journaling, and dyad and group dialogue, you will be invited to:

  • Become aware of where and how you abandon yourself by taking care of others at the expense of yourself.
  • Free yourself from the likability cage and let go of being who everyone else needs you to be.
  • Make the shift from doing self-care to being self-caring, rebuild your relationship with yourself to be on your own side, and reconnect with your truth.  
  • Bring your own still small voice back into the conversation and into your life.
  • Build the tools (and courage) for an authentic life, tell the truth, and value a relationship with yourself as much as with others.
  • Come to trust, believe, and know that you matter.

The good news is this: Once you recognize the call of your own wanting, you’re already in the process of changing and reconnecting with your inherent vitality. “What do I want?” starts showing up as a question that matters, and indeed, you start showing up as someone who knows that she matters. Join this weekend of adventure and build the real-life tools, behaviors, and choices to live this change forward and create a truthful and self-affirming life.

July
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Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication

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Natural Healing: A Spiritual Journey of Return

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Margaret Harrsen and Michael Ventura
Natural Healing: A Spiritual Journey of Return
July 26–28, 2024
July 26–28, 2024
July 26, 2024
July 26–28, 2024

Healing ourselves is a journey of return. During this weekend workshop, you will be invited to learn about the practice and traditions of “curanderisma” (folk medicine) to bring forth awareness and attune us to our individual healing journeys. Through meditative and contemplative practices, touch, prayer, plants, and natural elements, their work honors a lineage of centuries-old wisdom to bring a sense of well being to those seeking renewal.

This workshop will include:

  • Optional morning movement and mediation practice.
  • The Point of Origin: A session focused on the navel and abdominal massage for somatic release and greater self connection.
  • Barridas (Plant Sweepings): Foraging and working with plant and herb bundles to cleanse energies.
  • Empathic Connection: An exploration with our intuition, revealing how to listen and connect with each other, and ourselves, more deeply.
  • Limpia con Huevo (Washing with an Egg): A lesson sharing the practice of clearing and divining one’s energies with the use of an egg.
  • Evening Moon Meditation and Flowering Bathing.

Through Margaret and Michael’s teachings, you’re invited to connect to your own innate healing potential and have the ability to support others with love and intention.

July
All Workshops
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Healing Arts & Massage

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The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community

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Sadia Bruce, J.J. Jeffries, Cara Chandler, and Jovinna Chan
The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
July 27 – August 23, 2024
July 27 – August 23, 2024
July 27, 2024
July 27 – August 23, 2024

Join us for an extended opportunity to explore the true essence of Esalen, and find yourself in the process. Like a snapshot of all that we do here on campus, this workshop is composed of enlivening and heart-opening classes that are driven by Esalen’s founding areas of focus: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, and Community.

During this month-long program, a cohort of like-minded students will have the opportunity to lean into the richness and diversity of programming that has both grown up on campus and is being infused into its current culture. In addition to working in service to the running of Esalen, the workshop classes have been designed to support the process of healing, transformation, and joy.

Classes will be led by the Esalen Resident Faculty Team, each bringing something uniquely transformative to the daily experience. Practices will include:

  • Gestalt Awareness Practices
  • Esalen-style “check-ins”
  • combinations of breathwork, yoga, and inspirational writing practice
  • 5Rhythms dance and movement
  • And more!

Come experience Esalen for a heartful and healing month of service and transformation!

July
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Creativity & Culture
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Empowering Creativity

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Daria Halprin
Empowering Creativity
July 29–August 2, 2024
July 29–August 2, 2024
July 29, 2024
July 29–August 2, 2024

Since time immemorial, movement, dance, and the expressive arts have provided individuals and communities with a sense of soulful expression, healing, inspiration, spirit, and connection. We now need to reconnect with these ways more than ever.

The Life/Art Process®, developed by Anna Halprin and Daria Halprin, bridges body awareness, art expression, and psychological processes, providing people with an opportunity to experience dance and the expressive arts as a way to learn, heal, expand creativity, and develop new strategies for personal and professional life. This groundbreaking, innovative approach to human development, embodied creativity, and transformative learning began in the 1950s, and the tradition continues today.

Daria Halprin’s work connects dance, somatics, psychology, and artistic practices to foster personal, group, and community development and creativity. In this workshop, movement, dance, drawing, poetic dialogue,  reflective exchanges, and witnessing practices will generate new thresholds of exploration and expression, catalyzing new resources for daily life.

Morning sessions will focus on somatic awareness and individual and group movement exploration to tune the physical body to sensation and feeling. Afternoon sessions will facilitate creative encounters through dance, drawing, and spoken and written narratives to explore our life experiences. Evening sessions will be devoted to questions generated by the day’s work, reflection, and releasing activities, including creative play and meditative art practices.

Participants will be invited to :

  • Experience how movement, dance, and expressive arts can be applied to their personal and professional practices.
  • Develop body/mind awareness and connection.
  • Expand creative expression.
  • Experience improvisation and performance.
  • Explore old material in new ways and generate new resources to bring into daily life.
  • Play with artistic expression as a psychological tool.

No previous artistic experience is necessary. This workshop is designed for everyone.

Recommended Reading: The Expressive Body in Life, Art and Therapy by Daria Halprin

July
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Yoga & Movement
Creativity & Culture
Psychology & Self-awareness

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Holotropic Breathwork®: Expanded States of Consciousness

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Stacia Butterfield
Holotropic Breathwork®: Expanded States of Consciousness
July 29 – August 2, 2024
July 29 – August 2, 2024
July 29, 2024
July 29 – August 2, 2024

For thousands of years across many cultures, enhanced states of consciousness have been used as a strategy for meaningful transformation and self-exploration — marking life’s major transitions and rites of passage and deepening one’s connection to self, community, and the natural world.

In this workshop, we will gather in the rich field of community for an immersive experience and personal exploration of enhanced states of consciousness. Our time together will include strategies for navigating, integrating, and preparing for these experiences. Holotropic Breathwork® offers language, method, and structure for turning inward and working with deeply personal material as it emerges, uniquely, from one’s own intrinsic intelligence. We will be supported by time-honored practices that are simple, yet powerful. These unique states can offer us unmediated access to the self as a deep source of healing, insight, and evolutionary potential. Participants will experience four Holotropic Breathwork sessions, with two as “breather” and two as “sitter.” Your time assisting others in “non-ordinary state” space will complement your personal exploration. Additionally, contemplative practice, movement, expressive arts, and time in community will support the integration process throughout the week.

Originating from the pioneering psychedelic researcher, Stanislav Grof, and his late wife, Christina Grof, Holotropic Breathwork is a particularly useful practice for those interested in or training to work in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

This workshop is suited for all those of heart who are curious about exploring enhanced states of consciousness and opening to an evolutionary process of unfolding. New or novice explorers/breathers are very welcome, along with experienced navigators/breathers. The fundamental urge to grow, to heal, and to be transformed in a truly authentic way drives us not outward but inward, toward the depths of our own being, toward a deep mystery within. This inward journey strengthens and nourishes our senses in a way that can revitalize our daily lives with creative and emergent energy.

Recommended Reading: Holotropic Breathwork by Stan Grof

July
All Workshops
Psychology & Self-awareness
Creativity & Culture
Psychedelics & Plant Medicine

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Esalen Massage® and Meditation

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Dean Marson and Brita Ostrom
Esalen Massage® and Meditation
July 29 – August 2, 2024
July 29 – August 2, 2024
July 29, 2024
July 29 – August 2, 2024

Esalen Massage is a moving meditation, a practice in presence and mindfulness, and a loving healing art. When practiced with focused attention, massage comes from a deep, quiet place that resides inside each of us. This practice of meditation helps access the parasympathetic nervous system, where healing originates. As we give a massage, this healing state of mind can permeate the field that practitioner and receiver create together.

In guided sessions, we will explore the practice of sitting meditation to prepare and quiet our minds, and the fundamentals of Esalen Massage as a meditative and self-reflective practice. Special focus will be on quality of touch, breath awareness, centering, and sensitive rapport between partners. The signature long strokes will support a sense of wholeness and integration.  Instruction in detailed work for the shoulders, hips, limbs and neck will contribute to the massage experience. There will be supervised practice daily as students exchange massages, with the support of their experienced teachers.

Beginners as well as seasoned practitioners will welcome this week to explore Esalen Massage and meditation, while enjoying the natural beauty of the Esalen grounds.

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

26 hours of NCBTMB approved continuing education provided by the faculty through the Esalen® Massage and Bodywork Association Teachers.

July
All Workshops
Healing Arts & Massage
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Reclaiming Your Authentic Power

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Justin Michael Williams
Reclaiming Your Authentic Power
August 2–4, 2024
August 2–4, 2024
August 2, 2024
August 2–4, 2024

Doing personal growth work while still engaging in self-sabotaging behavior is like watering a garden full of weeds and expecting roses to bloom. Learn to overcome negative patterns and transform your pain into authentic power.

In this dynamic three-day workshop with best-selling author and teacher Justin Michael Williams, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Discover your unique energy signature.
  • Study a proven system to help redefine your life on your terms.
  • Learn the eight hidden forms of fear and how to overcome them.
  • Break beyond the hidden toxic habits that sabotage your growth.
  • Create a custom “power action” that helps you overcome limitations.
  • Come together and build accountability with other conscious people who are ready to create change in their lives and the world.

Learn about the practical behavioral changes you can make to help you overcome the hidden patterns standing in the way of your goals. Together, we’ll create your personal action plan and define your “next best move” so you have a ritual for change that lasts well after the retreat. This is your moment to reset, overcome fear and self-doubt, and say “yes” to the life that’s waiting for you.

This program has been designed from the ground up to welcome people of all genders, races, identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. All meditation experience levels are welcome as well.

Recommended Reading: Stay Woke by Justin Michael Williams

August
All Workshops
Leadership & Community
Relationship & Communication
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness

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Graceful Exit: Preparing for a Good Death

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Andrew Holecek
Graceful Exit: Preparing for a Good Death
August 2–5, 2024
August 2–5, 2024
August 2, 2024
August 2–5, 2024

We all face death, but how many of us are actually ready for it? Whether our own demise or that of a loved one comes first, how prepared are we? This workshop offers a wide array of resources and teachings to help participants address that final unfinished business and make the most out of every moment that comes before it.

All of life is held within the context of its inevitable extinction. By acknowledging and preparing for death now, we will find ourselves living more fully and fearlessly. Join us as we celebrate the preciousness of life, and ready ourselves and others for this final journey. We will explore how to die a good death and help others pass, engaging with meditations and contemplations that prepare us for letting go. As the Buddhist tradition proclaims, “If you die before you die, then when you die, you will not die.”

With preparation, we can transcend death, turning the greatest obstacle into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and even attain enlightenment. The bardo teachings lead to the death of death. The journey through the bardos is a journey into our mind, so by exploring the bardos, we are exploring ourselves. The teachings apply to any moment that ends – which means they also relate to daily life and can help you live fully within the time you are given.

Together we’ll explore:

  • Meditations that prepare you for the end of life
  • Teachings that support the meditations
  • Discussion groups to create a sense of community  

We hope you’ll join us for this exploration into the unknown, so that we may all return – fearless, and full of compassion for ourselves and those transitioning from this life.

Recommended Reading: Preparing to Die by Andrew Holecek

This workshop has an additional $20 of faculty tuition.

August
All Workshops
Psychology & Self-awareness
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Wisdom and Medicine of the Earth: Healing The Planet And Ourselves

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Lindsay Branham
Wisdom and Medicine of the Earth: Healing The Planet And Ourselves
August 2–4, 2024
August 2–4, 2024
August 2, 2024
August 2–4, 2024

“Just as there is a relationship of mind to body, so there is a relationship of body to Earth.” - Carl Jung

Most of us have lost our connectedness to the living world. At the same time, climate change, mental health challenges and chronic illness have skyrocketed. Connection to our bodies and the Earth is the missing piece for sustainable healing.

In this experiential workshop, we will focus on reclaiming our birthright: a deep, and connected relationship with the Earth. A relationship with nature as a pathway to relational and physical healing can holistically transform your life through offering an ongoing source of timeless compassionate love and awareness. Because this is intrinsic to who you are, and we are the Earth.

Set amongst the beautiful Esalen grounds, with the Redwood trees and Pacific ocean, one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world, we will practice both groundbreaking somatic methods based on body awareness science and relational attachment theory, and ancient Buddhist contemplative tools that will support you to foster a connection with nature.

We will mindfully listen to musician John Newton share his own relationship to nature through his original fingerstyle guitar music, reminiscent of the primitive guitar tradition of North America and chamber folk music of the British Isles. 

Through embodied mindful awareness, and nature connection practice, you will:

  • Slow down and receive nourishment from connection to the Earth.
  • Experience a loving, interdependent relationship with nature.
  • Gain tools to support your own body's innate intelligence for healing. 
  • Find embodied support for navigating climate collapse, grief, and more.

Return home with the budding beginnings of a life-long relationship with the Earth that will help you to remain centered, joyful, and more resourced in an anxious world.

Recommended Reading: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

August
All Workshops
Creativity & Culture
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication

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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
August 5–9, 2024
August 5–9, 2024
August 5, 2024
August 5–9, 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

August
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Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness

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Transforming Adversity Into Insight: Feeding Your Demons and Cultivating Emotional Balance

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Chandra Easton and Eve Ekman
Transforming Adversity Into Insight: Feeding Your Demons and Cultivating Emotional Balance
August 5–9, 2024
August 5–9, 2024
August 5, 2024
August 5–9, 2024

Across various wisdom traditions, there is a common yet paradoxical invitation: Turn toward what is difficult to find freedom from what is difficult. However, when we find ourselves feeling anxiety, loss, judgment, irritation — the full bouquet of difficult emotions — facing these feelings is the last thing we want to do. Fortunately, there are trainable, evidenced-informed practices to help us transmute adversities into joy and insight. By turning toward our challenges, we uncover the wisdom within them, and they transform into our allies.

Teachers and authors Chandra Easton and Eve Ekman have been teaching these transformative tools together and apart for more than a decade. Easton’s expertise draws from her intimate knowledge and practice of Tantric Buddhism and her teachings on the evidenced-based practice of Feeding Your Demons® (FYD) internationally. FYD is a guided five-step process that transforms our so-called “demons” of difficult emotions into our allies. Ekman’s expertise lies in her application of contemporary psychological science of well-being and emotion awareness, sharing the evidenced-based practice of Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) with the world. CEB draws from contemporary emotion science and develops our emotion granularity by mapping our emotion episodes.

In this training, Easton and Ekman guide participants to transform the mind, which is afflicted by our tendency toward enacting destructive emotions. At the heart of all these practices is an ability to transform adversity and joy into the path of our awakening. In contemporary psychological terms, we investigate our so-called “negative” emotional experiences to identify the stories and patterns that occlude our innate compassionate, pro-social nature.

This weekend will include guided meditations based on FYD and CEB, discussions, and time for integration and practice outdoors, weather permitting.

Suggested reading: Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict by Tsultrim Allione & Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron.

This workshop includes an additional $5 materials fee and $110 in faculty tuition.

August
All Workshops
Psychology & Self-awareness

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Revitalize Your Purpose with Forest Bathing

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Sylvie Rokab
Revitalize Your Purpose with Forest Bathing
August 9–11, 2024
August 9–11, 2024
August 9, 2024
August 9–11, 2024

What does nature / the cosmos have in store for your life today? What yearns to be birthed in and through you? What if Nature can help you release what stands in your way?

Join us in this deep partnership with the more-than-human world at wondrous Esalen to help you identify and dissolve the obstacles towards manifesting your life purpose.

Discover the alchemy of “forest bathing” – the Japanese practice of mindfully experiencing nature through the senses, which studies have found to improve health, elevate mood, and heighten creativity and problem solving.

Workshop leader Sylvie Rokab will guide you on a journey with Esalen’s spectacular land, waters, mountains and other beings – with invitations that help you clarify and (re)discover the beauty of your uniqueness, talents, and gifts that only you can offer to the world.

Our time together includes:

  • Sensorial nature experiences
  • Talks on purpose, 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 renewed sense of belonging, meaning and purpose in their lives.

Recommended Viewing: Love Thy Nature

August
All Workshops
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Nature & Sustainability
Relationship & Communication

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Unlock Your Intuitive Mind: Tap into Your Higher Consciousness

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William Donius with Guest Faculty Joseph Perreta
Unlock Your Intuitive Mind: Tap into Your Higher Consciousness
August 9–11, 2024
August 9–11, 2024
August 9, 2024
August 9–11, 2024

Learn to call on your spirit guides and tap into your intuitive mind. Join us in a transformative workshop combining scientifically proven brain-enhancing techniques with intuitive guidance to help you break free from self-limiting patterns and create the life you desire.

This workshop brings together two powerful approaches to help you develop tools for personal growth and transformation. Through easy-to-learn exercises, you will learn how opening neural pathways to your higher consciousness can bring valuable insights into areas where you may feel stuck. By thinking outside the box and accessing your intuitive mind, you have the ability to unlock your creative potential and experience increased productivity and happiness.

Guest faculty Joseph Perreta, a certified psychic medium, will guide you in connecting with your support system on the other side. Joseph’s ability to channel messages directly from the spirit world offers validation, clarification, healing, and peace. His presence will enrich your experience and provide a deeper understanding of the spiritual realm.

Throughout the workshop, you will develop practical tools that you can apply whenever you face important decisions or obstacles in life. By harnessing your intuition and uncovering profound insights about yourself, you will gain the clarity and confidence needed to make positive changes.

Our intention is to empower you to unlock your intuitive mind and carry these transformative practices with you long after the workshop ends. Please come prepared with a notebook or journal and a pen to capture your experiences and reflections.

This workshop has two options on length of stay: a traditional weeklong of two nights or a long weekend of three nights. The extended stay workshop will include more workshop content which is reflected in the extended stay schedule.

August
Creativity & Culture
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Deepening Our Connection to Reiki: Japanese Roots to Modern Practice

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Diane Domondon and Justin Stein
Deepening Our Connection to Reiki: Japanese Roots to Modern Practice
August 9–11, 2024
August 9–11, 2024
August 9, 2024
August 9–11, 2024

Misconceptions about Reiki place its origins anywhere from ancient Egypt to Tibet — even from angels and aliens — but we hold the truth in the palms of our hands. In this workshop, we’ll explore the roots of this Japanese practice and discover the transformative power of universal life energy through Reiki meditations and transmissions.

Over this weekend, students will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Reiki from both historical and experiential perspectives. We will discuss how this energy-healing technique originated in Japan, find out how it was influenced by other practices and cultures, and study how it evolved over time.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn:

  • Various aspects of Reiki practice.
  • Meditations taught by Reiki’s founder, Usui Mikao.
  • Practices to connect to Reiki’s universal source and increase the flow of Reiki through one’s body.
  • Reiki’s Japanese origins and how it is practiced and taught today

Participants will receive empowerment ceremonies called reiju or Reiki blessings. We will experience the power of Reiki self-treatments, how to give full Reiki treatments to others, and how to receive Reiki from another, all within the unique Reiki-filled space that is Esalen.  

Participants interested in Reiki initiation and certification please email Diane at nycreikimaster@gmail.com, for more information.

“​​Reiki is medicine for me — both inward and outward. When I first received Reiki, it was in an inward way. It opened me and made me feel what space is, what energy is, and what the universe is.” — Shinobu Saito, a Reiki Master initiated by Hawayo Takata

This workshop includes an additional $60 faculty tuition.

August
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Healing Arts & Massage

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Chakra Rituals: A Balancing ACTivation, Celebration of Life through Embodied Movement and Live Music

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Cristi Christensen and Marques Wyatt
Chakra Rituals: A Balancing ACTivation, Celebration of Life through Embodied Movement and Live Music
August 12–16, 2024
August 12–16, 2024
August 12, 2024
August 12–16, 2024

The chakra system is one of the greatest gifts the ancient yogis and rishis of India shared with the world: a powerful spiritual map for our healing and the awakening of our consciousness so we can fully come alive! This week is an invitation to explore this map and unlock the unbridled joy, creative power, and freedom that lives inside of you.

The ultimate goal of yoga is to live in embodied enlightenment. It is to know and feel the current of mukti (the force of liberation that expands you in the direction of pure potentiality and higher consciousness) and to feel and celebrate bhukti (the gift of embodiment and all the pleasures and abundance of earthly reality). This workshop offers us the opportunity to bring these concepts into reality and into our living beings.

Through embodied ritual practices of yoga, live music, dance, meditation, sounding, and communion with nature, you will begin to shape an intimate connection with each of your energy centers. Together we will work to break through the blockages that keep you stuck and stagnant — preventing you from healing and experiencing the fullness of your power and life. We will dive deeply into the chakra system through accessible, dynamic, and interactive discussions and exercises.  

Each day, Cristi will guide us in her signature, dynamic chakra-based vinyasa, woven with mudra, kriyas and pranayama, supported by the sacred rhythms and healing soundscapes of our musical guides. DJ Marques Wyatt and DVINE1, aka Joel Long, will be playing sitar and percussion.

These practices will be enhanced by a variety of daily rituals, ranging from:

  • Interactive lectures and discussions about each of the chakras.
  • Movement meditations
  • Transformational dance practices, including The Deep Exhale Experience and JourneyDance.
  • Deeply nourishing soma practice and journaling.
  • Spending time in nature to activate our chakras through the five sacred elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space.

Join us as we turn the yoga dance floor into a ritual of self-expression. You’re invited to experience every ritual as a prayer to your highest self to return you home to your body and nature, awaken pleasure, and give you permission to feel. Ignite your power. Heal your heart. Claim your vision and voice. Connect to your own divinity and celebrate this gift of life!

Recommended reading: Chakra Rituals by Cristi Christensen

August
All Workshops
Yoga & Movement

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Queer Liberation: Setting Your Inner Child Free Through Creative Expression

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Adam Clark and Udim Isang
Queer Liberation: Setting Your Inner Child Free Through Creative Expression
August 12–16, 2024
August 12–16, 2024
August 12, 2024
August 12–16, 2024

How much joy we experience in life is limited by our ability to show up each day with unapologetic authenticity. For many people who identify as LGBTQIA2S+, feeling safe or supported to live authentically may not have been an option. As a result, many of us live disempowered lives— stuck in jobs, relationships, and routines that we no longer identify with. In turn, many of us have been able to break free from those past lives but still carry the weight of grief and trauma that come from years of living inauthentically.

This interactive, thought-provoking, and supportive workshop is designed to help you move away from the pain of the past, and  set your inner child free into a safe, welcoming and vibrant relationship with you and your Self. During this week, you will explore a series of creative exercises individually and together as a group.  By tapping into the voice of your inner child, releasing what no longer serves you, there is safer and more gentle space for experiencing  joy like never before.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about Queer history, theology and activism.
  • Practice written, sound and physical storytelling.
  • Explore meditation as a form of social resistance.
  • Experience healing modalities through dance, breathwork and sound baths.
  • Gain insights about your limitations and strategize your next steps to live more authentically in joy.

This workshop is welcome to anyone who identifies as an LGBTQIA2S+ person or, a family member or friend of someone seeking to live more authentically in partnership with their inner child, and discover ways to support the LGBTQIA2S+ people in their lives.

Recommended Reading: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: From Liberation to the Post-Gay by David Alderson, The Empty Chair: Tales From Gestalt Therapy by Vikram Kolmannskog,  Body Bliss: A Guided Pleasure Journal for Exploration and Self-Love by Robin Denise.

August
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Creativity & Culture
Leadership & Community
Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness

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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
August 12–16, 2024
August 12–16, 2024
August 12, 2024
August 12–16, 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.

August
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Creativity & Culture
Mindfulness & Spirituality

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Love Yourself for Everyone Else's Sake

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Mark Abramson
Love Yourself for Everyone Else's Sake
August 16–18, 2024
August 16–18, 2024
August 16, 2024
August 16–18, 2024

Mark Abramson designed the course as a deep dive into self-compassion after seeing students achieve self-kindness from work with his Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Clinic at Stanford University. Thirty years of teaching have taught Dr. Abramson that bringing kindness and compassion to one’s self is truly the most altruistic of all practices.

Imagine always being able to count on your own mind being kind to you — no matter what challenges life presents. That is your birthright, and now is the time to claim it! Immerse yourself in this mindfulness-based approach to self-love and compassion.  

Mindfulness, meditation, and contemplative practices have entered all spheres of our society, including corporate settings, sports,  performance, medicine, and psychology. Science has confirmed that ancient mental and physical training systems, such as meditation practices, confer health benefits for immunity, brain architecture, and pain management, as well as mental and physical resilience.

During our time together, you are invited to:

  • Learn mindfulness meditation practices.
  • Connect and experience your own loving attention.
  • Learn to take back control of your body/mind to create a more peaceful you.

Throughout the weekend, you will have the opportunity to unite your body, mind, and soul into a self-nourishing whole person while strengthening your ability to give love to others by first loving yourself.

Recommended Reading: Love Yourself For Everyone Else’s Sake by Mark Abramson

August
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Mindfulness & Spirituality
Psychology & Self-awareness
Relationship & Communication

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Ancestral Plant Medicine

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Xochitl Ashe
Ancestral Plant Medicine
August 16–18, 2024
August 16–18, 2024
August 16, 2024
August 16–18, 2024

What if our lives could feel magical? What if we felt supported in every way?

Join us for this delightful weekend as we connect with plants, ancestors, and ancient wisdom from Mesoamerica and Peru to nourish our hearts and replenish our spirits.

Ayni is the Quechua word for “sacred reciprocity” — the way we humans can be in the right relationship with the world around us. These are the times that Indigenous prophecies have long predicted: an opportunity to create the life and the world that we know is possible. We will work with our ancestors to build our spiritual support team and partake in a plant medicine ceremony with cacao. We will learn how to make specific offerings to the land that help you create magic in your life.

Being at Esalen provides a special opportunity to be in connection with the elemental spirits of the native coastline and the sacredness of the land where the sweet and thermal waters meet the ocean.  

During our time together:

  • We will learn the ancient Peruvian philosophy of Ayni — how to live in sacred reciprocity.
  • We will learn to make offerings to connect with a team of support.
  • We will be supported by the sacred plant medicine of cacao in a ceremonial space that supports our emotional release and healing.
  • We will experience the power of plants and community healing.

Our weekend will feature guest faculty whose magic will enhance our experience and understanding.

Kyle McBride is an international chef, food justice advocate, fermenter, and wild food enthusiast. He draws inspiration from the abundance and diversity of nature and seeks to honor our sacred connection to the earth through his food.

As an Indigenous medicine woman, it is my privilege to share the Quechua and Mazotec traditions that honor living in the right relation with the Earth for thousands of years. I invite you to share a weekend of Earth-based practices in the community with love, support, and guidance.

Bring pictures of ancestors and anything that you want to add to our altar.

This workshop has an additional $60 added for materials.  

August
All Workshops
Nature & Sustainability
Psychedelics & Plant Medicine
Relationship & Communication

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Life as a Ceremony: South American Indigenous Wisdom for Healing and Connecting with the Earth

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Xochitl Ashe
Life as a Ceremony: South American Indigenous Wisdom for Healing and Connecting with the Earth
August 19–23, 2024
August 19–23, 2024
August 19, 2024
August 19–23, 2024

We need the medicine of joy, magic, and fun. What if our lives could feel like a sweet ceremony, where all is sacred? What if we felt supported in every way? Join us for this delightful week as we connect with plants, ancestors, and ancient wisdom from Mesoamerica and Peru to nourish our hearts and replenish our spirits.

We will work with our ancestors to build our spiritual support team and partake in a plant medicine ceremony with cacao. We will learn various daily spiritual practices, including offerings to the land to help you create and connect to the magic in your life and within yourself.

Our week will feature guest faculty whose magic will enhance our experience and understanding.

Kyle McBride is an international chef, food justice advocate, fermenter, and wild food enthusiast. He draws inspiration from the abundance and diversity of nature and seeks to honor our sacred connection to the Earth through his food.

During our time together, we will:

  • Learn and embody the ancient Peruvian philosophy of belonging to ourselves, one another, and the Earth.
  • Create an ancestral altar to connect with the ancient energies of the land.
  • Engage in practices to support the ancestral connections beyond your workshop.
  • Offer daily Earth-based ceremonies to deepen our connections to Earth and the land we are on, including foraging for fresh ingredients to create a sacred shared meal.
  • Be supported by two sacred plant medicine cacao ceremonies in a safe space for our heart well-being and healing.
  • Experience the power of healing in community.

Being at Esalen provides us a special opportunity to be in connection with the elemental spirits of the native coastline and the sacredness of the land where the sweet and thermal waters meet the ocean.

Participants are invited to bring a drum or rattle/maraca.

This workshop has an additional $70 added for materials.  

August
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Nature & Sustainability
Psychedelics & Plant Medicine
Relationship & Communication

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Reunion with the Wild Earth:  Hiking and Nature Connection in Big Sur

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Fletcher Tucker
Reunion with the Wild Earth: Hiking and Nature Connection in Big Sur
August 19–23, 2024
August 19–23, 2024
August 19, 2024
August 19–23, 2024

How would it feel to move into a meaningful relationship with the living world? Beyond a mere passive appreciation of nature? In the long arc of human history, people across all cultures and traditions have lived in communion with the lands they called home. Though this intrinsic connection has been largely severed in our modern age, the perspectives and practices common to our respective Earth-reverent ancestors are not lost. They lie dormant in the land, among the wild beings, and in our own animal bodies, waiting patiently to be remembered and renewed.

Immersed in the beauty of the Esselen tribal lands now known as Big Sur, we will humbly walk the trails in pursuit of reunion with the wild Earth. We will set out each morning for hikes amongst ancient redwoods, golden grasslands, and fragrant chaparral. Our community and teachers will include the plants, animals, stones, and all aspects of the wild landscape. Acknowledging Big Sur to be the ancestral territory of the Esselen tribe, we will endeavor to behave as reverent and respectful guests on sacred land.

Along the trail, we will cultivate innate capacities for presence and wonder, build ecological knowledge, and explore pathways of reciprocity and connection with the natural world. Pausing together to learn from the land, we will participate in some of the most potent work of our time: rejoining our great family on this wild Earth.

Hiking notes:

  • Answers to frequently asked questions about the workshop can be found here.
  • Various hiking abilities can be accommodated, bearing in mind that day hikes are three to eight miles long with uneven and often steep terrain. If you have any questions about your ability to participate, please read the workshop FAQs or email info@wildtender.com.

This workshop includes an additional $60 of faculty tuition and $40 park fees.

August
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Mindfulness & Spirituality
Nature & Sustainability
Relationship & Communication

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Falling in Love With Existence at the Edge of the World: Yoga and Myth

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Hannah Muse
Falling in Love With Existence at the Edge of the World: Yoga and Myth
August 19–23, 2024
August 19–23, 2024
August 19, 2024
August 19–23, 2024

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions: “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?” —Gabrielle Roth

Take a break from the mundane and let yourself be enchanted again. You are not a project to be solved but a remarkable mythopoetic mystery to be lived! This yoga workshop offers a profound and playful opportunity to commune with the deeper aspects of self through movement, inquiry, and storytelling.

Since the beginning, humans have looked to stories to make meaning of our lives. By learning the stories and songs of the ancestors, we reclaim a sense of belonging. Revered mythologist and 1960s Esalen faculty Joseph Campbell wrote, “Mythology is the penultimate truth—penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words.”

Our experiential practices will remind us how precious our lives truly are. Experiences include:

  • Storytelling and archetypal wisdom
  • Rewilding, fireside ritual, and song
  • Yoga (all levels) and somatic exploration
  • Breathwork and meditation
  • Self-inquiry and writing

Our nourishing schedule is balanced harmoniously with relaxing meals, community care, and soaks in Esalen’s healing baths. Music, nature, poetry, connection, and ritual are exquisitely curated for your hero/heroine’s journey.

Whether you’re searching for renewed meaning in life, navigating life’s complex transitions, or simply love being enchanted, this workshop will help awaken your spirit to courage, enrich your heart with devotion, and widen your perspective to vast possibility. You might just fall in love with existence again.

Grace awaits.

August
All Workshops
Yoga & Movement

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
November
November
December
December
December
November
July
December
December
December
November
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November
November
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October
October
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