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Our workshops are designed to support you in the challenging work of self exploration, in partnership with some of the leading minds of the day. Join us in discovering the next frontiers of individual and societal transformation. (Interested in a scholarship? Learn more here.)
Role Mate to Soul Mate begins with a series of exercises that teach you the art of appreciating your partner. You then practice both the art and discipline of hearing your partner’s criticisms without becoming defensive. For example, so you don’t have to fear “walking on eggshells” before sharing a concern, your partner first learns how to prepare her or himself to emotionally associate your criticism with an opportunity to be more deeply loved.
Soul Mate is designed as the next evolutionary shift beyond active listening. Active listening allows the criticizer to feel heard, but fails to teach the person hearing the criticism how to emotionally associate the criticism with an opportunity to be more deeply loved. The problem? Unless the listener feels safe, the person sharing their concern cannot feel safe.
During the workshop, you will learn a series of skills that will allow you to connect more deeply with your partner, with yourself, and with your own innate ability to consciously create a more loving and communicative environment in your lives. We will do this by sharing a number of practices and experiences:
To support your connection after the workshop, you are also invited to multiple free, on-going, group follow-up calls to resolve stumbling blocks. If you wish to review the insights and exercises at any time, you will also have the option of purchasing a Zoom version of the course.
This workshop is for couples of all genders and sexual orientations. A couple could be any two people with a history who desire a better future (i.e. parents or partners, married or divorced; newlyweds; parent-child; siblings; etc.). Developed over the past 30 years, the workshop is also used by many health professionals in their work with clients and patients.
Learn more about the process.
Recommended reading: Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, by Dr. Warren Farrell.
Have you ever worked hard to make a change, only to find yourself slipping back into old habits and patterns? Want to supercharge your ability to stimulate behavior change in others when it comes to the issues you care about the most? As the uncertainties of the pandemic continue, is it time to break free and build your next chapter? This workshop is for people who are in the process of change, and those who work as change agents with individuals, groups, organizations, or 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 to:
This workshop is based on over two decades of research on how people transform their worldviews and behaviors. Some of this work is encapsulated in the book Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, and extended in this report created for the Fetzer Institute. It was further developed into C3: Consciousness, Communication and Change, a program at the Institute of Noetic Sciences that integrates the science of transformation with input from social, cognitive, and brain scientists to help changemakers be more effective, and further adapted to create Campaign Science, for consulting with Democratic politicians to be more effective in their messaging after the election of Donald Trump.
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.
Recommended reading: Schlitz, Vieten and Amorok, Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life.
Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals
Love is not a mood, but a dynamic way of being. –Gabrielle Roth
The compassionate heart is one that knows how to love and be loved.
Connection and compassion are keys to finding peace and happiness in the face of difficulty. Becoming a more compassionate person will serve you by allowing kindness into the everyday reality of life.
The Heartbeat map is a guide to how our emotional energy moves and morphs. In this practice, we embody the art of being a fluid emotional athlete. This map teaches us how to navigate the emotional terrain of life without getting stuck, holding on, or pushing away.
We will explore how the body has been shaped by our emotions, tracking when the heart is open and when it is closed. As waves of feeling move us, we learn how to express emotion in a healthy and creative way. Through the embodiment of the 5Rhythms practice, you will be shown skills and techniques to take home and apply in your daily life. This workshop is designed for everyone, of every age, and shape.
In this workshop, we will integrate the stillness of Buddhist mindfulness meditation with the moving meditations of the 5Rhythms®. The Buddha encouraged us to bring wise attention to every aspect of our lives.
In sitting meditation, we have the opportunity to observe the mind and body at rest through silent introspection. In the practice of the 5Rhythms, we engage in mindfulness while in motion. The 5Rhythms is a map that teaches us how energy moves. The two polarities of moving and sitting meditation together mirror the dance of life and open the door to peace, well-being and balance.
Workshop hours count as 5 Days Heartbeat credit, for 5Rhythms® teacher training.
Learn to activate the right side of your brain to unlock the insights necessary to break through self-limiting patterns. Based on a Nobel Prize-winning discovery in neuroscience, this methodology helps you think outside the box and live a more creative, productive, happier life.
William Donius, author of the New York Times bestseller Thought Revolution, spent a decade researching and developing this brain-enhancing methodology. He has taught these skills to a wide range of people, from students and corporate executives to scientists and artists. This innovative approach inspires more creative solutions than conventional thinking or brainstorming sessions. Through easy-to-learn exercises, you can discover ways to harness your intuition and uncover profound insights about yourself that make change possible. You’ll develop practical tools you can apply each time you face an important decision or obstacle in life. You can go home with new ways to unlock your own inner genius and create the life you long for. Please bring a notebook or journal and a pen.
Recommended reading: Donius, Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius.
The Embodied Life™: Presencing and Re-Visioning: A warm-hearted caring for self and world, i.e. Love, is a natural unfolding from embodied presencing.
Presencing – The process of engaging fully in the present moment. When "presencing a moment", you are experiencing the here and now as an integration of body, mind, heart, nature and your social world — cultivating the art of Being and authentic humanity.
Re-Visioning – From this state of presencing, you can open to images, directions and guidance from "the wisdom body", a source of reliable intuitions for your uniquely unfolding life.
Embodiment – Being grounded and centered in one's physical body — a reliable path to presencing the moment.
The Embodied Life is an integrated path of insight and awakening.
Connecting present moment awareness with your intentions and dreams for the future creates a truthful and meaningful life. Through specific practices, you will learn to integrate: mindfulness, heart-fullness, body-fullness, and spatial awareness. This is wholeness. Sitting quietly and caringly with your thoughts Mindfully welcoming your feelings Finding comfort in your body.
The seminar will include:
Each day will include short meditations, awareness practices, movement lessons and interactive talks/conversations.
This workshop is open to all people.
Gestalt Practice at its core is an awareness practice, meant to cultivate embodied, present-moment awareness of the unfolding experience of the here and now on a journey toward authentic wholeness and radical aliveness.
Utilizing the Gestalt Awareness Movement and basic neuroscience, we’ll learn practices that support a more deeply embodied daily life and become increasingly aware of our habitual, reactive, behavioral and emotional patterns – especially those that may no longer be skillful.
We will exercise our emotional and somatic intelligence in parallel to support, respect, and gently turn toward what arises moment to moment, and learn to allow more space and respect for silence, sensation, emotional expression, and communication.
During this workshop we will explore the rich practices and principles of Gestalt Practice, apply them to daily life, and begin to experience the simple yet profound potential for growth towards authentic wholeness and radical aliveness.
Gestalt Practice cultivates curiosity, equanimity, and acceptance with greater choice for creative possibilities. Rather than focusing on “fixing”, a “cure”, or seeking “accomplishment”, this approach offers methods to aid you in:
Together we will explore the foundations of Gestalt Practice primarily through experiential personal and interactive practices. Gestalt exercises will be done in pairs, triads, and groups, allowing participants to grow their awareness and learn how we can improve our relationships – to self and others.
Steven will make time for some students to experience classic Open Seat practice in one-to-one sessions with the leader in the roles of Initiator and Reflector while in the context of the group.
Through Gestalt 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, pay 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. A welcome letter will be sent upon registration along with additional information about our time together.
Have you ever wondered what lives under your feet? Who inhabits the ingredients that make up the very soil, and enriches the vegetables that feed us? Have you wondered about the history witnessed by the diverse cultures of nature within the mountains you hike and the trees whose shade you lay under? Even the Pacific breeze — have you ever contemplated whose lungs it has filled over centuries of love and trauma?
In this workshop, we are going to humble ourselves so we can become one with the ground under our feet, and listen to the world around us. We will ask these questions of ourselves and contemplate the world around us:
And through it all, we will strive together to work towards designing a more wholesome future.
In a series of exercises that involve contemplation, walking meditation, and explorations of plants, writing, and storytelling we will engage in a process of learning by spending time with the land, with each other, and with ourselves.
We will unlock the sacred trilogy of bird, soil, and plant in order to develop a deeper understanding of the terrain.
We welcome you to join us in a process that does not have a set outcome. This process is open and exploratory and invites us each to face our pains, embrace them, and welcome new life. In this workshop, you will…
This is an interactive, contemplative workshop that will entail sharing intimate stories while at the same time listening and engaging natural elements. Everyone is welcome. Walking the land will be part of this program, so please come prepared to walk over uneven and sometimes damp terrain throughout the property.
For centuries, winter solstice has been a time of reflection. Given recent events, the dark days of winter are an opportune moment to turn inward, take time for self-care, and focus on inner awareness. Practicing in community in the darkest days of winter, we can cultivate vitality and brightness and return home renewed.
During this retreat, we will use the practices of yoga (asana, meditation, and chanting) in the exquisite and healing natural environment of Esalen to revitalize the body and calm the mind. Together we will focus our attention on being.
In our time together, we will focus in the following ways:
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because at the solstices, the seasonal movement of the sun’s path appears to come to a stop before reversing direction. Winter solstice is a time to pause and reflect, a time to cultivate vitality and take extra care to nurture ourselves. Moving into stillness, we can return to our lives refreshed and strengthened for the new year to come.
All levels are welcome. Please bring a yoga mat.
In an abundance of caution and with deep care for the health of all of our students, the faculty requires that students for this workshop submit a negative COVID test to her team, two days prior to arrival at Esalen. There are a variety of rapid and PCR tests to choose from. You will submit test results directly to the instructor. Information on how to communicate test results will be sent to you via email after registration.
Soul is flow, an ever-changing cloudscape of textures, hues, sensations, scents, and feelings. Soul is how the deathless Presence meets and moves a finite human body. In this workshop, we will reclaim the body-in-motion as a doorway to the soul’s flow, to the life that is unfolding just under the surface of everyday forgetting.
Soul Motion is a meeting with self and other in a dance that is deeply nourishing, creative, intelligent, emotionally savvy, heartbreaking, soul-making, spirited, and transforming. It is a movement toward the dynamic stillness at the center of all things, the place of rest at the heart of sound and motion. We will gather to listen deeply and hover on the threshold between doing and being, solitude and togetherness, awkwardness and grace.
“Dancing at the edge of the continent, the edge of another beginning, the edge of Love despite all odds, we will move with our delight and our sorrow, inspired by the promise of light returning into the heart of darkness,” writes Zuza. “This formless dance form allows for passionate, full-bodied movement as well as mindful inner explorations, art-making, ritual, and luscious lounging.”
Recommended reading: Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape.
Enter the New Year with clarity, possibility, and joy.
Stepping over this threshold moment together, we’ll cultivate a foundation of unshakable stability and radiant well-being so we can better navigate the shifting landscapes of our lives.
In this experiential workshop, we’ll practice yoga, meditation, energy work, nature ceremony and moon magic, and connect to our essence nature. Partnering with our ancestors, ancestors of the land, nature and cosmos, we’ll remember our belonging.
During these changing times we have an opportunity to co-create our world anew. Let’s take this auspicious week to disconnect from our daily lives, slow down, and reflect on new ways of showing up in our relationships, community, and culture.
Our days will follow a nourishing schedule of experiential practices punctuated by teachings, relaxing meals, community connection, and starlit soaks in the healing baths. Movement, forest bathing, song, poetry, shadow work, and breathwork will be woven into our sessions. We’ll utilize ritual and ceremony to help us release the weight of the past that is no longer ours to carry, make peace, and discover radical acceptance in the process.
Through a playful process of reflection and refinement, we’ll craft our meaningful intentions for the New Year. No matter who you are, or where you are on your spiritual path, join us in discovering the renewal that is possible. By the end of our week together, you’ll have everything you need to begin again.
Bring in the New Year with a rejuvenating weekend filled with meditation, music, and the time and space to release the old and welcome in the new. We’ll slow down and experience the benefits that meditation and music have to offer our body, mind, and soul.
Buddhist teacher and scholar Lopön Chandra will offer expert guidance in meditation to help you release into grounded presence with ease and comfort. You will learn techniques for developing shamatha, “calm abiding,” meditation including the practice of mindfulness of breathing, which is an especially effective approach to soothing the body and calming the discursive mind, and the more advanced techniques for “settling the mind in its natural state.” We will also explore the meditative benefits of mantra recitation, another form of shamatha.
On Saturday night (New Years Day), Adrienne Shamszad, Iranian-American singer-songwriter, culture preserver, and teacher, will serenade us with her inspired music, singing us into the new year and setting our hearts on fire with longing and devotion. She will perform original pieces in English and traditional music in Farsi, evoking the spirits of the Iranian master poets such as Hafez and Rumi while accompanying herself on guitar and setar. She will also guide us through a meditative musical experience in one of our sessions.
In this weekend retreat, you will have the opportunity to:
This will be a weekend of fun, relaxation, and rejuvenation to get you recharged for the year to come. Esalen is a truly magical experience this time of year, one that you will never forget. Whatever your spiritual path or meditation experience, you will benefit from the development of a more concentrated, relaxed, and clear mind. All are welcome.
People with mobility issues are welcome to sit in chairs and modify the yoga portions. Most of the yoga will be like gentle floor work on our backs and feet, and is accessible to almost anyone. Please let us know if you need additional assistance due to mobility issues.
Meditating in noble silence offers a special opportunity to focus inward and to deeply connect with oneself, create intentions, and reflect on life goals. The New Year, with its connection to the winter solstice and new beginnings, is the perfect time to silently journey inward. You are invited to set intentions and explore, through seated and moving meditation, themes of self-kindness, self-care, and nurturing. This retreat offers a quiet, reflective space within the Esalen experience to discover a deep, centered place within.
The week will be spent in periods of noble silence with two extended periods a day in various meditation practices. Enjoy eating lunch at a silent table and continue your meditation or join the open activities of the day at Esalen in mindfulness.
Mark will guide you through a series of practices of both stillness and movement, which will build the momentum of concentration and awareness. We will practice mindfulness meditation utilizing the rich, sensual experience of Esalen, with the sounds of the ocean, the feeling of the air, and the beauty of seeing the colors and textures as well as the rich experience of our own bodies and minds. Evenings will be open to mindfully enjoy Esalen’s beauty and community or choose to continue silence in inner retreat. New Year’s Eve at Esalen usually includes a community-wide celebration of some kind, which is an option, but not required.
Sound Healing is one of the oldest and most natural forms of healing known to our planet.
Modern science is now reinforcing what ancient cultures have always known: We live in a vibrational world. A world of frequency.
Frequency can either uplift us and make us feel better, or it can be draining and can weaken and dull our senses. By using sound healing intentionally, we have the opportunity to aid in our own healing processes, improve our well-being, and embrace higher consciousness. We will dive deeply into the science of sound while immersing ourselves in the healing vibrations of alchemy crystal singing bowls, sound healing instruments, and our own bodies as resonant chambers.
The power of sound can be deeply nourishing as it restores our mind, body, and spirit back to a state of balance. The vibrations emitted from crystal singing bowls entrain our brain wave patterns, calm our hearts, soothe our nervous systems, and harmonize and balance our chakras.
The Alchemy of Singing Bowls and Sound Healing is an experience designed to uplift your energy, align your chakras, soothe your anxiety, harmonize mind, body, and spirit, and help you feel centered and at peace as we enter the New Year.
Enjoy this incredible journey with your guide, Deva Munay, and learn the science, the technique, and the magic in applying innovative sound healing techniques to your daily life in order to balance your energy, nourish your chakras, and manifest personal well-being.
Have you ever wondered if your own mind and body may hold the key to unlocking a path to transformation? Today the word “Tantra” has an incredible array of culture-specific meanings in South Asia and around the world, ranging from the exploration of anything strange, to the carrying out of a guru’s instructions, and yes — also to sexual practices.
One overarching meaning that encompasses all is this: Tantra, as an applied method of acquiring freedom from external interference and of obtaining self-sovereignty (Sanskrit: svādhikāra) along this very path to transformation.
Join Tantric scholar-practitioners Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Cantú for this fascinating new workshop, the first of a signature series on Tantra, and explore the foundations of Tantric theory and practice. Together, we will explore the latest findings from academic research and ethnographic participant-observation that continue to challenge and reframe our conventional understandings of what Tantra was, is, and what it can be.
Staying true to the roots of Esalen, we will intertwine the research and discussion with authentic Indian folk music performances, and guided meditations to bring this latest research creatively to life in your mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will bring to life Tantra’s connection to a wide variety of vibrant artistic and meditative practices in an eye-opening and unforgettable way.
In this workshop, you’ll be invited to:
We invite you to join us for this series of workshops that will blend meditation, art, and music with a holistic inquiry into what gives Tantra its power and therapeutic potential. Bring an open mind as we explore deep questions about our bodies and minds in a safe space and nurturing environment.
Recommended reading: Chapter One of The Hindu Tantric World by André Padoux
After the holiday season, it’s time to return to the inward journey, to focus on your inner artist. Whether you are just beginning your creative journey or returning, this workshop utilizes approachable modalities of yoga, meditation, and writing, welcoming all to attend.
Using humor, levity, and creativity, intuitive meditation and movement guide Cara Chandler and writer, artist, and creator Darnell Lamont Walker will lead you through the journey of affirming your inner artist, recognizing your creative blocks, and understanding the creative process.
In a group setting, you will move your body, find your breath, observe your mind, and fill pages with your words. This workshop will include:
Each movement and mindfulness segment will calm your body and mind while connecting you with your inner voice. The yoga practice is a holistic, Hatha-inspired approach, with a physical practice to support you in re-discovering your intuition. The meditation practice shifts you out of the analytical mind to bring awareness to your subtle body, breath, and creative obstacles. The writing practice is a natural, complementary practice to yoga and meditation, bringing the mind together with the embodied self.
Darnell’s work as a writing teacher is based on years of healing writing practices and is greatly inspired by writers and teachers who encouraged their students and readers to let go of fear and live fully in their creativity. This weekend workshop will foster an environment that will encourage you to confidently call yourself an artist. You will have the opportunity to authentically cultivate techniques and rituals that will fuel your creativity and give you the audacity to integrate it all into your daily lives.
Get ready for five intense days of ecstatic rebirth. This small-group workshop is for you if you are ready and 100 percent willing to:
Raphael Cushnir creates a safe and gentle environment to help call forth your very best, using tools like:
The highlight of this retreat is designing a unique transformational experience that’s all your own. You’ll leave with a practical road map for real-life integration, plus benefits you can experience immediately — and for the rest of your life.
Special note: On Tuesday night our group will host a Freestyle Dance Jam, with Raphael as DJ, as a gift for ourselves and everyone at Esalen that night. Remember to pack some loose-fitting attire and get ready to rock and roll and shake and swing and let it all go!
“When we experience moments of ecstasy, we taste what life is meant to be.”
Maps hold all the information that is required to lead us to where we want to go. What is your destination?
In times of turmoil and change, Somatic Meditation can assist you in navigating your way out of resistance and into ecstasy. Through Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms® movement practice and traditional seated meditation, one may build a skill set that supports balance, ease, and joy. If you have been looking to increase appreciation, gratitude, and happiness, then now is a perfect time to celebrate being alive in the wild wondrous, natural beauty of Esalen.
Each day will include discourses on 5Rhythms philosophy and embodied practice, seated meditation, Dharma talks, and sharing.
There is a science to achieving ecstatic states and this is the mastery I come to share. This workshop is designed for all who want to join in expanding the possibility of entering altered states in a natural way.
“I want to take you to a place of pure magic… It’s the place athletes call the ‘zone’. Buddhists call ‘satori’ and ravers call ‘trance’. I call it the Silver Desert. It’s a place of pure light that holds the dark within it. It’s a place of pure rhythm.”
In an abundance of caution and with deep care for the health of all of our students, the faculty requires that students for this workshop submit a negative COVID test two days prior to arrival at Esalen. There are a variety of rapid and PCR tests to choose from. You will submit test results directly to the instructor. Information on how to communicate test results will be sent to you via email after registration.
Recommended Reading: Maps to Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth; Sweat Your Prayers, by Gabrielle Roth; Connections, by Gabrielle Roth; Dancing With Dharma: Essays on Movement And Dance In Western Buddhism edited by Harrison Blum, Published by McFarland & Company.
Each morning, you will learn about the function of one of the three centers, and explore effective ways to recognize when you are present in your body, your heart, and your head.
In the afternoons, we will engage with presence to participate in experiential practices, and become more familiar with our own patterns that contribute to “othering”. By learning how to release the underlying emotions of anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, shame, and blame, we can heal from past painful experiences that have been inflicted on us or that we have inflicted on “others”.
We will use the Enneagram and I.D.E.A. (inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism) to create internal and external expansion to open our mind-body-spirit connection and stand in love against “othering”. We integrate practices for intentional engagement of our three centers of intelligence. Through the connection of our body, head, and heart we can:
Through a blend of experiential activities, grounding meditations, Enneagram exploration, enlightening and informational background discovery, and a deep dive into inner work you’ll be empowered with new tools, knowledge, and community connection to activate as an authentic advocate for all of humanity.
Touch is our forgotten language. In this introductory massage course, we will learn to listen to each other, gain sensory skills to initiate and sustain touch, experience the felt sense of relaxation and release, and close with a balanced tenderness. Seasoned instructors will offer exercises, demonstrations, and at-the-table guidance during the supervised practice. The simple principles of Esalen massage — connection, presence (not fixing), self-care, receptivity, and slow-paced strokes encompassing the body — will build a heartfelt experience with our partner or friend, and perhaps most significantly, ourselves.
By the final sessions, participants will share the basics of a classical Esalen® massage. Experienced practitioners and caregivers will find it refreshing to apply the Esalen method and notice the healing effects that arise when the pace slows and the mind becomes focused on compassionate contact rather than technique.
Touch can evoke an opening to spirit, either our innate ability to move into healthful balance or a broader sense of our surroundings. The edgy wildness of Esalen’s grounds, canyons, hot springs, and mountain backdrop invites this deeper natural connection. The group will include an optional evening massage ritual in the baths, the birthplace of Esalen Massage.
Buried inside you are seven radiant jewels of dynamic power, energy, and light, ready to be excavated. But to access them you are going to need a very special spiritual map. This map is the key to our health, happiness, and vitality — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is a map that restores our wholeness, wildness, and aliveness. This map is the chakra system.
With the map in hand and with Cristi and Millana as your guides, you’ll embark on a step-by-step adventure into your inner depths that initiates on the first Full Moon of 2022. Through the ritual practices of yoga, breathwork, music, meditation, dance, and communion with the five sacred elements, we will uncover these precious jewels as we return home to the body and to nature. As we ignite our sensual prowess and give ourselves permission to feel the dance of our emotions, we come into our power, heal our hearts, claim our voices, and tune into our intuitive gifts — all while communing with the divine and celebrating the gift of life.
Rituals serve as a bridge connecting our inner and outer worlds. A ritual can be anything in which you offer your heart with devotion and presence. Rituals help you take responsibility for your life, and help you see the meaning and magic that is ever-present but so easily forgotten. They become fuel for the deeper inner and outer healing and transformation you have been searching for.
In this workshop you will experience daily chakra embodiment practices, all infused with carefully-crafted musical accompaniment, and a variety of other ritual tools including:
The dynamic physicality of this retreat takes the lessons of the chakras beyond the intellect, bringing them into your body and heart as a lived experience you can use to create lasting change for a powerful new year!
Join wisdom keeper Erika Gagnon on a sacred journey, as we gather together and explore the healing wisdom of the “Americas.” We will learn about the importance of ancestral lineage, rites of passage, ceremonies and rituals, sacred altars, medicinal plants, and the origins of dis-ease in our physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual bodies.
You are your greatest healer and greatest medicine, and we will examine what this means in the context of our modern daily lives as we share healing wisdom and practices together. This is your opportunity to transform trauma and unhealthy patterns, and to realign your body, mind, spirit, and soul. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a water prayer blessing, a sound healing journey, and a traditional South American healing 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 will strengthen your connection to the sacred in everyday life.
We are all interconnected in this great 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, then we invite you to join us in this celebration of life.
Please bring any sacred items for our altar, including photographs of loved ones and ancestors, sacred objects that have meaning for you, and a journal to write in.
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.
During these extraordinary times, it is incredibly important to renew your dedication to health and wellbeing. In this experiential workshop, you will expand your understanding of dance, meditation, and wellbeing, make inroads toward a healthier nervous system, cultivate accessible mindfulness practices, and receive the benefits of embodiment and dancing.
Each day we will use yogic principles in the morning sessions, and mindfulness practices to tap into the inner dances of mind-body and breath-body. You will experience guided movement techniques to deepen your understanding of the physical body in movement, anatomy, and structure.
In the afternoon sessions, you will move in Dance Passages where you will experiment, and play with the morning teachings with your own self-directed dancing. We end these sessions with prolonged periods of rest and reflection.
Next Steps are new iterations of embodiment and mindful practices of recalibration, restoration, and depth.
We use mindfulness practices, yogic philosophies, movement and dance, and breath awareness techniques to cultivate wellbeing and creative expressions.
You will engage in:
You will depart from our weekend experience together with a renewed appreciation of the body in motion and in stillness. You will learn of new connections between breath, mind, and body dances. You will take home techniques that you can practice to sustain this new learning.
In a mass-produced culture of neon and plastic, our social identity — the ego — is typically defined by our employment, salary, and the square footage of our home. Though we may attain professional and financial success, we feel alienated and disconnected, and can be left asking “is this it?”
In reality, we are so much more. If we tilt our heads to the East and listen closely to the contemplative traditions of the past and the present, they speak of inner divinity. These same traditions offer methods of self-transcendence and empirically-based practices that connect us to something larger, something divine.
In this workshop, we learn about the two aspects of human identity — the ego and the awakened self — through the lens of Eastern philosophy’s great contemplative traditions. By deconstructing identity via Buddhist-inspired philosophy, we recognize our ego to be an internalization of cultural voices from the past. With mindfulness meditation, we shift our attention to the present, and through a range of tantra-based somatic practices, we engage our more awakened identity.
With a secularized version of Tibetan tantric somatic practices, we circumvent the left-brain narratives of ego and experience our world as sacred. Each day, we will:
In the process, you will gain a more accurate, fulfilling, and meaningful understanding of who we are.
We depart with a newfound sense of purpose, as well as the skills needed to transcend the plastic knockoff identities provided by the sparkling matrix of American consumerism.
Gather for a weekend in which we shift our attention away from neon and plastic toward the gods of love and unity. Become divine, or at the least, access your inner divinity and gain a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be human, as well as what it means to be divine!
In his breakthrough works of channeled literature including I Am the Word and The Kingdom, author and channel Paul Selig has recorded a program for personal and planetary evolution as humankind awakens to its own divine nature. Through a series of lectures, attunements, and energy activations, you will be introduced to the frequency of the Word, which can be described as the energy of “God in action.”
Discover exercises for healing the self and others, along with practical techniques for developing and sustaining higher levels of consciousness. You will also receive individual instruction that will support you in moving through the physical and emotional blocks that may be keeping you from manifesting your own higher nature.
In this practical program, Paul shares ways to:
Spiritual channeler Paul and his Guides lead a transformational journey of self-development to achieve new levels of alignment, healing, and life purpose, and offer techniques to take the next step in your spiritual evolution and reach your highest potential.
During your time together, the program will feature unique channeled lectures, powerful attunements, question-and-answer sessions, and energy healing work. Discover how realizing your own true potential is inexorably linked to the well-being of others and our planet. The energy Paul works with is palpable and loving, and those attending will be supported in moving to the next level of their own spiritual development.
Join Paul at Esalen for this unforgettable experience.
Want to witness science in action while engaging in mind-body practices for greater balance, vitality, and wellbeing?
Research on the effects of contemplative practices is rapidly transforming science and medicine. There is now growing consensus among scientists about the viability of healing through mind-body practices. However, researchers are only just beginning to examine how individual differences (such as personality differences) might influence who is likely to benefit most from various forms of transformative practice.
In this workshop, you’ll learn how Stanford University researchers approach the scientific method through an onsite pilot study, exploring the ways individual traits predict change through practice, in particular, Integral Transformative Practice (ITP). Created in 1992 by Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy and former Esalen President George Leonard, ITP is a research-based program for realizing human potential and awakening our extraordinary capacities through dedicated practice.
Using mind-body exercises drawn from ITP, you will:
Along with an exploration of ITP, you will discover, through a shared scientific journey, how researchers are beginning to think about the relationship between individual traits and the effects of transformative practice. The weekend’s pilot project will assess the ways preexisting tendencies predict the rate and type of change experienced after a weekend ITP workshop. Change will be measured by stress-related biomarkers, cognitive tasks, and well-tested psychological scales.
Endorphin release is a natural and beautiful part of the results of working your body physically. But what happens after the endorphin high ends? Lauren McHale invites you to move, sweat, and share your truth with others.
This program is designed to help you learn how to become a better friend to yourself through movement, strength training, and interconnection.
We get to know ourselves through our shared experiences with others. In this workshop, Lauren facilitates an open dialogue about self-compassion while teaching various modalities for self-care, such as:
On Saturday evening, Guest Faculty Liz Andolong will guide the group through an exploration of what it feels like to rest and relax into one’s own body, a practice designed to encourage you to turn inward and lean into the practice of Pause. Gentle postures will be explored through breath and awareness, mindfulness and grounding. Release stagnant energies and invite more relaxation through Liz’s offering of Reiki healing to the group, a Japanese form of energetic healing.
Throughout the weekend, we will come together through physical movement, strength training, and shared experience. Too often we are moving from one experience to another without taking time to pause and notice the other people experiencing this life alongside us. Shared experience is the foundation for self-compassion! This practice asks participants to open up to their own inner knowing and to use this as a means for practicing interconnection with others.
Participants with severe health concerns that inhibit their ability to perform physical activity may struggle with this highly active program.
Recommended reading: Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff
The New Year is a powerful threshold. It is an opportunity to listen deeply, reflect, restore, and create anew. Yet we often make resolutions that perpetuate the myth of self-improvement, while doing nothing to empower our heart’s intentions, thereby setting us up for disappointment.
This five-day retreat invites you on a powerfully restorative journey to exchange striving for compassion and clear-seeing, through meditation, mindful inquiry, relational mindfulness, conscious movement, deep time in nature, writing, and ritual.
Throughout our time together, the group will explore such questions as:
The New Year beckons with possibility and renewal. If we open to this invitation with wonder, curiosity, and courage, we can position ourselves to receive the true guidance within and, at the same time, embrace the support of the universe on our journey.
Nearly 2,500 years ago, Buddha worried we had become too distracted — and that was before paper, let alone smartphones. Now many of our days are filled with convenient distractions that promise happiness while mostly delivering busyness and frustration. So many of us today live life in a hectic fog, working too much and noticing too little. When was the last time you gave something your undivided attention?
There is a different way. This weekend we will disconnect, slow down, and meditate together. We will learn the ancient Zen practice of sitting still, bringing our full awareness to what is now.
Our time together will follow a gentle schedule of sitting meditation punctuated by brief lectures, group discussion, relaxing meals, and soaks in the healing baths, all while we explore the process and practice of mindful living. We’ll be listening to our own bodies, noticing the food we eat, and truly engaging with the people around us – all to explore what it means to be fully present.
You will leave this retreat with everything you need to start, revive, or deepen your daily meditation practice. You will receive instruction in traditional Zen meditation and we will sit together in guided sessions, practicing what we’ve learned. We’ll work together on everything from the mechanics of sitting posture to the mental barriers we all face. We’ll discuss how to overcome common obstacles to meditation and the many ways to incorporate more mindfulness and presence into our daily lives.
Whether you’re brand new to meditation or even if you’ve been practicing for years, you will leave prepared to bring meditation into your life and mindfulness to your work and home – today and every day. Come reclaim a healthier and happier way to be.
Recommended reading: Dan Zigmond, Buddha’s Office: The Ancient Art of Waking Up While Working Well.
What if there was a space where our love was not just tolerated, but celebrated? What if there was a place where our relationships were not judged and shamed but poured into with support, encouragement, and care? Come strengthen your couple-love and deepen your self-love in a weekend dedicated to LGBTQ+ humans.
We need spaces to navigate the terrains of intimacy, vulnerability, and trust just as much as straight-bodied humans. Our love is beautiful, strong, passionate, vibrant, and resilient. It can be challenging to focus on our relationships when we don’t feel safe, seen, or represented in the broader world. Join Toni Bergins and Erika Allison in a sacred and refreshing container for LGBTQ+ couples and friends to be ourselves, love how we love, and explore the depths of our connections.
Through movement, expression, music, ritual, and meditation, we will open new pathways for self-love. Through somatic partner exercises and heart-opening practices, we will open new pathways for couple-love. Embodiment and movement practices expand our inner awareness and invite our presence, allowing us to touch our depths and feel our aliveness, whatever emotions may come. Ceremony and ritual practices open our hearts and allow us to celebrate and honor the journeys of our lives and our love.
Throughout the weekend, we’ll explore…
Together we will engage in embodiment practices, such as:
Join us for a weekend of being and loving, bringing us closer together and strengthening our relationships. Get out of your mind and into your body, gaining a new sense of presence to deepen your love and relationships. By strengthening our bonds, expanding our capacity to be seen and heard, and celebrating our authentic expressions, we can cultivate thriving relationships full of joy, playfulness, and peace.
Folks identifying as LGBTQ+ only, please.
In this workshop, we define LGBTQ+ couples as any two people in an intimate relationship. Please bring a partner (romantic or friend!) for this program; it is important that we have an even number of attendees.
Recommended reading: Gay the Pray Away: Healing Your Life, Love, and Relationships from the Hams of LGBT Conversion Therapy, by Reverend Erika Allison
In this turbulent time, how can you offer radical vitality to our world? What ignites your imagination? When do you erupt into awe?
What if your deepest longings and heartaches suggest something about your unique expression of the wild eros of the world? Eros is much more than sexual desire: it’s a deeply embodied, imaginative, mystical, soulful participation with the animate, intelligent Earth.
In Wild Eros, we’ll approach the waters, forest, gardens, and creatures (human and other) as a lover, awakening the wild body and mythopoetic imagination where everything is alive and intelligent. Our soulcraft practices will include ceremony, deep imagery, dreamwork, trance drumming, dancing, and solo wandering. We’ll live the question: If Earth is alluring us for her own purposes — very much the way the nectar lust of bees serves the desires of flowers — what wild child, what honey, will we create from this joining?
Geneen Marie Haugen and Guest Faculty Palika Rewilding will guide you through this weeklong exploration of…
Wild Eros is a way of falling into the deep mystery of soul as well as nourishing radical intimacy with other-than-human beings. It’s a way of embodied participation that amplifies our experience of Earth as sacred, and may reveal seeds of vision for our troubled, tender world — potent seeds for artisans of cultural renaissance: change agents, tricksters, artists, poets, therapists, activists, and true leaders.