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Upcoming Residential Study Programs

Lean Permaculture: Towards a Pattern Language of Sustainable Design with Misha Rauchwerger
August 26 - September 23, 2018

Permaculture aims to create human systems in ways that mimic how ecosystems work in nature. Food production, energy, housing, water, communities, cities, and organizations can all be reimagined according to permaculture principles. There is so much talk today about sustainability, but do we really know what it means to live in a sustainable way on this planet? Can we create permanent culture? The goal is to regenerate our degraded landscape and live in a way that produces no waste and allows all beings to coexist and cooperate while maximizing the earth's potential to create abundance. Is this even possible?

Permaculture design is much more than food forests and herb spirals. The need for true sustainability is forcing us to reevaluate everything we do at every scale with a new lens. This course integrates concepts such as the lean approach, which is already widely used in business planning, as an iterative and incremental approach in sustainable systems design. We will combine tried and true engineering concepts of problem solving with practical and novel principles to create a new means of dealing with our most pressing issues.

This course introduces a series of patterns and principles to create a new language of design. This process is the focus of the month, and we will utilize small groups and real issues, identified by the class members using an Open Space format, to work through the process and learn the patterns and principles of the design methodology. Students will identify problems — some personal, some related to issues at Esalen, others on a larger, global scale — and learn how to distill the essential question driving the problem, and then work through a series of steps to move toward solution-oriented design. Upon conclusion of this program, students will have lived the process and will have created and shared with the rest of the group a complete cycle of design.


 

Embodied Relational Gestalt with Michael Clemmens
September 23 - October 21, 2018

This program is full.

This month-long program is focused on Gestalt as a group process. Gestalt offers the opportunity to experience and explore our own process in relation to others and the context of the present moment. We will create a group that can contain the varieties of each person’s unique way of being and allow us to experience the power of the greater whole, the group. Because of the importance of creating an ongoing collective, it is crucial that all students attend each session. No prior experience with Gestalt or group process is necessary. The structure of the program will be experiential exercises, practice sessions, and group discussion to develop our awareness of self and the group. We will begin with our earliest movements (prior to birth) and then explore how we co-create our bodily membership in the more complex gestalts of family, groups, and cultures. Our goals will be to experience how we create relationships through embodiment, and to develop skills in attending to ourselves and others.

CE credit for MFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs and LEPs


 

Streams of Energy with Jim Gallas
October 21 - November 18, 2018

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

CE credit for massage.

($10 materials fee will be added to the workshop cost)


 

The Art of Skillful Living: Leadership, Love and Freedom with Coby Kozlowski
November 18 - December 16, 2018

We are all called to leadership as agents of inspiration, purpose, and change. Leadership is about being of service to the world, and every moment is an opportunity for leadership. Leadership also is an inward journey to the depths of what it means to be human. Leadership is about being fully expressed, about being called to your greatness, and about having the courage to act in ways that are in alignment with your highest and awakened self.

The world is shifting; this rapid change is an invitation to participate in the evolution of consciousness. In this program, students will have the opportunity to deepen the meaning of leadership by investigating belief systems, understanding the nature of consciousness, diving into emotion regulation, discovering the key to collaboration, and facilitating change using the lens of contemplative wisdom, yoga philosophy, expressive arts, and group discussion. Through this interactive, lecture-based, and highly experiential program, students can begin to embody the integral leadership model, discover the leader within, and connect with and act on a personal calling. By liberating the heart/mind and stepping fully into authenticity, you can inspire others to do the same and become agents of change. This is the new way of leadership.


 

Deep Bodywork® with Rob Wilks
December 16, 2018 - January 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

For more information and to apply, visit http://www.esalen.org/work-study.

CE credit for massage.


 

The Ground of Belonging: An Embodied Inquiry into Courage, Connection and Community with Steven Harper
January 20 - February 17, 2019

The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature.
—John O’Donohue

Many of us have the experience of not belonging — to ourselves, family, community, workplace, this earth. This disconnect expresses itself in a divided self, dysfunctional relationships and communities, and destruction of the very planet that birthed and sustains us. However, a sense of belonging is the natural state of our being. To know and feel our belonging asks us to have courage, vulnerability, and a willingness to feel how life conspires to let us know our interbeing. When we bodily know our belonging, we engage in the world feeling supported and with greater ease and grounding as we face life’s challenges and joys.

This will be a whole-organism, experiential inquiry into what belonging might be for each of us. Although not a linear path, we’ll explore:

  • The intrapersonal — our belonging to self
  • The interpersonal — our belonging to others: individual relationships and in community
  • The transpersonal — our belonging to the “other than” — perhaps greater than — human world to which we are connected in webs of communities

The group will be introduced to contemporary and time-honored wisdom traditions that cultivate belongingness, including contemporary psychology and neuroscience; Gestalt Practice in the Esalen tradition; meditation and mindfulness practices; aikido and awareness movement practices; and direct experience of the natural world. Special attention will be given to “what walks with us” into our daily lives as we weave together an eclectic and holistic experience. When we embody the birthright of our interbeing and the ground of belonging, life lives through us.


 

Yoga Immersion: A Journey into Self with Jovinna Chan
February 17 - March 17, 2019

Are you ready to change? If not now, when? This is a self-awakening program designed for sincere seekers who are ready to live an awakened life. Immerse yourself in the fundamentals of yoga philosophy, asanas, pranayama, and meditation to build a spacious and fertile spiritual foundation where the seeds of awareness can grow and flourish.

During the month, we will:

  • Explore classic yoga postures with basic alignment principles, benefits, and contraindications
  • Experience yoga as a path of self-discovery and transformation
  • Integrate holistic lifestyle tools
  • Learn and practice conscious communication skills
  • Explore scripture through experiential lectures on the Bhagavad Gita and Pantanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga (emphasizing the yamas and niyamas)
  • At the end of the program, you will learn to bring awareness to movement and breath in a way that is right for your body, your limitations, your strengths, and your age – in other words, you’ll discover the yoga that is right for you and create a unique home practice. Join us to bring the experience, depth, and benefits of yoga into your lifestyle and make bold changes to live fully. Please bring a yoga mat.

    Note: For those who wish to obtain a 50-hour certification, a daily Hatha yoga practice and additional homework will be required.


     

    Growing Sea Legs in Samsara: Mindfulness in Challenging Times with Bill Morgan and Susan Morgan
    March 17 - April 14, 2019

    Living skillfully in these challenging times requires sensitivity, discernment, and wise action. Mindfulness meditation is a vehicle that can cultivate and strengthen these qualities, yet despite the growing popularity of mindfulness in our culture, much continues to be lost in translation, and the depth and power of these practices have not been made fully accessible to our present-day context.

    There are two major emphases in this course: First, we will explore ways to enrich and enliven mindfulness practice on the cushion, supporting each participant to clear blocks to deeper self-acceptance and connect with authentic, personally alive presence; Second, our practice will radiate out into mindfulness in action. Experiential exercises offer an opportunity to clarify and work with the relational dynamics of self as agent in this world-on-fire. Journaling, mindful speaking, and deep listening exercises provide a context for learning to express oneself in language rooted in discerning compassion.


     

    The Inner Journey of Inspired Leadership with Kim Gilbey
    April 14 - May 12, 2019

    Everything you will ever do as a leader is based on one audacious assumption. It’s the assumption that YOU matter.
    — From The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes & Barry Posner

    Leadership begins with you. Whether you are looking to lead your own life, be more fully present within your family, navigate a major life transition, influence a cause you believe in, or fully engage a team or organization of people, you must first lead yourself. This course is designed to support your inner journey of leadership — a process to discover who you are and your inherent strengths, capacities, and experiences so that you might step fully into your authenticity and influence while navigating life’s challenges and opportunities.

    This is a coaching program designed to help you delve deeply into self-inquiry. By unlocking your inherent capacities for vision, empathy, courage, and action, you realize that the question is not whether you will make a difference for yourself and those around you, but rather, “what difference do you want to make?”

    This course will draw from positive and social psychology, leadership training, and contemplative and creative practices. Through immersion into experiential exercises, personal one-on-one coaching sessions, lecture, creative expression assignments, individual assessments, group sharing, and mindfulness meditation, you can connect with your personal calling and explore actions to cultivate a more authentic life. The intention is that you will complete the program with a portfolio of course materials and outputs that you can make readily actionable in your life so you may begin to embody a fuller expression of who you are and the gifts you have for the world.

    Note: This month is especially focused on individuals who find themselves accepting leadership responsibility in their daily lives and wish to explore, deepen, and hone this natural tendency.


     

    Beyond the “Revolving Door”: Gestalt Relational Constellations with Gordon Wheeler and Nancy Lunney-Wheeler
    May 12 - June 9, 2019

    In certain parts of our lives, we move forward with strength and relative ease, adding new learning and new capacity to familiar areas of comfort and confidence. And then we have other areas where we may navigate with greater difficulty and challenge — or sometimes not at all. Strong areas and flat sides alike may be in public or private areas, in work or relationships, in goals accomplished or hopes and dreams deferred — or even longings just avoided altogether, to avoid disappointment.

    Why do our patterns of living have this tendency to get stuck, and what can we do about it? Gestalt Relational Constellations (GRC) offers a new methodology for taking a fresh look at our strengths and our challenges, and a whole new approach to doing something about it. Using the whole group in service to each person and their particular issues in turn, we find answers to old riddles in our psyches and lives, and support for new moves and new strength in some long-stuck areas of living. Join us for a month of intimacy, adventure, and deep learning, through laughter and tears, new connections, and new possibilities in living.

    GRC grows out of the pioneering work of Bert Hellinger and his followers, with the addition of a deep Gestalt commitment to embodied experience and support. GRC may be used to explore underlying dynamics of any issue — family of origin, current family system, interpersonal or work issues, or even such “internal systems” as important decisions or crossroads in our lives.

    Recommended reading: Hausner, Even if it Costs Me My Life.


     

    Meditation as Medicine of the Mind: Tibetan Mind-Body Practices for Health and Well-being with Alejandro Chaoul
    June 9 - July 7, 2019

    Well-being in the Tibetan tradition is a holistic sense of wellness that encompasses body, energy, and mind. During this program, participants will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Tibetan wellness and experientially practice meditative techniques that utilize the healing power of the breath-energy (qi or lung in Tibetan) as a link and support for a healthy body and more aware state of mind. In addition, some of the current research in this area will be presented and discussed.

    Tibetan yogis, monks, and nuns are human like you and me; they have feelings and emotions, and obstacles in their lives. That is why the practices they have created as a way to remove obstacles from their body, energy, and mind are suitable for us too.

    These tools remained as secret recipes for centuries, and only in the last couple of decades have started to be known in the West, as they’ve been researched scientifically and practiced now by thousands of people. Those who practice them can discover or tap into a radical sense of presence — an aliveness in the midst of chaos — like a lotus flower coming out of the mud or the sun illuminating everything without bias.

    This workshop encourages participants to explore the potential of their subtle bodies —composed of channels and chakras — as a powerful tool for meditative practice, which utilizes the five breath-energies present in yogic and medical texts. These meditative practices and movements allow one to clear the “poisons” of one's afflicted emotions, become more familiar with the healing support of the breath, and be radically aware of one’s “inner home.” Please bring a journal.


     

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