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Upcoming Residential Study Programs

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

This program is full.

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

This program is full.

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.

Apply now.


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.

Apply now.


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.

Apply now.


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.

Apply now.


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.

Apply now.


Residential Study Programs at Esalen


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