The Esalen Farm & Garden started to take shape in the late 1960’s, catalyzed by a Resident Fellow’s desire for crisp lettuce she could serve at impromptu dinner parties. It didn't take long for folk to become deeply invested in agriculture, dedicating themselves to cultivating nutrient-rich soil through rigorous composting, expert tilling, and an abundance of care.
Want to volunteer in the Farm & Garden?
Age Wave CEO/co-founder Ken Dychtwald is eternally inspired by 50 years of benefiting from Esalen massage. So much so that he produced a film that kneads the interconnected tissues and legacy of the internationally cherished technique — “an inspired and ever-evolving integration of sensory awareness, healing arts, yoga, tai chi, meditation, body-mind integration, and mindfulness.” Co-created in the late 1960s by Peggy Horan, Deborah Medow, Brita Ostrom, and Vicki Topp, the feature honors their life journeys and future hopes for Esalen massage and the somatic arts.
Esalen co-founders Michael Murphy and Dick Price encountered and explored altered states of being in dramatically different ways. Their experiences were equally transformative, catapulting them into parallel lifetimes of seeking. Both found their ways through altered states, and both looked to more than psychedelics as the routes to healing and expanding the mind.
As a laboratory of big ideas, Esalen nourished pioneering scholars who came here to experiment with meditation, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, and other practices to deeply connect the mind, body, and soul. Collectively and individually, they discovered modalities with meaningful mental health benefits that dance toward feelings of enlightenment through their frequent practice. This video considers where our past has led us and how differently we now regard mental health and the unknowns of the mind.
Photo and video credit to Wiley Chubb, Peter Cobabe, Paul Herbert, Joyce Lyke, Emma Barry, Heidi Kaden, Lisette Cheresson, Melina Maza. All generative AI images were created by Sam Stern using Midjourney. Short segments taken from Acid Test Graduation Ceremony (1966), “Hippie Revolution” (1968), and “Celebration at Big Sur” 1969.
We’ve experimented a lot here at Esalen over 60 years. This video touches on some of the transformative theories and ideas that have sparked innovation and helped reshape the fields of education, personal growth, psychology, psychedelics, and somatics over the decades. Includes photos by Wiley Chubb, Peter Cobabe, Paul Herbert, Joyce Lyke, Steve Beck, Sam Stern, PJ Novatny, Shira Levine, Tristan Kolkhorst, Angie Smith, Ali Kaukas, Tim Farrell, Doug Ellis, Cameron Jordan, Daniel Bianchetta, Benj Langdon, Julie Jarvis, Kai De Fontana, Jack O’Connell.
“This is where the three waters meet.” You might have heard those words spoken as you stood along the creek and watched the cascading water from the mountains flow down to the ocean. But what does it actually mean for the land? For the people who pass through and breathe in the air, snap a photo or video to post to Instagram? Rather than a cool passing moment, this is in fact a sacred and rare convergence of mineral, sea, and fresh waters.
Esalen is renowned for its unique approach to self-discovery and personal growth, with its iconic baths being a key part of the experience. In this video, we delve into the liberating power of presence and self-expression at the Esalen baths, as pioneers share their journeys of embracing their natural selves. From overcoming initial nervousness and reservations to realizing the simple beauty of the human form, discover the freedom that comes from being comfortable in your own skin at the Esalen baths.
However, Highway 1 south of Esalen is closed indefinitely. Don't let this stop you — there are other routes to reach us. Please review these alternate route driving directions and allow for a little extra travel time while on your transformational and healing journey.
We look forward to welcoming you to Esalen.