Effective October 29, 2021 in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all public indoor spaces on campus if the county is still in high or substantial levels of transmission. This guidance includes people who are vaccinated. Please review our updated COVID safety guidelines.

Workshops

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.)

Find a workshop
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As many now know, the Enneagram is an accurate and profound map of the human psyche that delineates nine vectors of the soul. These nine Enneagram Types are based on the three primary centers of intelligence: thinking, emotion and instinct.

This retreat will focus on restoring the centrality of spiritual practice and psychological rigor to Enneagram work and will emphasize the foundational role of the Heart Center. We will explore the Essential Qualities and ego-related issues of the Two, Three, and Four in much greater depth than in an ordinary Enneagram workshop, employing meditation practices, inquiry and movement exercises, and presence-based conversations. Our aim is to encounter and work through our remaining psycho-spiritual issues and to know directly the deeper mysteries of the heart. We will facilitate work on areas such as self-images, narcissism, defense mechanisms, and learn what it means to live and work from the deeper capacities of the heart. This work is not only for Twos, Threes, and Fours, of course. Regardless of our dominant Enneagram type, these issues, conflicts, and blockages play themselves out in our daily lives.

You will be invited to:

  • Learn to be with your heart, deepen your ability to be present, and know who you are.
  • Guide yourself toward living from the heart and in the world with more sincerity, joy, and gratefulness.
  • Come to recognize the Enneagram beyond typing, as a transformational map that illuminates the challenges and gifts each point represents in the journey to deepening presence.

The aim in all Inner Work Retreats is to encounter and work through our remaining, deep, psycho-spiritual blockages. To that end, they all include experiential exercises such as physical movement, spiritual teachings, meditations, music, journaling, and small group work.

Please bring shoes suitable for movement. Dance slippers are ideal, without rubber soles if possible, or these are also recommended.

Being with Your Heart: Enneagram and Inner Work Retreat
October 25–29, 2021
October 25, 2021
  -  
October 29, 2021
October 25, 2021
Being with Your Heart: Enneagram and Inner Work Retreat
with Russ Hudson and Deborah Rose Longo

In these complex times we need to grow deeper roots in our spiritual nature: to access peace and equanimity for ourselves, and also so that our way of being becomes a refuge to loved ones and community.

Ask yourself: what does it take to be more graceful and responsive rather than reactive with the personal and collective invitations of our time? How can we harness everything we grapple with as a Divine Invitation to learn or let go? What does it take to compassionately open our heart to suffering — our own and that of others — without getting swallowed whole? How can we trust and stay optimistic, when things look like such a mess?

In an atmosphere of unconditional love, Miranda will guide you into and through your most important material, to access the Grace that is always present at the core of your being. Learn how to stay calm amidst the chaos, respond from inner wisdom rather than ego reactivity, and emerge more spiritually nourished and resilient.

During our time together, we will:

  • Connect to the Grace that is always alive at the core of your being.
  • Relax the roots of ego fear, control, and the tendency to polarize.
  • Cultivate deeper trust, humility, compassion, and joy.
  • Stabilize in your spiritual heart and access its nourishing nectars.
  • Radiate your love and wisdom where it matters most.

Miranda shares a holistic and feminine approach to surrender and nondual realization based on a practice she calls Ego Relaxation — embracing the totality of our experience as a gateway into our deepest nature. Her wisdom and transmission invite others to become more graceful human beings through inquiry, meditation, and devotional practice, together with psychological integration. Miranda’s work is grounded in an extensive study of the world’s wisdom traditions, and thirty years of experience guiding others into direct spiritual experience internationally.  

Embodying Grace in times of Change: Rising into Spiritual Maturity
October 25–29, 2021
October 25, 2021
  -  
October 29, 2021
October 25, 2021
Embodying Grace in times of Change: Rising into Spiritual Maturity
with Miranda Macpherson
For one human being to love another, that is the most difficult of all of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, for which all other work is but preparation. –Rainer Maria Rilke

A great relationship means more than just staying together. Unless we enjoy trust, intimacy, caring and love with our partner, we are sharing an arrangement, not a true partnership. Yet for a disturbing number of couples, the dreams of infatuation dissolve into a cold and joyless relationship or end in divorce. The biggest mistake that many people make is not in expecting too much from their relationships, but in desiring too little. A true partnership can be a means through which our deepest longings are awakened and ultimately realized.

In this experiential workshop, we will work in dyads, small groups and the group as a whole. The lecture component will be interactive, with plenty of time for Q&A from the group. We’ll also practice mindfulness meditation. Together we will examine the unique qualities that exceptional relationships embody and identify the various means through which it is possible to develop and integrate those qualities, and to manage the inevitable differences that arise. We will identify and engage in practices that can transform the quality of connection in ways that promote co-creativity, unconditional acceptance and spiritual awakening. This workshop provides tools that can promote enduring love and deep intimacy.

Recommended reading: Bloom and Bloom, Happily Ever After and 39 Other Myths About Love, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last and That Which Doesn’t Kill Us : How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places.

Secrets of Great Relationships: For Individuals and Couples
October 29–31, 2021
October 29, 2021
  -  
October 31, 2021
October 29, 2021
Secrets of Great Relationships: For Individuals and Couples
with Linda Bloom and Charlie Bloom

We’ve all been tested this year. Many of us have been isolated, lonely, and stretched far too thin. Waking up anxious and going to bed worried, many of our relationships have been strained from so much time together, too much time apart, and too much time indoors. We need simple, accessible, and even delightful ways to make sense of this chaos – not by increasing our use of high speed tech, but by slowing down, listening deeply, and collaborating with the living world.

Join internationally renowned author and artist Day Schildkret of Morning Altars to learn how to use nature, art, and ritual to transform, heal, and make meaning from this time. Nature will be our collaborator in accessing creativity and time-tested ways to practice mindfulness, and in cultivating a place-based resilience in the face of change.

Based on the practice conceived and popularized by Day’s first book, Morning Altars: A 7-Step Practice to Nourish Your Spirit through Nature, Art and Ritual, this workshop will guide you through Day’s unique seven-step practice and help you strengthen your skills of wonder, belonging, gratitude, creativity, wholeness and non-attachment. In the mornings we will be in nature, opening our eyes, our senses, and hearts while practicing the first two steps (Wander & Wonder and Place). In the afternoon, we will be making nature altars for all the losses, celebrations and changes that happened this past year, using pattern literacy and symbols to represent our stories. The workshop will conclude with an altar ritual, where we go around and witness each other’s hearts and art.

We will practice:

  • Nature Connection for more calm, embodiment and connection
  • Ritual and Meaning Making for sane-making, deeper understanding and wisdom
  • Creative Expression for finding fulfillment, facing fear and courageous living
  • Relating to Impermanence for skills of mindfulness, non attachment and resilience
  • Wonder for renewing a sense of awe, curiosity and aliveness

In this nourishing workshop, you will learn not only how to craft a nature altar, but also how and why they have been used for thousands of years in cultures all over the world as a resource to move through emotion, make meaning, celebrate life, and connect more deeply with the inner and outer nature of existence. The opportunity to change your life is here, in your grasp.

Students will be moving around the property, working outdoors, and should be prepared with layered clothing and appropriate footwear to offer them the greatest mobility.

Recommended reading: Schildkret, Morning Altars: A 7-Step Practice to Nourish Your Spirit through Nature, Art and Ritual.

Grief Into Beauty: Creating Nature Altars to Transform and Heal from This Year
October 29–31, 2021
October 29, 2021
  -  
October 31, 2021
October 29, 2021
Grief Into Beauty: Creating Nature Altars to Transform and Heal from This Year
with Day Schildkret
“Energy moves in waves. Waves move in rhythms. Rhythms move in patterns. Patterns move in cycles. A human being is just this. Nothing more. Nothing less. A dance.”  –Gabrielle Roth

In the dance of life, the state of Grace is one that is free of all resistance. Learning to embody this is a gift that you will take with you for all time. If we call off the fight with reality, we can begin to accept what is. In doing so, we diminish suffering and learn to relate to the reality of pain in a more skillful and compassionate way.

Through the map of the 5Rhythms, we investigate the art of graceful transitions. How are you at beginning, following through, and ending?

This practice gives us a clear method of understanding these stages. In doing so, we learn where we are moving and where we get stuck. With this knowledge, we can bring grace, balance and ease into each stage of the creative process. From birth, through life, to all endings and even death.

The 5Rhythms are a moving meditation practice, a map of how energy moves. They teach us the patterns, rhythms and cycles of life through the rhythms of Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness®.

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 two polarities of moving and sitting meditation together mirror the dance of life and open the door to peace, well-being and balance.

All workshop hours contribute to the 5Rhythms® Teachers Training. No experience is required.

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.

A Graceful Journey: 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
November 1–5, 2021
November 1, 2021
  -  
November 5, 2021
November 1, 2021
A Graceful Journey: 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
with Lucia Horan

Awe is the feeling of encountering vast mysteries that transcend our current knowledge and understanding of the world. It is the feeling and the practice in appreciating the moral beauty of others, nature, the arts, and it is rooted in a spiritual understanding of life.  

In this new, paradigm-shifting workshop, we will uncover the latest scientific understandings of awe. By engaging in evolutionary and neuroscientific approaches to the mind, and using narrative and cultural approaches to the meanings of awe, we will begin to tease out where awe lives in our own minds and hearts and how to cultivate it more deeply in our lives.

Together, we will discover a number of practices to cultivate awe in our own lives and how to deepen one’s relationship to it. We’ll travel by way of reflective writing, using expressive writing principles and models from Contemplative Studies.

During our time together, we will:

  • Learn the latest science and scholarship on awe and wonder
  • Engage in contemplative practices related to awe
  • Learn about literary, poetic, and aesthetic approaches to awe
  • Learn to cultivate an awe-related writing and reflective practice
  • Cultivate an awareness of more everyday awe

Join us for this incredible opportunity to refresh your heart and mind in the incredible natural setting of Esalen and Big Sur.

Awe and Wonder: An Exploration Through Science, Contemplation, and Narrative
November 5–7, 2021
November 5, 2021
  -  
November 7, 2021
November 5, 2021
Awe and Wonder: An Exploration Through Science, Contemplation, and Narrative
with Dacher Keltner and Mollie McNeil

Come home to your whole body instrument, and discover your unique sound.

We believe singing and speaking are radical acts of self-expression, and that exploring your instrument with full freedom takes tremendous courage. We also believe intentional vocalization creates immeasurable vitality and joy in our lives and empowers our whole body experience of life itself.

As your new Brothers in Voice, we set a safe space for you to reclaim your power and connection to your body while grounding into the gravity of your whole body instrument, and sounding out powerfully what it feels like to be you and alive. The benefits are clear — whether speaking at a conference, speaking your truth to a loved one, teaching a class, or singing in an arena — we see it all as one center of personal gravity, held deeply in the Embodied Voice you’ve been gifted in this lifetime.

We forego performing and welcome experience as our methodology. We forego comparison and embrace an inner path to reclaiming a new relationship to our own voice, as an instrument of your soul and connection to the Earth and Spirit. So often we are taught with the methodology of starting with a measurable result, with competition and comparison as the benchmarks for success. We want to invite you lovingly in through an entirely different doorway. We invite you to see that you are incomparable, unmistakable, fascinating, and wholly distinct as a voice. We invite you to experience your soul’s voice through a fun and embodied practice of self-expression, union and communion.

The Embodied Voice
November 5–7, 2021
November 5, 2021
  -  
November 7, 2021
November 5, 2021
The Embodied Voice
with The Brothers Koren

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 & 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 & 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.

We will be joined by guest teacher Claudia Cuentas, a Peruvian Sound healer/musician and somatic therapist. We are so fortunate that Claudia will offer an Andean sound healing journey, as well as various somatic healing practices throughout the 5 day workshop. Please see Esalen guest faculty for her bio.

Please bring any sacred items for our altar, including photographs of loved ones & 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 & 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.

Healing Wisdom For Modern Times: You are Your Greatest Healer
November 8–12, 2021
November 8, 2021
  -  
November 12, 2021
November 8, 2021
Healing Wisdom For Modern Times: You are Your Greatest Healer
with Erika Gagnon and guest Claudia Cuentas

We live in a time of information-driven mental illness and technological overload. Now more than ever, it is more important for us to strengthen our internal resolve and to build practices for self-resourcing amidst a fundamentally transitioning society.

Join East Forest and Marisa Radha Weppner and learn to navigate your soul path. In this transformational workshop, we will use live musical performance, group ceremony, sound meditation, co-creative music experiences, embodiment practices, and the primacy of our own heart-opening — felt experience — to find a way through to the next iteration of You.

Discover how to lead from the inside out with practices that awaken your internal compass. Using music and movement, we can create repeatable and reliable avenues to find centeredness. Together we will explore the wilderness in our own hearts, see nature as a mirror, and walk our walk on the planet with increased grace and compassion for self and others.

We will use the doorways of music, movement and meditation to connect with your soul’s wisdom. Throughout the long weekend, you will experience a number of practices that will aid you in building a sustaining and ground home practice:

  • A full ceremonial concert, performed by East Forest
  • Daily yoga practices
  • Awe-inspiring nature walks
  • Co-creative musical process
  • Breathwork
  • Meditation
  • Ritual music meditations
  • Journaling

Join us for this incredible journey into the science of sound, healing, and self-discovery.

Spirit Dive: Music, Movement and Meditation
November 12–15, 2021
November 12, 2021
  -  
November 15, 2021
November 12, 2021
Spirit Dive: Music, Movement and Meditation
with East Forest and Marisa Radha Weppner

The world has turned upside down — and woken us up. Stunned by a pandemic carrying grief and loss, we are seeing existing excesses of inequality, climate change, and political hostility with new eyes. It’s a time of danger, opportunity and revelation. The call is out for each of us to play our part. It’s time to access our wisest selves to redeem the world, nothing less.

This weekend, you will dive deep to meet and listen to your inner wisdom, and then explore tools to act on it. You will (re)discover what you are here to do, right now, at this time of unprecedented turbulence — and transformation. We each hold a piece of the puzzle. Without it, there is a hole in the fabric of life. It’s time for all of us to show up, no exceptions, and make the difference we came here to make. To be agents of change for the common good.

Susan Collin Marks and John Marks, Peace Ambassador and Founder of Search for Common Ground, will be your guides. Search grew out of meetings at Esalen in the early 1980s, and together they built it into the biggest peacebuilding nonprofit in the world with 600 staff working in 30 countries. They will offer you what they have learned as agents of change in some of the most conflictual places on the planet. You will take away with you a renewed sense of your own capacity and abiding wisdom, as well as practical principles for implementing the social change that is needed right now.

Search was nominated for the Nobel Peace prize.

Wisdom Teachings for Agents of Change
November 12–14, 2021
November 12, 2021
  -  
November 14, 2021
November 12, 2021
Wisdom Teachings for Agents of Change
with Susan Collin Marks and John Marks

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 week we will disconnect, slow down, and meditate together. We will learn the magic of stillness, of bringing our full awareness to what is now. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start a daily meditation practice – or reinvigorate the practice you already have.

Our days will follow a gentle schedule of sitting meditation punctuated by brief lectures, group discussion, relaxing meals, and a special on-your-own practice in the healing baths, all while we explore the process and practice of more 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 also discuss obstacles to meditation and how to overcome them and the many ways to incorporate more mindfulness and presence into our daily lives.

Whether you’re new to meditation or have been practicing for years, you will leave prepared to bring meditation into your life and mindfulness to your work and home. 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.

Meditation and Modern Life: Cultivating a Daily Practice
November 15–19, 2021
November 15, 2021
  -  
November 19, 2021
November 15, 2021
Meditation and Modern Life: Cultivating a Daily Practice
with Dan Zigmond

We gather on this powerful land for a weekend to remember — with our bodies, minds and spirits — all that we have to be grateful for. Amidst all of the turmoil, we come together in the community to remember that we are enough as we are. Through yoga, meditation, reflection, cliffside baths, and walking on Esalen’s healing land we will return to our hearts.  

Together we’ll explore dynamic yoga asana, pranayama, chanting, meditation and yoga Nidra. Let’s recognize each breath as a gift, as we’re nourished by delicious organic meals, the natural hot springs walk among the majestic redwoods, or simply curling up in an ocean-view chair. Whether you come alone or with loved ones, you are sure to return to your daily rhythm with a newfound sense of ease, inspiration and deep gratitude for the life you’re living.

Please bring a yoga mat.

Gratitude Retreat
November 19–21, 2021
November 19, 2021
  -  
November 21, 2021
November 19, 2021
Gratitude Retreat
with Janet Stone

To be truly creative is to learn not to consciously control yourself with preconceived restrictions, but to allow yourself the freedom to flow. Taoist wisdom calls it Wu Wei: not interfering with what is already happening.

During this weeklong workshop, we will playfully reinvent Tai Ji forms with ancient Tai Ji rituals, Five Moving Forces of Nature, and traditional Tai Ji motifs. We will explore, improvise, and evolve to find renewal and refreshed ways to dance the open structures of this ancient wonder of movement meditation.

With more than 50 consecutive years of teaching experiences since the founding of Esalen, Master Huang will share his unique ways of imparting Tai Ji experience to all levels of practitioners. Come enjoy this creative “Living Your Tao” Tai Ji experience.

Creative Tai Ji Experience: Change-Transformation-Metamorphosis
November 22–26, 2021
November 22, 2021
  -  
November 26, 2021
November 22, 2021
Creative Tai Ji Experience: Change-Transformation-Metamorphosis
with Chungliang Al Huang

All people have an innate ability to move toward healthy, satisfying relationships. Old patterns of behavior and fixed ideas formed in early relationships may block our ability to communicate and make contact with the people in our lives.

The Gestalt approach aims to increase awareness of these patterns and our ”unfinished business” by relating in a group that meets our needs for emotional attunement and understanding, that supports us in identifying and expressing our emotions, and which is committed to creating an atmosphere of respect, kindness, acceptance and honesty. These relational experiences support energy, aliveness and good contact.

Over the course of this workshop, we’ll seek to learn skills to improve our ability to make contact, develop and track awareness of our emotions and sensations, learn to express and practice communicating needs and wants effectively. We may discover habitual relational patterns that prevent us from cultivating the type of relationships we want and develop new skills for relating.

The workshop will include time for gestalt awareness practices and a mixture of didactic and experiential exercises. Each participant will have an individual “open seat” session with Dorothy, with the support of the group.

Relational Gestalt Practice: Open Seat Intensive
November 26 – December 3, 2021
November 26, 2021
  -  
December 3, 2021
November 26, 2021
Relational Gestalt Practice: Open Seat Intensive
with Dorothy Charles

During this workshop Master Huang will teach China’s most essential qi-gong exercises for anyone who wishes to sustain a daily practice for personal mind-body-spirit well-being. He will teach easy-to-absorb, adaptive exercises of this ancient qi-gong practice and assist you through metaphors, visualization, sonic chanting meditation and deep circular breathing methods. During this fun, joyful experience for all ages and levels of practitioners we will take in this healthy habit for good: “Wei Wu Wei”— doing by not doing, spontaneously.

Beginners and “advanced beginners” are welcome.

The Essential Qi-Gong Exercises of China
November 26–28, 2021
November 26, 2021
  -  
November 28, 2021
November 26, 2021
The Essential Qi-Gong Exercises of China
with Chungliang Al Huang

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:

  • Dancing before each session, and learning how to use dancing to revitalize.
  • Together we will hold a loving and energizing closing ceremony.
  • You will learn how to create and sustain a “conflict free zone” for 166 hours of the week, and to prepare for the other two hours during which you and your partner will create a safe environment to hear each other’s most important concerns or criticisms.
  • You will learn to create time each week to appreciate your partner, and learn the art of taking those appreciations to seven levels of specificity.
  • You will learn “Eight Wisdoms” as a foundation for deepening your love.

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.

Role Mate to Soul Mate: The Art and Discipline of Love
December 3–5, 2021
December 3, 2021
  -  
December 5, 2021
December 3, 2021
Role Mate to Soul Mate: The Art and Discipline of Love
with 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:

  • Learn what works and what doesn’t to inspire lasting change in yourself and others.
  • Explore how peak experiences, a-ha! moments and awe can stimulate change.
  • Examine how we and the people we work with can get stuck or lost, and ways to shake free from periods of inertia or patterns that prevent us from moving forward.
  • Investigate the transformative potential of pain, hitting bottom and post-traumatic growth.
  • Delve into stories, symbols, and metaphors of transformation to guide your path.

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.

How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation
December 3–5, 2021
December 3, 2021
  -  
December 5, 2021
December 3, 2021
How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation
with Cassandra Vieten and Bristol Baughan
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.

Connection & Compassion: A 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
December 6–10, 2021
December 6, 2021
  -  
December 10, 2021
December 6, 2021
Connection & Compassion: A 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
with Lucia Horan

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.

Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
December 10–12, 2021
December 10, 2021
  -  
December 12, 2021
December 10, 2021
Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
with William Donius
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:

  • Embodied meditation – A bare-bones, non-ideological approach to experiencing the present moment. This is the basis for being at home in ourselves. Chairs are available and lying down is possible when needed.
  • Guided Inquiry – A variety of awareness experiments for uncovering obstacles to the presence and inviting direction. Learning to bring a caring, curious presence to our emotions and “negative” thoughts is truly transformative.
  • Embodied Movement Practices – Feldenkrais movement lessons are powerful, neurologically-based motor sequences that quickly invite a deepening of body awareness.  You will learn simple, standing movements based in archetypal patterns found in art throughout the world, inviting potent, life-giving experiences.

Each day will include short meditations, awareness practices, movement lessons and interactive talks/conversations.

This workshop is open to all people.

The Embodied Life™: Presencing and Re-Visioning
December 10–12, 2021
December 10, 2021
  -  
December 12, 2021
December 10, 2021
The Embodied Life™: Presencing and Re-Visioning
with Russell Delman and Linda Evans Delman

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:

  • Cultivating awareness and embodied presence;
  • Growing responsiveness, resilience, and choice;
  • Trusting in your organism’s inherent capacity for self-regulation and co-regulation.

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.

Gestalt Practice & Principles: Cultivating Embodied Wholeness in Daily Life
December 13–17, 2021
December 13, 2021
  -  
December 17, 2021
December 13, 2021
Gestalt Practice & Principles: Cultivating Embodied Wholeness in Daily Life
with Steven Harper

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:

  • What can we learn about the past?
  • How can we learn more about who we are through the natural elements surrounding us so we can become better inhabitants?

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…

  • Get to know the plant life found on this sacred piece of land.
  • Learn about land witness, and how to bring it into your daily life.
  • Explore your life and this land through the practices of writing, storytelling, and walking.
  • Engage in imagining a new design for our world.

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.

Becoming Of The Land: Right Relationship Without Dominance - Understanding The Terrains We Inhabit
December 17–20, 2021
December 17, 2021
  -  
December 20, 2021
December 17, 2021
Becoming Of The Land: Right Relationship Without Dominance - Understanding The Terrains We Inhabit
with Vivien Sansour

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.

Emerge In Conscious Flow: Step into the New Year with Yoga and Energy Awareness Practices
December 27, 2021 – January 2, 2022
December 27, 2021
  -  
January 2, 2022
December 27, 2021
Emerge In Conscious Flow: Step into the New Year with Yoga and Energy Awareness Practices
with Hannah Muse and Gitanjali Hemp

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:

  • Learn shamatha meditation for cultivating relaxation, concentration, and clarity.
  • Practice meditation inside and out in nature, gazing over the Pacific ocean. Chances are you will spot whales migrating south for the winter.
  • Learn gentle and accessible therapeutic exercises and movements to bring more comfort and ease to your meditation and your life.
  • Learn the “gentle vase breath,” jamlung, for developing greater levels of comfort and concentration.
  • Enjoy live musical performances and instruction with Adrienne Shamszad, Iranian-American singer-songwriter.

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.

Releasing into Presence: A New Year’s Meditation and Music Retreat
December 31, 2021 – January 2, 2022
December 31, 2021
  -  
January 2, 2022
December 31, 2021
Releasing into Presence: A New Year’s Meditation and Music Retreat
with Lopön Chandra Easton and musical guest, Adrienne Shamszad

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:

  • All-levels holistic yoga
  • Awareness meditations
  • Journaling and creative writing
  • Finding and writing your story
  • A playful and supportive community

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.

Unlocking the Creative Within Through Yoga, Writing, and Mindfulness
January 7–9, 2022
January 7, 2022
  -  
January 9, 2022
January 7, 2022
Unlocking the Creative Within Through Yoga, Writing, and Mindfulness
with Cara Chandler and Darnell Lamont Walker

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:

  • Develop an embodied understanding of Tantra.
  • Learn to communicate your personal practice to friends and family using your new academic, researched-based understanding.
  • Creatively explore your divine potential.
  • Enjoy the benefit of overcoming negative projections and self-generated illusions.
  • Learn practical modes of meditation — including internal visualization and externalization of mandalas.
  • Understand the connection of Tantra with art and music, and see a broader continuum of its relevance in life.

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

Tantra: Freedom and Self-Sovereignty (svādhikāra)
January 7–10, 2022
January 7, 2022
  -  
January 10, 2022
January 7, 2022
Tantra: Freedom and Self-Sovereignty (svādhikāra)
with Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú

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:

  • Determine the aspects of your life that are calling for healing and change
  • Begin that healing and change on the very first day of the workshop
  • Commit to an action plan for its completion
  • Take a giant leap forward in consciousness
  • Help create and support a small, like-minded community committed to the same leap

Raphael Cushnir creates a safe and gentle environment to help call forth your very best, using tools like:

  • Emotional-release work that combines vipassana, metta, and tantric approaches
  • Journaling and vision-boarding
  • Dyadic and triadic communication process
  • Movement and chanting

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!

Total Immersion for Total Transformation
January 9–14, 2022
January 9, 2022
  -  
January 14, 2022
January 9, 2022
Total Immersion for Total Transformation
with Raphael Cushnir
“When we experience moments of ecstasy, we taste what life is meant to be.”
–Gabrielle Roth

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.”
–Gabrielle Roth

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.

Maps to Ecstasy: 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
January 10–14, 2022
January 10, 2022
  -  
January 14, 2022
January 10, 2022
Maps to Ecstasy: 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
with Lucia Horan