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.
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Whatever our spiritual path or meditation experience, we benefit from finding and resting in the inner sanctuary of the heart — a place we arrive at naturally through releasing into a natural place of open, grounded presence.
Join us for a rejuvenating retreat where we will slow down and experience the benefits that meditation, mantra, music, and movement have to offer our body, mind, and soul.
Devotional chanteuse and recording artist, Nina Rao shares traditional chants from her ancestral home of India, guiding us to release into presence — the mental and emotional space where we find our inner sanctuary. Just knowing that this sanctuary exists can soften anxiety and clear a more open path as we walk through life. When you enter this practice of devotional chanting intentionally — day after day — the foundations of this sanctuary grow stronger such that our confidence develops with a clearer mind and an ever-opening heart to carry us through the day, one step at a time, moment-to-moment.
Buddhist teacher and author Lopön Chandra will offer guidance in meditation and gentle yoga to help us release into grounded presence with ease and comfort. We will learn techniques for developing shamatha, calm abiding, and vipashyana, insight. These techniques will include the mindfulness of breathing, an especially effective approach to soothing the body and calming the discursive mind, and more advanced techniques called “settling the mind in its natural state” and “awareness of awareness.” Yoga practice will be accessible for all body types and levels of experience.
Nina and Chandra share a profound appreciation for the complementary wisdom and devotional traditions of Tibet and India. Together, they weave a tapestry of mystical stories, meditations, mantra, singing chants, and gentle yoga to offer an immersive experience of the many pathways available to us as we explore the creative power that underlies our inner and outer nature.
Esalen is a truly magical experience this time of year, one that you will never forget. All are welcome.
In search of balance, the ancient sages of China walked into the woods to attune themselves with nature in its sublime integrity. The timeless wisdom uncovered in their wild wanderings was called simply Tao, “The Way.”
Qigong — the practice at the heart of Taoism — is dedicated to harmonizing body, mind, and spirit with the elements of nature. In this age, when so many of us feel disconnected and overwhelmed, wilderness remains a powerful healer and teacher, and qigong can bring us back to center.
Join us to learn an accessible qigong form called wai dan gong (“easy tao”) while immersing in the majestic landscape of Big Sur, the ancestral homeland of the Esselen tribe. We rise each morning to practice, harmonizing breath and movements with the flow of waves greeting Esalen’s cliffs. After breakfast, we set out on a wilderness hike to mindfully explore Big Sur’s enchanted redwoods, sun-steeped meadows, and mountains that rise from the sea. All along the trail, we explore qigong and Taoist philosophy as pathways for returning to a grounded, spacious, revitalized state of being — in harmony with nature, embodying Wild Tao.
Additional Resources and Notes:
Liminal dreaming is found in the space between waking and sleeping. In that moment, as you pass through hypnagogia and hypnopompia, the zones of liminal dreaming, your mind is in an imaginal place. It meanders between daytime awareness and the depths of the dream. Mystics, poets, philosophers, and scientists have all studied this practice since time immemorial in the hope of catching a glimpse of the mystery of the mind.
The truth is, we all possess the ability to maintain the waking, rational mind while sinking into the free-associative, kaleidoscopic realms of the unconscious. Yet very few of us have ever develop this powerful tool for investigating consciousness.
This workshop will provide an in-depth exploration of the remarkable, transformative, and even mystical mind states of hypnagogia and hypnopompia. You will learn practical exercises for locating and lingering in these astonishing liminal dream states and gain a set of valuable tools to continue your journey and dream practice.
Together we will explore ways that people across cultures and time have used liminal dreaming for consciousness exploration, creativity, problem-solving, and mental and spiritual healing and balance. Activities will include:
Note: As we will be settling into a dreamy state throughout the weekend, you are encouraged to bring any comforting items that might assist you in relaxing: special pillow, eye mask, blanket, etc.
Are you longing to be in the beauty of the outdoors and relish in the wonder of nature? After a long year spent looking at too many screens, step outside and meditate, serenaded by the lulling sounds of the ocean, cradled by rolling hills, and uplifted by exquisite gardens.
Following ancient spiritual traditions that value the transformative power of nature, this experiential workshop will be spent meditating entirely outdoors among the natural beauty and mystery of Esalen. Whether under a blazing sunset or in the stillness of cypress trees, we will open to the profound serenity and wisdom of nature. We will cultivate mindfulness — being present to ourselves while developing a contemplative relationship with nature. This leads to beautiful states of joy, peace, wonder, love and connection with oneself, one another and the larger web of life.
During our time together, there will be
This workshop is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators who are curious about meditation, mindfulness, and how to deepen our connection with the beauty and mystery of the natural world. Be prepared for unexpected rapture, delight, mystery, and stillness.
Recommended reading: Awake in the Wild, by Mark Coleman.
Embody and reconnect with your unique ancestral wisdom with the Five Elements of Yoga and Chinese medicine through nature, movement and art. Experientially learn Five Element philosophy and tools– from two similar yet divergent traditions– to apply in daily life. Discover your unique relationship with each Element, and come home to the wild beauty of your inner radiance!
Enjoy five nourishing days connecting with ourselves, each other, and the sacred Esalen landscape. Begin each morning with gentle yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation. Then root your understanding with engaging presentations, dynamic discussions, nature connection, journaling, and creative play.
Dive into the Five Elements of Yoga on Tuesday, explore the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine on Wednesday, then integrate on Thursday with group discussion, creative explorations, and restorative group acupuncture. Each day, we will:
Come reconnect with your unique ancestral wisdom through the Five Elements of Yoga and Chinese Medicine. Take home tangible skills and practices to align with seasonal rhythms in your daily life. Connect with the beauty of your inner and outer wilderness, resourcing abundant wild, creative, infinite potential to fully thrive.
We warmly welcome all levels of experience in yoga. We will have daily movement sessions, with modifications offered for most levels of mobility. This workshop is not appropriate for someone in a wheelchair.
Awe is the feeling of encountering vast mysteries that transcend our current knowledge and understanding of the world. In its greatest sense, it is an astonished and transformative appreciation for the moral beauty of others, for nature, for the arts—and is always 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 considering the narrative and cultural meanings of awe, we will begin to tease out where this feeling lives in our own minds and hearts and learn how to cultivate it more deeply.
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:
Join us for this incredible opportunity to refresh your heart and mind in the breathtaking natural setting of Esalen and Big Sur.
We are living in a watershed moment in human history, an era with unprecedented opportunities for women to rise into leadership with refreshing, authentic, collaborative and impassioned feminine power. In this three-day,two-night gathering of visionaries, change agents, and leaders, we will facilitate the next wave of women’s empowerment — for both ourselves and this fractured world that needs our help. Leaders in medicine, film, science, psychology, consciousness, technology, impact investing, and cultural arts will all gather to listen, heal, integrate, and unite our energy.
Creating a culture of mentorship, we will share our visions and collectively amplify our impact. Drawing on the sacred lands and traditions of Esalen, we will bring forward ancient wisdom. Utilizing the latest insights from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, we will consciously embody the society we wish to build. We will learn from each other’s wisdom across disciplines, diverse backgrounds, and generations. We will be present in our physical bodies with the foundation of self-love.
This program will include embodied practices of meditation, expressive writing and visioning work, authentic sharing of life experiences, and live music by Christen Lien. Exercises will be based on principles of ancient wisdom, blended with techniques informed by modern-day research on the science of well-being and change.
This summit is an opportunity for women and women-identifying individuals ready to collaborate with visionary leaders — and to bring their own healing gifts to the world from a place of embodied truth, grace, courage, and compassion.
It is easy in this big bad beautiful world to be thrown off, distracted, or so overwhelmed we can’t feel ourselves. Most of us need concerted focus, inspiration, and support to engage in the deep listening of the inner workings of our own body and being.
Join Andrea Juhan, co-founder of Open Floor International, LMFT, and returning faculty member, for this stunning week of returning home to yourself through intentional movement.
To reconnect, to reimagine, to remember, to recharge, to re-access. The prefix “re-” points to circling back to something known or held as valuable before.
In movement practice, the dance of ‘circling back’ can be poignant and illuminating. To realign with something essential in ourselves is vital to living our own values and gifts. The movements of returning are known to us, and the practice and art of doing so vitalizes and aligns us with our core selves.
If there is to be a reinvention or a recommitment to something we have been with before, we need to know what we are capable of now, in 2022, at whatever age we are, and in whatever state of health we find ourselves in. A time of retreat and the focused play of embodiment practice invites this into re-evaluation and renewal.
During this week together we will play with these methods.
Open Floor Movement Practice is mindful movement and can be done at any level of fitness. Please wear comfortable flowing clothing to support your experience.
A daily writing practice and a consistent meditation practice have the power to ground us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for the joy as well as the fear.
This experiential meditation retreat and writing workshop invites writers and meditators of all levels to delve deeply into both practices. We’ll begin each day with a burst of free writing — what Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice’ — generating work we will share with each other in a safe and supportive environment.
We will follow with guided meditations crafted to help us develop the resources necessary to cope in times of crisis, as well as nourish our creativity. Our meditations encourage presence to the world, forge strong mind/body connectivity, and greater access to our emotions and empathy.
The workshop’s meditations are supported by prompted bursts of free writing designed to help us tap into our creative energy, bypass our internal judge, and bring out our most original and deeply felt writing. We’ll explore how the dual practices of free writing and journaling can support us during times of uncertainty and change.
There will be time to write and time to share what we’re writing with the group. Everyone will leave with the tools and the inspiration to cultivate their own daily meditation and daily writing practices.
Traditional African rituals are an important part of our global spiritual heritage. They have much to teach us about many different forms of creation: how the universe was brought into being, how to manifest things we want in the world, and how to create a life filled with divine harmony.
In this workshop, we will introduce the world of African ritual through a screening of Marques Redd’s experimental film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth – a fantasia of dance and theatrical performance shot with fluorescent body paint and ultraviolet light. From there, we will explore a variety of ritual modalities designed to enliven all the senses.
Come prepared to engage with the Primordial Blackness that precedes creation and embodies infinite possibility. We’ll use African symbols and movement to energize your intentions and activate the cosmic strings that link everything in creation in order to draw your desires to you. Experience symbolic death in order to be resurrected into new life, and employ the magic of spaces and thresholds.
Traditional African rituals are a powerful and effective mode of spiritual expression. They are grounded in the view that humans must vigilantly maintain harmonious relationships in both worldly and divine realms in order to prosper. Ritual is the means to negotiate responsible relationships in the human community and with the ancestors, spirits, divinities, and cosmos. Filled with cognitive complexity, wisdom, and aesthetic splendor, African rituals are also very practical. They provide techniques for manifestation, fostering empowerment, affecting transformation, cultivating vitality, and expanding human consciousness.
This workshop will provide you with many ritual tools that you will be able to use to plug directly into potent spiritual energy to empower your life!
This is an era of chaos, change, and grief for the world. As we continue moving through these unprecedented times, we are required to face many difficulties that may seem insurmountable. We invite you to a weekend retreat to hold together what should not be held alone.
Have you experienced loss and the natural emotions of sadness, anger, fear, and love? How do you process your losses and move through your life? Many of us have not yet found safe and effective ways of expressing these emotions and we can feel burdened, both emotionally and physically, with the cumulative weight of our unfinished business.
Using the tools of the 5Rhythms movement practice combined with a process of grief work grounded in emotional presence, non-judgment, and supportive witnessing, participants will come together in a safe space to help heal mind, body, and spirit:
The weekend also includes didactic and experiential sessions focused on natural and distorted emotional responses to grief, caregiving vs. caretaking, and more.
Please bring photos or other mementos of anyone whose memory you would like to bring into the workshop.
Recommended Reading: Sweat Your Prayers, Maps to Ecstasy, Connections By Gabrielle Roth Dancing With Dharma: Essays on Movement And Dance In Western Buddhism edited by Harrison Blum, Published by McFarland & Company. Surviving the Fall (Peter Selwyn: Yale University Press
Integrative Gestalt Coaching™ (IGC) is a method developed by Perry Holloman over the last 40 years while living at Esalen. He travels and teaches this approach in Europe and Asia, working with individuals and groups as well as coaching businesses and communities.
This program is designed for people wanting to learn basic skills in the practice of Gestalt applicable to their personal lives as well as their work with individuals and groups.
Gestalt places high value on the development of awareness in the realm of our internal experience (personality structure) and our relational experience (family relationships, intimate relationships, professional relationships, etc). Developing awareness of how our internal experience influences our relationships, and how our relationships transform us personally can have a powerful impact on the quality of our lives and will be a central focus of our time together.
Perry will combine experiential exercises supported by theoretical knowledge in creating a well-rounded program suited both for people wanting a month of self-exploration and those wanting to develop Gestalt Coaching skills supporting their work with individuals and groups.
A certificate from the Holloman Institute is available for those completing and documenting 30 one-hour sessions at home after completion of this program.
Experience five days of deep restoration, reflection, and rejuvenation. Using the profound practice of Yoga Nidra guided meditation, we will restore the body, clear the mind, and shift the habitual patterns that keep you from being calm, clear and balanced.
Yoga (meaning “union”) Nidra (meaning “sleep”) is a path to that liminal state of being between waking and sleeping. This is where you can systematically release stored physical, emotional, and mental tensions.
Let go of old beliefs and habits that keep you locked in the past and fearful of the future! Experience your emotions fully, knowing you have unchanging, unshakable ground beneath you — a calm inner presence that allows you to see clearly.
We will move our bodies, clear our minds, and create intentions to live, not from unconscious and automatic past programming but from a new perspective — an aware, deliberate way of being. We will learn how to take this felt sense of being — this new awareness of the True Self — back into our personal lives, family lives, work lives, and love lives.
Together we will cultivate new tools, knowledge, and intentions to help you negotiate those times when you are under stress and feel lost, tired, and confused — when you forget who you are. These tools are important allies on the path to gaining life mastery. The path to meeting and welcoming your challenges and remembering your True Being.
All that is being asked of you is to show up, lie down, and let go. Yoga Nidra will do the rest. Please bring blankets, a yoga mat, an eye pillow, and anything else you need to lie comfortably on the floor for extended periods of time. And we’ll have opportunities to practice outside, so bring layers!
Esalen massage promotes feelings of wholeness and a return to our natural state of ease. Whether a novice or professional, this course guides you through basic massage concepts, with exercises to awaken your senses and plenty of at-the-table guidance. The senior instructors will demonstrate the essential elements, highlighting comfortable draping, the foundational long, integrating strokes, gentle assisted movements, and the all-important pause. Grounding, contact, and the impact of touch will be introduced and practiced with classmates, building an embodied learning experience. The professional caregiver or practitioner can also refresh their existing work with Esalen’s pace, presence — “the listening hand” — and mindful body mechanics. Don’t be surprised if you come away realizing you like to give a simple Esalen massage as much as you like to receive it.
Arrive prepared to enjoy the healing waters of Esalen’s natural hot mineral springs and the serene beauty of the Esalen land. As a gift option, the group will meet for an evening ritual in the baths, weather and space permitting. The sound of the waves and the flowing strokes harmonize into an extraordinary massage experience.
In authentic Enneagram work — using the powerful system of nine interconnected personality types as a tool for self-compassion, awareness, and relational wellness — we make a distinction between the outer and inner expressions of the three centers of intelligence: body, heart, and mind. We learn through practice about real presence in the body, and how presence in the heart is quite different from our usual emotions. But as we become more established in presence in our bodies and hearts, the mystery of our True Mind begins to reveal itself. We learn that much of what goes on in our heads is not yet true thinking, and that even beyond our capacity to think clearly lies our capacity for direct knowing — what the ancient Greeks called gnosis.
With the development of the head center comes clarity, discrimination, guidance for life, and a vast inner freedom and sense of possibility — tapping into the very sources of intuition and inspiration. In this workshop, we will look at Enneagram points 5 (The Investigator), 6 (The Loyalist), and 7 (The Enthusiast) not just as types but as ways we can become stuck in certain patterns of thinking, as well as portals to the amazing possibilities of our awakened minds. But it is not aimed solely at these types; this is intended to help all of the Enneagram points work more powerfully with their head centers.
The workshop will include conversational instruction, meditation practices, inquiry exercises, music, and sessions of the Gurdjieff Movements. It is also a continuation of previous Esalen retreats on the Body and Heart Centers, and will focus on the Enneagram as part of the larger Fourth Way perspective.
For over 30 years, Paul Heussenstamm has been traveling worldwide and teaching Art as a Spiritual Path. His beautiful soul mandalas have been created by individuals who have never painted before, and others seeking to expand their creativity through mandala practice. Mandala painting is a genuine form of meditation, cultivating inner harmony as the mandala births itself through painting participants.
Art as a Spiritual Path has been taught at Esalen since the 90’s, and we have shared the wisdom of the mandalas with participants from all over the world. The mandala, an integrated image of wholeness, dates back to ancient times. Mandala practice, while painting, opens the heart, calms the mind, and has the capacity to expand consciousness.
During this dynamic program, we will…
Reveal the artist inside each of us!
The workshop is a gentle entry into the left brain hemisphere revealing the capacity to open each of us to the creative experience. Each participant joins the workshop as an individual, while the mandala binds the group together, as we all work together to have each individual artist reveal a beautiful, meditative, and radiant mandala.
There is no experience necessary as the workshop technique has been simplified to allow either a beginner or advanced creative person to have the experience of finishing a mandala and/or another sacred image. Participants worldwide have experienced the workshop, from all artistic levels, ages 18-93.
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.
Join us during this most auspicious time of year, when the veils are thin and ancestral magic abounds. As we soak in the healing waters and steep under star-filled skies, we will connect with our ancestral lines while honoring the ancestors of the lands upon which we meet.
We are part of a continuum, poised between the past and future — living in this present moment while carrying the legacy of the gifts and burdens of all of those that came before. In each moment, we are consciously, or unconsciously, choosing what we carry forward — through our creations of work, service, relationships, and children. We will take this opportunity to bless and be blessed by the ancestral stream.
Together in this workshop, we’ll experience:
We will honor and begin to heal our relationship to the ancestral fields and shift the patterns of our ingrained conditioning to choose a new way forward together.
The diversity of our ancestral experiences and, paradoxically, the commonality of their themes can settle us in our humanity, building internal resilience and coherent community connection and moving us toward common goals for the good of all.
This type of healing is profound on an individual level and miraculous for our collective well-being. It offers pathways toward a world we know is possible.
Ritual brings astrology to life. Since ancient times, the power of the celestial bodies has always been best understood through embodiment practices and ceremony. When we work with archetypal energies, we can invoke their potency and alchemical power through meaning- and presence-making tools such as altars, guided meditation, nature connection, and movement.
Together, we will experience:
Join queer author, artist, and teacher Day Schildkret and astrologer and poet Heidi Rose Robbins as they expertly guide you into the heart of ritual crafting as a path into the spiritual potential within your astrological chart.
Each participant will receive a copy of their astrological chart and will learn about the three primary positions from a soul-centered perspective: the Sun, the Moon, and the Rising Sign. These three positions inform how we offer our gifts and overcome the inner and outer obstacles to our fullest radiance.
The Brothers Koren invite you to experience the power of your own voice medicine and awaken your healing voice to experience wholeness, vitality, and connection. The Brothers Koren are transformational voice leaders, artists, and musical journey-men who study, guide, and facilitate voice-positive experiences around the world, for voices of all levels of experience.
They will set a loving, non-judgmental, and safe space for you to reclaim the healing power and connection to both your speaking and singing voice, while grounding into the gravity of your whole body instrument, ultimately becoming your own sonic healer.
Together we will practice:
This long weekend will be filled with embodied voice experiences for beginners and professionals alike. No matter what your level of experience, there is no prior knowledge of singing required. The weekend will also create a container to ‘dare to suck’, a return to a playful approach to the voice.
Love is not a mood but a state of being. —Gabrielle Roth
Gabrielle Roth’s 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 dance with the transformative qualities of fear and courage, anger and forgiveness, grief and surrender, joy and generosity, compassion and connection. We will practice with the Brahmavihara meditations that cultivate loving kindness, equanimity, joy, and compassion.
Together we will integrate the stillness of Buddhist mindfulness meditation with the moving meditations of the 5Rhythms®. 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 together mirror the dance of life and open the door to peace, well-being, and balance.
Connection and compassion are keys to finding peace and happiness in a world suffering from fear and isolation. Cultivating compassion can relieve stress and allow more kindness to be present in our lives.
All skills taught are meant to be taken home and applied to your daily life. All workshop hours contribute to 5Rhythms® teacher training prerequisites.
This is a workshop for everyone, it is NOT meant specifically for couples but for anyone who is interested in a deeper understanding of the Tantric tradition.
Let’s talk about sex, baby! In this workshop, we explore the similarities and differences between Tantra and Neo-Tantra, including the concept of sex for procreation versus sexual rituals for living liberation (jīvanmukti) and more.
Join Tantric Scholar-Practitioners Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Cantú for this exploration of the foundations of Tantric theory and practice. Together, we will immerse ourselves in the latest findings from academic research and ethnographic participant-observation that challenge and reframe our conception of what Tantra was, is, and can be. We’ll intertwine that research with authentic Indian folk music performances and guided meditations in a creative, visceral experience for the mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will open your eyes to Tantra’s connection to a wide variety of vibrant artistic and meditative practices.
In this workshop, you’ll be invited to:
Develop skills to communicate your personal practice to friends and family using your new academic, researched-based understanding of Tantra.
Please Note: In this workshop, we will not be demonstrating Tantric Sex or how to enhance sexual pleasures. However, much of what we will discuss will address gender identity and sexuality.
We invite you to join us for this series of workshops that blend meditation, art, and music with a holistic inquiry into the power and therapeutic potential of Tantra. Bring an open mind as we explore deep questions about our bodies and minds in a safe space and nurturing environment.
“Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is important to me?”
Asking yourself these questions will activate your inner authenticity and allow you to move forward and live your life in alignment with your truest self. The answers to these questions will help you navigate life’s journey with direction, motivation, and inspiration.
The number one regret of the dying is that they lacked the courage to live a life true to themselves. In this workshop, you will reconnect with your authentic self through a series of exercises, such as guided meditation, self-inquiry, journaling, Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as Tapping), and one-on-one and group sharing and embodiment practices. This curated process is designed to allow you space to get clear about:
With that clarity, you can create your manifesto, a written statement declaring who you truly are. Let that sink in: We will first uncover this hidden self, and then, together, we will manifest this being into reality.
Together we will explore:
One-on-one and group sharing and embodiment practices to connect and share learn practical tools to help reprogram your subconscious mind and heal your connection with your truest, deepest, highest self. You will also have the opportunity to apply these insights to cultivate authentic interactions with others. As you deepen the embodiment of your native self, you’ll experience the great freedom of simply being you. This is one of the greatest victories you can possibly achieve: living a courageous life true to yourself — with no regrets.
Please bring a journal and pen to every session.
Where have you come from? Where are you now? Where are you going? We are continuously challenged to find our true purpose and meaning — our ‘direction’ in life. Unconditionally, you are invited to question your direction deeply with a very special union of The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County and the Esalen Institute.Through Healing Waters, we weave the deep knowledge of the medicine wheel, led by Esselen Tribal Medicine Woman Cari Herthel, with the powerful and moving meditation practice of the 5Rhythms®, led by facilitator Douglas Drummond. This week-long exploration into sacred ritual practice and deep intentional movement explores the teachings of the Four Directions within the medicine wheel. We will embrace this knowledge and guidance through ceremony and storytelling, integrating the unique teachings through the 5Rhythms® moving meditation practice. This unification is metaphorically two rivers flowing together into a shared source.
Honoring the mana/matsa — the life force — of the healing waters flowing through the sacred land at the Esalen Institute, we will set an intention to gather in community. We will share our stories, honor our differences, and celebrate our unique directions as waypoints that center us. We will breathe life into the endless directions our journeys can lead.
In this dynamic program, we will explore:
All levels of experience are welcome. Bring your curiosity and willingness to explore.
The Esalen Institute is deeply honored to welcome back the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County to our workshop schedule. This collaboration will be the first in over 10 years, and it will be the catalyst for future partnerships. Acknowledging the presence of the people from this land, on this land, will be a powerful offering for our week together.
If you would like to begin your own journey to understand the past and present of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey Country or to support the tribe in the progress of its work, please visit www.esselentribe.org.
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 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, walks 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.
Pranayama: An ancient and powerfully transformative modality practiced by dedicated yogis as a means to both activate prana (life force) and yama (to gain control of). Pranayamas are practiced to elevate pranic energies.
Join master breathwork facilitator Ellen Watson in this singular opportunity to transform your life by exploring breathwork in its many forms. In recent years, numerous modalities of breathwork have gained global recognition as powerful tools for human transformation.
Through a powerful blend of experiential breathwork meditation practices, supportive bodywork protocols, mandala drawings, and group sharing, you’ll be empowered with new tools, knowledge, and an understanding of the transformative power of your breath.
In our time together, we will experience and practice various pranayamas, Hototropic® Breathwork, Vibrance™ Breathwork’s Safe Harbor and Flying Solo disciplines.
Together we will practice breathwork protocols that you can take home with you when it’s time to continue your journey, such as:
In addition to our work in the breathing room, we will have a session at the Esalen Baths, moving from the hot springs to the cold plunge tub to experience the profound effects of hydrotherapy. We will prepare a breathing technique specifically to support your cold plunge, which you’ll be able to use at the baths whenever you choose.
Throughout this month, you’ll learn personal inquiry skills, how to clear your energetic body, to release physical holding patterns, and deepen your sense of yourself as a whole and integrated human being.
“Enoughness” is the starting point of any journey toward gratitude. We begin to fully take in the profound gift of all that is unfolding only when we recognize that we are enough.
With Esalen as our transformative container, let’s meet during the week of Thanksgiving. Let’s honor the land and the Esselen people, the indigenous stewards of this place, as we remember the awe of the natural world around us and the life force within us.
Throughout the week, we will practice giving thanks for the world around us. We’ll cultivate curiosity and wonder for the life we have here and now. We’ll begin to move our attention away from the long list of “lack” that can consume our days.
To support the cultivation of this state of being, we will include daily practices to create suppleness in mind, spirit, and body:
We will return to the present to reclaim and embrace ourselves in our wholeness as enough. We will attend to all the ways we are enough, give enough, get enough, and have enough so we can lay claim to the power of life pulsing through us.
Each day will be an exploration of practices and tools that can cultivate and make space for a sense of contentment — and a chance for “giving” to ripple out into the world with grace and gratitude.
“The shaman moves between realities, a magical athlete of states of consciousness engaged in mythic feats. The shaman is a middle man between ordinary and non-ordinary reality, as Castaneda has dramatically described. The shaman is also a power-broker in the sense of manipulating spiritual power to help people, to put them into a healthy equilibrium.” Michael Harner
Shamanic healing is intuitive, hands-on energy work that integrates various practices for spiritual extraction and removal of intrusive energies. Breathing techniques combined with an energetic “sucking” process aid in eradicating unwanted and potentially harmful energies caused by stress, dense environments, or contact with unbalanced individuals struggling with addiction or other harmful afflictions. Intrusive energies can also come from troubled spirits stuck between ordinary and non-ordinary realities.
This unique practice, influenced by Native American teachers and shamans from North and South America, utilizes special herbs (such as sage, cedar, sweet grass, bear root, and tobacco) along with eagle, condor, and hawk feathers to assist with clearing and balancing the emotional body and spirit. This releases energy blockages and brings a sense of peace and centering to reconnect us with the power and wisdom of the life force within.
To begin, we will focus on self-healing to experience the power of these techniques on our own skin and in our hearts. After that, we will apply what we’ve learned to partners within the group. We will also be drumming and chanting healing songs.
This workshop is designed for shamanic practitioners, psychic healers, and all those interested in alternative approaches to spiritual healing. This practice is open to all walks of life, all religions, and all spiritual beliefs.
We are going to experience a way of life — a philosophy of living in harmony with Mother Nature and our own spirituality — through the healing power of the four elements: fire, water, earth, and air.
Master Chungliang “Uncle Al” Huang, one of Esalen’s most cherished faculty members, brings 50+ years of teaching experience to welcome you into China’s ancient practice of qigong.
During this workshop, Master Huang will teach the most essential qigong exercises — guiding students through energetic practices of movement, storytelling, and subtle energy work. This is an experience for those who wish to sustain a daily practice for the mind, body, and spirit.
Master Huang will teach easy-to-absorb, adaptive exercises and assist you through metaphors, visualization, sonic chanting, meditation, and deep circular breathing methods. Participants will hear about the great history of this ancient practice as Master Huang shares his vast wealth of knowledge.
A fun, joyful weekend for all ages and levels of practitioners! We will learn to incorporate this healthy practice as a consistent habit: Wei Wu Wei — “doing by not doing, spontaneously.”
Beginners and “advanced beginners” are welcome.
A renowned Brazilian trance medium named Luiz Antonio Gasparetto (son of famed spiritualist writer Zíbia Alencastro Gasparetto) was invited to Esalen in 1979. During his stay, Gasparetto channeled an ancient Chinese entity known as Chung In Lang who, through the medium, proceeded to teach methods of energetic healing and the cleansing of patterns to those present. Present and included was Maria Lucia Sauer, Carlos Sauer’s sister. After witnessing this event, Maria dedicated her life to teaching this healing technique both at Esalen and around the world.
In 1982, Carlos received these teachings from his sister as her assistant. He would eventually master the technique to become one of its teachers. He is now honored to bring Spiritual Massage back to its current place of origin, the Esalen Institute.
This workshop will offer practical methods for using the hands as instruments of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Participants will learn and practice the application of the technique as well as experience its personal benefits. The workshop is designed for bodyworkers, therapists, health professionals, and anyone interested in learning how to work with energy and bodies.
Please note that it is necessary that the students abstain from alcohol during the workshop. Participants will learn how to apply these healing techniques and will also receive its benefits. We will learn how to perform smudging with white sage and cleansing with sea salt water.
Recommended reading: The Book of Spirits and the Book of Mediums by Allan Kardec
Experience “process painting” with Stewart Cubley and staff.
In this expressive painting workshop, participants will enjoy artistic freedom — creating without the pressure to perform, produce, or succeed. Everyone will be a beginner. Whether you are a veteran painter or picking up a paintbrush for the first time, this experience will be about the creative process rather than technique, training, or expertise.
In the respectful and nurturing studio environment, you’ll receive individual attention and gentle guidance to:
There will be no critiques, analyses, or judgments of the work. This workshop may interest people from a wide variety of disciplines, including art, education, counseling, social change, and meditative practices.
All materials are supplied, including high-quality, non-toxic liquid tempera on paper and synthetic squirrel Raphael brushes.
To be truly creative, to let go of preconceived restrictions, is to allow yourself the freedom to flow. Taoist wisdom calls this Wu Wei — the art of 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 renewed and refreshed ways to dance the open structures of this ancient wonder of movement meditation.
With more than fifty consecutive years of teaching experience at Esalen, Master Huang creates a unique Tai Ji class for practitioners at all levels. Come prepared to enjoy “Uncle Al’s” storytelling, energy practices, and qigong mastery in this creative “Living Your Tao” Tai Ji experience.
When was the last time you gave something your undivided attention? Nearly 2,500 years ago, Buddha worried we had become too distracted — and that was before paper, let alone smartphones. In 2022, 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.
There is a different way. For this weekend workshop, 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 exploring 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 – exploring 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 Buddhist 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.
Have you created the impact you want? Are you showing up the way you want to? Are you going in the right direction? You have never been where you are today. You have never been the age you are today, or had the experience you have today. This is your time to pause and reflect. Rarely do we allow ourselves the time to stop and look at what is changing and what we need to feel fulfilled.
Through this experiential weekend, we will create a courageous community to both challenge and nurture ourselves. Our goal is to step back from our lives and renew ourselves. Participants will have the opportunity to learn what brings them joy and purpose and cultivate a vision to serve as a foundation for both the next year and the next phase of life.
We will engage in a progression of individual and group exercises focused on reflection, movement, and listening to our inner wisdom. In the process, we will discover how to navigate the stages of major life transitions, practice the skills to access our intuition, and reveal which of our behaviors either support or unconsciously undermine our overall success. The experience will be especially valuable for those who are passionate about having a more powerful and authentic impact on the world around them.
This is a very interactive workshop with lots of experiential exercises. The content includes important theory and plenty of reflection time, but this workshop will not be a series of talks/lectures. There will be movement, coaching, a little dance, and lots of activity in the whole group. All participation is voluntary at all times.
This course offers a deeper immersion into the mindful flow of Esalen® Massage. Senior teachers will guide participants via presence-based meditation, touch, muscles, and movement to savor these elemental massage skills.
This course is useful to re-boot an existing practice, yet simple enough for the novice to master. Whether giving or receiving a massage, you will walk away feeling your spirits renewed and your body refreshed.
There will be plenty of time for you to take in the natural scope of Esalen land and baths, and perhaps the butterflies. Join us for this invigorating workshop.
How empowered do you feel as a woman navigating this world? What is your relationship to the feminine? And to female wisdom? Join us inside the Moon Lodge, a place for exploration — for women to find tribal and ritual healing.
The 5Rhythms is a map that teaches us how energy moves. It shows us the patterns, rhythms, and cycles of life — Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness® — and can be a direct path to the embodiment and empowerment many of us do not feel in a time of patriarchy.
This workshop will be about celebrating the body of Woman and the sacred feminine within us all. Through dance, meditation, massage, acupuncture, and ritual baths, we will share in the Sisterhood of humanity. We will poultice our wounds and celebrate the great gifts of our ancestors.
This workshop includes:
Dr. Julie Von, a specialist in women’s health, will present the Chinese Medicine perspective on the five elements, psycho-somatic process, restorative acupuncture, and self-care. She will teach us to prioritize these pillars and recognize when we are out of balance.
Lucia Horan will integrate the stillness of Buddhist mindfulness meditation with the moving meditations of the 5Rhythms®. 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. Together, these two polarities mirror the dance of life and open the door to peace, well-being, and balance.
Fostering close, connected relationships is one of the most important things affecting the quality of our lives. Cultivating trust and openness with our loved ones, whether they be intimate partners or friends, is an essential aspect of any successful, supportive relationship.
Perry and Johanna Holloman have been intimate partners and friends for over 30 years. This weekend, they will share the most effective tools and practices that they have developed to nurture their connection to one another.
The primary tool Perry and Johanna will share is called Gestalt Inquiry. This easy-to-learn, powerful practice provides a safe context for exploring the most meaningful and sensitive aspects of relationships. Perry and Johanna like to think of it as a practice that becomes a continuing part of any successful long-term relationship because it places high value on the aspects of compassion, respect, and love of truth. As we learn to discover and safely express what is true for us, both individually, as a couple, or as friends, we deepen our heart’s capacity for intimacy and connection, which leads to a more fulfilling and meaningful shared life.
During our time together, you will learn practices and resources to integrate into your everyday life, such as:
This workshop is for couples of all genders and sexual orientations. A couple may be any two people with a history who desire a better future together, e.g., friends, partners, married or divorced spouses, parent and child, siblings, etc.
Now more than ever, it is important for us to build practices to strengthen our internal resolve and self-resourcing amidst a fundamentally transitioning society. Together, we will awaken and listen to our heart’s wisdom in this incredible four-day journey (Friday to Monday) through sound, ceremony, and self-discovery.
In this intimate and transformative workshop, you will have the unique opportunity to experience three different East Forest live music performances: an intentional ceremony, a full concert, and a group co-creative music session. Additionally, Radha will lead us in embodiment practices based upon the principles of Self Awakening Yoga, Somatic Experiencing, and Yin Yoga to create an all-levels and accessible doorway to inner insights. Ecstatic Dance and breathwork. Through the primacy of our own heart-opening, we can discover the inner pathways to resiliency and healing.
East Forest and Radha would like to offer a certain amount of scholarships to those in need. Please apply with this form. If further assistance would be helpful, you may also apply for an Esalen scholarship.
***Please note: While the retreat space and exercises are conducive to deep inner work, the facilitators and Esalen do not permit the use of or provide substances of any kind.
The hunger to belong is at the heart of our nature.
Uncertain times have shaken and are shaking our habitual ways of being. Individually and collectively, we are experiencing anxiety, disconnection, and the reality of impermanence even as we begin our journey into the ever-forming “new normal.” Now more than ever, we need to let our somatic system know safety by connecting to our somatic and emotional intelligence, easing into open-hearted social connections and the natural world — so we may settle and ground in our organism’s capacity for resilience, self-regulation, and inherent belonging.
A sense of deep belonging and connection is the natural state of our being. Our nervous system and physiology are wired to feel belonging. We are being called to greet change in manners not previously known to most of us — individually and collectively. To know and feel our belonging in these times asks us to grow awareness — to cultivate genuine heartfelt curiosity, to have courage to feel our vulnerability, and increase our capacity for authentic compassion.
Together, we’ll explore using a variety of practices:
Listening deeply, life conspires to let us know the heart of interconnectedness even in the midst of the unknowable. We will draw from various wisdom traditions, contemplative practices, contemporary somatic and neuropsychology to explore ancient, yet new ways of belonging to ourselves, others, and to the other-than-human world in which we participate. When we embody the birthright of our interconnectedness and the heart of belonging, ever-changing life lives through us.
Please expect to be indoors and outdoors, on the Esalen grounds. We will work in group, paired, and solo practices. This workshop will take place on Esalen grounds.
End the year strong in this transformational and deeply interactive workshop with award-winning instructor Justin Michael Williams. In this once-yearly event, you will:
Together, we’ll create your personal action plan for 2023 and define your steps for action, using a simple and proven method that you can take into the new year. This is your moment to reset, renew, overcome fear and self-doubt, and say “yes” to the year that lies ahead. Become more authentically inspired and motivated as you learn practical tools to overcome the hidden patterns holding you back from the power that’s inside of you. Awaken your true power for the year ahead.
This program has been designed from the ground up to welcome all people of all genders, races, identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
10% of tuition goes to the Dream Bigger Foundation, which provides scholarship funds to underserved communities, and hosts the Liberation Experience, a program that works to unite people across social, political, and religious divides, and other transformational opportunities.
Recommended reading: Stay Woke, by Justin Michael Williams
What is Spiritual Fertility? It is the path of returning to the awe and magic that inspires you to reproduce and bring life into this world. Everyone is fertile; however, our common standards for measuring fertility are faulty. Our narratives around fertility offer much in the way of diagnosis but little in the way of care for the mind, body, and spirit.
This workshop was developed to meet you wherever you are on your journey. It is also a clarion call to those who have felt alone or discouraged. We gather together to hold what is too big to be held alone. We will teach practical skills to help you reconnect to sources of hope, positivity, and magic.
In the healing lands of Esalen, self-care can become your guide. We will find positive ways to reframe fear and stress. We will teach clinically proven techniques that support expansion and trust. These powerful tools will connect you to clarity and intuition. Together, we will develop a deeper relationship with the untapped energies of the universe that can be accessed for your benefit. All of this can be taken home and applied to your daily life.
We will discuss how past experiences, such as miscarriages, terminations, infertility, or medical procedures can create spiritual blockages. In doing so, we open the opportunity for healing, balance, and cultivation of our most fertile self.
Dr. Julie Von will teach compassionate and proven practices to help reorient with wholeness, unlock grief, and access deep intuitive wisdom. Lucia Horan will lead us in a movement practice that combines the stillness of Buddhist mindfulness with the moving mediation of dance to release, reconnect, and restore.
This workshop includes the following practices:
Winter solstice is a time to reflect — to cultivate vitality and nurture ourselves. The dark days of winter are an opportune time to slow down and make space for self-care. This winter solstice yoga retreat will focus on cultivating inner awareness. By practicing in community, we build inner vitality and brightness to return home renewed.
During this retreat, we will combine three healing practices in the exquisite and rejuvenating natural environment of Esalen to revitalize the body and calm the mind. Together, we will focus our attention on being by using:
The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because the seasonal movement of the sun’s path appears to come to a stop before reversing direction at the solstices. 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.
Soul is flow. It’s an ever-changing play of sensations and feelings. It’s how the deathless Presence meets and moves our finite human body. In this workshop, we will reclaim the body-in-motion as a doorway to the life that is unfolding just under the surface of everyday forgetting.
A formless dance form, Soul Motion allows for passionate, full-bodied movement as well as mindful inner explorations, art making, ritual, and luscious lounging. Together, we will integrate conscious movement, body-based inquiries of Gestalt Practice, and the stillness of nature for a process to transform body, heart, and spirit.
Soul Motion is a meeting between self and other in a dance that is deeply creative, nourishing 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.
During this week together, we will:
Open to anybody willing to move, pause, listen, and truly relax into one timeless moment. This workshop is especially helpful for people in the healing professions who work with clients, patients, and students.
CE hours for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs available; see Faculty.
There will be a celebratory Christmas Eve dinner in the Esalen Lodge.
Touch is our forgotten language. In this introductory massage course, participants learn to listen to each other, gain the sensory skill of initiating touch, experience the felt sense of touch and muscle release, and leave with some balanced tenderness. Seasoned instructors will offer exercises, demonstrations, and at-the-table guidance during the supervised practice. The simple principles of Esalen massage – presence, connection, attending rather than fixing, self-care, receptivity, and slow-paced strokes encompassing the body, build a heartfelt experience with a partner or a friend, and perhaps most significantly, ourselves.
The wavelike motion of the ocean inspires the pace of Esalen Massage. Its methods include the following: Connection to the earth, self, and massage partner; an emphasis on presence rather than fixing; a respect for our natural impulse toward health and healing. Students learn to sense into the body and encourage release of muscular tension. The effects of this massage reach deep, often repairing old wounds and awakening our joyful vitality.
By the final session participants will share a simple yet comforting Esalen® massage. Experienced practitioners and caregivers will find it refreshing to apply the Esalen method and notice its healing effect as their pace slows and the mind becomes focused on compassionate contact rather than only rely on technique.
Touch can evoke an opening to spirit through our innate ability to move into healthful balance or a broader sense of nature surrounding us. The edgy wildness of Esalen’s grounds, canyons, hot springs, and mountain backdrop invite this deeper natural connection. The group may include an optional evening massage ritual in the baths. This is the birthplace of Esalen Massage.
Recommended reading: Connecting through Touch, by Peggy Horan
Meditating in noble silence offers a special opportunity to focus inward, deeply connect with oneself, 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 is a quiet, reflective New Year celebration with the opportunity to discover a deep, centered place within. The week will be spent in periods of noble silence with two extended periods a day for various meditation practices. Lunch will be at a silent table. You will 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 to build the momentum of concentration and awareness.
This mindful meditation will utilize the rich, sensual experience of Esalen — the sounds of the ocean, the feeling of the air, and the beauty of its colors and textures — as well as the rich experience of our own bodies and minds. Evenings will be open to mindfully enjoy the beauty and community, or you may 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.
The New Year is a powerful threshold. It is an opportunity to listen deeply, reflect, restore, and create anew. This retreat invites you on an embodied journey bridging personal and collective awakening. Rather than setting NY resolutions based on the myth of self-improvement, we will set intentions from the heart of our being, celebrating who we actually are beyond limiting beliefs and the illusion of separate self.
Acknowledging the gravity of the times we face, we will exchange judgment and striving for compassion, clear-seeing, and possibility. This retreat includes meditation and mindful inquiry, relational mindfulness, conscious movement, somatic practices, deep time in nature, writing, and ritual.
Throughout our time together, we 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.
Have you ever worked hard to make a change, only to find yourself slipping back into old habits? Want to supercharge your ability to stimulate behavior change in others when it comes to the issues you care about the most? Is it time to break free from old patterns and build your next chapter? This workshop is for people in the process of change and those who work as change agents with individuals, groups, and organizations and 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. You will:
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.
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ― Mary Oliver
The New Year is an auspicious time to make changes. Are you ready to turn away from the world and greet your True Self? How would you prepare for such an adventure? Turning and sustaining our attention inward is a process that requires a strong foundation of steadiness in body, ease of breath, and clarity in mind. This seven-day yoga immersion is designed for beginners, those who wish to return to the basics, and sincere seekers who are ready to live an awakened life.
During our long week together, we will:
*Enjoy a day of contemplation and optional juice fasting/feasting (see details below).
Building a solid foundation requires us to slow down, be intentional with our actions, and transmute whatever beliefs and habits no longer serve us. You will learn to bring the experience, depth, and benefits of yoga into your daily lifestyle and make changes to live your life fully. Allow yourself to be nourished by this sacred land and the sangha gathered here to return home rejuvenated and inspired.
Please bring a journal. You are welcome to bring your own yoga mat.
Recommended Reading: The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar
*During this special week of contemplation and meditation, there will be optional daily Juice Fasts/Juice Feasts from sunrise to sunset. As we practice slowing down and quieting our bodies and minds to connect more deeply with Spirit, we will be nourished with delicious, nutrient-dense, organic ingredients. This can be a Juice Fast by limiting or eliminating other foods during the day or a Juice Feast by simply adding these cold-pressed juices to your regular daily diet, depending on your personal goals, dietary needs, and workshop intentions. We will break fast at sunset with a simple vegan, gluten-free, and organic kitchari, a traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda, before dinner.
This weekend retreat welcomes couples across the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or questioning. You only need to be two human beings who want the joys of a loving relationship. If you are in love, this retreat is your opportunity to rise even higher in love. If you are in crisis, this retreat is an opportunity for healing on the deepest level. During our time together, we’ll explore loving and effective ways to transform the past negative programming we all carry into positive and vibrant connections with our partners and to our present.
Join us to experience exercises and practices designed specifically for couples, couples therapeutic coaching, group support, and time for sharing after each practice.
As couples, you’ll learn tools for deeper appreciation and relationship building, including healthy communication of feelings, seeing your partner as a mirror, understanding and respecting each other’s differences, conflict resolution, healing past hurts, sexual wellness, inner child/inner parent, taking responsibility, and developing a true inner connection.
Recommended reading: Vissell & Vissell, To Really Love a Man and To Really Love a Woman.
What would the world be like if we discovered how to access our wisdom and compassion to truly live wide awake? In this retreat, Loch will present easily accessible methods that weave together different approaches to embody awakening — from neuroscience and cutting-edge psychological research to wisdom practices from around the world. You will be offered the keys to supporting the awakening as the next natural stage of human development. You will learn how to shift out of your chattering mind into an embodied, open-hearted awareness that has capacity to love and heal our critical and hurt emotional parts.
The first premise of Loch’s approach is that the freedom, connection, and awakeness we are seeking are already within us. Effortless Mindfulness does not mean it “takes no effort” but that there is an effortless awareness here already. This already installed upgrade to our way of being only needs to be enabled for us to access the capacity to heal suffering at the root and live a courageous, compassionate life.
The retreat will include:
Required prerequisite: Participants must be familiar with the concepts of Effortless Mindfulness glimpses from either his books or mobile meditation program at www.lochkelly.org/em
Recommended reading: The Way of Effortless Mindfulness, and Shift into Freedom by Loch Kelly.
Continuing education credit available for therapists, LCSW, MFT
Join legendary psychedelics researcher and the father of the modern microdosing movement, James Fadiman, PhD, and microdosing educator and coach Adam Bramlage in this groundbreaking workshop to learn all about the most current and best practices in the world of microdosing.
When Fadiman’s book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, was published in 2011, it sparked a movement across the country and around the world. Microdosing means using sub-hallucinogenic amounts of psychedelics to improve mental health, creativity, and athletic performance and alleviate depression, migraines, chronic pain, addictions, and more. This weekend of discussions, participant reports, coaching methods, and research results will explore the history, science, and best practices for safe and effective microdosing.
The workshop will feature:
Important Note: The Saturday segments of this workshop will be live-streamed to a digital audience. The cameras will be positioned to preserve anonymity. Group discussions will happen separately within the live community and the streaming community.
Recommended Reading: Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, by James Fadiman; Science of MIcrodosing Psychedelics, by Torsten Passe; and A Really Good Day, by Ayelet Waldman
Join Dr. Deborah Egerton to learn to lead from the heart and find your place in the great rehabilitation of our humanity through love, light, and connection.
The authentic self rises when we let go of the flawed dualistic mindset — that our feminine energy provides only nurturing support and our masculine energy is strength. Setting aside this binary thinking and these stereotypical roles, we come together to honor and explore the totality of energies that allow us to be our authentic selves.
We are faced with divides and disconnects because we have forgotten how to maintain contact with our true hearts. Messages of love and understanding have been replaced with self-preservation, isolation, and judgment — “me and mine” versus “us and ours.”
We will discuss how we have fallen into pre-programmed patterns of responses and explore the “roadblocks” we face in accessing the heart space. The unique approach of finding the root causes of our judgments, biased beliefs, and even inequitable value systems allows participants to apply what they’ve learned to real-world scenarios, take action in their lives, and lead with the heart to reconnect across any divisions.
Through guided exploration, participants will identify our three centers of intelligence to gain access to and realign with the heart center and step into their true power. Participants will learn to uncover what “gets in the way” of finding compassion for themselves and others when faced with real-life conflict.
“When we experience moments of ecstasy, we taste what life is meant to be.” Gabrielle Roth
Maps hold all the information 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 mindfulness 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 have 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
This is a substance-free event.
All workshop hours contribute toward 5Rhythms teacher training prerequisites.
Recommended Reading: Maps To Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth and Dancing With Dharma edited by Harrison Blum
We invite you to celebrate the New Year under the starry skies of the new moon as we find connection, curiosity, restoration, and inspiration through alchemy crystal singing bowls, sound, and movement.
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. All beings are interconnected through vibrational frequencies, geometry, and sound. By using sound healing intentionally, we have the opportunity to aid in our own healing processes and embrace higher consciousness.
Working with the laws of resonance and entrainment, we will have the opportunity to experience how sound can calm our hearts, soothe our nervous systems, and align our brainwave patterns to bring forth greater states of peace, focus, and joy. We will use the seven main chakras as our guide as we explore the role of sound healing in harmonizing mind, body, and spirit.
Each day will include a blend of specially curated sound journeys, movement, bespoke teachings, and experiential activities. You will also learn the basics of how to play alchemy crystal singing bowls and gain an understanding of how crystals have played and continue to play a role in evolution.
We welcome you to slow down, connect, and find the joy of listening to your soul – to feel empowered to bring new practices home and into the New Year.
Recommended reading: Sound Medicine: How to Use the Ancient Science of Sound to Heal the Body and Mind, by Kulreet Chaudhary, MD
Touch is our forgotten language. In this introductory massage course, participants will learn to listen to each other, gain the sensory skill of initiating touch, experience the felt sense of touch and muscle release, and close with a balanced tenderness. Seasoned instructors will offer exercises, demonstrations, and at-the-table guidance during supervised practice. The simple principles of Esalen massage — presence, connection, attending rather than fixing, self-care, receptivity, and slow-paced strokes encompassing the body — will build a heartfelt experience with our partners, our friends, and, perhaps most significantly, ourselves.
By the final session, 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 its healing effect as their pace slows and the mind becomes focused on compassionate contact over technique.
Touch can evoke an opening to spirit — our innate ability to move into healthy balance or a broader sense of nature surrounding us. The awe-inspiring wildness of Esalen’s grounds, canyons, hot springs, and mountain backdrop invites this deeper natural connection.
Recommended reading: Connecting Through Touch by Peggy Horan
All light arises from darkness, including insight, creativity, vision, and possibility. The luminous darkness is the presence and receptivity through which we also access light. It is the field of all potential that we sometimes forget in the context of ordinary life and habit. In this deeply restorative retreat, in the first month of a new year, we will commune with the luminous darkness to listen deeply, renew possibility, and set conscious intentions for our lives and world in the year ahead.
In this workshop, we will reflect on and harvest lessons from the past year and release limiting beliefs. This regenerative process is about remembering who we really are — and stepping into possibility on behalf of our collective.
We will deepen our embodiment of compassion and clear seeing through:
This workshop, inspired by Eden’s book Luminous Darkness, draws upon the wisdom streams of Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, non-duality, deep ecology, and The Work That Reconnects.
Recommended reading: Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown, by Deborah Eden Tull
When was the last time you gave something your undivided attention? Nearly 2,500 years ago, Buddha worried we had become too distracted — and that was before paper, let alone smartphones. Today 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.
There is a different way. At this weekend retreat, 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 discussions, relaxing meals, and soaks in the healing baths, all while exploring 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 — exploring 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 Buddhist meditation, and we will sit together in guided sessions to practice 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 have 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.
Awe is the feeling of encountering vast mysteries that transcend our current knowledge and understanding of the world. In its greatest sense, it is an astonished and transformative appreciation for the moral beauty of others, for nature, for the arts — and is always 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 considering the narrative and cultural meanings of awe, we will begin to tease out where this feeling lives in our own minds and hearts, and learn how to cultivate it more deeply.
Together, we will discover a number of practices to cultivate this transcendent amalgam of reverence, astonishment, and admiration 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:
Cultivate an awareness of possibilities for awe in everyday life.
Join us for this incredible opportunity to refresh your heart and mind in the breathtaking natural setting of Esalen and Big Sur.
Get ready for six intense days of ecstatic rebirth! This unique retreat offers participants the opportunity to design their own transformative experiences. You will leave with your own practical road map for real-life integration, plus benefits you can experience immediately — and for the rest of your life. This small, personal group workshop is for you if you are prepared and 100 percent willing to:
Raphael Cushnir creates a safe and gentle environment to help call forth your very best, using tools such as:
The highlight of this retreat is designing a unique transformative experience all your own. You 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. Remember to pack some loose-fitting attire and get ready to rock and roll, shake and swing, and let it all go!
Recommended reading: The One Thing Holding You Back, by Raphael Cushnir