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.

We publish new workshops on an ongoing basis. Sign up below to receive  notifications when new programs open for registration.

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Consciously or not, most among us have been conditioned to adapt to a world that has biased us toward the masculine. But in truth, the vital energies of the feminine and masculine - the yin and yang, receptive and active - naturally co-exist in dynamic balance together. When they dance in wholeness, the result is thriving health.

Join us for a restorative retreat that explores more compassionate, wise, respectful, and embodied ways of being that can transform how you experience your life, family, work, and the larger world.

Discover how we can enlarge, accelerate, and deepen one another’s learning — while creating the conditions for ongoing flourishing and joy in your own life.

What if relational intelligence, intuition, shared power, and allyship are the most essential qualities for a life of purposeful wholeness?  In this time when everything is in flux, we are all called  to act on behalf of what we love and the future we desire. 

To respond and tend to our wellbeing while caring for what calls us in our outer world, we need to attend first to our inner world. This invites us to nourish the parts of ourselves that - due to conditioning from outmoded social systems  - may have been neglected or undervalued. 

We can restore wholeness within ourselves and our world by balancing  the complementary energies that influence us through our daily lives. The yin and yang; the receptive and expressive aspects of our nature, the lunar and solar -  the deeply elemental feminine and sacred masculine archetypes that live within each one of us. This rebalancing is vital for our own, and our collective, healing and well-being.

This workshop will integrate practices to explore: 

  • relational mindfulness
  • conscious movement and dance
  • emotional intelligence
  • somatic healing
  • ritual, writing, and deep time in nature.

This workshop is for women of all ages, backgrounds and disciplines, at all phases of their life’s journey, who identify as female or as non-binary, including a wide realm of gender expression

Relational Mindfulness and the Deep Feminine: An Embodied Immersion for Women
August 21–26, 2022
August 21–26, 2022
August 21, 2022
Relational Mindfulness and the Deep Feminine: An Embodied Immersion for Women
with Deborah Eden Tull and Nina Simons

In a youth-obsessed culture, how do we celebrate our aging and become wisdom holders for our communities? As we ripen into the late summer and autumn of our lives, how can we let go of what no longer serves and enjoy the abundance of each precious moment?

As we move through our spiritual awakening, fully inhabiting the Eight Limbs of Yoga, we have the opportunity to broaden our daily embodiment into the true nature of freedom and joy. The experience of living through many years and experiences affords us the opportunity to see life through the lens of compassionate experience. In this workshop we will take advantage of and celebrate this perspective, creating space in our bodies for joy and curiosity about the future.

In this time together we will:

  • Build the foundations of a consistent, sustainable, injury-free asana (yoga postures) practice.
  • Explore the profound influence of the breath on the autonomic nervous system, and the relationship of breath to the quality of mind.
  • Open to the subtleties of the energy body, thus recognizing ourselves and all things as manifestations of life force, prana.
  • Develop healthy routines for a daily sitting meditation practice, and consider meditation as intimacy with self.
  • Embrace a full sense of gratitude for the ongoing miracle of living in a human body.
  • Savor poetry from the wisdom traditions as nourishment from the Divine.
  • Play with silence, sound, and laughter as gifts of spirit.

Students aged 50 years and older are welcome. Basic mobility is required, otherwise please come with someone who can assist you. You must be able to lie on the floor and put your legs up the wall for five minutes, and accept your physical limitations without judgment. Three months of a semi-consistent yoga practice is recommended. Please come with a beginner’s mind even if you’re not a beginner.

Recommended Reading: Breath by James Nestor

The Wisdom of Aging: A Yoga Retreat
August 22–26, 2022
August 22–26, 2022
August 22, 2022
The Wisdom of Aging: A Yoga Retreat
with Jim Gallas

All light arises from darkness. This includes insight, creativity, vision, and possibility. Darkness is not the absence of light, but a vital and restorative expression of nature and consciousness. Join us for a restorative and experiential retreat designed to inspire personal and collective awakening.

Global uncertainty invites us to re-learn how to meet the unknown with grace and curiosity. While we cannot rely on our familiar compass to navigate darkness, we can learn to access the emergent map that comes from presence, embodiment, deep listening, dreaming, receptivity, and relational intelligence. Together we shift away from the world of concepts and ideas, and step into the wisdom and poetry of our bodies.

In the dark, we are invited to open our hearts to fresh perception. We are invited to see clearly beyond the mind of separation and remember who we really are.

This workshop includes meditation, dharma talks, relational mindfulness, ritual, conscious movement, and communion with nature. Discover how spiritual traditions across the world recognize darkness as a portal for spiritual transformation.

Luminous Darkness: A Radical Path to Embracing the Unknown and Seeing With the Heart
August 26–29, 2022
August 26–29, 2022
August 26, 2022
Luminous Darkness: A Radical Path to Embracing the Unknown and Seeing With the Heart
with Deborah Eden Tull

To breathe well is to live well. When we befriend the breath, we expand our capacity for choice, change, joy, and healing. When we embody breath — allowing limbs and bones to express outwardly the dynamic, unceasing pulsation of life within — we touch freedom.

In this new and electrifying experiential workshop, we’ll explore and deepen our connection to our breathing bodies through a number of somatic pathways: embodied movement, breathwork, presencing exercises, meditation in motion, and sound.

Operating from philosopher Havi Carel’s conception of breath as “a juncture of the physiological, psychological, existential, spiritual, and cultural,” we’ll practice dancing and digging at this intersection, and in effect access a felt reconnection to our wholeness.

Join Sadia in her signature practice, which draws from her many deep pools of training and experience. This deeply embodied practice will include:

  • A movement practice that draws equally from hatha yoga, calisthenics, ritual, Qigong, dance, and your own intuition.
  • Intuitive breathwork and pranayama to help you connect more honestly to the nature of your aliveness.
  • Sounding practices that liberate the use of your voice and guide you toward expanded breath capacity.
  • Guided dance ritual will help you develop inner attunement and feel the limitless power of embodied expression.
  • Restorative moving meditation to access the powerful convergence of attention and surrender, giving you an embodied understanding of the power of yielding to both breath and life.

Together we’ll form a sacred community of breathing beings and establish conditions for the unobstructed flow of life force within and around our bodies, and our lives. The natural, subtly explosive intimacy that exists between body and breath — and between you and your breathing body — can emerge anew, rendering you more sensitized to desire, pleasure, purpose and power; to who you are, what you want, and why. Join us for this incredible experience.

The Power of Breath: Embodied Liberation
August 26–28, 2022
August 26–28, 2022
August 26, 2022
The Power of Breath: Embodied Liberation
with Sadia Bruce

The Brahmavihārās (Divine Abodes) are profound practices that uncover your natural capacity to live your life easefully with love, connection, wisdom, and joy! In this experiential workshop, we’ll experience daily guided meditation practice, story-telling and song, relational mindfulness practices, self-directed neuro-plasticity, yoga, and somatic play to explore the Divine Abodes.

Considered the classical Buddhist Heart practices (also known as the “Boundless States” or the “Four Immeasurables”), they are:

  • Loving-kindness (metta) practices which cultivate self-acceptance, relational healing, gratitude, forgiveness, and kinship with all beings.  
  • Compassion (karuna) practices which cultivate tenderness, resilience, an open-heart to suffering, and a greater sense of our shared humanity.
  • Sympathetic joy (mudita) practices which cultivate enthusiasm, authentic joy, generosity, and celebratory participation in life.
  • Equanimity (upekka) practices that cultivate wisdom, perspective, clarity, and an unwavering sense of trust.

Our days will follow a nourishing schedule of experiential practices balanced harmoniously with relaxing meals, community connection, and starlit soaks in Esalen’s healing baths. Music, nature, poetry, shadow work, journaling, breathwork and ritual will be woven artfully throughout our time together.

Whereas some spiritual practices are aimed at otherworldly enlightenment, the Divine Abodes help us awaken to the beauty, clarity, and vast possibility available right here — in our complex, often messy, mundane, and wholly sacred human experience. They are a pathway of unburdening ourselves of self-doubt, resentment, and regret. They guide our way home to that wellspring in our hearts from which unconditional love flows; where we contact our wholeness, discover radical acceptance, and remember our belonging in this world.

Join us if you long for a deep, playful, tenderizing workshop that may just touch your heart and leave you forever transformed. No matter who you are, where you are on your spiritual path, or what you’ve been through, join us in discovering that renewal is possible.

Metta and the Divine Abodes: Meditation, Yoga, and Wisdom to Live a Better Life
August 29 – September 2, 2022
August 29 – September 2, 2022
August 29, 2022
Metta and the Divine Abodes: Meditation, Yoga, and Wisdom to Live a Better Life
with Hannah Muse

The Nine Stages of Staying is one of the oldest and most comprehensive systems of concentration in the Buddhist tradition. This system, sometimes called the Elephant Path, originated with Asanga in 506 A.D. It is the main method of training the mind in the Tibetan tradition.

In this weekend meditation retreat, participants will learn all nine stages of Asanga’s Elephant Path. Students will learn the basic tools of concentration meditation, gain the capacity to stay more continuously and completely focused on the meditation object, and learn how to develop some capacity for automaticity in the concentration practice. By the conclusion of the retreat, students will have all the instructions necessary to successfully master the nine stages of tranquility.

Training the mind in this way leads to a direct experience of equanimity and puts the student in a range of practice, wherein pointing out the real nature of the awakened mind is possible.

All teaching will be guided and taught in the direct line of Daniel P. Brown and the Pointing Out Way Lineage. No experience with meditation is required. If you have your own preferred meditation pillow and mat, please bring them.

The Stages of Tranquility
September 2–4, 2022
September 2–4, 2022
September 2, 2022
The Stages of Tranquility
with Dustin DiPerna

Are you curious to learn what is sound healing, why it is important, and what is all the buzz about crystal singing bowls?

Join us for an immersive weekend as we dive deep into the world of sound with alchemy crystal singing bowls. Together we will explore the history of sound healing, discover a variety of transformational sound tools, tune into our bodies as resonant chambers, gain an understanding of the Laws of Resonance and Entrainment, learn the role crystals play in technology and spirituality, dance, and be nourished by deeply restorative and rejuvenating sound journeys.

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.

By using sound intentionally, we have the opportunity to aid in our own healing processes, improve our well-being, and embrace higher consciousness.

During our time together we will…

  • Explore the power of sound to balance mind, body, and spirit
  • Gain an understanding of how crystals can support your health and well-being
  • Come together in community with the opportunity to slow down, unwind, and be deeply nourished

Our time together will include a blend of transformational sound journeys, experiential activities, breathwork, movement, journaling, and group discussion. You will be empowered with new practices to take home with you that will continue to restore balance and connectivity to yourself and the world around you.

The Power of Sound: Alchemy and Healing with Crystal Singing Bowls
September 2–4, 2022
September 2–4, 2022
September 2, 2022
The Power of Sound: Alchemy and Healing with Crystal Singing Bowls
with Deva Munay

How are you doing?

Most likely, you have been challenged and altered in many ways during the past two years — an unparalleled time that has offered us all a moment to stop and reconsider our lives.  

According to the yogic study of the koshas, we have five multi-dimensional layers of being: body, breath, mind, consciousness, and soul.  When all five layers are aligned, we can experience powerful transformation and integration.  This five-day retreat is an invitation to come together as a community to integrate our experiences in all five layers of the self.

Drawing on the embodied practices of yoga, pranayama (breath practice), sound meditation, and conscious dance, we reconnect our bodies and minds this week, digest our feelings and emotions, and open ourselves to the wisdom of our hearts. Most of all, we expand our vision to include a bigger perspective on the suffering of the world.

We greet each day with morning yoga and breath practices, followed by dance, and then close with sound meditation and discussion in the afternoon.

The practices we cultivate this week help you:

  • Listen deeply to the questions foremost in your heart
  • Revive a sluggish nervous system
  • Release fear, inhibition, and judgment
  • Build confidence and creativity  
  • Manage stress and anxiety
  • Expand trust in yourself
  • Celebrate your strength and resilience

The physiological and psycho-social benefits of these embodiment practices that serve you during the retreat will continue guiding you into the future. Allow yourself to be nourished by this sacred land and hot spring waters, the healing and energizing practices we share together, and the friends you make, so you may return home rejuvenated and eager to continue walking your life path.

Integration From the Core: Embodiment through Yoga, Dance, and Sound Meditation
September 5–9, 2022
September 5–9, 2022
September 5, 2022
Integration From the Core: Embodiment through Yoga, Dance, and Sound Meditation
with Jovinna Chan

Loving and being loved is intense, a continual stretch of the heart. We all need effective resources to support and inspire this brave adventure.

Join Lorin and Camille for a joyous, liberating journey into Love’s Body — inner practices for those on the path of intimacy. Meditation is, in essence, the practice of intimacy with life itself. Intimacy within ourselves enhances our capacity for intimacy with those we love.

We call upon The Radiance Sutras, a fresh version of a classic tantric text. They invite us to touch the sacred right here in the midst of everyday life. This is a path of wonder, awe, and gratitude, where we learn to combine the passionate flow of our life energies with the serenity that comes from being grounded in rich body awareness — the body of love.

Living in love means joining with the love dance of creation. Embodied practices give us the felt sense, a tangible reality, and ways to dance with emotional energies that inevitably arise. Discover how to access this felt sense as your foundation.

Our activities include sharing Sutras, discussion, exploring a variety of meditation practices including subtle and expressive movement, as well as techniques that allow for profound restfulness. We also wander outside and drench our senses in the natural beauty of Esalen.

Lorin and Camille offer their decades of experience with humor and compassion. They have been living these practices together for 39 years and find them to be thrilling and deeply supportive for staying in love, year after year.

All levels of experience are welcome. The only requirement is curiosity and willingness to explore.

Come on your own or come with a partner. Bring this gift of living in Love’s Body to all aspects of your life, and your lively creative engagement with the world.

Living in Love’s Body: A Meditation Retreat with the Radiance Sutras
September 5–9, 2022
September 5–9, 2022
September 5, 2022
Living in Love’s Body: A Meditation Retreat with the Radiance Sutras
with Lorin Roche and Camille Maurine

The natural world — in all its arresting beauty and enchanting complexity — calls out for our presence and reverence. There are subtle currents of communion and communication happening all around us; the land and wild beings beckon us into expanded states of sensitivity, reciprocity, and fellowship.

Immersed in the wilds of Big Sur, and the beautiful grounds of Esalen, we will cultivate our fundamental connection with the land. Through practices of sensate engagement, earth-based ritual, and mindfulness, we will build relationships with this place and our other-than-human kin. We will traverse physical hiking trails alongside the trails of intuition, affinity, and imagination. Following our innate curiosity, we will grow our ecological knowledge and uncover the stories of the mountains, waters, animals, plants, and fungi that live around us.

Acknowledging Big Sur to be the ancestral homeland of the Esselen tribe, we will endeavor to behave as reverent guests on sacred land. Regarding the landscape as both our teacher and relation, we will weave offerings of gratitude and respect into every practice. May these humble efforts help unsettle the anthropocentric paradigm of objectification and extraction which degrades our earth and all life.

Come wander with us, dear wild ones! Ground yourself in the peace of the soil, and feel your animal body lively and awake on the trail. Expand your awareness of the living world, and sense into a renewed state of wholeness — as we begin to relate reciprocally with the land.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the workshop can be found here.

This workshop will consist of numerous outdoor, physical practices and a great deal of walking, including two long-form hikes and one half-day hike. Various hiking abilities can be accommodated, bearing in mind that our long hikes are up to seven miles in length, over uneven and often steep terrain. Participants must be able to sit on the ground, practice outside in all weathers, and get a little dirty. If you have any questions about your ability to participate, please read the workshop FAQs or email info@wildtender.com.

A fee to cover parks permits and parking fees will be added to the workshop cost.

Trails of Reciprocity: Hiking and Connection with the Big Sur Wild
September 5–9, 2022
September 5–9, 2022
September 5, 2022
Trails of Reciprocity: Hiking and Connection with the Big Sur Wild
with Fletcher Tucker and Noël Vietor

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.

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 relying 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.

Esalen® Massage for Couples and Friends
September 9–11, 2022
September 9–11, 2022
September 9, 2022
Esalen® Massage for Couples and Friends
with Deborah Anne Medow and Jessica Fagan

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.

Meditation and Modern Life: A Zen Meditation Retreat
September 9–11, 2022
September 9–11, 2022
September 9, 2022
Meditation and Modern Life: A Zen Meditation Retreat
with Dan Zigmond

CranioSacral Therapy 2 (CS2) greatly expands the work learned in CS1 and completes the biomechanical CranioSacral Therapy training. These hands-on sessions will focus on cranial base dysfunctions, the masticatory system-hard palate, the mandible and temporomandibular joints, whole body evaluation and the energy cyst with regional unwinding.

The prerequisite for this workshop is Upledger’s Institute CranioSacral Therapy 1 (CS1) and thorough working knowledge of the 10-Step Protocol.

Note: Registration for this workshop is through the International Alliance of Healthcare Educators (IAHE) only. IAHE is a coalition of curriculum developers united to advance innovative therapies through high-quality continuing education programs. To register, please call 1-800-233-5880. Only after you have registered with IAHE and paid tuition fees will you be able to reserve accommodations at Esalen. For accommodations pricing chart, see www.esalen.org/page/partner-program-pricing.

Required reading: Upledger and Vredevoogd, CranioSacral Therapy (chapters 7-15); Upledger, CranioSacral Therapy II: Beyond the Dura (Chapter 3).

CE for nurses; see leader.

CE for massage; see leader.

Upledger Institute International's CranioSacral Therapy 2
September 11–16, 2022
September 11–16, 2022
September 11, 2022
Upledger Institute International's CranioSacral Therapy 2
with Karen Axelrod

As human beings, we all have a desire to belong. In this intermediate-level deep dive, Enneagram master educators Russ Hudson and Dr. Deborah Egerton invite you to learn how to use the Enneagram and IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racism) for reconnection and oneness.

Through a blend of experiential activities and a deep dive into inner work, you’ll be empowered with new tools, knowledge, and community connection to begin your Enneagram journey.  

During this program we will:

  • Use IDEA as the cornerstone of our exploration.
  • Uncover the basic mechanics of each Enneagram energy and look at the basic fear and desire, core motivation, the wings, and connections to other Enneagram points.
  • Engage with presence to participate in experiential practices, and become more familiar with the behavior patterns we use to navigate the world.
  • Utilize the Enneagram and IDEA to create internal and external expansion, opening the mind-body-spirit connection.
  • Stand in love against “othering” and explore the ways we can heal across differences.

The Enneagram, when studied and implemented correctly, teaches us how to be together in community through connection and inter-relatedness. Our ability to relate to one another is dependent on how we invest our time and efforts into understanding all the ways we connect with one another.

During our time together, we will explore the 9 Points of the Enneagram through the lens of IDEA and use the intricacies of the Enneagram to uncover our hidden wounds, implicit biases, and opportunities for connection.

Pre-requisite: This program is geared toward those who have gained a foundational understanding of the Enneagram prior to arriving. Please take the time to study the types, gain an understanding of your own type, and be ready to approach the topics of racial healing and social justice.

Participants can research and gain foundational knowledge of the Enneagram at deborahegerton.com and enneagraminstitute.com.

Recommended Reading: Listen to or read: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and “CASTE: The Origin of our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson

The Enneagram: Using Our Gifts for Social Justice and Racial Healing
September 12–16, 2022
September 12–16, 2022
September 12, 2022
The Enneagram: Using Our Gifts for Social Justice and Racial Healing
with Russ Hudson and Dr. Deborah Egerton

We all have spirit guides. They are part of your soul-family — a spiritual GPS — and tuning into them takes patience, trust, and assistance from the Other Side. Learn to access yours in this deep dive, kind-hearted immersion that welcomes all levels of experience and any stage of healing. This unique class dives deeply into the unseen world of support, healing, and unconditional love by Spirit Guides. Most people are unaware of the guides they are born into this world with, let alone how to connect with them. Yet many of us have experienced a loving presence in critical moments of our lives, or even in the most serene, calm spaces within. What would be possible for your life if you could access that level of support and guidance in a more dependable way?

This special and deeply personal class is designed for those of you who are ready to connect with the Spirits that are always by your side.

Get ready to recognize that you have so much support waiting to assist, support, play, guide, and dance with you as you walk this world. Connecting with your Spirit Guides is a profoundly expansive experience. Once this connection is made, it is forever — giving you the confidence, support, love, guidance, and great joy you deserve and know to be true as you walk onward in your journey of life.

This class is for the experienced spiritual seeker, who is energetically sensitive, open, and curious to experience support beyond the veil.

Months and years after taking this course, graduates continue to share how this experience changed their understanding of everyday reality in invaluable ways.

This course introduces a framework to engage with your guides steadily and reliably and will introduce and connect you with your unique, individual, and personal Spirit Guides. Each session is highly interactive and includes instruction and meditation practice to ensure that your experience is expansive and supportive. With great information and valuable support, you can better focus your energy to live an empowered and compassionate life you love, and the support and love available to you from the unseen world means you are never alone or disconnected.

Previous meditation practice is helpful, but not required.

Finding Your Spirit Guides: Building A Relationship with the Unseen World
September 12–16, 2022
September 12–16, 2022
September 12, 2022
Finding Your Spirit Guides: Building A Relationship with the Unseen World
with Brenda Rose

We used to think that the brain was static, fixed, that it could not change. But revolutionary findings in neuroscience have demonstrated that we can literally re-architect the very structure of our brain. In fact, we can even rewire our brain to be happier — but it’s not through changing our external world; it’s through changing our internal landscape.

In this workshop, Dr. Shauna Shapiro — a leading scientist studying the effects of meditation on well-being — will teach you the most powerful science-based practices for increasing the neural pathways of happiness. She explains basic brain science and offers a powerful roadmap for how to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life. Be prepared for unexpected transformation and delight.

  • Learn science-based practices to increase your baseline level of happiness.
  • Learn to cultivate greater joy, gratitude, and connection.
  • Learn how to integrate these practices in your everyday life.

*For anyone facing financial hardship, Dr. Shauna Shapiro invites you to contact her directly for tuition scholarship at slshapiro@scu.edu.

Recommended Reading: Shapiro, S. (2020) Good Morning, I love you: Mindfulness + Self-Compassion Practices to Rewire the Brain for Calm, Clarity + Joy.  Sounds True, Boulder, CO. Shapiro, S (2022). Good Morning, I Love You: A Guided Journal for Calm, Clarity & Joy. Sounds True, Boulder, CO.

Hardwiring Happiness
September 16–18, 2022
September 16–18, 2022
September 16, 2022
Hardwiring Happiness
with Shauna Shapiro

Immerse yourself in the bhakti traditions of chanting and mythology. These traditions create a bridge between the individual and the eternal.

With Janet Stone, explore the many aspects of the “One” through the beautifully woven stories of the deities. These tales, shared over the centuries, reflect timeless themes of our human condition. They help reflect our own stories, especially and curiously in these modern times. Through this practice we see aspects of ourselves revealed through the deity archetypes, and explore how that can assist us in understanding and journeying through our own “hero’s journey”.

Janet’s engrossing story-telling and heartfelt practice of chanting cultivate space for us to reflect on some of our most pivotal moments in life as we begin to own the story of our own life’s journey.

We will explore:

  • Mantras and meanings
  • Stories of the deities, aspects of the self, and the telling our own stories
  • Our own individual meanings of devotion
  • Expression through sound and voice
  • Freeing your voice
  • Sanskrit chants
  • Intention and sound

Through story and chanting, we unite our individual voices with all those around us. Together we move with a stream of intention and devotion that has been flowing for centuries.

Each day will include a morning yoga practice with musical accompaniment, followed by discussion, time to write and share, and chanting.

Chanting and Storytelling: Yoga of the Heart
September 16–18, 2022
September 16–18, 2022
September 16, 2022
Chanting and Storytelling: Yoga of the Heart
with Janet Stone

Artists work with their entire bodies, calling upon every layer of their beings to power their creativity. Writing is often thought about as a discipline of only the conscious mind. The truth is, language, characters, and plots emerge from the substance of the body and the subterranean depths of the spirit.  This workshop aims to collectively explore and fine-tune ways in which we not only rediscover the macrocosm within the microcosm but also develop tools to identify emotional loci in our subtle body, i.e. the divine body.  

To write well, authors mobilize every aspect of their beings: the rational, the emotional, the spiritual. We typically do this instinctively and haphazardly.  In this workshop, you will learn together  how to intentionally reach into your emotional depths and engage your chakras — emotionally-charged loci — with the craft of writing.

Together we will…

  • Engage in sacred chakra meditation to open our hearts and minds.
  • Read published stories, engaging with their emotional impact and pleasure to encourage engagement with our own cognitive responses to writing, and consider how that impact is achieved.
  • Practice character discovery exercises: What makes a character or person come alive in the reader’s mind? How can we find parts of ourselves and other people that can come together and combine to create life?
  • Practice plot construction exercises designed to encourage writers to think about desire.

At the end is the week, we are confident you will have the tools to begin the process of developing your very own maṇḍala which will provide new depths to your craft of writing.

Chakras and Embodied Writing
September 19–23, 2022
September 19–23, 2022
September 19, 2022
Chakras and Embodied Writing
with Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Vikram Chandra

Fall Equinox is a time when the dual energies of day and night, and the Sun and the Moon are in perfect balance. Join wisdom keeper Erika Gagnon on a sacred journey within the macrocosm of this balanced union, as we gather together and learn about the importance of ancestral lineage, traditional ceremonies, sacred altars, medicinal plants, and the origins of dis-ease in our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. We will allow the Equinox energy to heal and strengthen our inherent desire to go beyond the false duality of a divided self, and self versus nature, to a unified wholeness, living in harmony and balance within ourselves, and with the world around us.  

You will be invited to reconnect to your authentic wisdom and power with clarity, and through 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. This is your opportunity to transform unhealthy patterns and trauma, and realign your body, mind, spirit, and soul.  

You will also have the opportunity to participate in a water prayer blessing, a sound healing and “doctoring” journey, and a traditional South American healing ceremony.

We are all interconnected in this great web of life, and every day is a gift to live 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 together upon this Earth, then we invite you to join us in this celebration of life.

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

Beyond Duality: Equinox Healing Wisdom for Balance and Harmony
September 19–23, 2022
September 19–23, 2022
September 19, 2022
Beyond Duality: Equinox Healing Wisdom for Balance and Harmony
with Erika Gagnon

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 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.

Designing the Life We Want
September 23–25, 2022
September 23–25, 2022
September 23, 2022
Designing the Life We Want
with Mark Nicolson

Embrace abundance in your mind, heart, and life, as we journey from the Fall Equinox and New Moon into the harvest time! Just as the Earth requires a shifting of weather with each season, so too do we, its earthly inhabitants. A mindset metamorphosis is ready to emerge, and the alchemical practices of yoga can help guide you in a powerful repositioning to awaken the inner genius of your being. In this embodied yoga retreat you’ll discover the key components needed to renew your vitality and unlock the abundance codes within you.

Together we’ll explore the transformational practices of…

  • asana (physical postures),
  • pranayama (breathing techniques)
  • mantra (healing sound vibration)
  • mudra (energy seals created by the hands)
  • meditation (expanded states of awareness)
  • mythopoetic soul journeys (myths, legends, and lore)
  • dream temple guidance
  • shadow sessions

Throughout the weekend, there will be four unique alchemical sessions and a bonus fireside ritual. All sessions will incorporate themes related to vitality, abundance, and breakthrough energies as well as asana, pranayama, mantra, mudra, meditation, and soul reflection. Our hope and intention for you is to leave refreshed, connected to self, and transformed for the new season. Join us!

Flow Into Fall: Unlocking Abundance & Awakening Vitality
September 23–25, 2022
September 23–25, 2022
September 23, 2022
Flow Into Fall: Unlocking Abundance & Awakening Vitality
with Sianna Sherman and Masood Ali Khan

Our sense of self develops in connection with others, and our experience in early relationships. They shape our beliefs — about ourselves, other people and what is possible for us in our lives. While we cannot change the past, we can change the parts of our lives that we find difficult or unfulfilling through new experiences of contact. When our need for understanding and emotional attunement is met, our limiting beliefs can change.

In this workshop we will:

  • Learn skills that will increase our presence and awareness
  • Improve our ability to make good contact
  • Explore how to establish healthy boundaries
  • Develop and track awareness of our physical sensations and emotions
  • Communicate our needs and wants effectively
  • Discover habitual relational patterns that prevent us from cultivating the type of connection we long for.

This workshop includes time for basic gestalt awareness practices, a mixture of didactic and experiential exercises, as well as individual “open seat” sessions with Dorothy and with the support of the group.

Recommended reading: Korb, et al, Gestalt Therapy: Practice and Theory; Mann, Gestalt Therapy: 100 Key Points and Techniques. Perls, Gestalt Therapy Verbatim

Relational Gestalt Practice: The Transformative Power of Emotion
September 26–30, 2022
September 26–30, 2022
September 26, 2022
Relational Gestalt Practice: The Transformative Power of Emotion
with Dorothy Charles

Nature reveals a stream of creativity that you can embody in your life. Whether you’re an artist facing creative blocks or someone who yearns to feel more creatively alive, this workshop is designed to awaken your creativity through the inspirations of the natural world.  

Film director, mindfulness teacher and nature therapy guide Sylvie Rokab invites you to open your senses and commune with the magnificent Esalen land and the Big Sur coastline. Suspend disbelief. Perceive the sentience, playfulness, brilliance, and magic in every being that calls to your attention — towering trees, melodic birds, flowy clouds, hypnotic waves, and the playful sea otters barking nearby.

Sylvie welcomes you on Monday night with a screening of her award-winning film Love Thy Nature followed by a Q&A. Throughout the week, she will guide you on a path. You’ll shed your self-limiting beliefs and creative blocks. You’ll  uncover your potential for creative expressions in your life and with Nature as the ultimate muse — for poetry, storytelling, music, gardening, cooking, photography, filmmaking, computer coding, or other creative expressions.

Activities include:

  • Communion with Esalen’s beings, land and sea
  • Practice of deep sharing / deep listening in groups
  • Mindfulness of Nature (inner, outer, and relational)
  • Guided meditations
  • Creative explorations of your choice – poetry, storytelling, music, body movement, photography etc.
  • A mid-week excursion to the glorious Julia Pfeiffer State Park

Join this workshop and ignite the creative flow that seeks to emerge through you.

Nature Therapy to Unleash Creativity: A Love Thy Nature Workshop
September 26–30, 2022
September 26–30, 2022
September 26, 2022
Nature Therapy to Unleash Creativity: A Love Thy Nature Workshop
with Sylvie Rokab

Since falling in love is biologically natural, but sustaining love is biologically unnatural, Soul Mate focuses on the art and discipline of sustaining love. You begin with learning how to appreciate your partner so specifically and frequently that your partner feels fully seen and loved.

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 allowed the criticizer to feel heard, but failed 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 receiver of criticism feels safe the person sharing their concern cannot feel safe.

You will learn a series of practices and concepts you may integrate into your everyday life:

  • Six methods of sustaining a “conflict free zone” for 166 hours of your 168-hour week.
  • How to create a “Caring and Sharing Time” for the remaining two hours by practicing six mindsets that allow you to not feel defensive when criticized.
  • “Eight Wisdoms” as a foundation for deepening your love.
  • The four “depleters of love,” aka the “Four C’s” (Criticisms, Complaints, Controlling, and Complacency).
  • How to use your new skills with your children, parents and colleagues at work.
  • How to use music and dancing to revitalize your love (to be practiced by dancing before each session).

To sustain your practice after the workshop, you’ll be invited to attend multiple free, ongoing, 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 may be any two people with a history who desire a better future (e.g., parents or partners, married or divorced, newlyweds, parent-child, siblings, etc.). Developed over the past 30 years, this workshop is also used by many health professionals in their work with clients and patients.

Recommended resources: Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, pp. 1-87, by Dr. Warren Farrell; additional video content on warrenfarrell.com.

Role Mate to Soul Mate: The Art and Discipline of Love
September 30 – October 3, 2022
September 30 – October 3, 2022
September 30, 2022
Role Mate to Soul Mate: The Art and Discipline of Love
with Warren Farrell

Burnout happens when your body and mind don’t have adequate recovery from all the action. Pushing on the gas pedal for extended periods can leave you buzzing with exhaustion and yet unable to rest deeply. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to be excited about life when you are perpetually depleted—even if you love what you do. Deep Recovery can help you rest, release, and recharge so you return home rejuvenated. Join us in gaining the skills to maintain this state of resourcefulness!

Scientific research over the past 50 years has established that certain types of meditation allow the body to rest more deeply than even sleep. This restfulness can start happening within only minutes. The key to accessing this state of deep recovery is complete effortlessness and naturalness. We will practice in a way that is utterly natural for you.

Together we’ll explore…

  • A variety of different meditations so you can find a practice that feels natural and effortless to you. These explorations will be offered during interactive sessions, which include lectures and group exercises.  
  • The skills to maintain a state of inner resourcefulness in your everyday life.
  • How to share meditation with others.
  • … And leave ample personal time for integration and for being held by nature at your leisure.

There is no one meditation technique that works for everyone. The Instinctive Meditation® approach is designed to show you how to access new doorways to meditation so that you can discover a rich, rewarding meditation practice for yourself. Explore healthy, vibrant meditation techniques that support your life and relationships.

Meditation in all its forms is a way of attending to the rhythms and pulsation of life and immersing ourselves in its flow. This is a path of love.

Recommended reading: Meditation Made Easy, Meditation Secrets for Women

Deep Recovery: Meditation for Caregivers and Those Facing Burnout
September 30 – October 2, 2022
September 30 – October 2, 2022
September 30, 2022
Deep Recovery: Meditation for Caregivers and Those Facing Burnout
with Lorin Roche, Camille Maurine and Dr. Maria Ramos

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.

Releasing into Presence: A Meditation, Mantra, Music & Movement Retreat
October 3–7, 2022
October 3–7, 2022
October 3, 2022
Releasing into Presence: A Meditation, Mantra, Music & Movement Retreat
with Chandra Easton and Nina Rao

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:

  • Answers to frequently asked questions about the workshop can be found here.
  • Various hiking abilities can be accommodated, bearing in mind that day hikes are between three to eight miles in length, with uneven and often steep terrain. If you have any questions about your ability to participate, please read the workshop FAQs.
  • A fee to cover parks permits and parking fees will be added to the workshop cost.

Wild Tao: Hiking and Qi Gong in Big Sur Wilderness
October 3–7, 2022
October 3–7, 2022
October 3, 2022
Wild Tao: Hiking and Qi Gong in Big Sur Wilderness
with Fletcher Tucker, Noël Vietor and Jim Gallas

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.

Sessions include:

  • Friday Evening: Understanding Liminal Dreams
  • Saturday Morning: Deep Dive into Hypnagogia
  • Saturday Afternoon: Liminal Dreaming for Creativity and Healing
  • Saturday Evening: Liminal Dreams with Other Mind States
  • Sunday Morning: Liminal Mind

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:

  • Yoga Nidra guided meditation
  • Exercises for accessing hypnagogia and hypnopompia
  • Using hypnagogia/hypnopompia for creativity, healing, and visionary experience
  • Experiments with oneirogens (any root, herb, food, scent, sound, etc. that promotes vivid dreaming)

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.

Liminal Dreaming: Consciousness Exploration and Visionary Experience
October 7–9, 2022
October 7–9, 2022
October 7, 2022
Liminal Dreaming: Consciousness Exploration and Visionary Experience
with Jennifer Dumpert

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

  • Nature-based meditations
  • Sitting and walking mindfulness techniques
  • Individual and group practice
  • Talks on meditation and nature
  • Silent time to sense the wonder of nature
  • Discussion on the art of meditation in nature

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.

Awake in the Wild: Meditation in Nature
October 7–10, 2022
October 7–10, 2022
October 7, 2022
Awake in the Wild: Meditation in Nature
with Mark Coleman and Lori Schwanbeck

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:

  • Practice yoga asana, pranayama and meditation to experience the Elements within ourselves by integrating breath and movement. (Gentle yoga for all levels, with optional adjustments.)
  • Enjoy engaging presentations to identify Elements within ourselves and in nature, recognize imbalance, and restore equilibrium.
  • Connect with partner and group activities to deepen understanding and build community.
  • Explore the Esalen landscape with nature connection activities and rituals to directly learn from the Five Elements in their natural splendor.
  • Reflect with journaling and creative practices to integrate our embodied explorations.

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.

The Five Elements of Yoga & Chinese Medicine
October 10–14, 2022
October 10–14, 2022
October 10, 2022
The Five Elements of Yoga & Chinese Medicine
with Jiling Lin and Paula Wild

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:

  • 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 breathtaking natural setting of Esalen and Big Sur.

Awe and Wonder: An Exploration Through Science, Contemplation, and Narrative
October 14–16, 2022
October 14–16, 2022
October 14, 2022
Awe and Wonder: An Exploration Through Science, Contemplation, and Narrative
with Dacher Keltner and Mollie McNeil

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.

Women's Visionary Summit
October 14–16, 2022
October 14–16, 2022
October 14, 2022
Women's Visionary Summit
with Lucy Caldwell and Christen Lien

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.

  • Movement / Dance
  • Impact / Embodiment
  • Inquiry
  • Mindfulness
  • Group process for the purpose of support

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.

To Realign: Open Floor Movement Practice
October 17–21, 2022
October 17–21, 2022
October 17, 2022
To Realign: Open Floor Movement Practice
with Andrea Juhan

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.

Writing & Mindfulness: Cultivating a Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
October 17–21, 2022
October 17–21, 2022
October 17, 2022
Writing & Mindfulness: Cultivating a Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
with Janis Cooke Newman

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!

Harnessing the Power of Creation through African Ritual
October 21–23, 2022
October 21–23, 2022
October 21, 2022
Harnessing the Power of Creation through African Ritual
with Marques Redd

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:

  • Lucia is a dancer and meditation teacher with more than 25 years of global teaching experience. She will facilitate the 5Rhythms® movement practice as a way of experientially accessing and transforming the emotional states that come with grief.
  • Peter is a physician with more than thirty years of experience in HIV/AIDS, palliative care, and grief work for caregivers, working in a community now heavily affected by Covid-19, and will facilitate an exploration of stages of grief, using story-sharing as part of releasing and working through losses.

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

Grief Dancer
October 21–23, 2022
October 21–23, 2022
October 21, 2022
Grief Dancer
with Lucia Horan and Peter Selwyn

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!

Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Remember Who You Really Are (Your True Self)
October 24–28, 2022
October 24–28, 2022
October 24, 2022
Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Remember Who You Really Are (Your True Self)
with John Vosler

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.

Esalen® Massage: The Basics
October 28–30, 2022
October 28–30, 2022
October 28, 2022
Esalen® Massage: The Basics
with Brita Ostrom and Vicki Topp

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.

The Enneagram, Inner Work, and the Head Center
October 30 – November 4, 2022
October 30 – November 4, 2022
October 30, 2022
The Enneagram, Inner Work, and the Head Center
with Russ Hudson and Deborah Rose Longo

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…

  • Learn to speak a new language through colors and shapes
  • Experience integration of the heart with the mind
  • Open the heart, birthing spontaneous natural creativity
  • Undergo transformation through surrendering to the practice

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.

Art As A Spiritual Path: Discovering Your Creative Mandala
October 31 – November 4, 2022
October 31 – November 4, 2022
October 31, 2022
Art As A Spiritual Path: Discovering Your Creative Mandala
with Paul Heussenstamm

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 4–11, 2022
November 4–11, 2022
November 4, 2022
Relational Gestalt Practice: Open Seat Intensive
with Dorothy Charles

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:

  • Guided meditations
  • Energy healing
  • Direct transmission teachings
  • Reflective and somatic practices
  • Ceremony
  • Ritual
  • A deepened connection with this sacred land

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.

Honoring the Ancestors: Tending Those That Came Before, Blessing That Which Is to Come
October 30 – November 4, 2022
October 30 – November 4, 2022
November 4, 2022
Honoring the Ancestors: Tending Those That Came Before, Blessing That Which Is to Come
with Gitanjali Hemp

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:

  • a nature connection for greater calm, grounding, and wonder.
  • creative rituals — both meaning-making and sane-making — to gain a deeper understanding of our life journeys.
  • embodiment of archetypal energies for a holistic presencing of our individual astrological maps.
  • creative expression for finding fulfillment, facing fear, and courageous living.
  • group counsel and witnessing to honor another’s journey as our own.

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.

Star Maps and Ritual Magic: Astrology and Ceremony as Tools for Transformation
November 4–7, 2022
November 4–7, 2022
November 4, 2022
Star Maps and Ritual Magic: Astrology and Ceremony as Tools for Transformation
with Day Schildkret and Heidi Rose Robbins

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:

  • Coming Home To Your Whole Body Instrument: Experience your voice as an embodied bridge between all parts of you, creating a strong sense of wholeness.
  • Using Music As Medicine: Experience the healing power of music and Awaken to your Sonic Anatomy.
  • Vocal Toning For Health and Well-being: Learn intentional singing and overtone voice scanning techniques, that will help you move past stuck emotions and inhibitive behaviors and give you a deep sense of freedom and joy.

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.

The Healing Voice
November 4–7, 2022
November 4–7, 2022
November 4, 2022
The Healing Voice
with The Brothers Koren

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.

Compassion & Connection: 5Rhythms® Heartbeat & Mindfulness Workshop
November 7–11, 2022
November 7–11, 2022
November 7, 2022
Compassion & Connection: 5Rhythms® Heartbeat & Mindfulness Workshop
with Lucia Horan

The world has turned upside down — and we must now wake up. Stunned by a pandemic carrying grief and loss, political hostility escalating at an alarming rate, and climate change wreaking havoc across the world, we are seeing ourselves and one another 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 your contribution, 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, respectively, will be your guides. SFCG grew out of meetings at Esalen in the early 1980s, and together Susan and John built it into the world’s largest peacebuilding nonprofit, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. They will offer you what they have learned about how to be agents of change in some of the most conflictual places on the planet. You will take away a renewed sense of your own capacity and abiding wisdom, as well as core principles for implementing social change in the world around you.

Recommended reading and references: Waging Peace in a Time of War with Susan Collin Marks; Looking Back After Showing Up for 32 Years by John Marks

Wisdom Teachings for Agents of Change
November 11–13, 2022
November 11–13, 2022
November 11, 2022
Wisdom Teachings for Agents of Change
with Susan Collin Marks and John Marks

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:

  • Learn about the similarities and differences between “lust” and “love” and how to harness the former to cultivate the latter.
  • Understand how relationships in Tantra relate to gender fluidity and contemporary questions around queer identities.
  • Enjoy the benefit of overcoming negative projections and self-generated illusions based on our bodily inhibitions.
  • Appreciate the power that myth and epic literature provide for shaping and molding our conceptions of love, gender, and sexuality.
  • See Tantra’s connections with art and music,  as well as a broader continuum of its relevance in daily life.

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.

Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Legends of Lust and Love
November 11–14, 2022
November 11–14, 2022
November 11, 2022
Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Legends of Lust and Love
with Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú

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.

Gratitude Retreat
November 18–20, 2022
November 18–20, 2022
November 18, 2022
Gratitude Retreat
with Janet Stone

“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:

  • Breathwork
  • Meditation
  • yoga asana
  • Philosophy
  • Journaling
  • Yoga nidra

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.

Thanks Giving: A Yoga Retreat
November 21–25, 2022
November 21–25, 2022
November 21, 2022
Thanks Giving: A Yoga Retreat
with Janet Stone

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.

The Essential Qigong of China: The Energy, the Movement, the Stories
November 25–27, 2022
November 25–27, 2022
November 25, 2022
The Essential Qigong of China: The Energy, the Movement, the Stories
with Chungliang Al Huang

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:

  • Discover a creative voice that’s entirely your own.
  • Trust your intuitive perception, not the mind’s critical chatter.
  • Follow your own authentic energy rather than painting for others.
  • Experience your imagination as a doorway to deeper knowing.
  • Reveal the hidden invitations in so-called “creative blocks.”
  • Explore process painting as a genuine path to spiritual awakening.

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.

Awakening the Creative: The Painting Experience
November 27 – December 2, 2022
November 27 – December 2, 2022
November 27, 2022
Awakening the Creative: The Painting Experience
with Stewart Cubley

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.

Creative Tai Ji Experience: Change, Transformation, Metamorphosis
November 28 – December 2, 2022
November 28 – December 2, 2022
November 28, 2022
Creative Tai Ji Experience: Change, Transformation, Metamorphosis
with Chungliang Al Huang

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.

Meditation and Modern Life: A Zen Meditation Retreat
December 2–4, 2022
December 2–4, 2022
December 2, 2022
Meditation and Modern Life: A Zen Meditation Retreat
with Dan Zigmond

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.  

Designing the Life We Want
December 2–4, 2022
December 2–4, 2022
December 2, 2022
Designing the Life We Want
with Mark Nicolson

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:

  • 5Rhythms Moving Meditation
  • Insight Meditation
  • Restorative Acupuncture
  • Women’s Health Practices
  • Women’s Counsel
  • Group Sharing
  • Spa Treatments

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.

Moon Lodge: Honoring the Sacred Feminine
December 5–9, 2022
December 5–9, 2022
December 5, 2022
Moon Lodge: Honoring the Sacred Feminine
with Lucia Horan and Dr. Julie Von

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, 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:

  • Embodied practices involving movement, breath, meditation, and awareness to develop a sense of palpable presence as the foundation upon which your relationship can flourish.
  • The Art of Conscious Dialogue: learning to care as much about understanding our partner and what they’re communicating as we care about being heard and understood by them.
  • How to express needs, feelings, and appreciations in an attuned manner to deepen relational trust.
  • Understanding the “distancing behaviors” we engage in, usually as an unconscious form of defense against vulnerability and contact.
  • Learning to co-regulate each other in structured exercises, emphasizing compassion and respect so presence-based relating naturally arises.

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.

The Heart of Relationship: A Weekend of Gestalt Inquiry for Couples and Friends
December 9–11, 2022
December 9–11, 2022
December 9, 2022
The Heart of Relationship: A Weekend of Gestalt Inquiry for Couples and Friends
with Perry Holloman and Johanna Holloman

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.

Journey Space: Music, Movement & Ceremony
December 9 - 12, 2022
December 9 - 12, 2022
December 9, 2022
Journey Space: Music, Movement & Ceremony
with East Forest and Marisa Radha Weppner

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

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:

  • Sitting, walking, and laying awareness practices that build mindfulness and embodied connection will be introduced and practiced daily.
  • Grounding and centering tools and techniques that let our nervous system, physiology, and heart feel safe and move from habitual reactivity: to choice, resilience, and trust in the body’s innate wisdom.
  • Gestalt Awareness Movement practices that invite us to trust our body’s capacity for organismic self-regulation and co-regulation.
  • You will be introduced to neuropsychology concepts and practices that can be perceptually felt and embodied in our daily life while feeling our awakening heart and inherent belonging.
  • Through exercises and time together in group, paired, and solo practices, we will have space to connect with self, others, and the natural world.

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.

Awakening the Heart of Belonging: An Embodied Inquiry into Curiosity, Courage, and Compassion
December 12–16, 2022
December 12–16, 2022
December 12, 2022
Awakening the Heart of Belonging: An Embodied Inquiry into Curiosity, Courage, and Compassion
with Steven Harper

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:

  • Reflect on the year past, lessons learned, and define what goals you want to set for the year ahead.
  • Define an action plan for 2023 using a scientifically proven method.
  • Learn the real science behind habit building and goal setting, and how to apply them to your everyday life so you can reach your goals faster.
  • Create a custom “power action” for the year ahead that helps you overcome limitations in the new year.
  • Come together and build accountability with a community who is ready to create change in their lives and the world.

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

RENEW: A Ritual of Awakening for the New Year
December 16–19, 2022
December 16–19, 2022
December 16, 2022
RENEW: A Ritual of Awakening for the New Year
with 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:

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • 5Rhythms®: Moving Meditation
  • Sharing Circles
  • Self-Care & Resourcing Skills
Spiritual Fertility
December 12–16, 2022
December 12–16, 2022
December 16, 2022
Spiritual Fertility
with Lucia Horan and Dr. Julie Von

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:

  • Dance, inspired by a wide range of music and the great sound of silence, supported by the benevolent presence of earth and sky.
  • Learn skills for stress reduction, relaxation, and renewal through conscious movement and stillness.
  • Build resonance with the movements of life around us by moving from the inside out — alone, in pairs or trios, and as a group; sometimes indoors, sometimes in nature.
  • Explore and express what is alive inside us through movement, awareness practices, and sharing in pairs and as a group.
  • Experience through movement all the landscapes of relating — to self, to the world, and to the great Mystery that we also are.
  • Spend time on the land in sitting and walking meditation, allowing ourselves to dissolve a little into space.

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.

Soul Motion®: Tenderness at the Heart of the Dance
December 19–25, 2022
December 19–25, 2022
December 19, 2022
Soul Motion®: Tenderness at the Heart of the Dance
with Zuza Engler and Scott Engler
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