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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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
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

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
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

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
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
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
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
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

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
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

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

Where have you come from? Where are you now? Where are you going? We are continuously challenged to find our true purpose and meaning — our ‘direction’ in life. Unconditionally, you are invited to question your direction deeply with a very special union of The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County and the Esalen Institute.Through Healing Waters, we weave the deep knowledge of the medicine wheel, led by Esselen Tribal Medicine Woman Cari Herthel, with the powerful and moving meditation practice of the 5Rhythms®, led by facilitator Douglas Drummond.  This week-long exploration into sacred ritual practice and deep intentional movement explores the teachings of the Four Directions within the medicine wheel. We will embrace this knowledge and guidance through ceremony and storytelling, integrating the unique teachings through the 5Rhythms® moving meditation practice. This unification is metaphorically two rivers flowing together into a shared source.  

Honoring the mana/matsa — the life force — of the healing waters flowing through the sacred land at the Esalen Institute, we will set an intention to gather in community. We will share our stories, honor our differences, and celebrate our unique directions as waypoints that center us. We will breathe life into the endless directions our journeys can lead.

In this dynamic program, we will explore:

  • Dance
  • Plant rituals
  • Group sharing
  • Sensory awareness
  • Leadership exercises

All levels of experience are welcome. Bring your curiosity and willingness to explore.

The Esalen Institute is deeply honored to welcome back the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County to our workshop schedule. This collaboration will be the first in over 10 years, and it will be the catalyst for future partnerships. Acknowledging the presence of the people from this land, on this land, will be a powerful offering for our week together.  

If you would like to begin your own journey to understand the past and present of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey Country or to support the tribe in the progress of its work, please visit www.esselentribe.org.

Healing Waters: The Medicine Wheel and Embodied Motion
Healing Waters: The Medicine Wheel and Embodied Motion
November 14–18, 2022
November 14–18, 2022
November 14, 2022
Healing Waters: The Medicine Wheel and Embodied Motion
with Cari Herthel and Douglas Drummond

Pranayama: An ancient and powerfully transformative modality practiced by dedicated yogis as a means to both activate prana (life force) and yama (to gain control of). Pranayamas are practiced to elevate pranic energies.

Join master breathwork facilitator Ellen Watson in this singular opportunity to transform your life by exploring breathwork in its many forms. In recent years, numerous modalities of breathwork have gained global recognition as powerful tools for human transformation.

Through a powerful blend of experiential breathwork meditation practices, supportive bodywork protocols, mandala drawings, and group sharing, you’ll be empowered with new tools, knowledge, and an understanding of the transformative power of your breath.

In our time together, we will experience and practice various pranayamas, Hototropic® Breathwork, Vibrance™ Breathwork’s Safe Harbor and Flying Solo disciplines.

Together we will practice breathwork protocols that you can take home with you when it’s time to continue your journey, such as:

  1. A short, “wake-up-and-roar” morning breathing technique to stimulate your vagus nerve and enliven you for your day.
  2. A 30-minute, seated, chakra-based breath and sound meditation, designed to activate the energies of your chakras, cleanse and clear energies, and, again, stimulate your vagus nerve and entire polyvagal system.
  3. Various breath and sound combinations to build an energetic charge in your body.
  4. Various breath and sound combinations to calm your energetic body.

In addition to our work in the breathing room, we will have a session at the Esalen Baths, moving from the hot springs to the cold plunge tub to experience the profound effects of hydrotherapy. We will prepare a breathing technique specifically to support your cold plunge, which you’ll be able to use at the baths whenever you choose.

Throughout this month, you’ll learn personal inquiry skills, how to clear your energetic body, to release physical holding patterns, and deepen your sense of yourself as a whole and integrated human being.

Vibrance™ Breathwork and Pranayama for Physical and Metaphysical Expansion
Vibrance™ Breathwork and Pranayama for Physical and Metaphysical Expansion
November 19 – December 16, 2022
November 19 – December 16, 2022
November 19, 2022
Vibrance™ Breathwork and Pranayama for Physical and Metaphysical Expansion
with Ellen Watson

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
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

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
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 New Year is a powerful threshold. It is an opportunity to listen deeply, reflect, restore, and create anew. This retreat invites you on an embodied journey bridging personal and collective awakening. Rather than setting NY resolutions based on the myth of self-improvement, we will set intentions from the heart of our being, celebrating who we actually are beyond limiting beliefs and the illusion of separate self.

Acknowledging the gravity of the times we face, we will exchange judgment and striving for compassion, clear-seeing, and possibility. This retreat includes meditation and mindful inquiry, relational mindfulness, conscious movement, somatic practices, deep time in nature, writing, and ritual.

Throughout our time together, we will explore such questions as:

  • What are my deepest intentions for the year ahead, for my life, and for our world in this age of global change?
  • What lessons and hidden gems are there to harvest from 2022?
  • What obstacles or limiting beliefs is it time to release, let go, and  forgive – personally and on behalf of our collective?
  • How can I fully empower my essence or center, which is the source of my deepest power and my peace?
  • How can I hold myself accountable for embodying my whole self?
  • And what is the key to balance, joy, and personal sustainability in this day and age?

The New Year beckons with possibility and renewal. If we open to this invitation with wonder, curiosity, and courage, we can position ourselves to receive the true guidance within and, at the same time, embrace the support of the universe on our journey.

Awake in the New Year: Setting Conscious Intentions for Our Lives and Our World
Awake in the New Year: Setting Conscious Intentions for Our Lives and Our World
December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023
December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023
December 26, 2022
Awake in the New Year: Setting Conscious Intentions for Our Lives and Our World
with Deborah Eden Tull
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