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.

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

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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
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

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

“The shaman moves between realities, a magical athlete of states of consciousness engaged in mythic feats. The shaman is a middle man between ordinary and non-ordinary reality, as Castaneda has dramatically described. The shaman is also a power-broker in the sense of manipulating spiritual power to help people, to put them into a healthy equilibrium.”              Michael Harner

Shamanic healing is intuitive, hands-on energy work that integrates various practices for spiritual extraction and removal of intrusive energies. Breathing techniques combined with an energetic “sucking” process aid in eradicating unwanted and potentially harmful energies caused by stress, dense environments, or contact with unbalanced individuals struggling with addiction or other harmful afflictions. Intrusive energies can also come from troubled spirits stuck between ordinary and non-ordinary realities.

This unique practice, influenced by Native American teachers and shamans from North and South America, utilizes special herbs (such as sage, cedar, sweet grass, bear root, and tobacco) along with eagle, condor, and hawk feathers to assist with clearing and balancing the emotional body and spirit. This releases energy blockages and brings a sense of peace and centering to reconnect us with the power and wisdom of the life force within.

To begin, we will focus on self-healing to experience the power of these techniques on our own skin and in our hearts. After that, we will apply what we’ve learned to partners within the group. We will also be drumming and chanting healing songs.

This workshop is designed for shamanic practitioners, psychic healers, and all those interested in alternative approaches to spiritual healing. This practice is open to all walks of life, all religions, and all spiritual beliefs.

We are going to experience a way of life — a philosophy of living in harmony with Mother Nature and our own spirituality — through the healing power of the four elements: fire, water, earth, and air.

Shamanic Spiritual Healing
Shamanic Spiritual Healing
November 21–25, 2022
November 21–25, 2022
November 21, 2022
Shamanic Spiritual Healing
with Carlos Sauer Tradições Nativas

A renowned Brazilian trance medium named Luiz Antonio Gasparetto (son of famed spiritualist writer Zíbia Alencastro Gasparetto) was invited to Esalen in 1979. During his stay, Gasparetto channeled an ancient Chinese entity known as Chung In Lang who, through the medium, proceeded to teach methods of energetic healing and the cleansing of patterns to those present. Present and included was Maria Lucia Sauer, Carlos Sauer’s sister. After witnessing this event, Maria dedicated her life to teaching this healing technique both at Esalen and around the world.

In 1982, Carlos received these teachings from his sister as her assistant. He would eventually master the technique to become one of its teachers. He is now honored to bring Spiritual Massage back to its current place of origin, the Esalen Institute.

This workshop will offer practical methods for using the hands as instruments of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Participants will learn and practice the application of the technique as well as experience its personal benefits. The workshop is designed for bodyworkers, therapists, health professionals, and anyone interested in learning how to work with energy and bodies.

Please note that it is necessary that the students abstain from alcohol during the workshop. Participants will learn how to apply these healing techniques and will also receive its benefits. We will learn how to perform smudging with white sage and cleansing with sea salt water.

Recommended reading: The Book of Spirits and the Book of Mediums by Allan Kardec

Spiritual Massage: Laying on of Hands
Spiritual Massage: Laying on of Hands
November 25–27, 2022
November 25–27, 2022
November 25, 2022
Spiritual Massage: Laying on of Hands
with Carlos Sauer Tradições Nativas

This course offers a deeper immersion into the mindful flow of Esalen® Massage. Senior teachers will guide participants via presence-based meditation, touch, muscles, and movement to savor these elemental massage skills.

This course is useful to re-boot an existing practice, yet simple enough for the novice to master. Whether giving or receiving a massage, you will walk away feeling your spirits renewed and your body refreshed.

  • The instructors will offer experiential exercises, lectures and demonstrations, plus plenty of time for shared practice and specifics.  
  • You will learn to attune, to comfortably apply the long flowing strokes, and to address those troublesome places such as neck, shoulders and feet.
  • You will note the impact of breath, relaxation and touch on personal wellness, a sense of  “coming home.”
  • Self-care will be emphasized throughout the course.

There will be plenty of time for you to take in the natural scope of Esalen land and baths, and perhaps the butterflies. Join us for this invigorating workshop.

Introduction to Esalen® Massage: The Art of Healing Touch
Introduction to Esalen® Massage: The Art of Healing Touch
December 4–9, 2022
December 4–9, 2022
December 4, 2022
Introduction to Esalen® Massage: The Art of Healing Touch
with Dean Marson and Peggy Horan

Touch is our forgotten language. In this introductory massage course, participants learn to listen to each other, gain the sensory skill of initiating touch, experience the felt sense of touch and muscle release, and leave with some balanced tenderness. Seasoned instructors will offer exercises, demonstrations, and at-the-table guidance during the supervised practice. The simple principles of Esalen massage – presence, connection, attending rather than fixing, self-care, receptivity, and slow-paced strokes encompassing the body, build a heartfelt experience with a partner or a friend, and perhaps most significantly, ourselves.

The wavelike motion of the ocean inspires the pace of Esalen Massage. Its methods include the following: Connection to the earth, self, and massage partner; an emphasis on presence rather than fixing; a respect for our natural impulse toward health and healing. Students learn to sense into the body and encourage release of muscular tension. The effects of this massage reach deep, often repairing old wounds and awakening our joyful vitality.

By the final session participants will share a simple yet comforting Esalen® massage. Experienced practitioners and caregivers will find it refreshing to apply the Esalen method and notice its healing effect as their pace slows and the mind becomes focused on compassionate contact rather than only rely on technique.

Touch can evoke an opening to spirit through our innate ability to move into healthful balance or a broader sense of nature surrounding us. The edgy wildness of Esalen’s grounds, canyons, hot springs, and mountain backdrop invite this deeper natural connection. The group may include an optional evening massage ritual in the baths. This is the birthplace of Esalen Massage.

Recommended reading: Connecting through Touch, by Peggy Horan

Esalen® Massage for Couples and Friends
Esalen® Massage for Couples and Friends
December 23–25, 2022
December 23–25, 2022
December 23, 2022
Esalen® Massage for Couples and Friends
with Deborah Anne Medow and Vicki Topp
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