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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Have you ever felt like you wanted to start over, or simply begin again — right now — in a more authentic, healthy, and sustainable way? One of the most consistent regrets of the dying is that they lacked the courage to live a life true to themselves.

No matter what you have been through, if you choose to, it is possible to cultivate a new path of true self mastery, practicing the art of living well as your true self, aligned with your full potential.

Visualize what that might mean:

  • Always knowing how to stay connected to your truest, deepest, and highest self
  • Loving and caring for your body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit
  • Consciously creating the life that you envision for yourself

You can choose to walk this path, and in this workshop we will be defining and practicing the steps.

Together we will visualize a life that moves forward from this moment in full alignment with your true self. Together, we will build the skills needed for navigating your life’s journey with a clear direction, motivation, and inspiration.

In this month-long deep dive, we will be doing the inner work. You will have access to:

  • High performance life coaching
  • Health and wellness embodiment practices
  • Self-inquiry and journaling
  • Guided visualization
  • One-on-one sharing, group haring, and connection exercises

We will first uncover your innermost true self, and then, together, we will manifest that being into reality. Join Anne for this personally revelatory program.

Note about mobility: As this workshop includes embodiment practices such as physical Yoga poses, it is recommended that participants are comfortable with physical movement, or comfortable modifying movement so that the Yoga poses are accessible for them, or comfortable visualizing the movements if they are not physically able to do them.

True Self Mastery: The Art and Practice of Living Well
True Self Mastery: The Art and Practice of Living Well
Anne Van de Water
True Self Mastery: The Art and Practice of Living Well
February 11 – March 10, 2023
February 11 – March 10, 2023
February 11, 2023
February 11 – March 10, 2023

This workshop explores ways of representing and befriending our inner experience. Therapies that work all start from a basic sense of calm and safety. The calmer we are, the more we can allow ourselves to know what we know, and to feel what we feel.

Trauma changes the way the brain processes information and the body engages with the world. Trauma makes people afraid to know what they know and feel what they feel. This is expressed in heartbreak, and the state of being out of sync with oneself and one’s surroundings. This course explores how, because of altered biological systems, traumatized people continue to be trapped by their history and react to current experience in a myriad of ways as a replay of the past, and shows ways to break the cycles of re-enactment and suffering.

We will study and experience the capacity of EMDR, yoga, Internal Family Systems, sensorimotor practices, psychodrama, theater work, and neurofeedback to help people overcome a traumatic past and regain the capacity to be fully alive in the present.

Recommended reading: The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van de Kolk

Trauma, Memory, and the Restoration of One’s Self
Trauma, Memory, and the Restoration of One’s Self
Bessel van der Kolk and Licia Sky
Trauma, Memory, and the Restoration of One’s Self
February 12–17, 2023
February 12–17, 2023
February 12, 2023
February 12–17, 2023

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 to liberate the use of your voice and guide you toward expanded breath capacity.
  • Guided dance rituals to 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.

The Power of Breath: Embodied Liberation
The Power of Breath: Embodied Liberation
Sadia Bruce
The Power of Breath: Embodied Liberation
February 13–17, 2023
February 13–17, 2023
February 13, 2023
February 13–17, 2023

Have you ever wondered if your own mind and body hold the key to unlocking a path to transformation? Today the word “Tantra” has an incredible array of culturally specific meanings in South Asia and around the world, ranging from the exploration of anything strange to the carrying out of a guru’s instructions, and, yes, the word also applies to sexual practices.

One overarching meaning that encompasses all is this: Tantra, an applied method of acquiring freedom from external interference and of obtaining self-sovereignty (Sanskrit: svādhikāra) along this very path to transformation.

Join Tantric scholar-practitioners Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Cantú for this fascinating signature series to explore 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 conventional understandings of what Tantra was, is, and can be. Staying true to the roots of Esalen, we will intertwine the research and discussion with authentic Indian folk music performances and guided meditations to bring these new understandings creatively to life in your mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will illuminate Tantra’s connections to a wide variety of vibrant artistic and meditative practices in an eye-opening and unforgettable way.

In this workshop, you’ll be invited to:

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

We invite you to join us for this series of workshops that will blend meditation, art, and music with a holistic inquiry into Tantra’s power and therapeutic potential. Bring an open mind as we explore deep questions about our bodies and minds in a safe space and nurturing environment.

Recommended reading: Chapter One of The Hindu Tantric World by André Padoux

Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Freedom and Self-Sovereignty
Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Freedom and Self-Sovereignty
Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú
Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Freedom and Self-Sovereignty
February 17–20, 2023
February 17–20, 2023
February 17, 2023
February 17–20, 2023

Join us at the edge of the world as we explore the depths of our wild and playful hearts! Immersed in the powerful container of Esalen lands and held by seasoned guides Gitanjali Hemp and Hannah Muse, you’ll be led through an intentionally curated arc of somatic exploration, energy work, yoga, guided visualization, relational play, and embodied ritual to remember your true nature and rediscover your uninhibited joy.

Bring your curiosity and childlike wonder as we remember how to be free from the conditioning that holds us back. With the new moon, nourishing daily practice, and community connection as our allies, we’ll contact the untamed aliveness at the core of our being.

Hannah will share storytelling, song, yoga (flow, restorative, yin), breathwork, and creative mindfulness-based play that awaken the immediacy of experience and invite us to fall madly in love with life itself.

Gitanjali will share energetic transmission teachings, guided visualizations, creative process, improvisational play, and organic movement. Through these experiences you will be invited to partner with the unseen realms, and to awaken the magical and the mystical in the heart of All.

Our days will follow a nourishing schedule of rich experiential practices balanced with delicious meals, rest, and starlit soaks in Esalen’s healing baths.  

No matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual path, join us in experiencing radical renewal and radiant well-being. Vast possibility awaits you.

Falling in Love with Existence: Rewilding at the Edge of the World
Falling in Love with Existence: Rewilding at the Edge of the World
Hannah Muse and Gitanjali Hemp
Falling in Love with Existence: Rewilding at the Edge of the World
February 20–24, 2023
February 20–24, 2023
February 20, 2023
February 20–24, 2023

The Artist lives within everyone! Art can be made out of just about anything! It’s a time to leave the critic behind and allow oneself to play, nourish, and replenish the creative spirit. It’s also a time to enjoy the company and camaraderie of like-minded peers. Now is your time to discover the joys of art based on community and collaboration and to find out how meaningful and grand a shared, creative experience can be

In this transformative workshop, we will use repurposed material in a whole new context of re-creation.

Come experiment with a vast array of reused materials to create mixed-media mosaics, sculptures, and collages. There will be an assortment of recycled glass, metals, wood, plastics, paper, photographs, fabrics, and old artifacts — bits and pieces of the past and present.

In a beautiful, nurturing, supportive setting, we will reclaim and shape society’s scraps and discarded objects into re-imagined meaning. Find your own inner voice of expression as you delve into the process of creating art out of different materials and mediums,  and learn new skills.

Not only will you have the opportunity to explore your own expression and immerse yourself in solo creations, we will also engage in a collaborative group project to enter the whimsical world of community-oriented magic and play.

There is a transformative joy that comes from engaging with others in the artistic process. It opens doors unseen and forges deeper bonds between people. This exciting, shared experience teaches us how beautiful it is to break down barriers and collaborate.

This workshop is geared toward anyone with the desire to create. From the beginner to the advanced, this is a time to explore new possibilities. Together we will:

  • Explore our own creativity and immerse ourselves in solo artistic expression.
  • Engage in a collaborative group project and enter the whimsical world of community-oriented magic and play.
  • Leave the critic behind and allow ourselves to play, nourish, and replenish the creative spirit.
  • Discover the joys of art based on community and collaboration and how meaningful and grand a shared experience can be.

If there are any recycled materials, special mementos, poems, or photos you would like to bring and include in our creations, please feel free!

Creative Catalyst: The Transformative Power of Making Art
Creative Catalyst: The Transformative Power of Making Art
Dana Albany and Michael "Flash" Hopkins
Creative Catalyst: The Transformative Power of Making Art
February 20–24, 2023
February 20–24, 2023
February 20, 2023
February 20–24, 2023

There are many misconceptions about Reiki, a practice said to have originated anywhere from Egypt to Tibet — or even from angels and aliens. But what’s real? And what is Reiki? Where did it come from? Why are there so many different kinds? And how do they compare?

This extended weekend course offers students a chance to learn the fundamentals of Reiki from both historical and experiential perspectives. During this class, we will discuss Reiki’s origins in Japan, how it was influenced by other practices, and how it evolved over time. While this is not a Reiki certification class, attendees will learn various aspects of Reiki practice, including forms of meditation taught by Reiki’s founder, Usui Mikao, and have opportunities to experience self-treatment and partner work.

You will be taught forms of meditation designed to strengthen one’s ability to connect to Reiki’s universal source and to increase the flow of Reiki through one’s body.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in an empowerment ceremony. Reiki initiation is not offered in this course, but we will discuss what initiation entails and how to choose an authentic Reiki master, if you choose that path.

Fundamentals of Reiki: Japanese Roots to Modern Practice
Fundamentals of Reiki: Japanese Roots to Modern Practice
Diane Domondon and Justin Stein, PhD
Fundamentals of Reiki: Japanese Roots to Modern Practice
February 24–27, 2023
February 24–27, 2023
February 24, 2023
February 24–27, 2023

Join Janet in this nourishing and revitalizing weekend, designed to replenish the nervous system and adrenals, boost the immune system, and ground our hearts and minds in simplicity. We will drop down through body-mind-spirit to find space between effort and surrender, allowing our internal systems to release toxins and integrate the powerful wellness generated by our bodies through our physical practices. Slow and fluid movement, restorative postures, meditation, pranayama (breathwork), and chanting will refill the mind, body, and spirit.

We will create space in our body for introspection and move out of the cyclical fight-or-flight response to cultivate sustainable power, rest and healing.

We’ll practice:

  • Slow yoga to build sustainable power.
  • Restorative postures for regeneration.
  • Meditation toward stillness.
  • Pranayama to balance hormones and the whole being.
  • Chanting to awaken the heart’s longing.

Please bring an eye pillow. If you are driving, please also bring a sandbag and bolster.

CE Credit Available: 10 hours CE credit for Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT) available through Yoga Alliance; see leader.

Nourish
Nourish
Janet Stone
Nourish
March 3–5, 2023
March 3–5, 2023
March 3, 2023
March 3–5, 2023

Our emotions are essential to our survival. Like breathing, we do not choose to feel our emotions – we automatically emote in response to the challenges and opportunities of life. While emotions are vital to our human existence, emotional reactions can become the source of interpersonal challenges in our lives. Often, these strong emotional reactions are triggered from far below the surface of conscious thought.

Automatic reaction is not our only option, however. We can learn to bring conscious awareness to our emotions, and train our minds to respond to difficult emotions in constructive ways. Even our pleasant emotions can be enhanced by conscious awareness. We can savor the good and feel appreciation, rather than grasp for joy.

In developing emotional awareness, we can increase our ability to hold the full range of our human experience with compassion and curiosity.  

Throughout this experiential workshop, we will offer the foundational science and practice of emotional awareness, woven together with an experience of heart-opening and interactive contemplative art. We will draw from the evidence-based Cultivating Emotional Balance training, which integrates the wisdom traditions of modern psychology, emotion research, and ancient contemplative practices as a path for transformation.

Each session will balance learning, being, and connecting. Within our sweet container, we will explore:

  • Teachings on the scientific and contemplative foundations of emotional awareness.
  • Being with guided meditations and reflective practices to develop mindful awareness and compassion for our patterns and habits, while connecting to inner sources of joy and appreciation.
  • Connective practices, including discussion and small group work, to investigate the roots of our emotions through the mapping of our emotional episodes.

As we map our emotions, we may uncover the stories underlying our triggers, perceptions, and responses. These stories are often humblingly familiar. In their sharing, it is possible to understand and feel the interconnection of emotions, interconnection with each other, and forge new narratives to make meaning with our emotional lives.

Join us for this weekend of transformative exploration and practice.

Cultivating Emotional Awareness and Balance
Cultivating Emotional Awareness and Balance
Eve Ekman and Teague O'Malley
Cultivating Emotional Awareness and Balance
March 3–6, 2023
March 3–6, 2023
March 3, 2023
March 3–6, 2023

Restore.

It can take time and great effort to move away from the ego affirming busyness of modern day life toward a reflective stillness. In this workshop we will cultivate this slowing, deepening, and going within.

In a community setting, we will allow ourselves to dive below the surface of our thoughts and identities to know ourselves more intimately and untether from the chords that hold us to old behaviors and belief structures. Our practice will include:

  • Slow nourishing yoga movements.
  • Restorative postures to cultivate regeneration.
  • Meditation, mantras, writing, and intentional silence.

With the power of this land, the healing waters, strength of community, and nourishment of slowing down, we will move toward a listening, supple, healing body.

Please bring an eye pillow, and if you are driving, please also bring a bolster and sandbag.

CE Units Available: 25 Continuing Education hours are available with Yoga Alliance, see leader.

Moving into Stillness
Moving into Stillness
Janet Stone
Moving into Stillness
March 6–10, 2023
March 6–10, 2023
March 6, 2023
March 6–10, 2023

“Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is important to me?”

Asking yourself these questions will activate your inner authenticity and allow you to move forward and live your life in alignment with your truest self. The answers to these questions will help you navigate life’s journey with direction, motivation, and inspiration.

Perhaps the greatest regret of the dying is that they lacked the courage to live a life true to themselves. In this workshop, you will reconnect with your authentic self through a series of exercises, such as guided meditation, self-inquiry, journaling, Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as Tapping), and one-on-one and group sharing and embodiment practices. This curated process is designed to allow you space to get clear about:

  • Your purpose
  • Your core values
  • Your message
  • Your big vision

With that clarity, you can create your manifesto, a written statement declaring who you truly are. Let that sink in: We will first uncover this hidden self, and then, together, we will manifest this being into reality.

Together we will explore:

  • Guided Meditation to calm the mind and tap into your inner guidance and higher potential
  • Self Inquiry: asking powerful questions to connect with your true self and what matters most to you
  • Journaling with a focus on cognitive processing to reduce stress, improve memory, boost mood, regulate emotions, increase physical vitality, and improve relationships
  • Emotional Freedom Technique/Tapping to clear subconscious blocks and rewire your subconscious mind

One-on-one and group sharing and embodiment practices to connect and share learn practical tools to help reprogram your subconscious mind and heal your connection with your truest, deepest, highest self. You will also have the opportunity to apply these insights to cultivate authentic interactions with others. As you deepen the embodiment of your native self, you’ll experience the great freedom of simply being you. This is one of the greatest victories you can possibly achieve: living a courageous life true to yourself — with no regrets.

Please bring a journal and pen to every session.

Authentic Alignment
Authentic Alignment
Anne Van de Water
Authentic Alignment
March 10–12, 2023
March 10–12, 2023
March 10, 2023
March 10–12, 2023

True happiness is not about acquiring anything; instead, it comes from opening to the natural joy and aliveness inside you. As we are bombarded with messages that heighten our fear and sadness about the world, more than ever, it is vital to understand the importance of joy as a central aspect of mindfulness practice. We need to remember how to stay connected to that place inside that makes life worth living. Our cultivation of well-being and joy can become our gift to a troubled world.

This workshop is based on James Baraz’s popular 5-month Awakening Joy course that thousands have taken since 2003. You will learn basic principles and other supportive practices to develop your natural capacity for well-being and happiness, presented in a user-friendly way.

This workshop offers practical tools to incline the mind towards joy through silent meditation and interactive experiential processes.

Themes include:

  • Inclining the mind toward healthy states
  • How mindfulness weakens negative and strengthens positive mind states
  • Gratitude practices to deepen well-being
  • Working skillfully with difficulties
  • The power of letting go
  • Integrity practices and healing from the past
  • Learning to love ourselves
  • Compassionate action

Recommended reading: Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness by James Baraz

Awakening Joy: Finding Well-Being in Difficult Times
Awakening Joy: Finding Well-Being in Difficult Times
James Baraz and Jane Baraz
Awakening Joy: Finding Well-Being in Difficult Times
March 10–12, 2023
March 10–12, 2023
March 10, 2023
March 10–12, 2023

Regardless of your spiritual background, the word “Grace” evokes a felt sense of something simple, yet beautiful; subtle, yet substantial. It is a tender reality which has perhaps always existed in the background of your awareness, where its presence may arise more explicitly in life’s transitions and transformations. But what exactly IS grace? And – importantly –  how do we gain access to it?

Grace can be defined as the direct experience of Divine Presence coming alive from within you. Experiencing grace can reconnect you to the source of love, clarity, peace, strength, and joy. Grace is more available than you might think to help you live with spiritual depth. It can support you while you learn to embody and integrate your noble qualities deeper into daily life and begin to radiate the benefits to your loved ones and community.  

In this retreat, Miranda will share rich teachings and practices to help you relax out of ego fear and control, and take you on a journey into the four dimensions of grace:

  • Grounding in Grace
  • Receiving the Blessings of grace
  • The Transforming Power of Grace
  • Embodying Grace more deeply into your life

Within a palpable atmosphere of unconditional love, we will explore the most important themes of your life and these times. Through powerful inquiry exercises, meditation practices, beautiful music, and group reflection, we will illuminate your obstacles and let your consciousness refine so that you can relax more substantially to the luminous presence at your core.

Miranda has been guiding others into direct experience of the sacred for over thirty years internationally. She shares a feminine approach to spiritual surrender and non-dual realization based on the practice she calls Ego Relaxation, and is dedicated to loving others all the way home into the freedom and wholeness of our true nature.

As part of the workshop, you will receive a copy of Miranda’s new “Cultivating Grace” illustrated cards and Guidebook, containing skillful practices and inspirational prompts to support your practice flourishing long after the workshop itself.

Recommended reading: The Way of Grace: The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation, by Miranda Macpherson

Cultivating Grace
Cultivating Grace
Miranda Macpherson
Cultivating Grace
March 10–13, 2023
March 10–13, 2023
March 10, 2023
March 10–13, 2023

During this month-long program, a cohort of like-minded students will have the opportunity to lean into the richness and diversity of programming that has both grown up on campus and is being infused into its current culture. In addition to working in service to the running of Esalen, the workshop classes have been designed to support the process of healing, transformation, and joy.

Classes will be led by the Esalen Resident Faculty Team, each bringing something uniquely transformative to the daily experience. Practices will include:

  • Gestalt Awareness Practices
  • Esalen-style “check-ins”
  • Combinations of breathwork, yoga, and inspirational writing practice
  • 5Rhythms dance and movement
  • And more!

Come experience Esalen for a heartful and healing month of service and transformation!

The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
Esalen Faculty
The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
March 11 – April 7, 2023
March 11 – April 7, 2023
March 11, 2023
March 11 – April 7, 2023

Being always on the go, on the grind, and non-stop producers has us “living” our lives, but are we fully alive?

Here’s the truth: If you can worry, you can meditate.

How? Join me for the chance to learn the truth behind meditation and why it’s difficult for so many people, and build a practice that doesn’t just help you relax, but becomes a tool to help you become more fully alive.

Come to the beautiful grounds of Esalen and play, dance, sing, and develop a deep practice that you can take home with you. Awaken to the truth of who you are, your creative power, and your soul’s calling.

With daily meditation practice, intentional ritual-building, TED Talk-style lessons, live music, morning movement, and a dance party — this class will rejuvenate your spirit and bring you back home to yourself.

All are welcome. From “I never meditated before,” to “I tried it, but it doesn’t really work for me,” to “I do an app sometimes,” to life-long practitioners looking to learn a new technique of profound awakening through a dynamic way of practicing.

What we’ll discuss:

  • Why meditation is hard for most people, and how to overcome the inner dialogue that stops you from practicing.
  • The five myths about meditation and how to avoid them when building your practice.
  • A scientifically proven way to build a daily meditation ritual that you can do at home, well after the retreat.

This is your time to give back to yourself, do something fun, and remember the truth of your existence in a space of community, family, nature, kindness, and deep connection. Take your power back from fear and claim your true vision and story of your one big miraculous life.

From the ground up, this program has been designed to welcome people of all genders, races, identities, beliefs, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Expect a deeply rejuvenating week with a diverse group and a profoundly opening experience.

You are worthy.
You are enough.
We rise together.
This is your time — come alive.

Come Alive: Meditation for People Who Can’t Stop Thinking
Come Alive: Meditation for People Who Can’t Stop Thinking
Justin Michael Williams
Come Alive: Meditation for People Who Can’t Stop Thinking
March 13–17, 2023
March 13–17, 2023
March 13, 2023
March 13–17, 2023

“We will become our opposite if we do not learn to accommodate the opposite within us.”  – Carl Jung

At the heart of contemplative life is the archetypal journey – returning home to the ground of our essential being, our true nature, which is love. Buddhism teaches that when we split from the  “ground of being,” we can either take the path of remembrance or forgetting.

The path of remembrance teaches that when we remember who we truly are, we know that we are the ground, and we feel whole and can experience the liberation and freedom of nirvana. On the other hand, if we take the path of forgetting (which is what most of us have taken), we forget that we are the ground, which leads us to samsara, to feeling lost, empty, anxious, alone, and disconnected from love.

Whether we experience nirvana or samsara depends on our own minds, the crux is that they are not two different places – they are states of mind.

Meditation is one of the most impactful tools we have for cultivating positive mental states, states of being that enable us to experience the ground as it truly is, and gain confidence and maturity. This is the teaching on “one ground, two paths, two results” that we will explore together.

“Our fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

In this retreat, we will complement our meditation practice with shadow work called Feeding Your Demons® (FYD), an exquisite five-step process whereby we offer attention and compassion to our inner obstacles, our “demons.” In this context, demons are those thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that block our experience of freedom. This process is greatly beneficial when working with various personal demons and other dilemmas of modern life. A 2018 FYD pilot study found that working through this process was associated with increased self-compassion, emotional awareness, and self-regulation, satisfaction with life, and decreased stress, craving, depression, and intolerance for uncertainty. FYD transcends spiritual constructs, serving as a meaningful tool for anybody, regardless of religious affiliation or personal philosophy.

In this retreat, you will experience:

  • Meditation practices indoors and out in nature, gazing over the Pacific Ocean, weather permitting.
  • Teachings and discussions on the seminal Buddhist teaching of “one ground, two paths, two results.”
  • Five step Feeding Your Demons® personal process.  
  • Gentle and accessible therapeutic yoga to bring more comfort and ease to your meditation and your life.

Please bring loose, comfortable clothing, a journal, writing implements, and if you have art supplies, such as colored pencils, pens, pastels, and/or watercolor, feel free to bring them. Paper and art supplies will also be provided in the workshop.

One Ground, Two Paths and Two Results: A Meditation, Yoga, and Shadow Work Retreat
One Ground, Two Paths and Two Results: A Meditation, Yoga, and Shadow Work Retreat
Chandra Easton
One Ground, Two Paths and Two Results: A Meditation, Yoga, and Shadow Work Retreat
March 17–20, 2023
March 17–20, 2023
March 17, 2023
March 17–20, 2023

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 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.

View the continuing education syllabus.

10 hours of CE credit for:

  • Massage Therapists
  • MFTs, LCSWs, LEPs, LPCCs
  • Nurses
5Rhythms®: Grief, Loss, and the Body in Motion
5Rhythms®: Grief, Loss, and the Body in Motion
Lucia Horan and Peter Selwyn
5Rhythms®: Grief, Loss, and the Body in Motion
March 17–20, 2023
March 17–20, 2023
March 17, 2023
March 17–20, 2023

Enjoy a rising tide of empowerment as you end your daily guessing game about life and receive the guidance you seek when you say “Yes!” to learning the Beauty of Tarot.  

This workshop is an introductory level deep-dive into the powerful insights of tarot, how to cultivate them for yourself, and how to begin reading cards for others in your life. Together we will initiate this ancient and fascinating daily practice into your life as the sacred land of Esalen welcomes you.  

Join renowned master teacher Brenda Rose in a playful and magical journey through the sacred stories of tarot. You’ll have the chance to gain a meaningful connection with the cards and their stories, and build toward giving insightful readings. Information on how to read the stories of tarot will be shared and in a unique way that books or online information cannot convey. The Beauty of Tarot amplifies your spiritual transformation as you cultivate more unconditional love and intuitive guidance in your daily life.  

This is an immersive and interactive workshop. The stories and magic of tarot will come to life as you practice giving and receiving readings with your classmates, under the supportive guidance of Brenda Rose and her graduate students. We’ll discuss vibrant tarot spreads together and discover how both the obvious and esoteric stories of tarot’s stories are activated.

In this workshop, we will:

  • Meditate and work energy practices prior to every tarot reading.
  • Engage with each of the tarot cards through their stories and interpretations.
  • Give readings while practicing inclusive, judgment-free, and projection-free language.
  • Receive readings with grace and openness while practicing inclusive, judgment-free, and projection-free language.

Brenda will also provide you with instruction beyond tarot, so you can enhance your spiritual and energetic ‘hygiene’. Repeated application of these mystic practices will help you to deliver valuable readings without being energetically drained and build your confidence and skill as a tarot reader.

To provide you with continued support when you return home and begin offering readings for your family and friends, this workshop tuition also includes Brenda’s original deck, The Beauty of Tarot, and a workbook chronicling each card.  

This immersion welcomes all levels of experience, from “I’ve always been curious” to “I’ve had a deck for years” to “I’ve been doing readings but want to deepen my understanding of the cards” and more.  As a result, every student will have the opportunity to gain immense insight from this tarot class and Esalen community.

Learning Tarot: Awakening The Magic of Your Own Inner Guidance
Learning Tarot: Awakening The Magic of Your Own Inner Guidance
Brenda Rose
Learning Tarot: Awakening The Magic of Your Own Inner Guidance
March 20–24, 2023
March 20–24, 2023
March 20, 2023
March 20–24, 2023

And there came a time when the risk of remaining closed tight in a bud far outweighed the risk it took to bloom.” – Anaïs Nin

Spring is the season of new beginnings; it brings major shifts and changes. It is a time of rebirth and renewal, as well as rigorous expansion. Spring brings a powerful uplifting energy is needed to help crack a seed and push it through cold, hardened soil so the plant can bud and bloom.

This transformative spring energy is not only all around us — it’s within us. It’s time to till our inner soil, release layers of winter sludge, and reset our inner conditions for growth — and to bloom along with the expansion towards summer.

Join Jillian for a deeply clearing Spring Equinox Retreat, designed to help you remove heaviness and invite in fresh energy, preparing you to fully bloom into the season and into your life. With an emphasis on grounding and opening to flow along with change, Jillian will weave together teachings and practices to help you thrive during times of paradox, ambiguity, and contradiction, as well as embrace hope, love, beauty, and joy. More than ever, we can benefit by pausing and restoring our energy, aligning with nature and nurturing ourselves so we can better nurture our world.

To further this potent practice, renowned musician and composer Garth Stevenson will add deeply healing vibrations of the bowed double bass; helping us cultivate the balance between the rigorous energy of spring and the spacious promise of new beginnings.

Through mindful slow-flow yoga, restorative yoga, meditation, and more, you’ll bloom back into your body and your life as you explore:

  • Releasing blocked energy and melting layers of deeply held tension.
  • Receiving the rejuvenating benefits of a variety of Ayurvedic “spring cleaning” practices.  
  • Reconnecting with yourself through yoga nidra and restorative yoga.
  • Expanding through revitalizing and uplifting yoga and meditation practices.  
  • Cultivating a balance of groundedness and openness that allows you to be with life’s challenges while expanding your ability to choose how you wish to meet the present moment.

Join us for this special weekend at Esalen.

Garth Stevenson was raised in Western Canada, where nature became his primary inspiration and the common thread between his life and music. His albums, Alpine, Flying, and Voyage, are informed by his experiences carrying his 160-year-old double bass into nature, including Antarctica and Tuva.

Begin Again: Expanding Into The Spring Equinox, A Yoga, Meditation, & Restorative Retreat
Begin Again: Expanding Into The Spring Equinox, A Yoga, Meditation, & Restorative Retreat
Jillian Pransky and Guest Musician Garth Stevenson
Begin Again: Expanding Into The Spring Equinox, A Yoga, Meditation, & Restorative Retreat
March 24–27, 2023
March 24–27, 2023
March 24, 2023
March 24–27, 2023

The practice of writing involves our whole selves. It requires both an awareness of the world around us, as well as a strong connection to how our bodies move through and respond to that world.

Taught by a published author and long-time meditator, along with a certified yoga teacher and wellness expert, this workshop is designed to nourish and inspire the whole writer. Using a combination of mindfulness exercises and yoga, free writing and self-care techniques, we’ll explore all the ways we can nurture and feed our own creativity.

Over the course of our time together, we will use guided meditations and mindfulness exercises to discover new ways of rendering the world on the page, of writing authentically about complex human emotions.

We will also spend time learning how to restore our bodies after a focused writing session, and how to use our bodies to draw out and nourish our creative projects.

Everyone will leave the workshop with both a self-care toolkit to take home, as well as strategies for developing both a daily writing and a daily mindfulness practice.

Nourishing the Whole Writer
Nourishing the Whole Writer
Janis Cooke Newman and Saeeda Hafiz
Nourishing the Whole Writer
March 27–31, 2023
March 27–31, 2023
March 27, 2023
March 27–31, 2023

Somewhere inside you — buried deeply, or maybe just below the surface — there is a story you’ve been wanting to tell. This is the workshop that will help you tell it. Through mindfulness practices, writing, and movement, you will have a chance to connect to that deeper authentic story and that deeper authentic You. No matter where you are on your journey, beginner or expert, there is space for you here.

And in this space, we will disconnect from our devices and our default-world lives, and immerse ourselves in the open air of Esalen.

In a group setting, you will be guided to move your body, find your breath, observe your mind, and fill pages with your words. This workshop will include:

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

As educators, storytellers, and human do-ers, Cara and Darnell truly believe in growth and happiness. They have co-created this course while they worked together at Esalen as Teachers in Residence to help connect the seekers to their paths, and to encourage them to find ways to get from where they are to where they want to be. Join Cara and Darnell for this amazing long weekend, and lean in to the symbiotic relationship between movement and writing, and the magic that happens when they come together.

Uncover Your Story with Writing, Yoga, and Mindfulness
Uncover Your Story with Writing, Yoga, and Mindfulness
Cara Chandler and Darnell Lamont Walker
Uncover Your Story with Writing, Yoga, and Mindfulness
March 31 – April 3, 2023
March 31 – April 3, 2023
March 31, 2023
March 31 – April 3, 2023

We all long to be happy. Happy as in deep contentment. We all long to feel at ease, to be at peace, to know that we’re okay and that life is okay. Most of us are deeply habituated to looking for this happiness outside ourselves, to grasp and scramble for an experience that, at best, ends up being fleeting, and then something we long for again. We forget that this feeling we desire is already seated in the heart of who we are — and that it’s always available if only we look within. When we do, we can transform far more than just our own lives.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you ever touched this peace, this contentment, this deep knowing of who you truly are?
  • Have you ever struggled because you recognized the world around you did not reflect this experience of humanity’s true nature?
  • When faced with the enormity of the collective problems before us, how can one individual’s spiritual practice make a tangible difference in our world?

These questions will guide our time together on retreat as we explore how meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative technologies designed for the realization of personal freedom can — and must — be applied collectively. Our daily meditation practice will serve as a framework onto which we will begin to weave teachings with personal reflections. You will have the opportunity to connect to yourself and others and the world beyond in solo and group exercises, and discussion that inspire us to put our values into action.

We hope you will join us in remembering the deepest truth of who we are, with the intention of using this understanding to transform our own lives and the world we share.

Opportunities for scholarships/BIPOC scholarships are available by application for this retreat.

https://www.caverlymorgan.org/theheartofwhoweare

The Heart of Who We Are: Personal Freedom and Collective Change
The Heart of Who We Are: Personal Freedom and Collective Change
Caverly Morgan
The Heart of Who We Are: Personal Freedom and Collective Change
April 3–7, 2023
April 3–7, 2023
April 3, 2023
April 3–7, 2023

As the world becomes an ever more challenging place, many of us are asking (in our better moments) how we can be of service. This workshop rests on the notion that the best version of the world must begin with the best version of each of us. Learn the tools you need to bridge the gap between the inner and outer world in a tangible way and show up for this life as fully as you can.

Every great movement for social change has been animated by people who understood and applied the power of the human heart. In daunting times, it is sometimes easier to default to fear, but a reboot that starts within can affect positive social change.

With Yolanda, Angel, and Shelly guiding your steps, you’ll have the opportunity to

  • Connect to a deeper sense of purpose and a desire to show up.
  • Understand the tools you need to build strong and sustainable work in the outer world.

Communicate more effectively to deepen your impact.

In this compassionate, interactive, and down-to-earth workshop led by teacher, poet, and activist Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, leader in social justice and mindfulness Dr. Angel Acosta, and author and activist Shelly Tygielski, you will be guided to explore:

  • Interactive guided meditation, creative journaling, and narrative healing techniques to tap into your subconscious mind, accessing your internal tools of  expressive and authentic communication.
  • Yolanda’s “Archaeology of Self”™ methodology to dig deep and “peel back layers” of your life and life experiences.
  • Angel’s restorative & healing circle facilitation, which centers on intergenerational approaches.
  • Mindfulness tools to create self-awareness and a tangible connection to the outer world, inspiring you to move to action.
  • Tapping into your emotions and reactivity as they relate to what is happening in the world-at-large, learning how to both sit with events and respond to them with efficacy.

Humanity must start embracing a new story, one that enables us to bring more kindness to ourselves and into the world. Understanding how to heal our personal and generational wounds combined can lead us to directly address the problems of our world. Join us at Esalen for this life-changing program.


Recommended reading: Sit Down to Rise Up by Shelly Tygielski (New World Library); The Peace Chronicles by Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz; Love from the Vortex by Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

Inner Work for the Outer World
Inner Work for the Outer World
Shelly Tygielski, Yolanda Ruiz and Angel Acosta
Inner Work for the Outer World
April 7–10, 2023
April 7–10, 2023
April 7, 2023
April 7–10, 2023

For centuries, humans have looked to myths to make meaning of our lives. Stories of the deities can bring fresh perspectives to our own unique Hero’s journey, ease us through transitions, and act as maps to greater clarity. We’ll combine the power of these ancient tales with yoga and other experiential practices to help us tap into creativity and joy while awakening our spirits to possibility.

This workshop offers a unique and playful opportunity to commune with the deeper aspects of self through movement, inquiry, and storytelling. Our focus this weekend will be on the deities and lore that promise new beginnings and grace.

Together we’ll explore:

  • Asana (yoga for all levels)
  • Guided meditation and Pranayama (gentle breathwork)
  • Self-inquiry and journaling
  • Mantra and song
  • Fireside ritual
  • Storytelling and archetypal awareness

This nourishing schedule of experiential practices will be balanced harmoniously with relaxing meals, community connection, and soaks in Esalen’s healing baths. Music, nature, poetry, relational play, and ritual will all be woven together artfully. Renewal awaits!

Yoga, Myth, and Inquiry: Opening to Possibility
Yoga, Myth, and Inquiry: Opening to Possibility
Hannah Muse
Yoga, Myth, and Inquiry: Opening to Possibility
April 7–9, 2023
April 7–9, 2023
April 7, 2023
April 7–9, 2023

This will be an extraordinary opportunity to learn the ancient healing art of qigong from one of the most respected qigong grandmasters in the world today. After absorbing the essentials of balanced posture, alignment, and breathing, you’ll enjoy step-by-step instruction in all 12 movements of Hunyuan (Primordial) Qigong. This comprehensive system of meditative energy exercises purges the body of toxic or stagnant qi (circulating life force), clears the major acupuncture meridians, and teaches you how to gather and absorb qi from nature.

Primordial Qigong is meditation in motion and includes the two most famous forms of Taoist Meditation: the Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Energy Circulation, in which the solar (yang) and lunar (yin) energies flow in harmony, an essential key to vitality and longevity. You will also learn how to recharge the three dan tians, the body’s primary energy “batteries,” to increase your storehouse of resilient qi (life force) as a buffer against stress and other challenges to well-being. During discussion time, we’ll discover how science explains the benefits of qigong and how the practice is redefining our understanding of health. Primordial Qigong is the legacy of Ken’s teacher Madame Gao Fu, in direct lineage from the founder of the “medical qigong” movement in modern China. The course is perfect for beginners and all levels.

In this weeklong workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Learn all 12 movements of Hunyuan (Primordial) Qigong for strong, resilient energy.
  • Practice the two most famous forms of Taoist Meditation: the Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Orbits (or Energy Circulation techniques) to awaken and harmonize the primary acupuncture meridians.
  • Recharge the internal “batteries,” the dan tians, and learn about their connection with slow, deep breathing.
  • Improve posture, alignment, movement efficiency, and breathing.
  • Discover how science measures the healing benefits of qigong and how the practice is redefining human health and human potential.

Recommended reading: The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing, by Kenneth Cohen

Primordial Qigong: Vibrant Health, Harmony with the Tao
Primordial Qigong: Vibrant Health, Harmony with the Tao
Kenneth Cohen
Primordial Qigong: Vibrant Health, Harmony with the Tao
April 9–14, 2023
April 9–14, 2023
April 9, 2023
April 9–14, 2023

There is an inner community inside of us, a community of selves. Some have a voice, and some are quiet. Some are known through sensation, emotion, and thought. Other selves have agendas, advice, and accusations.

Each of these selves has a history, an emotional state, and a felt sense in the body. Each represents a particular aspect or part of our (mostly) Unified Self. In mindful movement, we can substantiate selves that have been hiding or cast out. We can learn to calm the selves that work overtime, find unknown selves, and embody a self we have been waiting to become.

Andrea facilitates a dynamic, non-judgmental, well-informed dance playground to embody these inner conversations. This practice is not only fun and awakening, but an exploration of any distinct part of our personalities can help illuminate what is held within and what its cost is. Additionally, the creativity of dance illuminates new possibilities and choices.

Come join us for this essential and transformative work, where we will explore:

  • Movement dance
  • Inquiry/self-reflection
  • Sharing
  • Individual process
  • Group process

When we allow it, the embodiment of our different selves supports integration, shared knowledge, and congruence within whom we call “me, myself, or I.” Learning the practice of learning the ten Core Movement Resources anchors us in the felt sense of that which moves from one self to another. It’s often hard to taste this in our day-to-day life, but put those selves, intentionally, into movement on the Open Floor, and who we are beyond a self is often surprisingly available to us.

Open Floor Movement: Community of Selves
Open Floor Movement: Community of Selves
Andrea Juhan
Open Floor Movement: Community of Selves
April 10–14, 2023
April 10–14, 2023
April 10, 2023
April 10–14, 2023

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.

One of the myths of art is that you have to feel inspired and confident in order to create. On the contrary, not-knowing allows innocence, accepting imperfection yields compassion, and risking vulnerability opens the door to breakthrough and awe. In that spirit, 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 high-quality brushes.

Awakening the Creative: The Painting Experience
Awakening the Creative: The Painting Experience
Stewart Cubley
Awakening the Creative: The Painting Experience
April 16–21, 2023
April 16–21, 2023
April 16, 2023
April 16–21, 2023

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.

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.

Through this experiential week, 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.

Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal in the Spring
Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal in the Spring
Mark Nicolson
Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal in the Spring
April 17–21, 2023
April 17–21, 2023
April 17, 2023
April 17–21, 2023

What is the relationship between our physical substance and subtle bodies? In this workshop, we aim to individually and collectively understand physical and subtle bodies and their importance and relationship in Tantric traditions. Together, we’ll trace the historical development of the Tantric body with its physiology of wheels and channels. We will also review the desire of the Theosophists and later New Age authors to map the so-called “astral body” and earlier cosmic bodies onto the Tantric body.

Join Tantric scholar-practitioners Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Cantú as we explore 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 conventional understandings of what Tantra was, is, and can be. Staying true to the roots of Esalen, we will intertwine research and discussion with authentic Indian folk music performances and guided meditations for a creative, visceral experience for the mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will illuminate Tantra’s connections to a wide variety of vibrant artistic and meditative practices in an eye-opening and unforgettable way.

We invite you to join us in this workshop that blends meditation, art, and music with a holistic inquiry into Tantra’s power and therapeutic potential. Bring an open mind as we explore deep questions about our bodies and minds in a safe space and nurturing environment.

Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Wheels and Breath, The Tantric Body
Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Wheels and Breath, The Tantric Body
Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú
Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Wheels and Breath, The Tantric Body
April 21–24, 2023
April 21–24, 2023
April 21, 2023
April 21–24, 2023

Esalen is the trailhead to one of the most spectacular mountainous coastlines in the world. With the Big Sur wilderness as the primary teacher, participants will explore the beauty of this wild coast — one of the most spectacular mountainous coastlines in the world —  which includes ancient canyons of redwoods, dramatic coastal beaches, rugged rocky mountains, and soft grassy slopes.

Drawing from nature and using various experiential awareness practices, individuals will be encouraged to open to the landscapes of both the natural world and their inner world. It is said that Big Sur is not just a place but a state of mind. This wilderness experience seeks to merge mind and place, then to embody what is learned.

Participants in this weeklong workshop will venture out into the emerging springtime magnificence of Big Sur on day-hikes between four to eight miles. Steven and Gary will draw from a wide range of contemporary and age-old wisdom traditions, borrowing from psychology, meditation, aikido, and the natural sciences to weave together a holistic experience of self and the natural world.

Each hike will begin right after breakfast and conclude in time to enjoy the hot springs and dinner at the Lodge. Evening sessions will include informal sharing and basic awareness practices with attention to incorporating what we’ve learned into our daily lives.

All levels of experience are welcome. Be prepared for the invigorating challenge of physical activity and the opportunity to simply sit still in quiet reflection. More information and a waiver will be sent upon registration. For an equipment list and frequently asked questions about Steven’s workshops, visit FAQs.

Please note: Participants need to be capable of moderate exercise. Hikes will be between four to eight miles.

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Springtime
Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Springtime
Steven Harper and Gary Marcoccia
Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Springtime
April 24–28, 2023
April 24–28, 2023
April 24, 2023
April 24–28, 2023

We all face death, but how many of us are actually ready for it? Whether our own demise or that of a loved one comes first, how prepared are we? This workshop offers a wide array of resources and teachings to help participants address that final unfinished business and make the most out of every moment that comes before it.

All of life is held within the context of its inevitable extinction. By acknowledging and preparing for death now, we will find ourselves living more fully and fearlessly. Join us as we celebrate the preciousness of life, and ready ourselves and others for this final journey. We will learn how to die a good death and help others pass, exploring meditations and contemplations that prepare us for letting go. As the Buddhist tradition proclaims, “If you die before you die, then when you die, you will not die.”

With preparation, we can transcend death, turning the greatest obstacle into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and even attain enlightenment. The bardo teachings lead to the death of death. The journey through the bardos is a journey into our mind, so by exploring the bardos, we are exploring ourselves. The teachings apply to any moment that ends – which means they also relate to daily life and can help you live fully within the time you are given.

Together we’ll explore:

  • Meditations that prepare you for the end of life
  • Teachings that support the meditations
  • Discussion groups to create a sense of community  

We hope you’ll join us for this exploration into the unknown, so that we may all return – fearless, and full of compassion for ourselves and those transitioning from this life.

Graceful Exit: Preparing for a Good Death
Graceful Exit: Preparing for a Good Death
Andrew Holecek
Graceful Exit: Preparing for a Good Death
April 28 – May 1, 2023
April 28 – May 1, 2023
April 28, 2023
April 28 – May 1, 2023

Everyone has a story. This workshop is about being in a safe place to finally get that story (which has been marinating in your pancreas, your liver, your heart) out onto the page. It’s about sounding like you. Using your own voice, your own language, your own rhythms, telling your own story, and taking the risk of saying, “This is who I am … This is what happened to me. And this is how I got from here to there.”

Writing a memoir is not about trying to impress anyone with how smart you are. With humor and compassion, Aronie draws you into building a safe and authentic group field, and it melts away the fear and the doubt, making your authenticity and your vulnerability the most important part of the work. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will finally get going on the book you’ve been waiting to write.

Aronie has one rule: When you finish reading, we tell you what we loved. The workshop is not about publishing. It’s about the process. You will be given prompts and time to write, and then the group will read their writings together, in the safe container built during the program. You will take away the confidence and the excitement to keep going when you get home.

Jumpstart Your Memoir
Jumpstart Your Memoir
Nancy Slonim Aronie
Jumpstart Your Memoir
May 5–7, 2023
May 5–7, 2023
May 5, 2023
May 5–7, 2023

Learn to activate the right side of your brain to unlock the insights necessary to break through self-limiting patterns. Based on a Nobel Prize-winning discovery in neuroscience, this methodology helps you think outside the box and live a more creative, productive, happier life.

William Donius, author of the New York Times bestseller Thought Revolution, spent a decade researching and developing this brain-enhancing methodology. He has taught these skills to a wide range of people, from students and corporate executives to scientists and artists. This innovative approach inspires more creative solutions than conventional thinking or brainstorming sessions. Through easy-to-learn exercises, you can discover ways to harness your intuition and uncover profound insights about yourself that make change possible. You’ll develop practical tools you can apply each time you face an important decision or obstacle in life. You can go home with new ways to unlock your own inner genius and create the life you long for. Please bring a notebook or journal and a pen.

Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
William Donius
Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
May 5–7, 2023
May 5–7, 2023
May 5, 2023
May 5–7, 2023

This workshop is open to all levels of experience, though our focus will be on intermediate and advanced practices. Please write directly to Ellen@Ellen-Watson.com with questions. Upon inquiry with Esalen, you will receive a questionnaire, including a medical release form you must sign and submit with your registration.

Transpersonal breathwork practices, including Holotropic Breathwork® and time-honored global, multi-cultural breathwork practices, have been validated by Western scientific methods.

Holotropic Breathwork was developed at Esalen in the 1970s by Stanislav Grof, MD, PhD, with the support of his then-wife, Christina. This practice was created as a powerful way to enter non-ordinary states of consciousness without psychedelic medicines. This workshop will include four Holotropic sessions during the week.

Our days will begin with an energizing and empowering kata, led by Mac Murphy, who trained in breathwork during a seven-month immersion at the Five Immortals Temple in Wudang, Hubei Province, China. Mac will guide us in early morning qigong practice and through his Tummo- and Wim Hof-inspired breathing practices. Those interested can also take a cold water plunge at Hot Springs Creek. There will be time afterward to share feedback.

Participants will explore breathing practices designed to calm the nervous system and elicit effects documented in The Relaxation Response and The Relaxation Revolution by Herbert Benson, MD, co-founder of the Harvard Mind-Body Clinic.

Our three-hour afternoon sessions will be entirely dedicated to the study of Holotropic Breathwork, which begins with both “sitter” and “breather” guided into full body relaxation. The sitter then assumes a comfortable position close to the breather’s upper body with access to the head and shoulders. Accelerated breathing is supported by evocative music specifically chosen to move upward through the chakra system. The last hour is for resolution, including possible bodywork and creative expressions of our experiences, such as drawing mandalas, writing poetry, and more.

To read more about Holotropic Breathwork, please read Stan Grof’s book The Holotropic Mind, or review these videos: Stanislav Grof – Holotropic Breathing (YouTube), Stanislav Grof: Holotropic Bodywork Workshop [Part 1] (YouTube), James Nestor Had a “Transformative” Experience in His Holotropic Breathing Class (YouTube)

Transpersonal Breathwork Practices: Holotropic Breathwork®, Qigong, and Complementary Breathwork Katas
Transpersonal Breathwork Practices: Holotropic Breathwork®, Qigong, and Complementary Breathwork Katas
Ellen Watson and Mac Murphy
Transpersonal Breathwork Practices: Holotropic Breathwork®, Qigong, and Complementary Breathwork Katas
May 7–12, 2023
May 7–12, 2023
May 7, 2023
May 7–12, 2023

Special Note: This workshop will be held as a 2-night, 3-day, and also have the option to extend your time and workshop content into a third night and fourth day.  To extend your time with Mark and Lori, select the “Additional Night” option when completing your reservation.

Are you longing to be in the beauty of the outdoors to 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, surrounded by the natural beauty and mystery of Esalen. Whether under a blazing sunset or in the stillness of a copse 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 our natural environment. This practice 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 their 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 and A Field Guide to Nature Meditation by Mark Coleman

Awake in the Wild: Cultivating Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Love in the Beauty of Nature
Awake in the Wild: Cultivating Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Love in the Beauty of Nature
Mark Coleman and Lori Schwanbeck
Awake in the Wild: Cultivating Mindfulness, Wisdom, and Love in the Beauty of Nature
May 12–14, 2023
May 12–14, 2023
May 12, 2023
May 12–14, 2023

Most of us have experienced a flow state at least once or twice. On the dance floor, it sometimes happens that you find yourself in a state of exquisite surrender to the spirit that dances us; those timeless moments when we disappear and all that’s left is Emptiness Dancing.

Often these moments feel like “happy accidents,” a sudden flash of grace over which we have no control or choice. The purpose of this weekend is to practice being prone to these happy accidents — to cultivate an openness so this state of grace becomes an everyday possibility.

In this workshop, you’ll experience a movement-based curriculum centered around:

  • Movement dance
  • Inquiry/self-reflection
  • Sharing
  • Individual process
  • Group process

Open Floor Movement Practice uses universal principles of movement to anchor us in this vast space. Our bodies organically know about emptiness, and at the same time, it can be quite a journey to arrive at this place willingly, even longingly. As with any journey, there are skills to learn, habits to unlearn, and a need for curiosity. This course is an opportunity to say “Yes!” to this blessing.

Recommended reading: Emptiness Dancing by Adyashanti

Emptiness Dancing
Emptiness Dancing
Andrea Juhan
Emptiness Dancing
May 19–21, 2023
May 19–21, 2023
May 19, 2023
May 19–21, 2023

Open to people of all backgrounds and experience levels, this workshop will explore the lessons that traditional African spirituality can teach us about creation, how the universe was brought into being, how to manifest things we want in the world, and how to fashion a life filled with divine harmony. It will first introduce the world of African ritual through a screening of Marques Redd’s highly acclaimed film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth — a fantasia of dance and theatrical performance.

From there, we will:

  • Use dreaming and astral projection exercises to experience the Primordial Blackness, the Source of Creation.
  • Energize intention through ritual body painting and dance.
  • Symbolically activate the cosmic strings that form the structure of the universe for materialization and attraction.
  • Employ the magic found in everyday spaces and thresholds
  • Use guided meditation in darkness to surrender the ego and explore the mysteries of death and resurrection.

Transcendent and practical, traditional African rituals are an important part of our global spiritual heritage. They can help you effect transformation, cultivate vitality, and expand your consciousness. This workshop will provide you with many tools that you will be able to use to plug directly into potent spiritual energy and empower your life!

Harnessing the Power of Creation through African Ritual
Harnessing the Power of Creation through African Ritual
Marques Redd
Harnessing the Power of Creation through African Ritual
May 19–21, 2023
May 19–21, 2023
May 19, 2023
May 19–21, 2023

What is vitality? Exuberance, vibrance, sparkle, spirit, and verve — terms rarely found in psychology textbooks. Vulnerability to depression and anxiety is widespread, and our culture traditionally emphasizes reducing symptoms with drugs that alter certain neurotransmitters, which is only part of the picture. We are living in a new era where vulnerabilities can become strengths, and what used to be stigma becomes common humanity. Good mental health is being redefined in terms of stress resilience, post-traumatic growth, and vitality.

This workshop explores evidence-based tools for living a vibrant life, even in the presence of stress, depression, anxiety, or any pain we may be carrying. We will help you build your own ecosystem of mental well-being — including new ways to foster vitality and purpose through caring for the brain, body, and gut. In this workshop, we’ll review the latest scientific findings on practices such as:

  • Hot and cold exposures
  • Optimal physical challenges
  • Breathing techniques
  • Meditation
  • Embodied movement

A mental health renaissance is underway. Mental well-being is being redefined, and a range of evidence-based, whole-person approaches are gaining ground. Learn from renowned authors and cutting-edge scientists to create a flourishing ecosystem of mental well-being for yourself and your clients.

Additional embodiment practices will be provided by Guest Faculty Member Nichol Chase.

Nichol’s yoga practice is informed by a vast and eclectic set of influences that blend invigorating flow with precise and insightful instruction and extensive study with a variety of innovative teachers. She is a Garrison Institute Fellow and a faculty member and teacher trainer for The Mazé Method.

CE is available for professionals through the Spiritual Competency Academy.

Recommended reading: The Stress Prescription: Seven Days to More Joy and Ease by Elissa Epel; The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel; Spiritual and Religious Competencies in Clinical Practice: Guidelines for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals by Cassandra Vieten; Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life by Cassandra Vieten.

Cultivating Vitality in Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Ecosystem of Mental Well-Being
Cultivating Vitality in Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Ecosystem of Mental Well-Being
Cassandra Vieten, Elissa Epel, and guest faculty Nichol Chase
Cultivating Vitality in Body, Mind, and Spirit: The Ecosystem of Mental Well-Being
May 26–29, 2023
May 26–29, 2023
May 26, 2023
May 26–29, 2023

Have you ever worked hard to make a change, only to find yourself slipping back into old habits? Want to supercharge your ability to stimulate behavior change in others when it comes to the issues you care about the most? Is it time to break free from old patterns and build your next chapter? This workshop is for people in the process of change and those who work as change agents with individuals, groups, and organizations and in society.

Through dialogue, experiential practice, and creative process, we will bridge the science of breakthroughs with indigenous, religious, spiritual, and secular models of transformation. You will:

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

Join us for this transformational exploration of our most deeply entrenched behaviors. Learn how to break free from the patterns that no longer serve you — and create new habits that will change your life.

Additional embodiment practices will be provided by Guest Faculty Member Nichol Chase.

Nichol’s yoga practice is informed by a vast and eclectic set of influences that blend invigorating flow with precise and insightful instruction and extensive study with a variety of innovative teachers. She is a Garrison Institute Fellow and a faculty member and teacher trainer for The Mazé Method.

Continuing education credit is available for professionals through the Spiritual Competency Academy, an approved sponsor of CE by the American Psychological Association  If you plan to apply for CE credit, please notify the Faculty during your first workshop session.

How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation
How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation
Cassandra Vieten
How We Change and Why We Don't: The Art and Science of Transformation
May 29 – June 2, 2023
May 29 – June 2, 2023
May 29, 2023
May 29 – June 2, 2023

Join us for an extended opportunity to explore the true essence of Esalen, and find yourself in the process. Like a snapshot of all that we do here on campus, this workshop is composed of enlivening and heart-opening classes that are driven by Esalen’s founding areas of focus: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, and Community.

During this month-long program, a cohort of like-minded students will have the opportunity to lean into the richness and diversity of programming that has both grown up on campus and is being infused into its current culture. In addition to working in service to the running of Esalen, the workshop classes have been designed to support the process of healing, transformation, and joy.

Classes will be led by the Esalen Resident Faculty Team, each bringing something uniquely transformative to the daily experience. Practices will include:

  • Gestalt Awareness Practices
  • Esalen-style “check-ins”
  • combinations of breathwork, yoga, and inspirational writing practice
  • 5Rhythms dance and movement
  • And more!

Come experience Esalen for a heartful and healing month of service and transformation!

The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
Esalen Faculty
The Essence of Esalen: Heart, Mind, Body, Spirit, Community
June 3 – July 1, 2023
June 3 – July 1, 2023
June 3, 2023
June 3 – July 1, 2023

We invite you to celebrate World Oceans Week on the coastline of the magnificent Pacific Ocean as we find connection, curiosity, restoration, and inspiration through alchemy crystal singing bowls, sound, and movement.

Sound Healing is one of the oldest and most natural forms of healing known to our planet. Modern science is now reinforcing what ancient cultures have always known: We live in a vibrational world, a world of frequency. All beings are interconnected through vibrational frequencies, geometry, and sound. By using sound healing intentionally, we have the opportunity to aid in our own healing processes and embrace higher consciousness.

Working with the laws of resonance and entrainment, we will have the opportunity to experience how sound can calm our hearts, soothe our nervous systems, and align our brainwave patterns to bring forth greater states of peace, focus, and joy. We will use the seven main chakras as our guide as we explore the role of sound healing in harmonizing mind, body, and spirit.

Each day will include a blend of specially curated sound journeys, movement exercises, bespoke teachings, and experiential activities. You will also learn the basics of how to play alchemy crystal singing bowls and gain an understanding of how crystals have played and continue to play a role in evolution.

We welcome you to slow down, connect, and find the joy of listening to your soul — to feel empowered to bring new practices home and into our world.

Seven Wonders of Sound: Crystal Singing Bowls for Chakra Healing and Nourishment
Seven Wonders of Sound: Crystal Singing Bowls for Chakra Healing and Nourishment
Deva Munay
Seven Wonders of Sound: Crystal Singing Bowls for Chakra Healing and Nourishment
June 5–9, 2023
June 5–9, 2023
June 5, 2023
June 5–9, 2023

We all have spirit guides. They are part of your soul family and spiritual GPS. Tuning into them takes patience, trust, and assistance from the Other Side. Learn to access your spirit guides in this kind-hearted immersion that welcomes seekers at all levels of experience and at any stage of healing.

This unique class dives deeply to understand and amplify the unseen support, healing, and unconditional love from spirit guides. Most people are unaware of the guides they are born with, let alone how to connect with them. Yet many of us have experienced a loving presence at critical moments of our lives or in our moments of serenity. What would be possible for your life if you could access that unconditional love, support, and guidance in a more dependable way?

This special and intensely personal class is designed for those who are ready to connect with the spirit guides who are always by your side, just waiting to assist, support, play, and dance with you. Connecting with your spirit guides is a profoundly intimate and expansive experience. Once this connection is made, it is forever — to utilize as you wish and create whatever you desire of it.

This course will introduce and connect you with your guides and set in place a framework to engage with them steadily and reliably. Each session is interactive and includes instruction and meditation practices to ensure that your experience creates the conditions for spiritual expansion. With support, you can better focus your energies to live an empowered, compassionate life that you love. The support and love available to you from the unseen world means you are never truly alone or disconnected.

This class is for the moderately experienced spiritual seeker who is energetically sensitive, open, and curious to receive support from beyond the veil. Previous meditation practice is helpful but not required. This course is great for people who:

  • Have a regular meditation practice and want to experience more active guidance and inspiration from the Spirit World.
  • Experience intuitive hits but get frustrated or doubt themselves because they don’t have the experience regularly.
  • Somewhat understand what meditation is, are clear there’s something beyond what we can touch, and are passionately curious to learn more.
  • Are in need of spiritual restoration and are ready to show up and reconnect with the most resilient part of themselves: their Spirit.
Finding Your Spirit Guides: Building A Relationship with the Unseen World
Finding Your Spirit Guides: Building A Relationship with the Unseen World
Brenda Rose
Finding Your Spirit Guides: Building A Relationship with the Unseen World
June 5–9, 2023
June 5–9, 2023
June 5, 2023
June 5–9, 2023

Doing personal growth work while still engaging in self-sabotaging behavior is like watering a garden full of weeds and expecting roses to bloom. Learn to overcome negative patterns and transform your pain into authentic power.

In this dynamic three-day workshop with award-winning instructor Justin Michael Williams, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Discover your unique energy signature.
  • Study a proven system to help redefine your life on your terms.
  • Learn the eight hidden forms of fear and how to overcome them.
  • Break beyond the hidden toxic habits that sabotage your growth.
  • Create a custom “power action” that helps you overcome limitations.
  • Come together and build accountability with other conscious people who are ready to create change in their lives and the world.

Learn about the practical behavioral changes you can make to help you overcome the hidden patterns standing in the way of your goals. Together, we’ll create your personal action plan and define your “next best move” so you have a ritual for change that lasts well after the retreat. This is your moment to reset, overcome fear and self-doubt, and say “yes” to the life that’s waiting for you.

This program has been designed from the ground up to welcome people of all genders, races, identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. All meditation experience levels are welcome as well.

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

Reclaiming Your Authentic Power
Reclaiming Your Authentic Power
Justin Michael Williams
Reclaiming Your Authentic Power
June 9–11, 2023
June 9–11, 2023
June 9, 2023
June 9–11, 2023

Through the practices of 5Rhythms dance, mindfulness meditation, and self-care, we weave together a retreat focused on healing and celebration. Looking back over the past few years, it is clear that many of us are exhausted. In times of turmoil and change, self-care and kindness are needed to connect us to the ability to recharge and renew. In order to move forward with energy, passion, and creativity, it is vital to seed these qualities in our daily life so that we may cultivate resilience.

Do you need to integrate more self-care into daily life? Would you like to be better resourced and have more energy? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, you are in perfect alignment to participate in this workshop.

The 5Rhythms is an externalization process that releases and balances the systems of the body through movement. It is a method of dance focused on presence versus performance. We pair this process with seated meditation to quiet the heart and mind, allowing for stillness and integration. Bringing both together mirrors the dance of life. We come together to create an environment that cultivates and nurtures joy, calmness, and ease.

Each session will be primarily focused on Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms moving meditation practice. We will complete each practice with a 10-15-minute seated meditation. Included will be a discourse on 5Rhythms, mindfulness, and self-care. All practices taught during this course lend to the experience and wisdom of resourcing and renewing vital life energy to send you home with skills and tools to apply to your daily life.

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

This workshop will include:

  • 5Rhythms dance
  • Seated meditation
  • Sharing circles
  • Discourses on mindfulness and 5Rhythms

Recommended Reading: Books by Gabrielle Roth: Sweat Your Prayers, Maps to Ecstasy, Connections and Dancing With Dharma: Essay on Movement and Dance in Western Buddhism  – Edited by Harrison Blum

Resource & Renew: A 5Rhythms & Mindfulness Retreat
Resource & Renew: A 5Rhythms & Mindfulness Retreat
Lucia Horan
Resource & Renew: A 5Rhythms & Mindfulness Retreat
June 12–16, 2023
June 12–16, 2023
June 12, 2023
June 12–16, 2023

How would it feel to move into a meaningful relationship with the living world? Beyond a mere passive appreciation of nature? In the long arc of human history, people across all cultures and traditions have lived in communion with the lands they called home. Though this intrinsic connection has been largely severed in our modern age, the perspectives and practices common to our respective Earth-reverent ancestors are not lost. They lie dormant in the land, among the wild beings, and in our own animal bodies, waiting patiently to be remembered and renewed.

Immersed in the beauty of the Esselen tribal lands now known as Big Sur, we will humbly walk the trails in pursuit of reunion with the wild Earth. We will set out each morning for hikes amongst ancient redwoods, golden grasslands, and fragrant chaparral. Our community and teachers will include the plants, animals, stones, and all aspects of the wild landscape. Acknowledging Big Sur to be the ancestral territory of the Esselen tribe, we will endeavor to behave as reverent and respectful guests on sacred land.

Along the trail, we will cultivate innate capacities for presence and wonder, build ecological knowledge, and explore pathways of reciprocity and connection with the natural world. Pausing together to learn from the land, we will participate in some of the most potent work of our time: rejoining our great family on this wild Earth.

Hiking 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 three to eight miles long with uneven and often steep terrain. 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.
Reunion with the Wild Earth: Hiking and Nature Connection in Big Sur
Reunion with the Wild Earth: Hiking and Nature Connection in Big Sur
Noël Vietor and Fletcher Tucker
Reunion with the Wild Earth: Hiking and Nature Connection in Big Sur
June 12–16, 2023
June 12–16, 2023
June 12, 2023
June 12–16, 2023

Dealing with work-related burnout and rediscovering creative inspiration require dedicating time and space. Our daily challenges and life circumstances are opportunities to learn — and we can alchemize our life experiences and emotions into greater understanding and clarity. In this workshop, we will bring together a variety of wisdom traditions and explore simple-yet-transformative practices to deepen the relationship between our bodies, our minds, and our aspirations. To clarify both vision and intention, we will weave together the theory and practice of the Tibetan-based Yoga of Renewal with the contemplative science of compassion and emotional awareness. We will also introduce a few of the codes of Andean Cosmology and transformative earth-based rituals.

In this three-day workshop, mornings will be reserved for quiet reflection to promote a clear mind of stillness. Afternoon sessions will foster intentional connections for awe, gratitude, and empathy with one another and the more-than-human world. While we focus on the experiential through individual and small group activities, we will lay the foundational frameworks that help enliven our sense of interconnection and resilience and remind us how to align our lives with our true heart’s desires and the ingredients of a meaningful life.

We will draw on traditional ecological knowledge, contemplative practices, and research-informed strategies to enhance purpose and manage emotional distress in our personal and occupational lives. Discover a cosmological approach to refine your intentions for your clarified purpose. Learn the tools that can help you re-envision your worldview, build resilience and empathy for stronger relationships with friends and loved ones, as well as unity with the more-than-human world.

Eve and Alejandro will be joined by guest faculty Cristina Lanata, MD, a physician and scientist specializing in autoimmune diseases. She immigrated from Peru and is currently a translational researcher studying how epigenetics relates to autoimmune diseases. She is also researching how biofield therapies can regulate maladaptive immune pathways, epigenetics, and outcomes in patients with autoimmunity. Cristina practices the principles of Andean Cosmology and Qigong and is a level one Reiki practitioner.

The Alchemy of Awareness: Transforming Burnout into Meaning and Purpose
The Alchemy of Awareness: Transforming Burnout into Meaning and Purpose
Eve Ekman and Alejandro Chaoul
The Alchemy of Awareness: Transforming Burnout into Meaning and Purpose
June 16–19, 2023
June 16–19, 2023
June 16, 2023
June 16–19, 2023

Our awareness of energy both expands and becomes more subtle as we deepen into relaxation.

The ancient Chinese practice of Qigong, often translated as “cultivating Life Force”, is a system of movement that relaxes and energizes the body/mind. You will find this form “Wai Dan Gong” easy to learn and a powerful means of  experiencing  Life Force in and around you. We will enjoy moving on the Earth, under the heavens, while gazing at the Pacific. Wai Dan Gong is an excellent preparation for sitting, walking and standing meditation.  Saturday morning will be held as a retreat, we will keep noble silence until lunch. At other times we will share with compassion and humor our experiences of riding the wild waves of the mind.

In this rejuvenating weekend we will explore:

  • the 25 movements of Wai Dan Gong.
  • sitting meditation (you may sit in a chair, 20 minutes maximum).
  • walking and standing meditations.
  • gentle meridian stretches.
  • a full body self massage routine.

Please come ready to enjoy a deep sense of ease and an expanded sense of the energy body.

Vibrant Silence: Qigong and Meditation
Vibrant Silence: Qigong and Meditation
Jim Gallas
Vibrant Silence: Qigong and Meditation
June 16–18, 2023
June 16–18, 2023
June 16, 2023
June 16–18, 2023

The chakra system is one of the greatest gifts the ancient yogis and rishis of India shared with the world: a powerful spiritual map for our healing and the awakening of our consciousness so we can fully come alive! This week is an invitation to explore this map and unlock the unbridled joy, creative power, and freedom that lives inside of you.

The ultimate goal of yoga is to live in embodied enlightenment. It is to know and feel the current of mukti (the force of liberation that expands you in the direction of pure potentiality and higher consciousness) and to feel and celebrate bhukti (the gift of embodiment and all the pleasures and abundance of earthly reality). This workshop offers us the opportunity to bring these concepts into reality and into our living beings.

Through embodied ritual practices of yoga, live music, dance, meditation, sounding, and communion with nature, you will begin to shape an intimate connection with each of your energy centers. Together we will work to break through the blockages that keep you stuck and stagnant — preventing you from experiencing the fullness of your power and life. We will dive deeply into the chakra system through accessible, dynamic, and interactive discussions and exercises.

Each day, Cristi will guide us in her signature, dynamic chakra-based vinyasa, woven with mudra and pranayama, supported by the sacred rhythms and healing soundscapes of our musical guides. DJ Marques Wyatt and DVINE1, aka Joel Long, will be playing sitar and percussion.

These practices will be enhanced by a variety of daily rituals, ranging from:

  • Interactive lectures and discussions about each of the chakras.
  • Movement meditations.
  • Transformational dance practices, including The Deep Exhale Experience and JourneyDance.
  • Deeply nourishing soma practice and journaling.
  • Spending time in nature to activate our chakras through the five sacred elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space.

Join us as we turn the yoga dance floor into a ritual of self-expression. You’re invited to experience every ritual as a prayer to your highest self to return you home to your body and nature, awaken pleasure, and give you permission to feel. Ignite your power. Heal your heart. Claim your vision and voice. Connect to your own divinity and celebrate this gift of life!  

Reigniting the Chakras: A Sol-full Celebration of Life through Embodied Movement and Live Music
Reigniting the Chakras: A Sol-full Celebration of Life through Embodied Movement and Live Music
Cristi Christensen and Marques Wyatt
Reigniting the Chakras: A Sol-full Celebration of Life through Embodied Movement and Live Music
June 19–23, 2023
June 19–23, 2023
June 19, 2023
June 19–23, 2023

Have you created the impact you want? Are you showing up the way you’d like? Are you going in the right direction? You have never before been where you are right now. You have never been the age you are today, never had the experiences you now possess. This is your time to pause and reflect. We rarely allow ourselves the opportunity to stop and look at what is changing — or discover what we truly need to feel fulfilled.

This very interactive workshop will include lots of experiential exercises. Though we will cover valuable theory and there will be plenty of reflection time, this will not be a series of talks/lectures. There will be movement, coaching, a little dance, and lots of activity. All participation will be voluntary at all times.

Our goal is to step back from our lives and renew. We will create a courageous community to both challenge and nurture ourselves. Participants will have the opportunity to learn what brings them joy and purpose, and then 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. We’ll discover how to navigate major life transitions and learn skills to access our intuition. We will uncover the behaviors that support our overall success, and reveal which ones undermine our goals and fulfillment. If you are passionate about having a more powerful and authentic impact on the world around you, this program of renewal will be especially valuable.

Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal at Summer Solstice
Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal at Summer Solstice
Mark Nicolson
Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal at Summer Solstice
June 23–25, 2023
June 23–25, 2023
June 23, 2023
June 23–25, 2023

This immersive week-long lab is for creators of all kinds––writers, inventors, filmmakers, musicians, and entrepreneurs––anyone who wishes to integrate their spirituality and creativity to tap into the deepest source of inspiration and higher intelligence as they bring guided work into the world.

In the words of Carl Jung, “People don’t have ideas. Ideas have people.” By breaking down this process of allowing into three stages (Creation, Manifestation, and Transmission), we will walk together along an impactful, sacred path designed for cohesion, connection, incubation, and transformation.

We live in a world of great distraction that doesn’t encourage deep listening. We must reverse those outer-facing sensory “searchlights” and go inwards. When you dive into the field of all possibilities, ideas surprisingly find you with a very specific intention. As you attune to that purpose, you gain discernment, direction, momentum, and flow.

Over the course of five days, you’ll face the “demons” that get in the way of meaningful work, including inertia, ego, outer blocks, and inner resistance. You will discover how obstacles can be an in your process develops organic, sustainable partnerships, growth, and co-creation.

In this workshop, you’ll be guided through:

  • Nonlinear brainstorming to invite new and deeper relationships to ideas.
  • “Hotseat Exercises” and small group breakouts to foster vulnerability and creative risk-taking
  • Kinetic creation, such as yoga, meditation, and energy balancing, to increase attunement
  • Radical pivots and adaptivity to meet obstacles with poise and intelligence.
  • Case studies.

Employing timeless principles from Vedic philosophy, this class will use nonlinear brainstorming to deepen our inspiration, along with experiential exercises. You will do yoga, breathwork, meditation, and movement to tap into the matrix of your creative capacity. You’ll recalibrate intentions and goals. Every step of the lab will contain practical solutions to push through whatever is in your way.

The lab is open (by application) to creators of all levels. You can attend either as an “incubator” (with a specific project or idea that you want to workshop) or as an “observer/participant” (to glean knowledge about conscious creation by watching the process unfold and also participating). In either case, you must submit a one-page application describing your background and creative goals. If you’re bringing a project to the lab, please describe it in one paragraph, tell us where you are with it, and where you want to take it. LINK TO APPLICATION.

Source to Screen: Accessing, Manifesting, and Transmitting Great Ideas
Source to Screen: Accessing, Manifesting, and Transmitting Great Ideas
Paola di Florio and Peter Rader
Source to Screen: Accessing, Manifesting, and Transmitting Great Ideas
June 26–30, 2023
June 26–30, 2023
June 26, 2023
June 26–30, 2023

Now more than ever, it is important we build practices to strengthen our internal resolve and self-resourcing amidst a dynamically shifting society. Together, we will listen to our heart’s wisdom in this rich 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 multiple East Forest’s live music performances. Additionally, Radha will lead us in embodiment practices of Self-Awakening Yoga, Yin Yoga, and breathwork to create an all-levels and accessible doorway to inner insights. Through the primacy of our own heart-opening and felt experience, we can discover the inner pathways to fortitude and healing.

East Forest and Radha would like to offer a certain amount of scholarship 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 condone the use of or provide substances of any kind.

Journey Space: Music, Movement & Ceremony
Journey Space: Music, Movement & Ceremony
East Forest and Marisa Radha Weppner
Journey Space: Music, Movement & Ceremony
June 30 – July 3, 2023
June 30 – July 3, 2023
June 30, 2023
June 30 – July 3, 2023

What is the relevance and significance of the maṇḍala (“circle”)? In this workshop, we aim to individually and collectively understand maṇḍalas and related sacred shapes and their importance in Tantric traditions. Even the geography of Esalen can be perceived as a sacred landscape or maṇḍala. Our focus here will be on the historical development of the maṇḍala and its connecting link between the internal and external worlds.

Join Tantric scholar-practitioners Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Cantú for this fascinating new workshop, the third of a signature series on Tantra, to explore the foundations of Tantric theory and practice. Together, we will investigate the latest findings from academic research and ethnographic “participant-observation” that challenge and reframe our conventional understandings of what Tantra was, is, and can be. Staying true to the roots of Esalen, we will intertwine our research and discussion with authentic Indian folk music performances and guided meditations to bring these new breakthroughs creatively to life in your mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will illuminate Tantra’s connections to a wide variety of vibrant artistic and meditative practices in an eye-opening and unforgettable way.

In this workshop, you’ll be invited to:

  • Develop an understanding of what a maṇḍala is and how to use it to journey to various points in meditation and on your personal path.
  • Learn to communicate your personal practice to friends and family using your new academic, researched-based understanding.
  • Creatively explore your divine potential.
  • Enjoy the benefit of overcoming negative projections and self-generated illusions.
  • Learn practical modes of meditation, including internal visualization and externalization of maṇḍalas.
  • Understand the connections of Tantra to art and music, and see a broader continuum of its relevance in daily life.

Come to learn how Tantric teachings navigate the interrelationships between the microcosm, or individual, and the macrocosm, or external universe. We’ll pay special attention to the ways deities are called to inhabit maṇḍala and other diagrams, as well as the connection between deities and the power of speech using mantra. We invite you to join us for this workshop that will blend meditation, art, and music with a holistic inquiry into Tantra’s power and therapeutic potential. Bring an open mind as we will explore deep questions about our bodies and minds in a safe space and nurturing environment.

Please Note: This workshop is NOT about Tantric Sex and experiencing enhanced sexual pleasures, although many discussions will address gender identity and sexuality.

The Tantric Maṇḍala: Microcosm and Macrocosm
The Tantric Maṇḍala: Microcosm and Macrocosm
Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú
The Tantric Maṇḍala: Microcosm and Macrocosm
June 30 – July 3, 2023
June 30 – July 3, 2023
June 30, 2023
June 30 – July 3, 2023

Tibetan yogis, monks, and nuns are human like you and me; they have feelings and emotions, and obstacles in their lives. That is why the practices they have created as a way to remove obstacles from their body, energy, and mind are suitable for us too.

These tools remained as secret recipes for centuries, and only in the last couple of decades have started to be known in the West, as they’ve been researched scientifically and practiced now by thousands of people. Those who practice them can discover or tap into a radical sense of presence — an aliveness in the midst of chaos — like a lotus flower coming out of the mud or the sun illuminating everything without bias.

Well-being in the Tibetan tradition is a holistic sense of wellness that encompasses body, energy, and mind. During this program, participants will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Tibetan wellness and experientially practice meditative yogic techniques that utilize the healing power of the breath-energy (qi or lung in Tibetan) as a link and support for a healthy body and more aware state of mind. In addition, some of the current research in this area will be presented and discussed.

This workshop encourages participants to explore the potential of their subtle bodies — composed of channels and chakras — as a powerful tool for meditative practice, which utilizes the five breath-energies present in yogic and medical texts. These meditative practices and movements allow one to clear the “poisons” of one’s afflicted emotions, become more familiar with the healing support of the breath, and be radically aware of one’s “inner home.” Please bring a journal.

Meditation as Medicine for the Mind: Tibetan Yogic Practices for Health and Well-being
Meditation as Medicine for the Mind: Tibetan Yogic Practices for Health and Well-being
Alejandro Chaoul
Meditation as Medicine for the Mind: Tibetan Yogic Practices for Health and Well-being
July 29 – August 26, 2023
July 29 – August 26, 2023
July 29, 2023
July 29 – August 26, 2023
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