Workshops

Our workshops are designed to support you in the challenging work of self exploration, in partnership with some of the leading minds of the day. Join us in discovering the next frontiers of individual and societal transformation.

Interested in a scholarship? Learn more here.

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

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In search of balance, the ancient sages of China walked into the woods to attune themselves with nature in its sublime integrity. The timeless wisdom uncovered in their wild wanderings was called simply Tao, “The Way.”

Qigong — the practice at the heart of Taoism — is dedicated to harmonizing body, mind, and spirit with the elements of nature. In this age, when so many of us feel disconnected and overwhelmed, wilderness remains a powerful healer and teacher, and qigong can bring us back to center.

Join us to learn an accessible qigong form called wai dan gong (“easy tao”) while immersing in the majestic landscape of Big Sur, the ancestral homeland of the Esselen tribe. We rise each morning to practice, harmonizing breath and movements with the flow of waves greeting Esalen’s cliffs. After breakfast, we set out on a wilderness hike to mindfully explore Big Sur’s enchanted redwoods, sun-steeped meadows, and mountains that rise from the sea. All along the trail, we explore qigong and Taoist philosophy as pathways for returning to a grounded, spacious, revitalized state of being — in harmony with nature, embodying Wild Tao.

Additional Resources and Notes:

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

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

Are you longing to be in the beauty of the outdoors and relish in the wonder of nature? After a long year spent looking at too many screens, step outside and meditate, serenaded by the lulling sounds of the ocean, cradled by rolling hills, and uplifted by exquisite gardens.

Following ancient spiritual traditions that value the transformative power of nature, this experiential workshop will be spent meditating entirely outdoors among the natural beauty and mystery of Esalen. Whether under a blazing sunset or in the stillness of cypress trees, we will open to the profound serenity and wisdom of nature. We will cultivate mindfulness — being present to ourselves while developing a contemplative relationship with nature. This leads to beautiful states of joy, peace, wonder, love and connection with oneself, one another and the larger web of life.

During our time together, there will be

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

This workshop is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators who are curious about meditation, mindfulness, and how to deepen our connection with the beauty and mystery of the natural world. Be prepared for unexpected rapture, delight, mystery, and stillness.

Recommended reading: Awake in the Wild, by Mark Coleman.

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

Ritual brings astrology to life. Since ancient times, the power of the celestial bodies has always been best understood through embodiment practices and ceremony. When we work with archetypal energies, we can invoke their potency and alchemical power through meaning- and presence-making tools such as altars, guided meditation, nature connection, and movement.

Together, we will experience:

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

Join queer author, artist, and teacher Day Schildkret and astrologer and poet Heidi Rose Robbins as they expertly guide you into the heart of ritual crafting as a path into the spiritual potential within your astrological chart.

Each participant will receive a copy of their astrological chart and will learn about the three primary positions from a soul-centered perspective: the Sun, the Moon, and the Rising Sign. These three positions inform how we offer our gifts and overcome the inner and outer obstacles to our fullest radiance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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