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

You then practice both the art and discipline of hearing your partner’s criticisms without becoming defensive. For example, so you don’t have to fear “walking on eggshells” before sharing a concern, your partner first learns how to prepare her or himself to emotionally associate your criticism with an opportunity to be more deeply loved.

Soul Mate is designed as the next evolutionary shift beyond active listening. Active listening allowed the criticizer to feel heard, but failed to teach the person hearing the criticism how to emotionally associate the criticism with an opportunity to be more deeply loved. The problem? Unless the receiver of criticism feels safe the person sharing their concern cannot feel safe.

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

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

To sustain your practice after the workshop, you’ll be invited to attend multiple free, ongoing, group follow-up calls to resolve stumbling blocks. If you wish to review the insights and exercises at any time, you will also have the option of purchasing a Zoom version of the course.

This workshop is for couples of all genders and sexual orientations. A couple may be any two people with a history who desire a better future (e.g., parents or partners, married or divorced, newlyweds, parent-child, siblings, etc.). Developed over the past 30 years, this workshop is also used by many health professionals in their work with clients and patients.

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

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

Join us to experience rejuvenation and renewal! You need and deserve this.  So many of us are overtaxed by constant demands, burdens, and worries, especially those of us providing extra support for others through caregiving or healthcare and other service-oriented jobs.

We bring you expertise in the science, art, and practice of rejuvenation from stress.

  • Learn and practice the practical and cutting-edge science of stress resilience.
  • We will guide you into a state of deep rest through meditation, yoga Nidra, and restorative yoga.
  • You will learn skills to use all of your senses to reconnect with your body and increase aliveness and vitality.

Elissa will be joined by Guest Faculty Members Alexandra Crosswell and Nichol Chase:

Alexandra Crosswell, PhD, is a national stress and well-being expert. She combines her training as a psychological scientist and interfaith spiritual companion, with her experience as a mother of three, to support others in navigating the intense demands of modern life.

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.

Immersed in the beauty of nature at Esalen, our work will be well supported. We will learn and practice new ways to restore ourselves, and develop our own toolbox of short daily practices that support us in daily recovery and renewal.

Deep Rest, Recovery, and Renewal: From Burnout to Vitality
Deep Rest, Recovery, and Renewal: From Burnout to Vitality
September 30 – October 2, 2022
September 30 – October 2, 2022
September 30, 2022
Deep Rest, Recovery, and Renewal: From Burnout to Vitality
with Elissa Epel and guest faculty Alexandra Crosswell and Nichol Chase

Liminal dreaming is found in the space between waking and sleeping. In that moment, as you pass through hypnagogia and hypnopompia, the zones of liminal dreaming, your mind is in an imaginal place. It meanders between daytime awareness and the depths of the dream. Mystics, poets, philosophers, and scientists have all studied this practice since time immemorial in the hope of catching a glimpse of the mystery of the mind.

The truth is, we all possess the ability to maintain the waking, rational mind while sinking into the free-associative, kaleidoscopic realms of the unconscious. Yet very few of us have ever develop this powerful tool for investigating consciousness.

This workshop will provide an in-depth exploration of the remarkable, transformative, and even mystical mind states of hypnagogia and hypnopompia. You will learn practical exercises for locating and lingering in these astonishing liminal dream states and gain a set of valuable tools to continue your journey and dream practice.

Sessions include:

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

Together we will explore ways that people across cultures and time have used liminal dreaming for consciousness exploration, creativity, problem-solving, and mental and spiritual healing and balance. Activities will include:

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

Note: As we will be settling into a dreamy state throughout the weekend, you are encouraged to bring any comforting items that might assist you in relaxing: special pillow, eye mask, blanket, etc.

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

Awe is the feeling of encountering vast mysteries that transcend our current knowledge and understanding of the world. In its greatest sense, it is an astonished and transformative appreciation for the moral beauty of others, for nature, for the arts—and is always rooted in a spiritual understanding of life.  

In this new, paradigm-shifting workshop, we will uncover the latest scientific understandings of awe. By engaging in evolutionary and neuroscientific approaches to the mind, and considering the narrative and cultural meanings of awe, we will begin to tease out where this feeling lives in our own minds and hearts and learn how to cultivate it more deeply.

Together, we will discover a number of practices to cultivate awe in our own lives and how to deepen one’s relationship to it. We’ll travel by way of reflective writing, using expressive writing principles and models from Contemplative Studies.

During our time together, we will:

  • Learn the latest science and scholarship on awe and wonder
  • Engage in contemplative practices related to awe
  • Learn about literary, poetic, and aesthetic approaches to awe
  • Learn to cultivate an awe-related writing and reflective practice
  • Cultivate an awareness of more everyday awe

Join us for this incredible opportunity to refresh your heart and mind in the breathtaking natural setting of Esalen and Big Sur.

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

We are living in a watershed moment in human history, an era with unprecedented opportunities for women to rise into leadership with refreshing, authentic, collaborative and impassioned feminine power. In this three-day,two-night gathering of visionaries, change agents, and leaders, we will facilitate the next wave of women’s empowerment — for both ourselves and this fractured world that needs our help. Leaders in medicine, film, science, psychology, consciousness, technology, impact investing, and cultural arts will all gather to listen, heal, integrate, and unite our energy.

Creating a culture of mentorship, we will share our visions and collectively amplify our impact. Drawing on the sacred lands and traditions of Esalen, we will bring forward ancient wisdom. Utilizing the latest insights from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, we will consciously embody the society we wish to build. We will learn from each other’s wisdom across disciplines, diverse backgrounds, and generations. We will be present in our physical bodies with the foundation of self-love.

This program will include embodied practices of meditation, expressive writing and visioning work, authentic sharing of life experiences, and live music by Christen Lien. Exercises will be based on principles of ancient wisdom, blended with techniques informed by modern-day research on the science of well-being and change.

This summit is an opportunity for women and women-identifying individuals ready to collaborate with visionary leaders — and to bring their own healing gifts to the world from a place of embodied truth, grace, courage, and compassion.

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

This is an era of chaos, change, and grief for the world. As we continue moving through these unprecedented times, we are required to face many difficulties that may seem insurmountable. We invite you to a weekend retreat to hold together what should not be held alone.

Have you experienced loss and the natural emotions of sadness, anger, fear, and love? How do you process your losses and move through your life? Many of us have not yet found safe and effective ways of expressing these emotions and we can feel burdened, both emotionally and physically, with the cumulative weight of our unfinished business.

Using the tools of the 5Rhythms movement practice combined with a process of grief work grounded in emotional presence, non-judgment, and supportive witnessing, participants will come together in a safe space to help heal mind, body, and spirit:

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

The weekend also includes didactic and experiential sessions focused on natural and distorted emotional responses to grief, caregiving vs. caretaking, and more.

Please bring photos or other mementos of anyone whose memory you would like to bring into the workshop.

Recommended Reading: Sweat Your Prayers, Maps to Ecstasy, Connections By Gabrielle Roth Dancing With Dharma: Essays on Movement And Dance In Western Buddhism edited by Harrison Blum, Published by McFarland & Company. Surviving the Fall (Peter Selwyn: Yale University Press

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

Integrative Gestalt Coaching™ (IGC) is a method developed by Perry Holloman over the last 40 years while living at Esalen. He travels and teaches this approach in Europe and Asia, working with individuals and groups as well as coaching businesses and communities.

This program is designed for people wanting to learn basic skills in the practice of Gestalt applicable to their personal lives as well as their work with individuals and groups.

Gestalt places high value on the development of awareness in the realm of our internal experience (personality structure) and our relational experience (family relationships, intimate relationships, professional relationships, etc). Developing awareness of how our internal experience influences our relationships, and how our relationships transform us personally can have a powerful impact on the quality of our lives and will be a central focus of our time together.

Perry will combine experiential exercises supported by theoretical knowledge in creating a well-rounded program suited both for people wanting a month of self-exploration and those wanting to develop Gestalt Coaching skills supporting their work with individuals and groups.

A certificate from the Holloman Institute is available for those completing and documenting 30 one-hour sessions at home after completion of this program.

Integrative Gestalt Coaching
Integrative Gestalt Coaching
October 22 – November 18, 2022
October 22 – November 18, 2022
October 22, 2022
Integrative Gestalt Coaching
with Perry Holloman

Experience five days of deep restoration, reflection, and rejuvenation. Using the profound practice of Yoga Nidra guided meditation, we will restore the body, clear the mind, and shift the habitual patterns that keep you from being calm, clear and balanced.

Yoga (meaning “union”) Nidra (meaning “sleep”) is a path to that liminal state of being between waking and sleeping. This is where you can systematically release stored physical, emotional, and mental tensions.

Let go of old beliefs and habits that keep you locked in the past and fearful of the future! Experience your emotions fully, knowing you have unchanging, unshakable ground beneath you — a calm inner presence that allows you to see clearly.

We will move our bodies, clear our minds, and create intentions to live, not from unconscious and automatic past programming but from a new perspective — an aware, deliberate way of being. We will learn how to take this felt sense of being — this new awareness of the True Self — back into our personal lives, family lives, work lives, and love lives.

Together we will cultivate new tools, knowledge, and intentions to help you negotiate those times when you are under stress and feel lost, tired, and confused — when you forget who you are. These tools are important allies on the path to gaining life mastery. The path to meeting and welcoming your challenges and remembering your True Being.

All that is being asked of you is to show up, lie down, and let go. Yoga Nidra will do the rest. Please bring blankets, a yoga mat, an eye pillow, and anything else you need to lie comfortably on the floor for extended periods of time. And we’ll have opportunities to practice outside, so bring layers!

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

In authentic Enneagram work — using the powerful system of nine interconnected personality types as a tool for self-compassion, awareness, and relational wellness — we make a distinction between the outer and inner expressions of the three centers of intelligence: body, heart, and mind. We learn through practice about real presence in the body, and how presence in the heart is quite different from our usual emotions. But as we become more established in presence in our bodies and hearts, the mystery of our True Mind begins to reveal itself. We learn that much of what goes on in our heads is not yet true thinking, and that even beyond our capacity to think clearly lies our capacity for direct knowing — what the ancient Greeks called gnosis.

With the development of the head center comes clarity, discrimination, guidance for life, and a vast inner freedom and sense of possibility — tapping into the very sources of intuition and inspiration. In this workshop, we will look at Enneagram points 5 (The Investigator), 6 (The Loyalist), and 7 (The Enthusiast) not just as types but as ways we can become stuck in certain patterns of thinking, as well as portals to the amazing possibilities of our awakened minds. But it is not aimed solely at these types; this is intended to help all of the Enneagram points work more powerfully with their head centers.

The workshop will include conversational instruction, meditation practices, inquiry exercises, music, and sessions of the Gurdjieff Movements. It is also a continuation of previous Esalen retreats on the Body and Heart Centers, and will focus on the Enneagram as part of the larger Fourth Way perspective.

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

All people have an innate ability to move toward healthy, satisfying relationships. Old patterns of behavior and fixed ideas formed in early relationships may block our ability to communicate and make contact with the people in our lives.

The Gestalt approach aims to increase awareness of these patterns and our ”unfinished business” by relating in a group that meets our needs for emotional attunement and understanding, that supports us in identifying and expressing our emotions, and which is committed to creating an atmosphere of respect, kindness, acceptance and honesty. These relational experiences support energy, aliveness and good contact.

Over the course of this workshop, we’ll seek to learn skills to improve our ability to make contact, develop and track awareness of our emotions and sensations, learn to express and practice communicating needs and wants effectively. We may discover habitual relational patterns that prevent us from cultivating the type of relationships we want, and develop new skills for relating.

The workshop will include time for gestalt awareness practices, and a mixture of didactic and experiential exercises. Each participant will have an individual “open seat” session with Dorothy, with the support of the group.

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

The Brothers Koren invite you to experience the power of your own voice medicine and awaken your healing voice to experience wholeness, vitality, and connection. The Brothers Koren are transformational voice leaders, artists, and musical journey-men who study, guide, and facilitate voice-positive experiences around the world, for voices of all levels of experience.

They will set a loving, non-judgmental, and safe space for you to reclaim the healing power and connection to both your speaking and singing voice, while grounding into the gravity of your whole body instrument, ultimately becoming your own sonic healer.

Together we will practice:

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

This long weekend will be filled with embodied voice experiences for beginners and professionals alike. No matter what your level of experience, there is no prior knowledge of singing required. The weekend will also create a container to ‘dare to suck’, a return to a playful approach to the voice.

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

This is a workshop for everyone, it is NOT meant specifically for couples but for anyone who is interested in a deeper understanding of the Tantric tradition.

Let’s talk about sex, baby! In this workshop, we explore the similarities and differences between Tantra and Neo-Tantra, including the concept of sex for procreation versus sexual rituals for living liberation (jīvanmukti) and more.

Join Tantric Scholar-Practitioners Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Cantú for this exploration of the foundations of Tantric theory and practice. Together, we will immerse ourselves in the latest findings from academic research and ethnographic participant-observation that challenge and reframe our conception of what Tantra was, is, and can be. We’ll intertwine that research with authentic Indian folk music performances and guided meditations in a creative, visceral experience for the mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will open your eyes to Tantra’s connection to a wide variety of vibrant artistic and meditative practices.

In this workshop, you’ll be invited to:

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

Develop skills to communicate your personal practice to friends and family using your new academic, researched-based understanding of Tantra.

Please Note: In this workshop, we will not be demonstrating Tantric Sex or how to enhance sexual pleasures. However, much of what we will discuss will address gender identity and sexuality.

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

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

“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.

The number one 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: Creating an Authentic Life of Purpose, Value, and Vision
Authentic Alignment: Creating an Authentic Life of Purpose, Value, and Vision
November 11–13, 2022
November 11–13, 2022
November 11, 2022
Authentic Alignment: Creating an Authentic Life of Purpose, Value, and Vision
with Anne Van de Water

“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

Experience “process painting” with Stewart Cubley and staff.

In this expressive painting workshop, participants will enjoy artistic freedom — creating without the pressure to perform, produce, or succeed. Everyone will be a beginner. Whether you are a veteran painter or picking up a paintbrush for the first time, this experience will be about the creative process rather than technique, training, or expertise.

In the respectful and nurturing studio environment, you’ll receive individual attention and gentle guidance to:

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

There will be no critiques, analyses, or judgments of the work. This workshop may interest people from a wide variety of disciplines, including art, education, counseling, social change, and meditative practices.

All materials are supplied, including high-quality, non-toxic liquid tempera on paper and synthetic squirrel Raphael brushes.

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

Have you created the impact you want? Are you showing up the way you want to? Are you going in the right direction? You have never been where you are today. You have never been the age you are today, or had the experience you have today. This is your time to pause and reflect. Rarely do we allow ourselves the time to stop and look at what is changing and what we need to feel fulfilled.

Through this experiential weekend, we will create a courageous community to both challenge and nurture ourselves. Our goal is to step back from our lives and renew ourselves. Participants will have the opportunity to learn what brings them joy and purpose and cultivate a vision to serve as a foundation for both the next year and the next phase of life.

We will engage in a progression of individual and group exercises focused on reflection, movement, and listening to our inner wisdom. In the process, we will discover how to navigate the stages of major life transitions, practice the skills to access our intuition, and reveal which of our behaviors either support or unconsciously undermine our overall success. The experience will be especially valuable for those who are passionate about having a more powerful and authentic impact on the world around them.

This is a very interactive workshop with lots of experiential exercises. The content includes important theory and plenty of reflection time, but this workshop will not be a series of talks/lectures. There will be movement, coaching, a little dance, and lots of activity in the whole group. All participation is voluntary at all times.  

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

How empowered do you feel as a woman navigating this world? What is your relationship to the feminine? And to female wisdom? Join us inside the Moon Lodge, a place for exploration — for women to find tribal and ritual healing.

The 5Rhythms is a map that teaches us how energy moves. It shows us the patterns, rhythms, and cycles of life — Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness® — and can be a direct path to the embodiment and empowerment many of us do not feel in a time of patriarchy.

This workshop will be about celebrating the body of Woman and the sacred feminine within us all. Through dance, meditation, massage, acupuncture, and ritual baths, we will share in the Sisterhood of humanity. We will poultice our wounds and celebrate the great gifts of our ancestors.

This workshop includes:

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

Dr. Julie Von, a specialist in women’s health, will present the Chinese Medicine perspective on the five elements, psycho-somatic process, restorative acupuncture, and self-care. She will teach us to prioritize these pillars and recognize when we are out of balance.

Lucia Horan will integrate the stillness of Buddhist mindfulness meditation with the moving meditations of the 5Rhythms®. In sitting meditation, we have the opportunity to observe the mind and body at rest through silent introspection. In the practice of the 5Rhythms, we engage in mindfulness while in motion. Together, these two polarities mirror the dance of life and open the door to peace, well-being, and balance.

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

Fostering close, connected relationships is one of the most important things affecting the quality of our lives. Cultivating trust and openness with our loved ones, whether they be intimate partners or friends, is an essential aspect of any successful, supportive relationship.

Perry and Johanna Holloman have been intimate partners and friends for over 30 years. This weekend, they will share the most effective tools and practices that they have developed to nurture their connection to one another.

The primary tool Perry and Johanna will share is called Gestalt Inquiry. This easy-to-learn, powerful practice provides a safe context for exploring the most meaningful and sensitive aspects of relationships. Perry and Johanna like to think of it as a practice that becomes a continuing part of any successful long-term relationship because it places high value on the aspects of compassion, respect, and love of truth. As we learn to discover and safely express what is true for us, both individually, as a couple, or as friends, we deepen our heart’s capacity for intimacy and connection, which leads to a more fulfilling and meaningful shared life.

During our time together, you will learn practices and resources to integrate into your everyday life, such as:

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

This workshop is for couples of all genders and sexual orientations. A couple may be any two people with a history who desire a better future together, e.g., friends, partners, married or divorced spouses, parent and child, siblings, etc.

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

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

Uncertain times have shaken and are shaking our habitual ways of being. Individually and collectively, we are experiencing anxiety, disconnection, and the reality of impermanence even as we begin our journey into the ever-forming “new normal.” Now more than ever, we need to let our somatic system know safety by connecting to our somatic and emotional intelligence, easing into open-hearted social connections and the natural world — so we may settle and ground in our organism’s capacity for resilience, self-regulation, and inherent belonging.

A sense of deep belonging and connection is the natural state of our being. Our nervous system and physiology are wired to feel belonging. We are being called to greet change in manners not previously known to most of us — individually and collectively. To know and feel our belonging in these times asks us to grow awareness — to cultivate genuine heartfelt curiosity, to have courage to feel our vulnerability, and increase our capacity for authentic compassion.

Together, we’ll explore using a variety of practices:

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

Listening deeply, life conspires to let us know the heart of interconnectedness even in the midst of the unknowable. We will draw from various wisdom traditions, contemplative practices, contemporary somatic and neuropsychology to explore ancient, yet new ways of belonging to ourselves, others, and to the other-than-human world in which we participate. When we embody the birthright of our interconnectedness and the heart of belonging, ever-changing life lives through us.

Please expect to be indoors and outdoors, on the Esalen grounds. We will work in group, paired, and solo practices. This workshop will take place on Esalen grounds.

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

End the year strong in this transformational and deeply interactive workshop with award-winning instructor Justin Michael Williams. In this once-yearly event, you will:

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

Together, we’ll create your personal action plan for 2023 and define your steps for action, using a simple and proven method that you can take into the new year. This is your moment to reset, renew, overcome fear and self-doubt, and say “yes” to the year that lies ahead. Become more authentically inspired and motivated as you learn practical tools to overcome the hidden patterns holding you back from the power that’s inside of you. Awaken your true power for the year ahead.

This program has been designed from the ground up to welcome all people of all genders, races, identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

10% of tuition goes to the Dream Bigger Foundation, which provides scholarship funds to underserved communities, and hosts the Liberation Experience, a program that works to unite people across social, political, and religious divides, and other transformational opportunities.

Recommended reading: Stay Woke, by Justin Michael Williams

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

What is Spiritual Fertility? It is the path of returning to the awe and magic that inspires you to reproduce and bring life into this world. Everyone is fertile; however, our common standards for measuring fertility are faulty. Our narratives around fertility offer much in the way of diagnosis but little in the way of care for the mind, body, and spirit.

This workshop was developed to meet you wherever you are on your journey. It is also a clarion call to those who have felt alone or discouraged. We gather together to hold what is too big to be held alone. We will teach practical skills to help you reconnect to sources of hope, positivity, and magic.

In the healing lands of Esalen, self-care can become your guide. We will find positive ways to reframe fear and stress. We will teach clinically proven techniques that support expansion and trust. These powerful tools will connect you to clarity and intuition. Together, we will develop a deeper relationship with the untapped energies of the universe that can be accessed for your benefit. All of this can be taken home and applied to your daily life.

We will discuss how past experiences, such as miscarriages, terminations, infertility, or medical procedures can create spiritual blockages. In doing so, we open the opportunity for healing, balance, and cultivation of our most fertile self.

Dr. Julie Von will teach compassionate and proven practices to help reorient with wholeness, unlock grief, and access deep intuitive wisdom. Lucia Horan will lead us in a movement practice that combines the stillness of Buddhist mindfulness with the moving mediation of dance to release, reconnect, and restore.

This workshop includes the following practices:

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

Soul is flow. It’s an ever-changing play of sensations and feelings. It’s how the deathless Presence meets and moves our finite human body. In this workshop, we will reclaim the body-in-motion as a doorway to the life that is unfolding just under the surface of everyday forgetting.

A formless dance form, Soul Motion allows for passionate, full-bodied movement as well as mindful inner explorations, art making, ritual, and luscious lounging. Together, we will integrate conscious movement, body-based inquiries of Gestalt Practice, and the stillness of nature for a process to transform body, heart, and spirit.

Soul Motion is a meeting between self and other in a dance that is deeply creative, nourishing and transforming. It is a movement toward the dynamic stillness at the center of all things — the place of rest at the heart of sound and motion.

During this week together, we will:

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

Open to anybody willing to move, pause, listen, and truly relax into one timeless moment. This workshop is especially helpful for people in the healing professions who work with clients, patients, and students.

CE hours for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs available; see Faculty.

There will be a celebratory Christmas Eve dinner in the Esalen Lodge.

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

Meditating in noble silence offers a special opportunity to focus inward, deeply connect with oneself, and reflect on life goals. The New Year, with its connection to the winter solstice and new beginnings, is the perfect time to silently journey inward. You are invited to set intentions and explore, through seated and moving meditation, themes of self-kindness, self-care, and nurturing.

This retreat is a quiet, reflective New Year celebration with the opportunity to discover a deep, centered place within. The week will be spent in periods of noble silence with two extended periods a day for various meditation practices. Lunch will be at a silent table. You will continue your meditation or join the open activities of the day at Esalen in mindfulness. Mark will guide you through a series of practices of both stillness and movement to build the momentum of concentration and awareness.

This mindful meditation will utilize the rich, sensual experience of Esalen — the sounds of the ocean, the feeling of the air, and the beauty of its colors and textures — as well as the rich experience of our own bodies and minds. Evenings will be open to mindfully enjoy the beauty and community, or you may choose to continue silence in inner retreat. New Year’s Eve at Esalen usually includes a community-wide celebration of some kind, which is an option but not required.

New Year Meditation Retreat: Self-Love and Kindness That Benefits All
New Year Meditation Retreat: Self-Love and Kindness That Benefits All
December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023
December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023
December 26, 2022
New Year Meditation Retreat: Self-Love and Kindness That Benefits All
with Mark Abramson

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

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

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

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

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

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