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

A daily writing practice and a consistent meditation practice have the power to ground us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for the joy as well as the fear.

This experiential meditation retreat and writing workshop invites writers and meditators of all levels to delve deeply into both practices. We’ll begin each day with a burst of free writing — what Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice’ — generating work we will share with each other in a safe and supportive environment.

We will follow with guided meditations crafted to help us develop the resources necessary to cope in times of crisis, as well as nourish our creativity. Our meditations encourage presence to the world, forge strong mind/body connectivity, and greater access to our emotions and empathy.

The workshop’s meditations are supported by prompted bursts of free writing designed to help us tap into our creative energy, bypass our internal judge, and bring out our most original and deeply felt writing. We’ll explore how the dual practices of free writing and journaling can support us during times of uncertainty and change.

There will be time to write and time to share what we’re writing with the group. Everyone will leave with the tools and the inspiration to cultivate their own daily meditation and daily writing practices.

Writing & Mindfulness: Cultivating a Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
Writing & Mindfulness: Cultivating a Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
October 17–21, 2022
October 17–21, 2022
October 17, 2022
Writing & Mindfulness: Cultivating a Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
with Janis Cooke Newman

Traditional African rituals are an important part of our global spiritual heritage. They have much to teach us about many different forms of creation: how the universe was brought into being, how to manifest things we want in the world, and how to create a life filled with divine harmony.

In this workshop, we will introduce the world of African ritual through a screening of Marques Redd’s experimental film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House): An Igbo Creation Myth – a fantasia of dance and theatrical performance shot with fluorescent body paint and ultraviolet light. From there, we will explore a variety of ritual modalities designed to enliven all the senses.

Come prepared to engage with the Primordial Blackness that precedes creation and embodies infinite possibility. We’ll use African symbols and movement to energize your intentions and activate the cosmic strings that link everything in creation in order to draw your desires to you.  Experience symbolic death in order to be resurrected into new life, and employ the magic of spaces and thresholds.

Traditional African rituals are a powerful and effective mode of spiritual expression. They are grounded in the view that humans must vigilantly maintain harmonious relationships in both worldly and divine realms in order to prosper. Ritual is the means to negotiate responsible relationships in the human community and with the ancestors, spirits, divinities, and cosmos. Filled with cognitive complexity, wisdom, and aesthetic splendor, African rituals are also very practical. They provide techniques for manifestation, fostering empowerment, affecting transformation, cultivating vitality, and expanding human consciousness.

This workshop will provide you with many ritual tools that you will be able to use to plug directly into potent spiritual energy to empower your life!

Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual
Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual
October 21–23, 2022
October 21–23, 2022
October 21, 2022
Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual
with Marques Redd

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

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

Join us during this most auspicious time of year, when the veils are thin and ancestral magic abounds. As we soak in the healing waters and steep under star-filled skies, we will connect with our ancestral lines while honoring the ancestors of the lands upon which we meet.

We are part of a continuum, poised between the past and future — living in this present moment while carrying the legacy of the gifts and burdens of all of those that came before. In each moment, we are consciously, or unconsciously, choosing what we carry forward — through our creations of work, service, relationships, and children. We will take this opportunity to bless and be blessed by the ancestral stream.

Together in this workshop, we’ll experience:

  • Guided meditations
  • Energy healing
  • Direct transmission teachings
  • Reflective and somatic practices
  • Ceremony
  • Ritual
  • A deepened connection with this sacred land

We will honor and begin to heal our relationship to the ancestral fields and shift the patterns of our ingrained conditioning to choose a new way forward together.

The diversity of our ancestral experiences and, paradoxically, the commonality of their themes can settle us in our humanity, building internal resilience and coherent community connection and moving us toward common goals for the good of all.

This type of healing is profound on an individual level and miraculous for our collective well-being. It offers pathways toward a world we know is possible.

Honoring the Ancestors: Tending Those That Came Before, Blessing That Which Is to Come
Honoring the Ancestors: Tending Those That Came Before, Blessing That Which Is to Come
October 30 – November 4, 2022
October 30 – November 4, 2022
November 4, 2022
Honoring the Ancestors: Tending Those That Came Before, Blessing That Which Is to Come
with Gitanjali Hemp

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

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
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