Tantra: Freedom and Self-Sovereignty (svādhikāra)
January 7–10, 2022
January 7, 2022
 - 
January 10, 2022
with Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú
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Have you ever wondered if your own mind and body may hold the key to unlocking a path to transformation? Today the word “Tantra” has an incredible array of culture-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 — also to sexual practices.

One overarching meaning that encompasses all is this: Tantra, as 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 new workshop, the first of a signature series on Tantra, and explore the foundations of Tantric theory and practice. Together, we will explore the latest findings from academic research and ethnographic participant-observation that continue to challenge and reframe our conventional understandings of what Tantra was, is, and what it 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 this latest research creatively to life in your mind, body, and heart. Our collective practice of these new understandings will bring to life Tantra’s connection 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 of mandalas.
  • Understand the connection of Tantra with 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 what gives Tantra its 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

Sravana Borkataky-Varma

Sravana Borkataky-Varma

Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur. She studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals and gender, lectures at Harvard Divinity School and University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and co-founded a nonprofit, Lumen Tree Portal.

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Keith Edward Cantú

Keith Edward Cantú

Keith Edward Cantú is an academic, musician, and polyglot with a deep professional and personal interest in South Asian religion and spirituality. He has extensively researched and directly engaged Baul Fakiri, Tamil Śaiva, and other tantric currents over the course of eleven years, and also has a personal and professional interest in esotericism more broadly.

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Workshop Schedule

Fri 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sat 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
Sat 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sun 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
Sun 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Mon 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

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