Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Maṇḍala: The Macrocosm and the Microcosm
August 12–15, 2022
August 12–15, 2022
with Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú
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What is the relevance and significance of the maṇḍala (“circle”)? In this workshop series we aim to individually and collectively understand maṇḍalas and related sacred shapes and their importance in Tantric traditions. We will also show how the geography of Esalen could 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, part 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 understanding of what a maṇḍala is and how to use it to journey from 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 by means of both formulating and canceling aspects of this network as desired.
  • Learn practical modes of meditation — including internal visualization and externalization of maṇḍalas.
  • Understand the connection of Tantra with art and music, and see a broader continuum of its relevance in daily life.

Please Note: This workshop is NOT about Tantric Sex and experiencing enhanced sexual pleasures, although much of what we discuss will address gender identity and sexuality. 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.

Sravana Borkataky-Varma

Sravana Borkataky-Varma

Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur. As a historian, she studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals and gender, particularly in Hindu Śākta (Goddess) Tantra traditions. As an educator, she is the Instructional Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. At present, she is a Center for the Study of World Religions fellow at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University.

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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, Sun 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sat, Sun 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
Sat, Sun 7:30 pm – 9:30 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.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

All guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

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.

All-inclusive Pricing
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