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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Through the practices of 5Rhythms dance, mindfulness meditation, and self-care, we weave together a weekend of healing and celebration. In times of turmoil and change, self-care, compassion, and kindness are qualities required to help us resource and renew. Looking back at all we have experienced in 2021, it is clear that many of us are exhausted. In order to begin to move forward with energy, passion, and creativity, it is important to seed these qualities in our daily life.

Do you need to integrate more self-care into daily life? Would you like to be better resourced and have more energy? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then you are in perfect alignment to participate in this workshop.

The 5Rhythms is an externalization process that through movement, releases and balances the systems of the body. It is a method focused on presence versus performance, while seated meditation offers us a process of quieting the heart and mind, allowing for stillness and integration. Bringing both practices together mirrors the dance of life. We come together to create an environment that cultivates and nurtures joy, calmness, and ease.

Each session will be primarily focused on Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms moving meditation practice. We will complete each practice with a 10-15 seated meditation. Included will be a discourse on 5Rhythms, Dharma and self-care. All practices taught during this course lend to the experience and wisdom of resourcing and renewing our vital life energy.

No experience is necessary. All workshop hours contribute to 5Rhythms® Teachers Training.

Recommended Reading: Sweat Your Prayers by Gabrielle Roth

Resource and Renew: A 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
July 11–15, 2022
July 11–15, 2022
July 11, 2022
Resource and Renew: A 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
with Lucia Horan

The beginning of awe is wonder, and the beginning of wisdom is awe. —Abraham Heschel

Rudolph Otto described the numinous — Mysterium tremendum et fascinans — as the wholly other, experienced as a breakthrough of wonder, both fearful and fascinating. Joseph Campbell echoed Otto when he said that “The first function of a mythology is to reconcile waking consciousness to the mystérium tremendum et fascinans of this universe as it is.”

Filmmakers continually offer us new opportunities to experience the numinous through mystical realism. Quoting Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, Jeffrey Kripal gives us a definition of how mystical realism appears in film: “[As] an imaginative elaboration of human experiences that have actually occurred to numerous individuals… something both fundamentally subjective (mystical), but also empirical and objective (realism).”

In this workshop, through mindful viewing of ten films exemplifying mystical realism, you will discover Campbell’s “awesome ultimate mystery which is beyond and within [an individual’s] self and all things.” Your cinematic repertoire will include films directed by Stanley Kubrick, Peter Weir, Terrence Malick, Robert Zemeckis, Werner Herzog, and David Attenborough among others, along with works inspired by the writings of Carl Sagan.

Developed over the course of 28 film seminars led at Esalen by Francis G. Lu, M.D. and Brother David Steindl-Rast, this seminar employs methods including mindful film viewing, contemplative reflection, and group interaction focused on the participant’s unique experience of carefully curated films. The viewing experience will be supported by 4K Blu-Ray video projection and a surround sound of seven loudspeakers.

There will be an extensive PDF syllabus for each film.

Mystical Realism in Movies: Meeting the Numinous Through Mindful Viewing of Films
July 17–22, 2022
July 17–22, 2022
July 17, 2022
Mystical Realism in Movies: Meeting the Numinous Through Mindful Viewing of Films
with Francis Lu

“To live in accord with love is to set your heart on fire. In the crucible of such an inferno, all convention burns away. What’s left is an entirely new kind of existence, one full of passion, presence, and infinite possibility.” — Setting Your Heart on Fire

What if you could fall absolutely in love with every moment? What if you could use love’s radiance to heal your deepest wounds and break through any personal challenges — career, relationships, family, weight, self-esteem, addiction, anything?

All of this is possible. It happens naturally when you stop trying to change your life and instead learn to relax into it. This workshop is designed to meet you where you are and then call forth your very best. You’ll discover the simple, practical steps necessary to feel all emotions with willingness and compassion, uncover and transform your limiting beliefs, and create a life of greater ease, joy, and exquisite connection.

This weekend is primarily experiential. It’s designed with the recognition that your heart is already on fire — our job is to remove what’s dampening the flame. The key explorations and practices of this gathering:

  • Take place solo, in dyads, and in triads
  • Focus on the use of precise attention that is mainly centered in the body
  • Feature movement and active imagination
  • Culminate in an “inner surfing” modality that combines vipassana, metta, and tantric approaches

Special note: On Saturday night our group will host a Freestyle Dance Jam, with Raphael as DJ, as a gift for ourselves and everyone at Esalen that night. Remember to pack some loose-fitting attire and get ready to rock and roll and shake and swing and let it all go!

Recommended reading: Cushnir, Setting Your Heart on Fire, and The One Thing Holding You Back.

Setting Your Heart on Fire: A Passionate Practice to Liberate Your Life
July 22–24, 2022
July 22–24, 2022
July 22, 2022
Setting Your Heart on Fire: A Passionate Practice to Liberate Your Life
with Raphael Cushnir

We are in a place in our human journey where we need guidance and support. As we navigate world events, the pandemic, climate change, and our own individual traumas, our goal is to not only survive, but thrive and live powerful lives we can be proud of. Ayni is the Quechua word for sacred reciprocity, and the way in which we humans can be in right relationship with the world around us. These are the times indigenous prophecies have spoken about.

Join us for two days of ceremony with the Earth wisdom teachings from Mesoamerica and Peru as we reconnect, heal, and nourish our hearts. We will work with our ancestors to build our spiritual support team and partake in a plant medicine ceremony with Cacao. We will learn how to make specific offerings to the land that help you create magic in your life.

Being at Esalen provides a special opportunity to be in connection with the elemental spirits of the native coastline and the sacredness of the land where the sweet and thermal waters meet the ocean.  

During our time together…

  • We will learn the ancient Peruvian philosophy of Ayni — how to live in sacred reciprocity.
  • We will learn how to make an ancestral altar for us to connect and have a team of support.
  • We will be supported by the sacred plant medicine of Cacao in a ceremonial space that supports our emotional release and healing.
  • We will experience the power of community healing.

Our weekend will feature two guest faculty, who will bring their magic to enhance our understandings over the course of the week…

Kyle McBride is an international chef, food justice advocate, ferment and wild food enthusiast. He draws inspiration from the abundance and diversity of nature and seeks to honor our sacred connection to the earth through his food.

Marisa Anita Reyes is a community leader and medicine woman who uses her voice, the charango, harmonium, frame drum, and crystal bowl to take people on a journey to open their hearts, meet their ancestors, and connect to Spirit.

Come and share a weekend of Earth-based practices in community with love, support, and guidance as you learn about the Quechua and Mazotec traditions that have honored living in right relation with the Earth for thousands of years.

Ancestral Plant Medicine and Ceremony: Living in Ayni to Heal our Connection with Self and Earth
July 22–24, 2022
July 22–24, 2022
July 22, 2022
Ancestral Plant Medicine and Ceremony: Living in Ayni to Heal our Connection with Self and Earth
with Xochitl Ashe
We need the medicine of joy and magic and fun.

These are the times that all indigenous prophecies have spoken about. We are in a place in our human journey where we need guidance and support the most while we navigate world events, the pandemic, climate change, and our own individual traumas. Humanity is longing for community connection, healing, and ceremony with the Earth more than ever.  

Join us for a week of ceremony with the Earth wisdom teachings from Mesoamerica and Peru as we reconnect, heal, and nourish our hearts. We will work with our ancestors to build our spiritual support team and partake in a plant medicine ceremonies with Cacao. We will learn various daily spiritual practices that include offerings to the land to help you create and connect to the magic in you and your life.

Our week will feature two guest faculty, who will bring their magic to enhance our understanding over the course of the week…

Kyle McBride is an international chef, food justice advocate, ferment and wild food enthusiast. He draws inspiration from the abundance and diversity of nature and seeks to honor our sacred connection to the earth through his food.

Marisa Anita Reyes is a community leader and medicine woman who uses her voice, the charango, harmonium, frame drum, and crystal bowl to take people on a journey to open their hearts, meet their ancestors and connect to Spirit.

During our time together we will…

  • Learn and embody the ancient Peruvian philosophy of belonging to ourselves, each other, and the Earth.
  • Create an ancestral altar to connect with the ancient energies of the land.
  • Engage in practices to support the ancestral connection beyond your workshop.
  • Offer daily Earth-based ceremonies to deepen your connection to Earth and the land you are on, including foraging for fresh ingredients to create a sacred meal that we will share.
  • Be supported by two sacred plant medicine cacao ceremonies in a safe space that supports our heart wellbeing and healing.
  • Experience the power of healing in community.

Being at Esalen provides us a special opportunity to be in connection with the elemental spirits of the native coastline and the sacredness of the land where the sweet and thermal waters meet the ocean.

Life as Ceremony: South American Indigenous Wisdom for Healing and Connecting With the Earth
July 25–29, 2022
July 25–29, 2022
July 25, 2022
Life as Ceremony: South American Indigenous Wisdom for Healing and Connecting With the Earth
with Xochitl Ashe

Learn how mindfulness and self-compassion can change everything about how you feel, how you relate, and how you live — for good.

In this workshop, Dr. Shauna Shapiro — a leading scientist studying the effects of mindfulness and compassion on well-being — shows us that acting with compassion toward ourselves is the key. She explains basic brain science and offers powerful science-based practices to alleviate anxiety, boost creative thinking, and deepen our sense of belonging and purpose. With practice, we can literally rewire our brains for greater feelings of calm, clarity, connection, and joy.  We will immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of Esalen, allowing the sounds of the ocean, the magnificent views, and delights of the gardens to nourish and support us.

This workshop is appropriate for anyone curious about mindfulness and compassion and how to deepen our connection with the beauty and mystery of life. All are welcome.

Recommended Reading: Shapiro, S (2022). Good Morning, I Love You: A Guided Journal for Calm, Clarity & Joy. Sounds True, Boulder, CO.

For anyone facing financial hardship, Dr. Shauna Shapiro invites you to contact her directly for tuition scholarship possibility.

The Power of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
August 1–5, 2022
August 1–5, 2022
August 1, 2022
The Power of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
with Shauna Shapiro

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.

Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Maṇḍala: The Macrocosm and the Microcosm
August 12–15, 2022
August 12–15, 2022
August 12, 2022
Tantra: The Body and The Release, an Esalen Signature Series | Maṇḍala: The Macrocosm and the Microcosm
with Sravana Borkataky-Varma and Keith Edward Cantú