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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The Art and Science of Embodied Presence is an experience designed for connection with intention, meaning, reverence, vulnerability, and care. By engaging in neuroscientific and somatic approaches to the mind and body, and by practicing creative and contemplative mindfulness, together we will embark on an embodied journey towards healing through meeting the self in presence — the Truth of who we are.

  • Learn the latest science and scholarship on mindfulness, embodied cognition, and presence.
  • Engage in creative contemplative practices related to dance, improvisational mindful movement, authentic creative expression, and collaborative performance.
  • Cultivate a practice of radical presence, awareness, wonder, and awe of ourselves and the environment we exist in.
  • Self-study through stillness, writing, and creative dialog/collaborative storytelling.
  • Deepen the connection to self and others through self-expression.

Experience the practices with a live accompaniment from Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist and song-writing musician Tauwoo.

The Art and Science of Embodied Presence: Mindfulness, Movement, and Music
July 8–10, 2022
July 8–10, 2022
July 8, 2022
The Art and Science of Embodied Presence: Mindfulness, Movement, and Music
with Nkechi Deanna Njaka

How well we navigate changes and transitions in our lives has a direct impact on the degree of well-being, purpose, and satisfaction we experience day-to-day. If you’re considering a big change, are in the midst of one now, or are still feeling the effects of past changes, this workshop offers you the personal understanding and tools to open to the next phase of your life with clarity and true empowerment.

Throughout this highly interactive program, we offer tools and perspectives to support you in more skillfully managing change. Your experience will include short meditations, personal assessments, interactive exercises, and time for your personal questions and observations. The meditations offer you practical skills to use in your daily life. The self-assessments are designed to give you clarity about your specific situation and support you in taking next steps.

During this workshop, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Discover a “Path to Well-being” that is beyond getting what you want and getting rid of what you don’t want in life.
  • Identify your values and intentions so you have a basis for making wise decisions.
  • Recognize habits of mind that undermine you and learn practices to disengage from their influence.
  • Explore which areas of your life need attention, gain insights about your strengths and challenges in dealing with change, and begin to strategize about next steps.

Expect a weekend full of dynamic inquiry and the opportunity to learn essential life skills for meeting all your changes and transitions with authenticity, confidence, and clarity.

Changes & Transitions in Your 40s & 50s: Finding Clarity and Well Being in Times of Change
July 15–17, 2022
July 15–17, 2022
July 15, 2022
Changes & Transitions in Your 40s & 50s: Finding Clarity and Well Being in Times of Change
with Phillip Moffitt and Jennifer Ward

Doing personal growth work while still engaging in self-sabotaging behavior is like watering a garden full of weeds and expecting roses to bloom. Learn to overcome self-sabotage and transform your pain into authentic power.

In this dynamic three-day workshop with award-winning instructor Justin Michael Williams, you will:

  • Discover your Unique Energy Signature
  • Learn a proven system to help you redefine your life on your terms
  • Learn the eight Hidden Forms of Fear and how to overcome them
  • Break beyond the hidden toxic habits that sabotage your growth
  • Create a custom “power action” that helps you overcome limitations
  • Come together and build accountability with other conscious people who are ready to create change in their lives and the world

Learn practical behavioral changes to help you overcome the hidden patterns standing in the way of your goals. Together, we’ll create your personal action plan and define your “next best move,” so you have a ritual for change that lasts well after the retreat is over. This is your moment to reset, overcome fear and self-doubt, and say “yes” to the life that’s waiting for you.

This program has been designed from the ground up to welcome all people of all genders, races, identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. All meditation experience levels are welcome as well.

Recommended Reading: Stay Woke, by Justin Michael Williams

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.

Reclaiming Your Authentic Power
July 15–17, 2022
July 15–17, 2022
July 15, 2022
Reclaiming Your Authentic Power
with Justin Michael Williams

“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
Women have a unique power of creativity fueled by our reproductive system — the power to create new life and to give birth to our passion projects.

The problem? That energy is often BLOCKED by physical, emotional, or spiritual trauma to the pelvic core and the female organs.

This workshop is designed for all women. You’ll be guided through specialized imagery, movement and hands-on exercises — all done with clothing on — to heal the pelvic core, including the vagina and uterus — the places that tend to hold our deepest wounds.

Wounds may include intimate traumas: rape, abortion, sexual abuse, surgery, childbirth tearing and scars. Wounds also present through self-esteem issues and negative images about our femininity.

Because self-knowledge is vital, you’ll learn simple scientific and anatomic information. You’ll take away practices of profound self-care using pelvic floor yoga and abdominal massage.

You’ll experience exciting new possibilities for renewed feminine energy, better health, and a deeper sense of pleasure in being the passionate, creative woman you are.

There will be time to explore nature and use our connection to the earth to deepen our connection with ourselves. The course will culminate in an evening of nurturing at the Esalen baths.

In this program…

  • Students will learn how to take a baseline in sensation within their own bodies.
  • Students will explore various methods to refill their inner energy reservoirs for maximum health and presence.
  • Students will identify limiting beliefs and discover their antidotes.
  • Students will reclaim their power and path to health for themselves.
  • Students will learn about female anatomy and physiology.

Identity: This workshop is for women born with female anatomy and the accompanying cultural issues.

Attire/Supplies: wear loose and comfortable clothing (preferably no jeans or skirts) as class involves some movement work. A sweater and an extra pair of socks are suggested for times of stillness. You may wish to bring coloring implements and a journal with you to use in class, and/or during our breaks.

Pre-study: it is highly recommended that you read Suzanne Scurlock’s books and listen to the audio downloads that accompany them even if you are not a reader.

Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom (New World Library, 2017. Available via Audio or PDF download at Healing From the Core.) This book comes with several hours of audio downloads to help awaken and deepen into your inner wisdom. Download instructions are found along with transcripts of the explorations in the book.

Full Body Presence: Learning to Listen to Your Body’s Wisdom (New World Library, 2010. Available via Audio or PDF download at Healing From the Core.) Full Body Presence also includes downloads; instructions for obtaining them are at the end of Chapter One. These explorations and are also included with Reclaiming Your Body, which has quite a few more for you to practice with and enjoy as well.

Healing the Pelvic Core™
July 25–31, 2022
July 25–31, 2022
July 25, 2022
Healing the Pelvic Core™
with Suzanne Scurlock

We are living in a world filled with profound threat, uncertainty, and danger. The COVID-19 crisis is just one example. As a result, leadership — leading yourself and others — is even more important to create and maintain trust to inspire employees. We need leaders who can provide psychological safety even in the face of danger and threat.

Psychological safety starts with the personal effect of the leader, creating an atmosphere of trust in the corporate culture. It starts at the top and filters down through the entire organization. Psychological safety is fundamental for creativity, innovation, and high performance. It establishes trust and respect among team members, allowing them to take risks, for example expressing new ideas, being willing to fail, and asking for help.

Drawing on studies of High-Performance Leadership from the world of sports, business, medicine, music, theater, military, and hostage negotiation, managers can translate this knowledge to the real world of leading.

During this workshop you will develop and learn:

  • Cycle of bonding
  • Leading from the mind’s eye (without falling hostage to anyone)
  • Building trust through secure base leadership
  • The use of words — the power of an interaction
  • Conflict resolution
  • Managing emotions

In this week-long journey, you will explore the roots of your leadership and your leadership talents. The workshop offers cutting-edge theory, experiential learning, and opportunities to overcome barriers to your leadership through personal work and role-plays. Examples of case studies on difficult conversations to build bridges and common understanding will be shared.

Recommended Reading: George Kohlrieser, Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others and Raise Performance; George Kohlrieser, Susan Goldsworthy and Duncan Coombe, Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential through Secure Base Leadership.

Leading at the Edge: Building Trust Through Psychological Safety
July 31 – August 5, 2022
July 31 – August 5, 2022
July 31, 2022
Leading at the Edge: Building Trust Through Psychological Safety
with George Kohlrieser

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

Learn to activate the right side of your brain to unlock the insights necessary to break through self-limiting patterns. Based on a Nobel Prize-winning discovery in neuroscience, this methodology helps you think outside the box and live a more creative, productive, happier life.

William Donius, author of the New York Times bestseller Thought Revolution, spent a decade researching and developing this brain-enhancing methodology. He has taught these skills to a wide range of people, from students and corporate executives to scientists and artists. This innovative approach inspires more creative solutions than conventional thinking or brainstorming sessions.

Through easy-to-learn exercises, you can discover ways to harness your intuition and uncover profound insights about yourself that make change possible. You’ll develop practical tools you can apply each time you face an important decision or obstacle in life. You can go home with new ways to unlock your own inner genius and create the life you long for.

Please bring a notebook or journal and a pen.

Recommended reading: Donius, Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius.

Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
August 5–7, 2022
August 5–7, 2022
August 5, 2022
Meet Your Better Half: Unlock Your Right Brain
with William Donius

Esalen is the trailhead to one of the most spectacular mountainous coastlines in the world. With the Big Sur wilderness as the primary teacher, participants will explore the beauty of this alive and wild coast, from ancient redwood-forested canyons to dramatic coastal beaches, from rugged, rocky mountains to the soft, grassy slopes of the Big Sur hills.

Drawing from nature and various experiential awareness practices, individuals will be encouraged to open both to the natural world and to the landscapes of their inner world. It is said that Big Sur is not just a place but a state of mind. This wilderness experience seeks to merge mind and place, then to embody what is learned.

Participants in this weeklong workshop will venture out into the magnificence of Big Sur on day-hikes, 4-8 miles in length. The leader will draw from a wide range of contemporary and age-old wisdom traditions, borrowing from psychology, meditation, aikido, and the natural sciences to weave together a holistic experience of self and the natural world.

Each hike begins after breakfast and concludes in time to enjoy the hot springs and dinner at Esalen. Evening sessions include informal sharing and basic awareness practices with attention given to incorporating what is learned during the week into our daily lives.

All levels of experience are welcome. Be prepared for the invigorating challenge of physical activity and the opportunity to simply sit still in quiet reflection. More information and a waiver will be sent upon registration. For an equipment list and frequently asked questions about Steven’s workshops, visit the FAQs.

$40 permit and park entrance fees will be added to workshop cost.

Nature and Contemplation: Cultivating Wild Mindfulness
August 8–12, 2022
August 8–12, 2022
August 8, 2022
Nature and Contemplation: Cultivating Wild Mindfulness
with Steven Harper

Throughout modern times, movement, dance, and the expressive arts have provided individuals and communities with a means of soulful expression, healing, and connection with spirit. This workshop generates opportunities for participants to find such meaning, and become connected with the real issues in their lives. Daria Halprin’s approach to integrative movement will take participants on a unique journey into the sensing, feeling, and imagining body.

The Life/Art Process®, developed by Anna Halprin and Daria Halprin, bridges body awareness, art expression, and psychological processes. Experiencing the Process provides people with an opportunity to understand dance and the expressive arts as a way of learning, healing, expanding creativity, and developing new strategies for personal and professional life.

Each day of the workshop will include somatic awareness practices, individual and group movement and dance, drawing, poetic narrative, improvisation, and life/art reflections. Supported by the immersive Esalen experience, the beauty of the natural environment, and the amazing beats of the musicians, we will delve into themes that matter, explore deeply, play wildly, renew, inspire, envision, and catalyze new resources to bring back into personal and professional life.

Live music with special guest artists support the daily work. They will also be featured in an evening dance jam as well as the Planetary Dance — a community ritual that has been performed in over 40 countries since 1975.

Pioneers in their respective fields, the Halprins worked with Fritz Perls, Ida Rolf, Will Schutz, and others in the early years at Esalen. Their work has been a pivotal part of the groundbreaking human potential, postmodern dance, and healing arts movements since the 1960s.

The workshop is designed for everyone, with no previous experience in dance/art needed. For further information on the work please visit www.tamalpa.org and see Tamalpa Media.

Materials: bring a box of cray-pas oil pastels and a writing notebook.

Please note: masks will be required at all times except outdoors. We will try to maintain some distance while engaging!

Recommended reading: The Expressive Body in Life, Art & Therapy by Daria Halprin; Dances That Matter, Anna Halprin with Rachel Kaplan.

Empowering Creativity Through Movement/Dance & Life/Art Metaphors
August 8–12, 2022
August 8–12, 2022
August 8, 2022
Empowering Creativity Through Movement/Dance & Life/Art Metaphors
with Daria Halprin