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Upcoming Residential Study Programs

Cruising Emptiness: 5Rhythms® and Insight Meditation with Lucia Horan
May 17 - June 14, 2020

“When emptiness is still, that is eternity. When it moves, that is love.” — Adyashanti

This month-long workshop will take us into a journey of self-exploration through seated and moving meditation. These dynamic practices bring us to the edge where we meet what is, in both movement and stillness. Using Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms dance practice and Buddhist Insight Meditation, we will embark upon a personal investigation into how our physical bodies inform us, hold us and release us over the edge into the marvelous and creative nature of our own being. We will use these methods as a practical way to develop and track the patterns and cycles of our physical and emotional reality. These skills help us to better understand and navigate our inner and outer territories. This is an opportunity to embody practical tools of awareness that will assist you in your everyday life.

“The Rhythms are a map to everywhere we want to go, on all planes, inner and outer, forward and back, physical, emotional and intellectual. They are markers on the way back to a real self, a vulnerable, wild, passionate, instinctive self,” said Gabrielle Roth. "Flowing holds the feminine mysteries. Staccato explores the masculine mysteries. In Chaos, we are challenged to integrate these principles into the stream of personal energy. Lyrical is the rhythm of trance and self-realization. In Stillness we seek the emptiness within us and take refuge in it.”

Show up as you are and practice with what you have. This is about presence, not performance. All shapes and ages are welcome.

Apply now.


Yoga Immersion: A Journey into Self with Jovinna Chan
June 14 - July 12, 2020

Are you ready to change? If not now, when? This is a self-awakening program designed for sincere seekers who are ready to live an awakened life. Immerse yourself in the fundamentals of yoga philosophy, asanas, pranayama and meditation to build a spacious and fertile spiritual foundation where the seeds of awareness can grow and flourish.

During the month, we will:

  • Explore classic yoga postures with basic alignment principles, benefits and contraindications
  • Experience yoga as a path of self-discovery and transformation
  • Integrate holistic lifestyle tools
  • Learn and practice conscious communication skills
  • Explore scripture through experiential lectures on the Bhagavad Gita and Pantanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga (emphasizing the yamas and niyamas)

At the end of the program, you will learn to bring awareness to movement and breath in a way that is right for your body, your limitations, your strengths and your age – in other words, you’ll discover the yoga that is right for you and create a unique home practice. Join us to bring the experience, depth and benefits of yoga into your lifestyle and make bold changes to live fully. Please bring a yoga mat.

Note: For those who wish to obtain a 50-hour certification, a daily Hatha yoga practice and additional homework will be required. You are requested to write a paper on either Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra translated by Mukunda Stiles or the Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran. Please choose either one and bring the copy with you.

For more information about the Residential Study program, visit To apply, click Register.

Apply now.


Herbal Medicine Immersion for Health and Wellness with Rachel Berry
July 12 - August 9, 2020

Learn how to begin or expand an herbal practice at home by exploring the plant world in Esalen Farm & Gardens. Experience the touch, taste and "personalities" of common garden plants that can add to your vitality and ease common ailments like indigestion, headaches, muscle strains, and colds and flu. You will gain a broad overview of home-scale herbalism and learn techniques and guidelines for incrementally expanding your herbal repertoire in a fun, joyful and safe manner.

Over this month-long immersion, you will spend time in the beautiful gardens, identifying key patterns in plant identification and learn how to use your senses to discern some of the medicinal qualities of cultivated and wild plants. Through experiential learning, you will gain confidence in how to harvest, dry and process fresh medicinal herbs.

Every week, you will experience new ways to take and make herbal medicines, including teas, decoctions, tinctures, nut butter balls, syrups, medicinal oils, creams and salves. You will also learn how to infuse more nutrition into your regular diet with medicinal pestos, herbal vinegars, tangy and refreshing shrubs, culinary oils, herb infused jello and nourishing broths.

The majority of time will be spent in the field with the plants or in the kitchen processing herbs. Additional activities include lectures and focused study to create a personalized health-promoting herbal regime designed to fit your needs and lifestyle.

You will leave with an individualized plan of which herbs, and in what form, can support your health and wellness. You will also have samples of herbal preparations to take home and the recipes to make them again on your own.

Required reading: Chech, Making Plant Medicine.

(A $50 materials fee will be added to the cost of the workshop.)

Apply now.


Deep Bodywork® with Rob Wilks and Lori Lewis
August 9 - September 6, 2020

Deep Bodywork®, as created by Perry Holloman over the last 25 years at Esalen Institute, is a method that integrates the qualities of a flowing Esalen Massage® with the therapeutic effectiveness of deep tissue work. Using deep tissue methods, massage practitioners can enter the body’s deeper soft tissue layers, freeing previously dense, hardened areas, which may have become chronically painful due to a lack of fluid exchange and energy flow. As these areas soften and “re-organize,” their chronic tension patterns release, revitalizing living tissues with blood, lymph and chi (life) energy. Because living systems like the human body require a constant flow of chi energy to self-organize and heal, blockages to that flow within our tissues can create long-term health problems like joint and soft tissue pain, movement restriction and circulatory problems.

During this month, Rob Wilks and Lori Lewis will focus on exploring the modality of deep bodywork as a healing art. The time is designed for massage and bodywork practitioners seeking to incorporate effective deep tissue techniques into their work. We will explore the common areas (back, neck, shoulders, hips, etc.) where these chronic tension patterns tend to stagnate. You will be taught how to effectively address these areas using gravitational energy, proper use of body mechanics, the importance of working slowly and self-care practices.

Professional massage experience is highly recommended for this advanced-level class. Please visit for more information.

Recommended viewing: Deep Bodywork I: Healing the Back, Shoulders and Hips (DVD), available at

CE credit for massage.

Apply now.


Leadership and Presence with Suzanne Scurlock
September 6 - October 4, 2020

Presence is the hidden key to successful leadership. The more present we are in ourselves, the more present we can be with someone else. This month-long program offers experiential work designed to help you pay attention to the subtle cues you receive from your body and the surrounding environment all the time. This will give you access to your own, highly valuable inner landscape — the wisdom of your body/mind/spirit, which significantly enhances your ability to be more fully present as a leader.

We will share how to:

  • Assess your energy reservoir and refill when you are depleted
  • Increase your capacity to be present versus doing all the time
  • Grow awareness of, but not absorb, the emotions of others
  • Make healthy connections (empathy versus sympathy)
  • Stay openhearted and clearheaded
  • Have more powerful leadership conversations

The deeper layer of this program will help you more fully utilize the navigational system of your body, including wisdom of the heart, gut, bones, pelvis, feet and legs.

If you feel overwhelmed at times by your feelings or those around you, this course will help you develop your body and energy field into a container that can hold and modulate the whole range of human emotions. Learning to build this capacity within your navigational field enables you to have feelings and learn from them. Please bring a journal for reflection time and notes, as well as a binder for handouts.

Required reading and listening: Scurlock-Durana, Full Body Presence: Learning to Listen. Scurlock-Durana, Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom.

Apply now.


Upledger Institute International’s CranioSacral Therapy Level One Intensive:
Presence, Palpation and Protocol with Karen Axelrod
October 4 - November 1, 2020

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) utilizes very gentle touch to assess and correct imbalances in the craniosacral system — the membranes and fluids protecting the brain and spinal cord. CST, as a hands-on modality, is a powerful tool that addresses numerous sensory, motor and intellectual challenges; central nervous system disorders; and chronic pain. You will be taught anatomy and physiology of the craniosacral system, its functions in health and its relationship to disease. Emphasis will be on developing effective palpation skills to detect subtle movement, energy, fluid and structures within the body. The group will explore palpation as both an evaluative and therapeutic tool to facilitate fascial and soft-tissue releases.

As part of this month-long program you will also explore how to use your presence to augment the healing process through mindfulness/sensory-awareness exercises. The practitioner’s sense of presence during a treatment session enables a strong therapeutic alliance, which in turn creates a safe environment for the client’s innate healing process to unfold. Anatomical knowledge, palpation and presence provide the foundation needed for participants to perform an effective 10-step craniosacral protocol. By the end of this program, you will have the tools to assess the central nervous system and entire body from a craniosacral perspective, apply structural and energetic CST techniques to restore balance and gain measurable results from a craniosacral treatment session.

This program is offered in collaboration with the Upledger Institute International (UII). Completion of this workshop will result in full credit for Upledger’s CranioSacral Therapy entry-level course (CS1) and eligibility to take CS2 through the Upledger curriculum.

Note: There is an additional $250 fee for this program, giving you the full status as a CranioSacral Therapy practitioner with Upledger Institute International (UII), the necessary prerequisites and eligibility for additional levels of CranioSacral Therapy study with UII and a listing in the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP) directory.

Pre-requisites: Professional healthcare practitioner, student in healthcare program or graduate awaiting licensure/accreditation with experience in sensitive, light-touch palpation.

For those who wish to take CS1 and live in a state or province that does not require a healthcare hands-on license to practice CST, the following minimum study is required:

  • Eighty hours of Anatomy and Physiology and 15 hours of Pathology. One way to satisfy this requirement is through the home study coursework, Upledger Health Science Essentials,, available through the London (Ontario) College of Osteopathy.
  • Four hours of ethics, from an accredited professional organization or school

For continuing education syllabus, see

Required reading and advance preparation: Upledger, CranioSacral Therapy (Chapters 1-6), and Your Inner Physician and You. Please familiarize yourself with the definitions and/or locations of the anatomical terms here:

CE credit for massage.

Apply now.


The Art of Skillful Living: Truth, Love, and Freedom with Coby Kozlowski
November 1 - 29, 2020

The Art of Skillful Living is an inward journey into the depths of what it means to be human and an exploration of consciousness. This program is deeply connected to living yoga, not doing yoga and is for anybody interested in learning to navigate the waves of life more skillfully and gracefully.

Dive into the insights, experiments and inquiries of a contemporary approach to living yoga: How can I best be with life? How can the teachings of yoga direct us to see the most aligned choices, let go of past hurts and discover deep and meaningful connections? And what are the most aligned ways we can learn to savor all that life presents?

Through this interactive, lecture-based and experiential program, you will be called forth to look within and do the work to find a higher state of integrity. You will be challenged, encouraged and supported to trust the unfolding of life, foster transformational change, and ultimately have a positive impact on the world.

Recommended reading: Kozlowski, One Degree Revolution: How the Wisdom of Yoga Inspires Small Shifts That Lead to Big Changes.

Apply now.


Soulcraft and the Mythopoetic Imagination:
A Month-long Mystery School in Our Mercurial Time with Bill Plotkin and Geneen Marie Haugen
November 29 - December 27, 2020

Have you already embarked on the journey of soul initiation? Are you in a leadership role or longing to support soul-infused, radical change during our time of cultural collapse and regeneration? This monthlong immersion at Esalen Institute, in the wilds of the Big Sur coast, is intended for people already wandering in soul-filled directions. In our focus on the underworld journey of soul encounter (rather than healing, therapy or ego transcendence), we will:

  • Utilize soulcentric dreamwork; deep imagery journeys; conversations with the animate Earth; and other Soulcraft practices
  • Gather images, symbols and themes that suggest the shape of our blazingly unique, mythopoetic identities
  • Cultivate skills, modes of perception, and sensibilities that are essential companions in both tending the garden of mystery and in bringing forth soul-infused vision
  • Support each participant’s most deep-rooted and mystery-saturated offering to the Earth community
  • Engage in the sustained and life-changing practice of attending soul waters

This immersion is intended only for those who have reached a certain turning point in life: when you feel healed enough in all the ordinary ways of emotional restoration; when you are no longer trying to find just the right relationship or job or residence before you really start your life; when the biggest questions for you are no longer about social standing or relationships or job or career, but rather about the mystery that pulses softly at the very core of your existence.

Note: Prior experience with Animas Valley Institute is strongly recommended. Be sure to note this on your application. Those with prior experience will be given priority.

Apply now.


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