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Esalen Institute Reopens with a Focus on Creating Connections Through Rituals

After nearly a 7-month closure due to the pandemic and then wildfires, the non-profit launches a new five-day program to provide visitors a range of amenities

BIG SUR, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Esalen Institute, a non-profit center for exploring and realizing human potential, today announced its reopening plans after a nearly 7-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating California wildfires. Esalen has been closed since mid-March when the state-mandated shelter-in-place was ordered. Esalen is debuting “Creating Connection through the Rituals of Esalen,” a unique five-day program for two people to build rituals around important life transitions.

“We are inviting guests to embrace key Esalen rituals that will help them dive deep in their own understanding of what it takes to fully connect to affect change and usher in a more just, creative and sustainable future for the benefit of all human beings during this pivotal time in history,” said Terry Gilbey, General Manager and CEO of Esalen. “If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we must be willing to let go of something so that we can give birth to something brand new. It has never been more vital to create rituals around the significant life transitions that are happening all around us.”

The “Creating Connection through the Rituals of Esalen” experience requires guests to fully unplug, explore, contemplate and forge deeper connections with the self, one another and nature—and to bring that wisdom back to each person’s community. Set amidst the stunning Big Sur coastline, this rustic offering includes all of Esalen’s cherished rituals to integrate heart, mind, body, spirit, and community in a nurturing relationship with the environment. The dynamic program will explore human potential through a variety of new offerings each week, including:

  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Embodiment and movement practices
  • Connection with nature
  • Creative expression

Visitors will enjoy three all-inclusive healthy meals a day, sourced from Esalen Farm & Garden and other local entities. Esalen’s beloved mineral hot springs overlooking the Pacific Ocean provide a perfect setting to reflect and contemplate life transitions, purify the heart and mind and emerge with newfound clarity and intentions. Guests will be required to wear face masks in public areas and observe a 6-foot social distance at all times out of respect for other visitors.

“People need a safe place where they can find a container for the fear, anxiety, loneliness and confusion that is overwhelming our world today,” Gilbey noted. “Esalen is one of the rare places on earth where people have the natural and spiritual resources that will allow them to reach their full potential.”

Esalen will be instituting comprehensive health and safety precautions to ensure the well-being of all guests. It will work with state and local groups authorities to continue the COVID-19-free environment Esalen has been able to sustain.

About Esalen

Founded in 1962, Esalen is a non-profit center for exploring and realizing human potential through experience, education, and research. Esalen is a pioneer on the leading edge of consciousness, where spiritual possibility, intellectual rigor, somatic practice and sustainable living converge toward an integrated realization of the human potential. Esalen sponsors pioneering initiatives and offers personal, spiritual, and social transformation practices for workshop participants, residential staff and interns. Located on California’s scenic Big Sur Coast, Esalen welcomes more than 17,000 visitors each year. For more information, visit


Wes Robinson


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