Esalen Institute

Esalen Institute, commonly just called Esalen, is a residential community and retreat center in Big Sur, California, which focuses upon humanistic alternative education. Esalen is a nonprofit organization devoted to activities such as personal growth, meditation, massage, Gestalt, yoga, psychology, ecology, spirituality, and organic food. The institute offers more than 500 public workshops a year, in addition to conferences, research initiatives, residential work-study programs, and internships.

Esalen was founded by Michael Murphy and Dick Price in 1962. Their goal was to explore work in the humanities and sciences, in order to fully realize what Aldous Huxley had called the "human potentialities". Esalen soon became known for its blend of Eastern and Western philosophies, examined in experiential and didactic workshops. Over the years Esalen hosted a notable influx of philosophers, physicists, psychologists, artists, and religious thinkers.

Esalen is situated on 120 acres of Big Sur coast, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise sharply above the Pacific Ocean. The grounds were once home to a Native American tribe known as the Esselen, from which the institute got its name. This location also is a Monarch butterfly wintering site. A key feature of the site is its cliff-side natural hot spring baths. The property is divided by Hot Springs Canyon. Hot Springs Creek serves as a freshwater source, along with underground springs.

Esalen is located about 45 miles (72 km) south of Monterey and Carmel along scenic Highway 1, and nine miles (14 km) north of Lucia. It is about a three-hour drive south of San Francisco, or a five-hour drive north of Los Angeles.

Read more about Esalen Institute:  Leaders and Programs, Arts Events, In Popular Culture, Initiatives and Projects, Criticism, Travel and Fire Safety, Community, Management, Current Status, Further Reading

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