I was thrilled to have my first experience at Esalen near Big Sur recently. I couldn’t pass it up when the class Anatomy Trains by Tom Myers was being held somewhere I had been dreaming of going for a long time!
Esalen is quite a drive from anywhere… But it is a spectacular drive along the coast of highway 1. It took us just over 2 1/2 hours from Los Gatos. As you pull into the property it is like being transported to another land… that is bright, green and sparkling! It reminded me of the mysterious places you see in the movies, like crouching tiger, hidden dragon. And let me just tell you about the swarm of butterflies. Are butterflies called a swarm? The monarchs come up the coast for the winter and there are the trees they like to eat at Esalen so they are everywhere, totally beautiful!
Now we lucked out and had the most perfect weather although I imagine it could be even more magical through the fog.
You do enter the land of the non-connectivity here, don’t go into shock your cell phone will not work. And let me just say,GOOD! We all need a break from the ball and chain now and then (cell phone, tablet, computer). It is so funny how weird it feels at first.
There is a fantastic variety of ways to take care of yourself here. There are of course the mineral pools. Hot mineral baths sitting right along the cliffs above the ocean. It is the most amazing place. You can soak it up as long as you can stand the heat or take a cold plunge too. I can’t imagine a better place to soak away all the stress from your body.
In the same area as the mineral pools is where they offer the Esalen massages. I unfortunately did not have a chance to get one while we were there. They are very well know for their massages. They are a specialized long stroke massage by therapists who love what they do very much! I will definitely have to go back and get a massage next time.
One of my favorite things there as you can see from my pictures were their gardens. I love a garden that produces food and is beautiful. And they actually have two gardens one is smaller and very pretty too and the other is larger and more the “working” garden. They both have tons of produce growing. It was fall so there was a lot of greens and herbs and winter squashes, it was lovely. They do offer apprenticeship programs in the gardens, quite tempting if I ever feel the need to run away look for me there picking vegis. There were chickens, including a rooster, he was noisy and bee hives as well, it truly is my dream garden though.
And speaking of the food, the food was fantastic. I am a bit of a health nut and they served such a great variety of fresh healthy foods! One of my favorite things they served was at breakfast quinoa and kale with lemon and olive oil, yum something I would make and with the most perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs. They served soups at lunch and dinner that were very good, I didn’t even get to try them all.
They also have a pool, some lovely lawns overlooking the ocean to hang around on, hiking trails along the river, a beautiful meditation room along the river too, I took a great yoga class and they have more classes you can take if you are there during the week. There is an art barn to unleash your inner artist.
The class I took was great and very full. I was impressed with the level of interesting classes they offer and the amount of personal development and enlightenment promoted here. It was the perfect balance of instruction and free time to enjoy the space.
The accommodations are not luxurious but they are comfy with big down comforters and unless you come with your significant other some interesting roommates to get to know.
If you are interested in personal development or just love a beautiful retreat center I can not express how wonderful a trip to Esalen is. I’m already conspiring for how I can make it back soon… gotta get one of those massages!
Massage Works Los Gatos brings massage therapy that does just that, it works, to help you get relief from chronic or acute pain as well as stress and strain. Our mission is to help active women and men incorporate massage and a healthy lifestyle into their lives to live with positive energy and vitality.