Esalen Somatics Study Group
Somatics Summit Gathering
Somatics Research Seminar
Somatics Study Core Group
Without Esalen, there would be no Somatics field. Founded on the family vacation home in Big Sur in the early 1960s by Michael Murphy and Richard Price, it like CIIS had the mission of integrating wisdom traditions scattered throughout the world. The very first public workshop given in what is now a familiar menu of offerings was given by Charlotte Selver, the bearer of the teachings of the Berliner Elsa Gindler, the creator of Sensory Awareness, whose work would become the primal foundation of the Somatics field.
In addition to her work and that of many other bodyworkers and massage practitioners whose work became known through their offerings at Esalen, I was given the invitation to initiate a series of invitational conferences to bring together leaders from many fields who shared a vision of creating a more embodied approach to human life—in medicine, the social sciences, personal transformation, and spirituality. In the first event, the entire Institute was given over to a Somatics conference with some 30 presenters—creators of schools of bodywork, biomedical researchers, philosophers, psychologists, theologians, artists, and writers—with some 200 participants scattered in breakout sessions on the property, with a few plenary sessions.
From then until now, I have had the generous gift of being able to invite various groupings to spend time living in the old Murphy house under the umbrella of the Center for Theory and Research to refine our understanding of these practices, develop educational programs, and research. We have used this work to expand our notions of the field to those approaches coming from China, Japan, India, Brazil, Africa, and other corners of the globe. And to address embodiment issues as they impinge upon education, psychotherapy, social justice movements, and spirituality. Invitees are typically scholars and practitioners from many disciplines whose unique works typically lie outside conventional boundaries.