Earlier this week, I had the privilege of joining a friend who is participating in a work/study program at Esalen. She invited me as a guest and I was able to spend the day enjoying the surroundings. Oh, and my friend is a massage therapist too, so we traded massages. We were able to give each other massages on the Esalen massage deck (pictured here) that is above the wonderful hot springs, overlooking the ocean on one side and the hills on the other.
Getting a massage while listening to the sound of the sea, the birds and not much else is a special experience. The day was beautiful and the relaxation was complete. After the massage, I was able to spend time in the hot tubs that also overlook the ocean, and then have a healthy lunch sitting on the lawn, again looking at the ocean. Every once in awhile, a few humpback whales would surface, just to complete the idyllic moment. After lunch, I walked around the grounds to see the extensive flower and vegetable gardens, the trees, the still-flowing stream that winds its way between the redwoods and eucalyptus trees and the various buildings perched on the hillside. What a beautiful spot on the planet!
If you ever get a chance to get a massage at Esalen, jump on it! Esalen itself could be called the birthplace of the popularity of massage in the United States… in the Sixties, Esalen popularized the idea of massage for relaxation. Esalen teaches its own style of massage, and I was able to watch some of the Esalen practitioners at work. Their style is very slow and deliberate, at a pace that encourages deep relaxation. After watching them, I am reminded to incorporate that pace in my own work. In my room, I keep the sound of the waves going throughout my massages… soothing for me and for my clients! I have a garden behind my massage room and I’m considering setting up a way to do outdoor massages there. Stay tuned!
After such a wonderful day at Esalen, I was reminded how grateful I am to live on the Central Coast of California, and how fortunate we all are to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us here.