Self-Compassion and Mindfulness in Medicine: A Workshop for Physicians

April 6-8, 2018

Do you need to recharge? Join fellow physicians for a wellness retreat at beautiful Esalen on the California coast. Learn about and experience physician wellness at its best! CME: Up to 6 hours AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

What does the word compassion mean to you? What about self-compassion ? How do those concepts fit into medicine as we know it? Develop practical self-compassion and mindfulness skills. Recharge with other physicians in the healing practices of yoga and meditation. Nourish your body with fresh farm-to-table meals. Enjoy a community of friendship and support. This is your chance to rest and relax as you retreat from the intensity of medicine. Earn CME while creating the experience of a lifetime!

Read the New York Times article about Esalen and techies. We're ahead of the trend of wellness at work!

The Esalen Institute is located on 120 acres of land carved out between mountain and ocean, blessed by a cascading canyon stream and hot mineral springs gushing out of a seaside cliff. And always there is the sound of the ocean.

Dates: April 6-8, 2018

Cost: Early registration rate before January 31, 2018 $1295 inclusive of room, board and CME. This rate is for shared rooms, up to three people in a room. Registration rate after February 1, 2018 - $1395.00

A few single rooms are available before January 31, 2018 for $1995.These rooms will be filled on a first-come, first serve basis. Single room rate after February 1, 2018 - $2095.

This workshop is limited to 22 participants, early registration is encouraged.

CME Credits: Up to 6 hours AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

Workshop Times: Attendees are encouraged to arrive anytime after 2 pm on Friday, April 6th. The program begins at 4:30 pm and ends at 1:45 pm on Sunday, April 8.

What is included?

  • Physician classes and group discussions
  • Daily movement classes, meditation, and yoga
  • Full access to the Esalen grounds including walking paths, garden, mineral baths, and extraordinary views
  • 2 nights shared accommodations, 2-3 beds per room
  • Farm-to-table, buffet meals from dinner the night of arrival through lunch on departure day
  • Up to 6 hours AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

What is not included?

  • Transportation to or from The Esalen Institute
  • Alcoholic beverages and personal purchases
  • Massage or other healing arts treatments
  • Travel insurance

Questions? E-mail the Institute for Physician Wellness.

Cancellation Policy: Before 60 days of the retreat, a full refund minus a $100 service fee. Within sixty days of the retreat, no refunds unless we can fill your spot. If so, a $150 service fee will be charged. 

The workshop is full. Registration is closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the retreat held?

Esalen is located along a scenic and relatively remote stretch of California's central coast, approximately 12 miles south of Big Sur. 

The address is:

Esalen Institute
55000 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA, 93920

How do I get to Esalen?

One of the reasons Esalen is appealing to so many is that it provides a chance to get away from the daily hustle and bustle. Getting to it takes a little effort but it is well worth it. As you prepare for your visit to Esalen, some planning will be necessary given current road closures in the Big Sur area due to the heavy spring rains of 2017.

After October 1, 2017, construction of the new Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge will be complete, providing one-way vehicle access from Monterey and Carmel south to Esalen. Read more about traveling to Esalen after October 1, 2017. Feel free to call Esalen Guest Services Office at 888-837-2536

For driving and flying directions, van service information, and rideshare information, please visit

The closest airports:

  • Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY) – 47 miles, approximately 75 minutes

  • San Jose International Airport (SJC) – 120 miles, approximately 2.5 hours

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – 150 miles, approximately 3 hours

What can I expect for accommodations and amenities?

All accommodations are shared.  Rooms are cleaned for guests' arrival, but they do not provide housekeeping service.  Sheets, bedding, and towels are provided.  There are no phones or televisions in the rooms, and cell phones do not work at Esalen.

Can I get a massage?  Do I need to schedule it before I arrive?

We highly recommended that  participants make massage or other healing arts arrangements at least 1 week prior to arrival by calling 831.667.3005

Can my family join me?

Yes! Arrangements for accommodations outside our group can be made directly with Esalen. Plan ahead since lodging fills quickly.

When does the retreat end?
Our time together will end following brunch Sunday. We must depart Esalen no later than 2:00pm.

What food will be provided?

The Esalen kitchen staff serves delicious, healthy meals to 250 to 350 people per day. This includes everyone from workshop participants and teachers to Esalen board members and staff. The kitchen team crafts each meal with mindfulness and care, featuring produce and herbs from the Esalen farm and garden.


Breakfast: 8:30 - 9:45 am
Lunch: 12:30 - 1:45 pm
Dinner: 6:00 - 7:30 pm

Between Meals

Coffee, tea, house-made bread for toast, preserves, nut butters, and fresh fruit are available all day and night until 5AM.

How many physicians will be at the retreat?

Space is limited to 30 participants for our retreat. Staff and other groups will be present at Esalen. Our workshops will be exclusive.

Will my cell phone work?

Internet access and access instructions are available in the Esalen lodge.  We ask that you refrain from laptop use in the lodge during mealtime hours.  Cell phones do not work in many areas in Big Sur and do not work at Esalen.  However, a number of pay phones are available for public use.

What time is check in/out?

Guests are welcome to arrive at Esalen any time after 2:00 PM. You may pick up your key at the gate or in the guest reception area after 2:30 PM. Check-out time is 10:30 AM on your departure day

Can I use the hot springs?

Yes! We would like those people who are planning their first visit to Esalen to know that swimsuits are optional. Nudity is common, in the hot springs, massage area, and swimming pool. We encourage each individual to choose what is most comfortable, either wearing a swimsuit or not, and emphasize that the environment we strive for at Esalen is one of personal sanctuary and respect for the human body.

Is Esalen accessible for all?

Even though many of the paths are paved, they are extremely steep due to the cliffside location. In fact, Big Sur is the steepest meeting of land and sea in the continental United States. Nonetheless, Esalen is committed to accommodating guests who have disabilities.

If you think you might need assistance, please call the Esalen office to make arrangements.