Transformative Practice Meets the Scientific Method

with Pam Kramer, Josh Brahinsky and Michael Lifshitz

January 28 - 30, 2022

Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

Want to witness science in action while engaging in mind-body practices for greater balance, vitality, and wellbeing?

Research on the effects of contemplative practices is rapidly transforming science and medicine. There is now growing consensus among scientists about the viability of healing through mind-body practices. However, researchers are only just beginning to examine how individual differences (such as personality differences) might influence who is likely to benefit most from various forms of transformative practice.

In this workshop, you’ll learn how Stanford University researchers approach the scientific method through an onsite pilot study, exploring the ways individual traits predict change through practice, in particular, Integral Transformative Practice (ITP). Created in 1992 by Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy and former Esalen President George Leonard, ITP is a research-based program for realizing human potential and awakening our extraordinary capacities through dedicated practice.

Using mind-body exercises drawn from ITP, you will:

  • Explore the transformation you are seeking in body, mind, heart, and soul and create your own personal affirmation for lasting change
  • Engage in the ITP Kata, a 40-minute daily practice that integrates gentle movement, visualization techniques, relaxation and meditation
  • Experience Leonard Energy Training exercises to increase awareness and flow

Along with an exploration of ITP, you will discover, through a shared scientific journey, how researchers are beginning to think about the relationship between individual traits and the effects of transformative practice. The weekend’s pilot project will assess the ways preexisting tendencies predict the rate and type of change experienced after a weekend ITP workshop. Change will be measured by stress-related biomarkers, cognitive tasks, and well-tested psychological scales.

Workshop Leaders

Pam Kramer

Pamela Kramer is President of ITP International, a non-profit organization that stewards ITP and the work of its founders, George Leonard and Michael Murphy. Pam is an ITP Mastery teacher, is on the faculty of Esalen Institute and presents workshops at venues in the US and abroad. She is engaged in training ITP teachers, helping to form ITP groups and bring integral principles and practices to the workplace. Pam is a performance consultant and executive coach with 30 years' consulting experience for organizations and entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Michael Lifshitz

Michael Lifshitz is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, working at the intersection of contemplative practice, neuroscience, and anthropology. He studies practices that aim to transform subjective experience—from meditation and hypnosis to placebos, prayer, and psychedelics. He did his PhD in Neuroscience at McGill and then a postdoc in Anthropology at Stanford. Drawing on this interdisciplinary background, his research explores how experience, neurobiology, and cultural context interact to shape the process and outcomes of spiritual practice.

Josh Brahinsky

Josh Brahinsky is a researcher at UC Berkeley in Psychology in the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory, and a Teaching Faculty at UCSC. His work links anthropological and neuroscientific methods to explore the ways contemplation invites and shapes sensory capacity and experience. He studies a variety of contemplative practices, including varieties of prayer and meditation, focused especially on the worship practices of charismatic evangelicals. He did his PhD in the History of Consciousness at UCSC and then a postdoc in Anthropology at Stanford.

Location Details

55000 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920

36.12459, -121.63751