I googled “How many holistic centers exist in the world?” not really expecting to find an answer. It was a great surprise to see the top three posts all featured HCN. Scrolling further down the search engine page other listings included: Top Ten Wellness Retreats and The 15 Best Wellness Retreats in the World – Condé Nast Traveler. Hence the inspiration to create our list of holistic centers.
Birthplace of the human potential movement and founded in 1962 by Dick Price and Michael Murphy, Esalen is a legendary place. Perched on the edge of the cliffs in Big Sur, California, along the breathtaking views of Highway 1, over 12,000 guests each year participate in a range of workshops dedicated to pioneering deep change in self and society. Shaped by scholars in residence including Abraham Maslow, Fritz Perls, Ida Rolf, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Gabrielle Roth, Stanislov Grof, Esalen plays a profound role in the humanistic approach to psychology and culture.
Founded in 1962 by Eileen and Peter Caddy and their friend Dorothy Maclean, the Findhorn Foundation is a spiritual community in the far north of Scotland based on the consciousness that all of life is interconnected. It has evolved into a center for holistic learning that attracts participants from over 60 countries. Dedicated to personal and planetary transformation this pioneering center of demonstration inspires us to connect with the divine within ourselves and each other, and to co-create with the intelligence of nature. The 1995 conference Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century birthed the Global Ecovillage Network.
- New York Open Center
Celebrating 35 years in 2019, the New York Open Center has evolved into an urban destination for holistic learning, personal development and professional advancement. The Open Center offers holistically-based educational programs to create positive transformation in individuals and the world. Programs are offered in spiritual inquiry and practice, psychology and self-development, holistic health, bodywork, movement and yoga, arts and creativity. The Open Center presents more than 300 programs of exceptional depth and integrity to audiences totaling more than 10,000 annually.
- Breitenbush Hot Springs
‘A place to bring life into balance’ Breitenbush Hot Springs was established in 1978 with the intention ‘To provide a safe and potent environment where people can renew and evolve in ways they never imagined’. An intentional community and worker-owned co-operative, BHS is a retreat and conference center nestled in the beautiful Cascade Mountains and completely off grid. Welcoming over 35,000 guests each year for both workshops and personal retreats it offers a deep immersion into nature and a holistic way of life.
For more than 40 years Omega has been at the forefront of holistic studies – helping people and organizations integrate personal growth and social change, moving beyond ‘the way it is’ toward ‘the way it can be’. Considered a premiere travel destination in New York’s Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people annually to 350+ programs in-person. Close to 2 million people participate in their offerings online. More than simply a place, Omega is a global community that awakens the best in the human spirit and cultivates the extraordinary potential that exists in us all.
The Hollyhock campus rests in the traditional territories of the Klahoose, Tla’amin, Homalco Nations; on what is currently called Cortes Island. It transitioned from a place of gathering, to a pioneering homestead, and in 1982 to an important lifelong learning centre within the human potential movement. Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better. A seasonal center they offer 80+ programs and conferences each year to help people connect to self, nature, and community.
- Mount Madonna Center
In 1978 Baba Hari Dass inspired the founding of Mount Madonna Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, which has become a highly respected spiritual retreat and seminar facility in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mount Madonna Center is home to a residential community dedicated to support of Center activities, which include diverse programs in yoga and personal growth. Baba Hari Dass, or Babaji as he was affectionately called, was a silent monk whose life of discipline, yoga, and love has inspired people around the world. First and foremost a master yogi, having practiced the disciplines of yoga from childhood, his lifelong example of peacefulness encouraged regular practice of his teachings.
- Institute of Noetic Sciences
When Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell viewed Earth from space, he was struck by a profound sense of universal connectedness. The experience was so transformative it shaped his life’s work—to bridge the power of science with this deep, internal knowing and illuminate the fullness of human potential. Dr. Mitchell’s transformative experience led him to establish the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in 1973. He understood that by applying the scientific rigor used in his explorations of outer space, we could better understand the mysteries of inner space—the space in which he felt an undeniable sense of interconnection and oneness.
- Rancho La Puerta
Family-owned and operated since 1940, when the first guests arrived at a beautiful Baja California campsite created by Edmond Szekely and his young wife Deborah, Rancho La Puerta has been changing lives now for over 75 years. The young Michael Murphy and Dick Price visited before founding Esalen in 1962. Since the beginning Rancho La Puerta has sought to guide those who are interested in a sane, well-balanced program of living. It emphasizes that health is the consequence of living in harmony with all the forces of nature, according to the laws of nature.
- Le Monastère Des Augustines
Le Monastère des Augustines is a haven of heritage, wellness and culture that opened to the public in 2015. Located in the heart of Old Quebec in Canada, it occupies the historic wings of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec monastery, which was the birthplace of the first hospital on the continent north of Mexico over four centuries ago. The Augustinian Sisters devoted themselves to caring for body and soul, while laying the foundation for our modern healthcare system. Today, Le Monastère des Augustines keeps faith with the holistic mission of the founding sisters.
This list is not definitive and we invite you to add your center to the rich legacy of holistic centers around the world.
Terry Cumes says
Thanks for the inspiring list. I look forward to seeing more retreat names around the world.
Christine Lines says
Thank you Terry, yes me too. You can also view the online map which features more centers around the world