Who we are

Who we are and what we believe in.


A nurturing space
for body and soul

A crucial aspect of our project is the importance given to our spiritual dimension, with the understanding that we are body, mind, and spirit (soul), the non-dogmatic conviction that we are sustained by God, Love, Energy, or a Force greater than ourselves, and profound respect for each individual’s personal beliefs.

We are driven by the certainty that all human beings can and deserve to live lives filled with greater truth, joy, dignity, and cooperation.

We also are convinced that in doing inner work there are no shortcuts or formulas. Quick-fix tips are not the answer. Getting to know yourself, accepting yourself, and committing to the development of a full and conscious life is a course of action we must choose to pursue each and every day, trusting that invaluable rewards lie along this path. 


We believe it is possible to build a life filled with love and empathy, forge relationships based on trust and respect, and cultivate an inner life that is a veritable sacred garden where serenity resides.

Nathalia Esencial

Nathalia Franco Pérez

From a very young age, I have been fascinated by the deepest questions of human existence: Why do we suffer? What brings us profound joy? What is the meaning of life? How do some people manage to experience peace and happiness in different stages of their life? Why do some people choose paths that are beneficial and edifying, while others endure deep and prolonged inner struggles?

I have addressed these questions in the areas of communications and journalism (my undergraduate major), ethics (my Master’s specialty), transpersonal psychology (my most recent specialization) and spirituality (my lifelong pursuit).

During my 11-year tenure at Universidad EAFIT, a leading private university in Medellín, Colombia, I accompanied, guided, and addressed the concerns of dozens of people as head of the academic integrity program Atreverse a Pensar (Dare to Think) and later as founder and leader of the Centro de Integridad (Center for Integrity).

In countless conversations on topics related to vocation, moral dilemmas, ethics, purpose, decision-making, bullying, gender, diversity, and inclusion, I saw first-hand the suffering that many people endure and realized over time that spirituality (the importance of nourishing our spirit, as well as our body and mind) and rigorous therapeutic work are essential and complementary elements for accepting, processing, and healing the many complex realities we confront as human beings.

With the support of my parents and my life partner and the hope for the future my children represent, I now want to devote all of my knowledge and my whole heart and soul to ESENCIAL, a project that exists to serve as a beacon of hope and light for individuals, families, educational institutions, and businesses looking to embark on a sincere journey of inner work and self-cultivation, inspired by a desire to live in love and truth.

María Antonia Arango Salinas

Through my experience in teaching, a central facet of my professional vocation, I encountered a world centered on essential questions of our humanity: What is it that makes us human? And in that same vein, how can we humanize our relationships with ourselves, other people, the planet we live in, and what for each of us transcends our daily existence?

My initial academic training in psychology afforded me the chance to seek answers from an individual perspective, while through my Master’s degree studies in social anthropology I delved into these matters from the standpoint of collective experience.

However, it was as a doctoral student in philosophy that I found ways to combine my professional and personal training and experience and use those skills to provide psychological and philosophical support to people facing complex, extreme, and vitally important situations.

Guided by a love for education, art, and poetry, as well as for philosophy as a way of life, I have held various positions at three universities in Medellín: professor at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, internship advisor and psychologist in the Los Niños Tienen Derecho a Aprender (Children Have the Right to Learn) project at Universidad de Antioquia, and professor of religious history and practical philosophy and director of comprehensive education and Inclusion and Equity Committee member at Universidad EAFIT.

I am now joining the ESENCIAL project with the conviction that, as infinitely diverse as we are as a species and as unique as each one of us may be, we remain human beings above all.

Maria Antonia esencial

Contact Us

We’re here for you

Transpersonal Psychology

An approach combining psychology and spirituality that perceives human beings as comprising three dimensions: body, mind, and soul. This school of thought, often referred to as the fourth force of psychology (after psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and humanism), holds that human beings can heal and live fuller lives if we integrate the light and darkness within ourselves and are willing to expand our level of consciousness.


There are numerous paths that offer spiritual nourishment and practical wisdom without the close-mindedness, exclusivity, and intolerance associated with religious dogmatism. One that we have found to be particularly enriching is the spirituality of the Discalced Carmelites, a Catholic mendicant order founded by 16th-century Spanish nun and mystic Saint Teresa of Ávila and 16th-century Spanish priest and mystic Saint John of the Cross. Five centuries ago, before psychology was a branch of human knowledge, they gained profound knowledge into human beings and their struggles, yearnings, and potential. We also highly value Buddhism. Taoism, yoga and other eastern practices that foster recollection, silence, detachment, and self-fulfillment.


Meditation can be best described as the willingness to engage with our inner world. A practice whose key elements include proper posture and breathing and focused intentionality, it offers a journey to the intimacy of our own souls, where we can relish the silence, the calmness, and the possibility of connecting with what is most essential.

Body Awareness

Through stretching and flexibility exercises and a focus on building awareness of physical sensations and emotions, we can open a pathway to wellbeing. Bodily exercises performed with a healing and restorative intention have great soothing power for our soul and inner self.

Holistic Vision of the Human Being

Harmony in all dimensions of life (emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental) is crucial for human beings to achieve balance, awareness, and plenitude.

Practical Philosophy

Philosophy is both a body of knowledge and a way of life shaped by that knowledge. When practically applied, this discipline provides us with elements for critically examining our lives. Through a process that involves self-knowledge, dialogue, deep questioning, and sound argumentation, we can reflect on the most profound questions of our existence, make crucial decisions, and build a purposeful life.