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Omega in Action

Omega in Action highlights inspiring people and organizations making meaningful change. From protecting the environment to empowering women, healing veterans, and serving nonprofits, you'll find fresh perspectives, trending news, and the latest information on noteworthy events here at Omega and around the world.

Serving With Love: Yoga Service Conference In Elephant Journal

3 years 6 months ago
In early June, Omega and the Yoga Service Council welcomed more than 135 yoga teachers, social workers, school teachers, and health professionals to the second annual Yoga Service Conference. According to a recent Elephant Journal article, the attendees’ “unwavering passion to serve was palpable throughout the weekend, in every conversation, at every session, and at every booth.”
In her opening keynote address, yoga teacher and Give Back Yoga Foundation cofounder, Beryl Bender Birch (at left in photo, with Nikki Myers) said, “It’s not a mistake that yoga brought us all together. Through practice, we grow a circle of compassion.” The Yoga Service Conference itself served as a circle of compassion. It offered hope, inspiration, and tools to yoga service providers, helping them to continue to serve, with love.

How Carla Goldstein Is Catalyzing a New Model of Women’s Leadership

3 years 7 months ago
As an attorney, legislative staffer, and former vice president for public affairs at Planned Parenthood of New York City, Carla Goldstein worked in the public policy arena for 20 years. One day, she decided to shift gears. “I realized,” she said, “that rather than building a culture of caring, the public policy machinery was creating deep polarization between people.” Soon after, she joined Omega, where she is cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and serves as Omega’s Chief External Affairs Officer. In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Goldstein talks about her journey, the new vision of women’s leadership, and the importance of developing our multiple human intelligences of body, mind, heart, and spirit.

Omega Staff Attends Screening of Girl Rising

3 years 7 months ago
Centered by the new feature film Girl Rising, 10x10, a global action campaign, uses the power of storytelling to deliver a simple, critical truth: educate girls and you will change the world. 
Research shows that the well-being of girls and their ability to thrive is crucial to worldwide social, political, and economic development. Because Omega has a long-standing commitment to educating and empowering women and girls, our external affairs staff and members of the Omega Women's Leadership Center attended a special screening of the film Girl Rising in Kingston, New York to show our support for the film's important message. Afterward, we gathered in a coffee shop to discuss the film and think creatively together. Our whole team agreed, this film is a "must see".
Feel inspired? Here's how you can get involved: 
Tune in - Watch the Girl Rising CNN broadcast Sunday, June 16th at 9:00 p.m. EST 

Healing Eating Disorders With Yoga

3 years 7 months ago
Chelsea Roff took her first yoga class at the suggestion of a therapist just a few months after getting out of the hospital for eating disorder treatment. She thought yoga sounded fluffy, esoteric, airy-fairy, and too soft for her, but she went because it was the only form of exercise her treatment team approved of. She never expected that yoga would bring her to a place in her recovery that no form of talk therapy or medical treatment could.
In this Yoga Service Conference Interview with Rob Schware, Roff shares how yoga helped her get healthy and inspired her to teach others with eating disorders how to use yoga to recover.

Helping Veterans With Alternative Medicine One Soldier at a Time

3 years 7 months ago
Our active duty soldiers and veterans have been under tremendous strain and are often in need of more care than the conventional health-care establishment can provide. One idealist, who took her first Reiki classes at Omega several years ago, is striving to lighten their burden, one person at a time.
Ellen Severino began what she calls “The Brooklyn Reiki Project,” providing complementary Reiki healing treatments to improve the quality of life for nearby military personnel, including veterans, enlistees, their families, civilians who work on the base, and employees of the nearby VA hospital. She already has done at least 400 20-minute sessions, helping soldiers feel better, sleep better, and become better able to interact with their families with more patience and ease.
“Many military people are unsatisfied with the medical choices available to them,” says Ellen. “They want alternatives to the conventional treatments. Creating programs to educate them and offer treatments like Reiki would empower them to take charge of their healing.” 

Omega Donates to West Clinton Fire Department

3 years 7 months ago

Omega recently made a donation to the West Clinton Fire Department (the closest fire house to Omega), which allowed them to purchase a second thermal imaging camera. Here's a short news clip about the piece that appeared in the Hudson Valley News.

Omega Donates to West Clinton Fire Department 

By Ray Oberly

Omega Institute for Holistic Studies gave a generous donation that allowed the West Clinton Fire Department to purchase a second Bullard Thermal Imaging Camera. This thermal camera allows the viewer to see people in the dark or in a smoke-filled structure and also to see hot spots from a fire in the walls of a structure that was on fire. 

The seeing of fire hot spots enables the Fire Department to extinguish hidden fires thus better saving the building. In smoke filled rooms, it enables the Fire Department to find victims and also see the seat of the fire. Another important use of the camera is to locate people at night when doing a search when they are lost or injured.  

Currently, the West Clinton Fire Department has only one camera so whenever the fire engine from Station 2 containing the one camera responds, a camera is available. But when the fire engine from Station 2 containing the one camera does not respond, the camera containing engine from Station 2 must be called to bring the thermal camera thus adding to a time delay, extra expense to drive the extra engine, and the safety of responding. 

With the two thermal cameras (one for each Station), there is no need to request the one camera containing engine from Station 2 to come to a Station 1emergency scene. Chief Jay Marshall said, “This second camera improves our response to emergencies and provides more capability to better protect the community we serve.” Omega’s donations help the community by providing equipment to better serve without increasing taxes.

Love is the Secret to Serving Others

3 years 7 months ago
Jasmine Chehrazi, founder of Yoga Activist, has taught yoga to students of diverse backgrounds, from homeless shelter residents to White House staff. But what’s common in all of her classes is love. “Sharing yoga is another way of saying, “I love you,” to total strangers….I hear, “I love you back,” with every breath I’ve shared with students. So by the end of class, something is different. We’re no longer strangers.”
In this Yoga Service Conference Interview with Rob Schware, cofounder of the Give Back Yoga Foundation, Chehrazi discusses why love is her reason for teaching yoga—and also her answer to avoiding compassion fatigue. She will be teaching sequencing for yoga service classes at this year’s Yoga Service Conference presented by Omega and the Yoga Service Council. 

Carla Goldstein to Speak at Leadership Tools for Women Conference

3 years 7 months ago
The SUNY Oswego Phoenix Center and the SUNY Leadership Institute are hosting their 9th Annual Leadership Tools for Women Conference titled, Centricity: It's All About YOU! Friday, June 21, 8:00 a.m.–5:00p.m. at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, New York. This dynamic, one-day conference will focus on enriching personal and professional aspects of life as well as building skills to support success.
Carla Goldstein, Omega Institute's chief external affairs officer and cofounder of the Omega Women's Leadership Center, will be speaking on "The Art of Seeking Balance: Mapping Your Own Voyage." She will share the importance of developing a regular practice of self-reflection as a tool for living with a greater sense of meaning, inspiration, purpose and joy. 

Omega Opens Doors to All with Announcement of 2013 Scholarship Opportunities

3 years 7 months ago

Omega Awards over $200,000 to Individual Applicants

RHINEBECK, NY – Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, a beautiful 200-acre travel destination in New York’s Hudson Valley, today announced it will award several scholarships across a broad range of lifelong learning opportunities. Each year, Omega opens its doors to more than 23,000 visitors for programs that cultivate lifelong learning, inspired living, and community building. Annually, Omega awards more than $200,000 in full and partial scholarships to qualified applicants with limited finances or special needs, including scholarships for women, educators, veterans, teens, and breast cancer patients and survivors.

“At Omega, we believe that the benefits of a holistic education should be available to everyone.

We also recognize that what is affordable for some will not be for all. We are committed to providing financial assistance for qualified individuals who could benefit from one of the many learning opportunities that Omega offers,” said Skip Backus, chief executive officer at Omega.

2013 Scholarship Opportunities (in order of application deadlines):

A Workshop for Young Women July 26–28
The Omega Women’s Leadership Center is offering scholarships to young women, ages 18 to 29, who are interested in attending the workshop, Say What You Mean, Be Who You Are, led by Rachel Simmons, author of best-selling books Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl. Participants will have the chance to sharpen their emotional intelligence by exploring self-awareness, practicing communication skills, and setting future goals in a fun and supportive environment. Application Deadline: June 14

Mindfulness & Education Conference August 16–18
Omega has received generous grant support from the 1440 Fund, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, to provide scholarships for the Mindfulness & Education Conference: Bringing Mindfulness Practice to Children Grades K-12. Scholarships are available for teachers, educators, and school administrators who want to cultivate their own mindfulness practice for stress relief, presence, and emotional balance, and learn how to apply these skills in a classroom setting. Application Deadline: June 14

A Women’s Leadership Intensive: Become the Kind of Leader the World Needs Now September 15–20
The Omega Women’s Leadership Center is offering scholarships to this 5–day workshop led by teachers Sharon Salzberg, Carla Goldstein, Mallika Dutt, Leslie Salmon Jones, and Michele Bertran. Any woman interested in using their leadership to create a caring, just, and sustainable future is encouraged to apply. Guided by experts, participants will focus on four women’s leadership essentials: values; voice; vision; and voyage. To apply, email by July 1, 2013

Women & Power Retreat: Find Your Own Strength September 20–22
The Omega Women’s Leadership Center is offering scholarships for a two-day retreat led by teachers Brené Brown, Elizabeth Lesser, Carla Goldstein, Joan Halifax Roshi, Sarah Peter, Chung Hyun Kyung, and Ai-jen Poo. Keynote talks, experiential sessions, music, movement, spoken word, and time for contemplation will allow participants to connect with their authentic voice and define for themselves what it means to be strong. Application Deadline: July 1 

Where We Go From Here (OCSL Conference): October 4–6
Thanks to generous support from donors, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living is offering a limited number of commuter scholarships to individuals who would like to attend Where We Go From Here: Opportunities & Solutions for an Interdependent World. Join extraordinary leaders in the field to explore creative solutions to the current challenges in economic, environmental, and social systems. Application Deadline: August 26

Healing From Military Trauma: A Retreat for Military Women & Women Veterans October 20–25
Significant combat stress and trauma can cause anxiety, depression, homelessness, unemployment, and substance abuse. With the current epidemic of sexual assault in the military, the wounds of war often run deeper and longer for military women and women veterans. This women-only retreat for the military-veteran community (active duty, reserve, guard, and all branches of the uniformed services) builds a safe and healing environment to explore facing and releasing traumatic stress and increasing resilience. No Application Necessary: This program is underwritten and open to all active or inactive duty military women and women veterans. The participant is only responsible for $75 of the tuition, room, and board.

2013 United Breast Cancer Foundation Scholarship Program

Omega has received generous grant support from UBCF to provide financial assistance to breast cancer patients and survivors who would like to participate in classes, seminars, and other learning opportunities focused on holistic healing, health, and well-being. These scholarships cover tuition, meals, and accommodations for a weekend workshop. Application Deadline: Rolling. Applications are due four weeks before a workshop begins.

For general scholarship questions, please email Erin Lantz,, or call 845.266.4444, ext. 166.

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation's most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.

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Omega Helps Bring Mindful Yoga To Underserved Populations

3 years 7 months ago

Sharon Salzberg, Beryl Bender Birch & Bessel van der Kolk, MD Among Experts Gathering for the Second Annual Yoga Service Conference

RHINEBECK, NY –Omega Institute and the Yoga Service Council are pleased to present the second annual Yoga Service Conference, taking place on Omega’s Rhinebeck, New York campus, June 7–9, 2013. The Yoga Service Council was formed at Omega in 2009 by a group of organizations who collectively bring yoga to tens of thousands of people in underserved communities. As membership in the council has grown, so has their desire to inspire more people to serve and empower their communities through yoga and mindfulness, prompting the annual gathering.

“We’re honored to offer this unique and intimate opportunity to build skills, forge relationships, and draw inspiration from leading teachers who work with people in underserved communities every day, including trauma survivors, incarcerated adults and teens, at-risk children, cancer survivors, the elderly, and domestic violence survivors,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega.

The conference begins on Friday, June 7 at 8:00 p.m., with an opening keynote by renowned yoga teacher Beryl Bender Birch. Throughout the weekend, conference participants will explore the benefits and challenges of introducing yoga and mindfulness practices to underserved populations. In addition to hearing keynotes with esteemed presenters, participants will choose from a variety of workshops on topics such as: teaching techniques for specific populations, putting together a research plan, organizational management, and getting yoga service projects started and funded. The weekend will also include a panel discussion, Diversity & Cultural Awareness, moderated by Bidyut “B.K.” Bose, to discuss issues of diversity within the yoga service community and the relevance of cultural awareness and sensitivity.

“The ideas and connections generated from the 2012 conference sparked some inspiring collaborations, and this year's conference offers tremendous opportunities for community building along with information gathering,” said Jennifer Cohen Harper, a founding member of the Yoga Service Council.

Social workers, school teachers, health-care providers, yoga teachers, and all others interested in exploring the possibility of bringing yoga and mindfulness to underserved populations are invited to attend.

For detailed information, including teacher bios and the complete event schedule, or to register, please visit or call 800.944.1001.

A limited number of media passes are available. Photography restrictions may apply. To apply for a media pass, visit

About Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is the nation’s most trusted source for wellness and personal growth. As a nonprofit organization, Omega offers diverse and innovative educational experiences that inspire an integrated approach to personal and social change. Located on 200 acres in the beautiful Hudson Valley, Omega welcomes more than 23,000 people to its workshops, conferences, and retreats in Rhinebeck, New York, and at exceptional locations around the world.




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