Forty Years of Fostering Personal Growth and Social Change
When the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies opened its doors in 1977, a few hundred inquisitive people walked through. Now, 40 years later, Omega welcomes close to 23,000 people a year to its Rhinebeck campus—plus it has a growing online community, with close to 2 million visitors from around the globe.
One thing that sets it apart is its integrated approach to personal growth and social change, says Chrissa Pullicino, Omega’s manager of external communications.
“We believe doing the inner work on oneself is equally as important as taking meaningful action in the world,” she says. “One of the reasons Omega is recognized as a pioneer for driving social, cultural and environmental change is that we’ve chosen to put a stake in the ground—from protecting the environment to supporting veterans, nonprofits and women leaders, to bringing tools like yoga and mindfulness to an ever-widening community of people. So when you come to campus, you actually step into an experience that is guided by our mission to awaken the best in the human spirit and provide hope and healing.”
With the start of Omega’s busy guest season just days away, Pullicino talked about the latest happenings there.
What are your more popular workshops?
Our guest season runs from May through October, during which time more than 350 programs are held, so it’s impossible to highlight all of the talented teachers coming through in 2017. Courses with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dr. Brian Weiss, Pema Chödrön and John of God consistently sell out, as does our beloved Family Week, which has been offered at Omega for more than 30 years now. Other consistently popular teachers include Byron Katie, Harville Hendrix, Tara Brach, Tony Horton, Iyanla Vanzant, Don Miguel Ruiz, Marianne Williamson, Bobby McFerrin, Robert Peng and Joan Borysenko—and there are so many more.
What yoga workshops are Omega offering this year?
Omega is one of the nation’s most trusted sources for yoga education. Each year we hold dozens of programs covering the full spectrum of yoga traditions, with top teachers from across the nation who guide people in developing or deepening their yoga practice. Omega offers workshops, retreats and teacher training—from rigorous to restorative. We have a growing commitment to yoga service and yoga therapy, so look for more workshops in these areas throughout 2017.
Do you still need volunteers or staff? Any job openings?
Omega is still recruiting for its seasonal service corps program. Seasonal service corps members join for at least four weeks and offer their service in a variety of campus operations roles for up to 28 hours per week. They receive three meals a day and are provided with a campsite and shared bathroom facilities. Additionally, they are part of a robust educational program that includes the opportunity to live and work in community, develop professional skills and explore their own personal growth through more than 2,000 classes offered exclusively to staff and seasonal service corps members. (Learn more at eOmega.org/staff.)
Omega serves up the healthiest, yummiest food in its dining hall. Any changes on the menu this year?
We’re excited to be working with Michel Nischan, a three-time James Beard Award-winning chef and food equity advocate, and Michael Leviton, an honored chef and sustainable food systems advocate. They have created a new dining hall menu that’s not to be missed. It will still be mostly vegetarian and farm-totable fresh, but with greater variety, more artisanal and with an even deeper emphasis on sustainability.
In addition to workshops, Omega offers R&R Getaway Retreats. The R&R program allows you to create a retreat that is uniquely your own, so you can do as much or as little as you like. Right now we are waiving the R&R fee for the month of May, so guests only need to pay for accommodations, which also include three meals a day. And when they book an Omega R&R Getaway in May, they’ll also receive a free 25-minute massage during their stay. So this is a great time and wonderful way to experience Omega.
Anything else happening behind the scenes at Omega that you can share?
We’re preparing to launch a new website that will be highly interactive and offer more online learning than ever before. People around the globe will be able to browse articles and videos and participate in programs via live stream and online programs at eOmega.org.