Peace, Love, and Understanding at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
Tucked away in New York's Hudson Valley hills, the Omega Institute is a holistic haven, a nonprofit education and retreat center that offers multi-day workshops and wellness vacations at its Rhinebeck campus from May through October. Basically, it's a peaced-out summer camp for adults -- minus the color wars and parents' weekend.
If your inner hippie hasn't seen the light of day in years, or even decades, Omega's the place to welcome her back into the fold.
When you arrive at the Omega campus, a sprawling 250-acre, wooded oasis, your first instinct is to exhale. The lush surroundings and tranquil vibe create a safe space where exploring the mind, body, spirit connection and creative expression are core values.
Whether you're seeking your center through yoga and meditation, following an interest in natural healing, developing your creative passion in the arts, or simply aching for a mental vacation from day-to-day stress, Omega has you covered.
The Omega Experience
Before plotting a visit to Omega, consider what you're hoping to accomplish by traveling there, and take a long, hard look at the Institute's annual catalog of workshops and classes. This is no small undertaking -- it's diverse and enormous.
Want to strengthen your chakras, integrate mindfulness into your daily life, celebrate ancient drumming traditions, or learn how to make organic, raw superfoods? It's all there. Heck, there's even an Arts Week where you can take flying trapeze lessons and comedy classes with instructors from Clowns Without Borders USA.
Special sessions are also geared toward service initiatives and special interest groups, including training and retreats for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress, as well as their families.
Beyond Workshops and Retreats
Your workshop will likely occupy large chunks of time while you're at Omega, but when you do have down time, there's plenty to keep you occupied. Guests can attend open yoga, tai chi and meditation classes throughout the day, and attend evening events, like informal talks, piano concerts and films. The Ram Dass Library holds 7,000 books on holistic living if you're looking to expand your know-how.
It's also possible to stroll to Long Pond Lake for a swim and to take a kayak or canoe out for a paddle along the lake's wooded shores. Lounge chairs and hammocks also dot the small, lakefront beach, if chilling out is more your speed.
Feel like pampering your body, as well as your spirit? Book an appointment at the Omega Wellness Center, where you can schedule a massage, shiatsu treatment, facial, shamanic healing session or an energy balancing consultation.
Staying at Omega
Much of the Omega campus was formerly a Yiddish summer camp, and accommodations include low-slung cabins, which can be shared or private; deluxe cabins include air conditioning and private baths. Folks hoping to commune with nature in a deeper way can elect to stay in tent sites with shared baths.
Meal packages include three daily meals in the communal dining hall with a menu of locally grown, and mostly organic, vegetarian fare.
Who Travels to Omega?
Since 1977, people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities have found their way to Omega. Each season, more than 23,000 visitors attend workshops and classes led by teachers, artists, healers and thought leaders. Recent seminars and retreats have been led by luminaries like Gloria Steinem, Deepak Chopra, Jane Fonda and Bobby McFerrin. Omega is also a favorite getaway for celebrities, including Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, and even Michael Douglas.