First hold peace within yourself, only then can you bring it to others.~Thomas a Kempis
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omaha yoga path | Mindfulness Retreat in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

Omaha Yoga Path Post

Mindfulness Retreat in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

Coming Together to Begin Anew

The Honey Locust Sangha

Spring Retreat

Thursday, May 12 – Sunday, May 15

Creighton University Retreat Center

Although the Beginning Anew practice is usually used to prevent misunderstandings in relationships, or to support and maintain happy relationships, or to heal hurting relationships, in this retreat we’ll use the 4 part practice to look within ourselves.

Thay says, “Beginning Anew is to change your mind and heart, to transform the ignorance that brought about wrong actions of body, speech, and mind, and to help you cultivate your mind of love.”

That’s our focus for this retreat: Using the Beginning Anew practice to renew, refresh and restore our personal practice; to explore how we can change our mind and heart, how we can transform our ignorance and cultivate a mind of love.

Terry Cortez Vega

Dharma Teacher, Terry Cortez-Vega

Sr. Terry was ordained as a Dharmacharya in 2012.

Terry has offered Dharma talks at meditation and mindfulness retreats and workshops.

Terry is happily married to Gustavo Cortez-Vega and they live in the country with horses, chickens, too many cats, a fat polka-dot pig, a rabbit, two dogs, and various wild critters.


Retreat Pricing:

Thursday – Sunday $275
Friday – Sunday $215

Due to safety concerns all rooms will be single occupancy except for

couples and close friends who have agreed to share a room.

Includes meals, dana(teacher donation), room costs, and dharma hall fees

Zoom Option

Suggested donation of $50 for dana to the teacher.

 

Retreat attendance will be limited

to 40 in person participants.

Online access for dharma talks and meditation sessions

will be available via Zoom for those unable to attend in person.

All attendees must register.

Proof of COVID vaccinations will be verified at check-in.

Year End Immersion: 2021 Yoga Workshop

“Centering Down”

“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.”” Thich Nhat Hanh

A Yoga Workshop

Thursday, December 30 through Sunday, January 1, 2022

To register online for this workshop CLICK HERE

“True centering transcends worship. It brings one entire life to place of listening and learning.” Philip Gulley from Living the Quaker Way

 

Due the conditions created by the pandemic, it’s been a year since having an immersion. And while the conditions that prevented us from meeting last year are still with in it’s various apparitions, we perhaps have grown wiser about being with one another. So gauging the risks with an opened-eyed view to decide what we do and where we go, while taking what precautions we can to assure our safety and those around us. So with all that in mind, please consider joining us for this year Immersion workshop.

The term “Center Down” comes from a Quaker tradition. Quakers don’t have services in a typical sense, they gather for Meeting.  To my understanding, when they come to meeting, they try to compose themselves and loosen the hold in mind and body of all things they’ve been fretting about.  Then they try to clear the mind so as to make space to hear the divine as it arises. So the practice is less about worship, and more about listening.

This of course it aligned with philosophy and practice of yoga. So during the course of this immersion we will practicing poses (asana), breath awareness(pranayama), meditation(dhyana), and relaxation(savasana).

Take this opportunity to enrich your practice with four consecutive days of yoga classes. This yoga workshop will be tailored for practicing students of all levels of yoga. The classes will include a study of postures, breath, and meditation to aid students in the enhancement of their personal practice. Though it is not necessary to attend all classes in succession, best results will come with sustained attendance. All classes will be taught by Mark Watson founder of The Yoga Path.

Who Should Attend: Anyone currently practicing yoga or attending yoga class, seeking to foster or enhance their own personal practice.

Class Times
Thursday evening \ asana & relaxation  5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Friday evening \ asana & pranayama  5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday morning \ pranayama & asana 8:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Sunday  morning \ asana & meditation 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Class Pricing
Entire workshop   $85
Three classes       $72
Two classes         $52
One class            $27

Please specify the classes you will be attending.

To register online for this workshop CLICK HERE

For questions email info@omahayogapath.net, or call 402.905.2295

Class size is limited due to social distancing, so register early

“Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows of the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.” Thich Nhat Hanh

On Re-opening the Yoga Path

We will be opening the Yoga Path this month beginning Monday, July 6. There’s a widespread sense that the extreme measures many areas took to severely reduce social contact have “flattened the curve,” and we are starting to see the daily count of cases and deaths fall. Presently in Nebraska and Douglas county this seems to be the case. The landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to change everyday and week. Making a decision one day seems undermined by changing conditions the next. Along with this, people seem to have a spectrum of responses as to how they will conduct their social behavior from strict caution to cavalier indifference. Also what’s true for some of the communities hardest hit, may not necessarily be relevant for other communities. In any case, our cultural conversation is turning to how we can best relax shelter-in-place policies in a way to minimize the possible health risk.

It is interesting that this is often couched in the language of “a return to normal.” People are understandably tired of social distancing—the kind of life that we’ve been living in shutdown mode is difficult to sustain, economically, practically, and emotionally. But it’s not a given, that the end of sheltering in place means simply — a “return” to the way things were.

One of yoga’s central teachings is that everything changes. This material world of nature (prakṛti) is impermanent and always changing. We suffer when we remain attached to the way things were, and how we think they should be. So it is important for us as yoga practitioners to question our attachment to how we used to live our lives, our aversion to some of the things we may continue to have to do to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission, and our fear of the unknown.
Another central tenet of yoga is non-harming (ahimsa). With this in mind, we should come to class with the intention to keep ourselves and others safe. Keeping this in mind when it comes to being in class, and leaving afterward will be a wonderful opportunity to truly practice mindfulness and compassion in our everyday lives. So with that in mind, here are:

Guidelines for Best Practices while at the Yoga Path for class

  • Don’t come to class if you have any unusual symptoms or simply don’t feel well. The class will be offered simultaneous on Zoom, so you will still have the option to attend virtually.
  • Take your temperature 1 or 2 hours before class. If it is elevated, don’t attend class. You can know your normal baseline temperature if you take it regularly. Normally, temperatures rise with activity and are often highest in the morning and lowest before bedtime. Any rise in temperature out of the ordinary may be a sign of body response to infection.
  • Wear a mask to and from class which you can wear to your station. For the next few weeks while the outbreak seems on the verge of surging, I am asking all who come to class, wear a mask while in class. Designated practice stations will be marked for you to set up to help maintain a safe distance.
  • Class size will be limited. Reserve a time slot and if you are not able to come to a class you have registered for please contact the teacher ASAP so someone else can perhaps take your spot.
  • Keep social distance when entering and setting up. Please do not touch or go near anyone else in the class. 
  • The entrance to the studio has been rearranged for better flow, but if two people are already in the entryway, wait to come in or to go out. 
  • Bring your own mat. If you don’t have a mat, you may have a clean one from the Path, but take it home with you. That will become your mat. If you have 2 blankets, 2 blocks, and a strap bring them with you and take them home. Other props will be used on an as needed basis.
  • Try not bring in water bottles to class unless you absolutely have to because of physical or medical requirements. 
  • You will be asked to clean the wall and ropes around your station after class. Disinfectant spray bottles and clean rags will be furnished. The floor will be mopped after every class. 
  • Hand-wash station will be available in the studio. Use it coming and going. If you need to use the bathroom downstairs, wash your hands before you close the door and prior to coming out of the bathroom to minimize exposure at the doorknob.

The air conditioning will be on, along with fans, and windows will be open to aid in circulation. After class we will be mopping the floor and cleaning high use areas. Put masks on prior to leaving the studio.

We know that the major risk of transmission is via respiratory droplets and aerosols, and that this risk is much higher if we are indoors with someone who is infected for an extended period of time. Maintaining a distance of 6 ft. helps to reduce the risk of coming into contact with these droplets. For this reason class times will be reduced to just over an hour. 

Since the classes will be recorded on Zoom for virtual participation, there won’t be much movement by me while teaching and there will be no physical touching for correction.

There will be no tea at the end of class for now.

Please don’t feel pressured or obligated to come to the studio. All classes will continue to be on Zoom, so you can always attend virtually. 

Again the main intent is to come together mindfully, but take care of one another at the same time. I am so grateful for all the support that has come from the Yoga Path community since our closing in March. This support has been a source of strength and joy for me in my own practice. I’ve missed you all more than I can communicate in this email. If we move cautiously and in the spirit of ahimsa, our collective practice will help stay peaceful and healthy. 

Thanks, Mark

Physical classes still suspended. Online classes open.

Dear Yoga Path Community

Out of an abundance of caution and for the safety of the health of the Omaha community, the Yoga Path will stay closed for now in response to the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. Until a clear picture of the threat is presented, we must follow the advice of the communities currently fighting the outbreak, who warn that the time to act is early and not after the virus becomes widespread. We hope to reopen as soon as possible, once the virus is better understood and contained. We hope that in taking this measure, we are playing a role in slowing down the virus’s spread so that hospitals and medical personnel can better prepare to care for new cases. 

This will be an opportunity for all of us to pause and practice safely at home. Given the wave of fear and anxiety pervasive today, we must continue to establish firm ground inside of ourselves. Through mediation, yoga, and compassionate presence, we build the inner resiliency and empathy to stay centered in this precarious time. Let us use our practice to nurture ourselves and those around us. 

Actually the best thing that can happen in the coming weeks is nothing. That our caution will result in non-harming(ahimsa) for ourselves and our community

“To meditate is to go home to yourself. Then you know how to care of things that are happening inside you, and you know how to take of things happening around you.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Helpful tips: Boost your energy and immune system by protecting yourself by eating healthy, nutritious foods, get plenty of rest, practice your asanas, get outside in every weather, and laugh/smile at every opportunity.

Along with the rest of the world, we will continue  monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds, at all levels. We are deeply committed to the safety and health of the Yoga Path community. Please be well and take care of one another. 

Please feel free to contact us should you have questions or concerns.

STORYTIME YIN WORKSHOP

Storytime Yin Yoga with Kim

First Sunday of the Month, 2-4pm Storytime Yin

IN THESE WORKSHOPS, KIM READS A SHORT STORY TO YOU WHILE YOU ENJOY RESTORATIVE YIN POSES, FOLLOWED BY TEA AND A GUIDED BOOK CLUB-STYLE DISCUSSION OF THE TEXT.

Next workshop: March 1, 2020,
2-4PM
Cost: $25
Sign up for the workshop here
for more information go to Kim’s website or email at ktschwab@gmail.com

Kim holds her BA in English and Classical Greek, her MA in English, and her 500 hour yoga certification through Prajna Yoga.

Readings from the 2019 Winter Immersion

Awakened Mind, Quiet Life

Meditating Zombie

Sometimes we travel through our day on a kind of auto-pilot. Gliding to where we’re going, at times, forgetting what we are doing. Meanwhile our mind is  in a cloud of ruminations about past regrets or future worries. Yet these states of mind are tumultuous, scattered, and dispersed. There is no quiet stability for us to listen.

This year for the Year-end immersion workshop, we will explore ways  to practice Awakening the Mind with Mindful Yoga. And learn ways to offer ourselves the gift of a Quiet Life in midst of a noisy world. In doing so we will touch the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are in us and around us in every situation

“Then the soul is a lamp whose light is steady, for it burns in a shelter where no winds come.” 
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v.19

The Essence of Stillness

When we release our ideas, thoughts, and concepts, we
make space for our true mind. Our true mind is silent of all
words and all notions, and is so much vaster than limited
mental constructs. Only when the ocean is calm and quiet
can we see the moon reflected in it.
Silence is ultimately something that comes from the heart,
not from any set of conditions outside us. Living from a
place of silence doesn’t mean never talking, never
engaging or doing things; it simply means that we are not
disturbed inside; there isn’t constant internal chatter. If
we’re truly silent, then no matter what situation we find
ourselves in, we can enjoy the sweet spaciousness of
silence.
There are moments when we think we’re being silent
because all around us there’s no sound, but unless we
calm our mind, talking is still going on all the time inside
our head. That’s not true silence. The practice is learning
how to find silence in the midst of all the activities we do.

Try to change your way of thinking and your way of
looking. Sitting down to eat your lunch may be an
opportune time for you to offer yourself the sweetness of
silence. Even though others may be speaking, you have
the ability to disengage from habitual thinking and be very
silent inside. You can be in a crowded space, yet still enjoy
silence and even solitude.
from the book Silence, Thich Nhat Hanh  p. 76 

White-Eyes
Mary Oliver
 
In winter 
    all the singing is in 
         the tops of the trees 
             where the wind-bird 
 
with its white eyes 
    shoves and pushes 
         among the branches. 
             Like any of us 
 
he wants to go to sleep, 
    but he’s restless— 
         he has an idea, 
             and slowly it unfolds 
 
from under his beating wings 
    as long as he stays awake. 
         But his big, round music, after all, 
             is too breathy to last. 
 
So, it’s over. 
    In the pine-crown 
         he makes his nest, 
             he’s done all he can. 
 
I don’t know the name of this bird, 
    I only imagine his glittering beak 
         tucked in a white wing 
             while the clouds— 
 
which he has summoned 
    from the north— 
         which he has taught 
             to be mild, and silent— 
 
thicken, and begin to fall 
    into the world below 
         like stars, or the feathers 
               of some unimaginable bird 
 
that loves us, 
    that is asleep now, and silent— 
         that has turned itself 
             into snow.

Theresa de Avila

“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. 
May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
BREATH  
Kabir 
 
Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals;
Not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me you will see me instantly – you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, What is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

Winter Is the Best Time
David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.
 
Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,
 
cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space
 
to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within
“Real solitude comes from a stable heart that does not get carried away by the pull of the crowd, nor by sorrows of the past, worries about the future, or excitement or stress about the present.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Thinking Less

While we practice conscious breathing, our thinking will slow down, and we can give ourselves a real rest. Most of the time, we think too much, and mindful breathing helps us to be calm, relaxed, and peaceful. It helps us stop thinking so much and stop being possessed by sorrows of the past and worries about the future. It enables us to be in touch with life, which is wonderful in the present moment.

 Of course, thinking is important, but quite a lot of our thinking is useless. It is as if, in our head, each of us has a cassette tape that is always running, day and night. We think of this and we think of that, and it is difficult to stop. With a cassette, we can just press the stop button. But with our thinking, we do not have any button. We may think and worry so much that we cannot sleep. If we go to the doctor for some sleeping pills or tranquilizers, these may make the situation worse, because we do not really rest during that kind of sleep, and if we continue using these drugs, we may become addicted. We continue to live tensely, and we may have nightmares.

 According to the method of conscious breathing, when we breathe in and out, we stop thinking, because saying “In” and “Out” is not thinking—

“In” and “Out” are only words to help us concentrate on our breathing. If we keep breathing in and out this way for a few minutes, we become quite refreshed. We recover ourselves, and we can encounter the beautiful things around us in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here. If we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.

 When we are in touch with the refreshing, peaceful, and healing elements within ourselves and around us, we learn how to cherish and protect these things and make them grow. These elements of peace are available to us anytime.

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh

“The mind is restless, impetuous, self-willed, hard to train: to master the mind seems as difficult as to master the mighty winds.”
Bhagavad Gita Ch.VI.v34

Christmas Letter 1513

This letter was written by Fra Giovanni Giocondo to his friend, Countess Allagia Aldobrandeschi on ChristmasEve, 1513.     
 
I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!

The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see – and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty – beneath its covering – that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.

Yoga Concepts

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.

Yamas – Restraints
Ahimsa -non-harming
Satya – non-falsehood
Asteya – non-stealing
Brahmacharya – non-indulgence
Aparigraha – non-possessiveness

Niyama – Observances
Saucha – purity/cleaniness
Santosa – contentment
Tapas – discipline/heat
Svadhyaya – study/reflection
Isvara pranidhana – devotion to the lord(aspirations)

Asana – Posture
Pranayama – Breath Control
Pratyahara – Sense Control
Dharana – Awareness
Dhyana – Attention
Samadhi – Communion/Absorption/ Stillness

Sun Salute 1

Here is a PDF of  Suryanamaskar taught at the Omaha Yoga Path

Sun Salute 1

Standing Poses

Here is a sheet displaying most of the common standing poses practiced in yoga. Working standing poses is one of the best ways to build and enhance your practice. When you can be stable and strong in these positions all other poses will be accessible to you.

Standing poses