Omaha Yoga Path Post
Realizing the Path of Awareness:
“A Return to the Fundamentals of Mindfulness, Understanding and Compassion”
The Honey Locust Sangha Spring Retreat
Thursday, April 25 – Sunday, April 28
Creighton University Retreat Center, Griswold, Iowa
With teachings and meditations on breathing, walking, deep listening and loving speech, we will practice together. We will invite our ancestors, with both their suffering and their happiness, to join and support us, as we offer our awakening for the benefit of our families, our society and the Earth.
During this program we will focus on fundamental practices – skill building to solidify our experience of inner stability and freedom. Guidance on conscious breathing and walking will be a base for deepening our communication and understanding within ourselves and with our loved ones. Sessions of guided deep looking will support us to reflect on the way we have been living our life, to understand what deep habits and fears have been driving us, and to find new understanding and compassion to realize transformation.
Michael Ciborski is a Mindfulness Dharma teacher in the Buddhist tradition of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. He was ordained as a monk for seven years at the Plum Village Monastery, France. Michael practiced mindfulness meditation and joined the monastic community to organize mindfulness retreats to lay practitioners around the world.
An eloquent musician, Michael also studied several European and Asian voice training and chanting traditions and served as an English language chant master in the monastery.
After leaving the monastery in 2003, Michael returned to the US and along with his wife Fern, has helped to establish spiritual community and mindfulness center in Southern New Hampshire known as MorningSun. He offers many workshops and retreats in mindfulness practice and meditation around the country. To listen to his Dharma talks, please visit (http://truemiddleway.org/dharma-talks/)
Held in the tranquil setting of the
Held in the tranquil setting of the
Creighton University Retreat Center
It is a quiet place in nature, near Griswold Iowa, about 45 minutes from Omaha. CURC is a full-service retreat center with excellent meeting/conference rooms, overnight facilities, dining hall, and chapel.
The comfortable facilities and hospitable environment are set in 157 acres of wooded area, with ambling trails along a river teeming with wildlife, song birds, and a sublime night sky.
This residential retreat is designed for both beginning and experienced practitioners. It will center on periods of sitting and walking meditation and Dharma talks by our teacher. There will be small-group Dharma discussions, meal meditations, and active, mindful work practice. Periods of silence will deepen and enrich the experience by allowing time for personal reflection.
Thursday Evening – Sunday
Double Occupancy: $310.00*
Single Occupancy: $375.00
Friday – Sunday
Double Occupancy: $240.00*
Single Occupancy: $305.00
Price includes meals, dana, room costs, and dharma hall fees
*Rooming with another person will allow us to increase the number of people who can attend the retreat, so if you are able to choose double occupancy, it would be appreciated.
Register by clicking this link:
or use the QR code below:
The Honey Locust Sangha / Omaha Community of Mindful Living is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Sound Healing Workshop with Lifang Huang
Sound Healing allows one to go deeper into meditative states through subtle, yet complex harmonic frequencies. While listeners rest comfortably, the sound helps to soothe pain, reduce stress and anxiety, and opens the body to receptive healing. The music that emanates from the bowls helps balance the five elements.
At the Yoga Path
Saturday November 4, 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
Presented by Lifang Huang shamanic teacher and healer
Lifang Huang is shaman, healer, teacher blessed with a mystical understanding of healing sound vibrations. She has traveled extensively through Nepal, India, Southeast Asia, and now the United States sharing her gifts as a sound energy healer.
Lifang Huang has a unique understanding of sound vibrations. Over the years she has created her own therapy styles combining various techniques she has learned during her many years of practice with Tibetan Sound Bowls along with other instruments to share this very therapeutic practice.
Save this date and time. Register early as space will be limited to preserve the intimacy of this workshop.
Cost is $25.00
The goal of this workshop is to craft a self-practice of yoga into your life. Whether you attend one or all of these workshops, participants will develop a deeper and broader understanding of what yoga is and how it can be cultivated into one’s life.
Series of 3 workshops over 3 months \ Saturday afternoon(s) 12:30 to 4:30
Workshops would include gentle and intense asana, pranayama (breath work), meditation, along with various group exercises and dharma discussions about aspects of yoga practice.
We encourage students to attend all three of the workshops to gain the greatest benefits, but you can all register for individual workshops. t
Who should attend?
Aspiring students who are seeking to enhance or jump-start their practice of yoga. A mindful-based practice that can be embodied into the corners of our everyday life.
All classes will be taught at the Yoga Path.
Cost is $100/workshop or $240 for all three.
Space is limited, so register early!
Workshop 1 – Sitting with Your Practice (February 18)
- Satya instruction
- Asana practice
- Tea & dharma talk & discussion
Workshop 2 – Standing with Your Practice (March 18)
- Opening Meditation Sit
- Satya instruction
- Asana practice
- Sculpting exercise
- Tea & dharma talk & discussion
Workshop 3 – Walking with Your Practice (April 15)
- Short Meditation
- Satya instruction
- Asana practice
- Meditation/Deep Relaxation
- Tea & dharma talk & discussion
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.
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.
Awakened Mind, Quiet Life
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
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
Theresa de Avila
Winter Is the Best Time
“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
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
|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.
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
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