In an ironic twist, the readers who voted for the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies as their favorite local Spiritual/Contemplative Space can’t actually visit the idyllic campus at the moment, due to COVID closures. But as anyone who’s visited can tell you, the win isn’t all that surprising.
The nonprofit educational institution is situated on 250 scenic acres in Rhinebeck, that reverberate with tranquil healing energy. “[The facility] has beautiful gardens and wooded trails, as well as Long Pond Lake and green open spaces with hammocks and Adirondack chairs for guests to relax in,” says Chrissa Santoro, Omega’s external communications director. “There’s also the Sanctuary, a building with a large, open space where group meditations and classes take place. Omega is a place of peace, quiet, and solitude, but it’s also a social place with a communal dining hall where people from across the country and around the world are able to meet. Friendships, partnerships, and even many marriages have begun here.”
Alongside offering attendees a spot for profound individual contemplation, Omega’s programming provides participants with tools and frameworks for spiritual healing through the nearly 400 classes it regularly presents. The strong educational facet that saw the establishment voted as the Hudson Valley’s number two Wellness Center among Chronogram readers. “Our R&R [Rest and Relaxation] Retreats, which include massages and facials, are really popular,” says Santoro.
With the pandemic upon us, Omega has redoubled its internet presence, not expecting to reopen its Rhinebeck campus until spring 2021. “We’re recreating our space online, where we’re beginning more virtual learning courses,” Santoro explains. “Using Zoom and Facebook Live, we’ve been hosting workshops and the Omega Conversations series, which features some of the very best teachers we work with.” Virtual offerings are archived on the Omega website, which over time will create a rich library of resources.
The institute’s mission transcends its physical location. As its website points out: “More than simply a place, Omega is a global community that awakens the best in the human spirit and cultivates the extraordinary potential that exists in us all.”