The OMA Center for Mind, Body, Spirit is committed to providing accessible, comprehensive health and wellness resources from a holistic standpoint, to those who are seeking alternatives to conventional medical and therapeutic treatments.
OMA Lecture Series is a bi-weekly event hosted at the Twentieth Century Club in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Each lecture highlights different holistic practitioners and experts from the Pittsburgh area and beyond, and invites them to share their knowledge with attendees. Topics are varied, but all relate to mind-body-spirit wellness and each provide an opportunity for attendees to begin or continue their journey with personal wellness. Lectures are free to the public and we only ask for a donation from the heart if one is able to contribute.
Workshops in Mind, Body & Spirit from practitioners locally, nationally and internationally. The first International workshop was Sept 7-9,2018 Dream Course from University of Damanhur, Italy. OMA will host their Mystery School Workshops with two workshops over four days four times per year. See also Damanhur’s web page.
We are also offering daytime classes and workshops under the topics of mind, body and spirit at Green Heiress Holistic Health in Aspinwall.
Food for the Soul Series, brings all who participate into deep community, as a group with a sense of interdependence and commitment to one another’s growth. Food for the Soul, an initiative for OMA, is designed to give the participants an opportunity to share in a simple meal of soup and bread as well as discussions regarding introspection/ideas on various subjects of body, mind, and spirit. Small groups of 8-10 individuals convene around a table and are facilitated by OMA members.
Art in the Garden 2019, which includes the “Surviving to Thriving” Program, is designed to intentionally address the impacts of early childhood adversity and trauma on health and learning. If we want a better world, we need to address the barriers that restrict creativity and imagination so that all youth are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind to use their talents for the advancement of humanity. Art in the Garden 2019 is a free nine-week summer program hosted at Borland Garden and the African Healing Garden both are focused on meeting the needs of underserved youth in East Liberty and Larimer areas of Pittsburgh, the majority of whom are youth of color. While youth engage a variety of activities—from West African drumming and dance, to learning about food justice and building healthy soil, to creating ceramic sculptures—all of our programming invests in the resiliency and social and emotional well-being of Pittsburgh’s youth with an approach that addresses the effects of adversity and stress. Through daily art and environmental activities, youth develop their ability to identify and process emotions and to channel their emotions into creative activities and self-affirming forms of expression.
Art in the Garden 2019 is centered around a core curriculum which focuses on secular mindfulness and emotional well-being. In addition to the core set of activities each day, Art in the Garden 2019 will feature interactive workshops with community partners: Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, the Storymobile, The Clay Project, and a Theater Workshop. All of the community partners will introduce activities in which youth can apply their social and emotional regulation skills, activities designed to empower and build the confidence of youth, encouraging them to see themselves as creators and agents of positive change. We believe all youth deserve access to enriching arts and cultural experiences.
Surviving to Thriving is our vision is for Pittsburgh to become one of many models for best practices in social and emotional learning and in trauma-informed care and resilience. In order to support this vision, we will be holding “Surviving to Thriving” teacher training and holistic healing seminars for Art in the Garden educators, community partners, staff, parents and others working with youth. The two events for the summer of 2019, held on Saturday, June 15th and Saturday, August 10th, will support adults in developing mindfulness practices, strengthening conflict transformation skills, developing awareness of the effects of implicit bias, building skills that foster supportive relationships with youth, and supporting youth in developing resilience and social and emotional intelligence. Our primary goal for Surviving to Thriving is to create collaborative conversations regarding the impact of trauma on one’s cognitive, emotional, and physical development as well as their interpersonal relationships and life choices. Through the use of community collaborative learning sessions, we can develop greater awareness about the needs that exist for healthy youth development. In addition, we teach holistic and accessible skills that can support the healthy development of mind, body, and spirit beyond our program. Through our collaborative work, we strive to identify needs and plan for systemic change in youth development and education programs in the Pittsburgh area.
Trauma Symposium for the Healing of All Generations is a three-day Conference on Trauma to be held in Spring 2020. This symposium is a city-wide call to action to address trauma and abuse as a public health issue. We seek to address the collective arena of trauma and its effects throughout the generations in order to break cycles of silence and harm. We aim to address, prevent, and mitigate adverse experiences, trauma, and abuse and hold space for all people to be a part of a city-wide transformation to support the well-being and health of all. Through collaboration with local and national individuals and organizations, we hope to show the possibilities for healing that emerge when communities come together to provide all people with access to holistic, trauma-informed care. We believe that when we heal ourselves in the present, we heal the generations to come.
Leading up to the symposium are four community-based “Trauma Conversations”. These conversations are designed to break silences and create safe spaces for exploring trauma at the individual, family, and community level. The community Trauma Conversations also build our audience for the Trauma Symposium, as with each event we will develop networks of individuals interested in exploring trauma care further.
The Trauma Symposium and the Trauma Conversations in the Community are unique in that they will both highlight holistic treatment of trauma care and provide on-site opportunities to experience this care free of charge. Thus, the symposium will be a point of intervention and will also address some of the stigma associated with mental health treatment. In a positive, celebratory, communal atmosphere, we will explore the ways mental and holistic health care is not correction for disease but an essential, necessary practice of self-care for all. Through a targeted series of community-based “Trauma Conversations,” we are building these networks of connections in advance of the symposium with the hope that participants in the community-based conversations will be interested in continuing to explore the prevention and healing of trauma within the context of the larger symposium. The first Trauma Conversation-themed “We Are Not Alone”-was held in Manchester, PA on April 24, 2018, and involved group exercises in breaking silences and seeing our connections within and despite our suffering. Then, participants broke out into smaller groups based on their particular interest in individual, family, or community trauma. Surveys from this event highlighted the group activities in human connection and silence breaking being the most meaningful activity of the night. We intend to build on this feedback by always including a connecting and silence-breaking component.
Allegheny Intermediate Unit Community School, Turtle Creek has asked OMA to create a monthly curriculum/module for their students at risk in the Turtle Creek School. This course will guide the students (7th-12th) through seven modules that will help them learn to hold themselves and others in compassion. These practices will foster the development of social and emotional skills: grounding techniques, regulating emotions, nonviolent communication, perspective taking, mindfulness and meditation, non-judgmental awareness, and gratitude. The students will have the opportunity to express themselves using drawing, writing, theater and improv, physical movement, and engagement with nature. As they use these practices, they will find that instead of reacting impulsively, they will be able to step back and choose how they want to respond, even in difficult situations. Our premise is when we develop our ability to care for ourselves, our compassion for ourselves and others grows.
OMA’s next major endeavor is to create a local community center that further enables our mission: to provide affordable holistic education and treatment options for the well-being of self, family and community. There will be various affordable programs, so that we may be able to reach all individuals, families and community members in their quest for optimal health and vitality. We continue to seek donations and sponsors that relate to our mission and to our goals of establishing and maintaining a local center.
Please consider a donation to OMA.
A monetary gift to OMA will contribute toward our goal of establishing a retreat center and community building for holistic health and wellness activities.