Join us in September for another free six-week series of Tai-Chi Classes using the Yang short form and qi-gong exercises with Shaka Georges, visiting teacher with NCMC. Gentle, healing, and easy-to-learn movement practice. No registration required, join as you can. (Shaka’s class will also run for 6 weeks in the fall.) Weather permitting on the Meditation Lawn on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30pm, Sep 11 through Oct 16. | A free program of NCMC held in cooperation with Military Park Partnership.
By Andrea Lee
This weekend’s Women’s Retreat was a multi-generational gathering of nearly 50 women of diverse backgrounds and from all different walks of life. The retreat was mindfully and lovingly guided by five women who are leaders in their own fields. We kicked off the retreat with a moving spoken word opening by TaNisha Fordham who brought nine teen-aged students to the retreat. Jillian Faulks-Majuta lead a Kemetic Yoga session that physically grounded guests in the power of self-care. The day continued with passionate workshops about caring for mind, body and spirit.
Kamilah Crawley, who organized and emceed the event, offered sessions about the intersection of mindfulness and women’s self-care and lead discussion groups on the complex and nuanced notions of the modern Superwoman. Michelle Beadle Holder explored mindful eating and the frequent everyday choices we make about how we nourish our bodies and helped us become more mindful of the environments where we break our bread and buy our food. Her presentation was followed by a nutritious and soulful lunch provided by Arelis Hernandez and Rabbit Hole Farm.
Aleah Gathings presented on the power of words and affirmations and guided retreatants in a symbolic ceremony to release unconstructive thought patterns. Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi facilitated a process to help participants “Stop the Story”, release narratives that hold us back and re-narrate our current truth. We ended the retreat by writing self-care letters to our future selves — to be mailed and opened just when we most need the reminder.
Throughout the day retreatants were encouraged to hold a non-judgmental space for everyone’s opinions and experiences and to self-reflect through conversation and journaling. Participants readily shared their own resources and several lists were compiled with books, websites, and places of interest for people to visit to continue the deep work that was initiated at this retreat.
Sunday, May 5, 2019 | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Index Art Center, 237 Washington Street, First Floor Gallery, Newark, NJ
Taught by Khalil Maasi assisted by Andrea Lee
Suggested donation of $25 adults/$15 students 18 or older. Youths 12-17 come free.
This workshop is appropriate for all people and of any discipline — beginners through advanced students.
Teacher Khalil will be using internal martial arts exercises, though this is not a fighting workshop. It is rather, a means of using these disciplines for healing, mindfulness, and achieving a state of “no mind”. Briefly, the disciplines we will be working on are:
1. Standing Meditation: Zhan Zhuang, Standing Like a Tree, a standing meditation that’s initial goal is to relax and release all the tension in your body. This method cultivates the body’s natural energy called chi — a simple practice with extraordinary mental and physical benefits.
2. Healing Science: Chi Gung (qigong) is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial arts training.
3. No Mind: This is a mental state called mushin in Japanese and wuxin in Chinese. Zen and Daoist meditators are said to reach this state, along with disciplined artisans and trained martial artists. They practice this mental state of emptiness, free from attachment, during everyday activities.
There will be sessions with Andrea who will offer a Sound Healing Meditation using Tibetan bowls and a Guided Sitting Meditation.
Besides sharing these mental, spiritual, and physical refreshments we will also provide a fusion of snack and beverage refreshments during break.
*VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We need a few volunteers to help us with set-up and break-down, check-in desk, refreshment service/clean-up, etc. Contact the volunteer coordinator for the program, Jennifer Becher at email@example.com to apply as a volunteer before registering for this program.
Khalil Maasi is a lifelong student and practitioner of meditation, mindfulness, martial science and it’s related integrated systems of knowledge. To understand the fruit, you must understand the root. And the root in this paradigm is Khalil’s father, well-renowned meditation and martial arts Grandmaster Shaha Mfundishi Maasi. He teaches under Shaha Maasi’s tutelage their family system known as Moyo Kazi (Energy Work) through their organization The School of Heaven and Earth which is based in Baltimore, Maryland. Moyo Kazi is a system of Chi Gung (internal martial healing science) developed and based on the study of internal healing martial traditions from around the world. Khalil is also a initiated Yoruba Priest (Minister) in the traditional African/Nigerian spiritual system of Ifa (Isese) and is an associate Minister at The Ifa Temple Of Light in East Orange, NJ. Khalil often teaches the African connection to these practices during his classes and workshops. As well, Khalil is a certified child assault prevention counselor in the state of New Jersey working primarily in the Newark and Essex County school system.
Andrea Lee is a Preschool Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School in her hometown of Montclair, NJ. She is an intern organic farmer at Rabbit Hole Farm in Newark where she resides. She is a senior disciple of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, Spiritual Head and Founder of Yoga Life Society. She recently completed seminary training and was ordained a Yoga Life Minister. She is a certified Yoga instructor and performs Kirtan with Mirabai Catherine Moon. Andrea is founding Treasurer of NCMC where she also instructs in meditation and mindfulness and provides yoga and chanting sessions. Newark Center for Meditative Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
A program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture.
Ladies First: From Superwoman to Self-care
It’s a wonderful line-up for the day. You can register for full-day or part-day. Here’s a quick listing of bio-notes of your presenters:
Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi is a trauma informed, evidence-based pastoral and spiritual counselor, wellness coach, and equity, diversity, and inclusion trainer. She is certified in mindfulness, yoga, and multiple somatic traditions. She received her training from Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Walden University, The New Seminary, and many teachers.
Michelle Beadle Holder, PhD, President and CEO, Food at the Center, Inc. is a medical sociologist dedicated to doing her part to improve the social and physical health of black families. Her research has appeared in the Journal of African American Studies, Substance Use and Misuse, and American Journal of Health Behavior. In 2018, Dr. Holder founded Food at the Center, Inc., an educational and research social enterprise that uses food to build meaningful connections, improve health, and celebrate the culinary genius of people of African descent.
Kamilah Crawley, MPH, CHES is a public health professional who has provided health education workshops and trainings for various populations. She currently focuses on the intersection of public health, mindfulness and meditation as a tool for healing and healthy living. Kamilah was born and raised in Newark and is an alumni of University High School. Her degrees are from Temple University and the Rutgers School of Public Health.
Aleah A. Gathings, JD, MPH is an advocate for children and a proponent of the medical-legal partnership model. Aleah believes in the power of hope, love, and the ongoing fight for social and health justice.
Jillian Faulks-Majuta, Founder and CEO of Majuta Wellness, is committed to bringing wellness to individuals, groups and communities who are interested in living their most fulfilling lives possible. Through journaling, Kemetic Yoga™ and Holistic Health Coaching (July 2019). Jillian creates spaces for people to feel safe enough to challenge their bodies, thoughts and habits.
For more information and to register, go to
A program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture co-sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation Family Success Center.
Capturing the Spirit of Autumn
It was a spectacular day on Saturday, November 10th for a hike through a 5.5 mile stretch of Newark NJ. The weather was a bit chilly, sunny, and breezy so we were bundled up. This was Newark Center for Meditative Culture’s first such program, though we have done shorter nature walks and hikes through Branch Brook Park and South Mountain Reservation. This particular hike was held in cooperation with Hikeolution and The Spirit Centered Life.
It was also a day of renewal for one of our urban hikers as this was the way she was spending her birthday – and we shared in her renewal.
We started off with a prayer for guidance and protection by co-leader Kazi, spiritual director of NCMC, forming a circle around a large tree near the northern corner of Lincoln Park.
Walking north on Broad Street for a while, we then entered Military Park, the base for NCMC’s warm season outdoor meditation and tai-chi. Here we picked up a few more hikers. We again made a circle. This time on the Great Lawn where Kazi lead us in a graceful flowing tai-chi movement called Wave Hands Like Clouds.
We continued along Broad to Washington Park studying the monuments. A nice surprise participant to our hike was Suzanne Joblonski of Newark Centric City. She gave us an informal and informative tour of the landmarks and background of Newark along the way. We also had two members of the Appalacian Mountain Club join us too — one from NYC and the other all the way from Philly!
We learned from co-leader Keyana Jones that we were following the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail of the Lenni-Lenape, indigenous people of this area. She pointed out a marked tree on James Street and we were to continue on this trail through Branch Brook Park. Her associate, Leslie Arthur, described how this trail is 34 miles long. Newark and Millburn are at either end, the trail bowing all the way north just into Passaic County.
We continued to make our way, our hike zig-zagging back and forth along concrete and grass, crossing over Route 280 to Branch Brook Park. Following along the blazed trail, we stopped along the way to reflect on the lakes and absorb the colors of the berries in purples, reds, oranges, and golds.
Our “great ascent” was to climb the some 25 steps up to a large meadow. Here we practiced a qi-gong standing meditation that Kazi called The Mother, an energy harvesting form that in just a few minutes of practice, the group felt results.
Almost there, we sauntered a little while longer close to the cherry blossom groves and crossed over into Belleville at 5.47 miles. Retracing our steps back a little way into Newark, we ended our beautiful and peace-filled urban nature hike.
To all things there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
— Ecclesiastes 3
Hippocrates, in teaching the doctors of his day, said, “Consider the seasons of the year and what each of them produces.” When you respect the seasons you will respect your body, mind, and spirit and their needs.
Based on chinese medicine the fall is the season of the element of metal and lung and the lungs are associated with sadness and grief. We move from the external, expansive nature of summer to the internal, contracting nature of fall.
What does this have to do with meditation?
Through specific meditation and mindfulness skills — stationary, movement, eating, sound, and all our sense organs — we can learn season-specific techniques and tools for self-care: stress resilience, immunity boosting, health promotion, and methods to boost your creativity and mental sharpness.
We can also develop insight into the constantly changing, impermanent nature of our bodies and minds and learn to let go. In fact the energy of the lungs is related to “letting go” — first remembering our breath, using our breath, relaxing our breath — then becoming aware and allowing the elements and nourishment to inform us.
The northeast Autumn with it’s cool temperatures and warmly-colored leaves is a good time to:
• eat hot foods
• eat gourd foods
• supplement with mullein
• get to bed early
• sweat in a sauna
• socialize locally.
Learn more on Sunday, November 11, 2018, when we hold a workshop Fall Back into Self-Care: Meditation, Movement, and Medicine for the Season. This 5-hour workshop is kid friendly for those youths who might like to practice with us.