Kripalu

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013

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I was 20 years old and thousands miles of miles from home when I first heard about Kripalu.

 

I had decided that instead of dropping out of college (which I was quite close to doing), I would spend the spring semester of my sophomore year studying abroad.

 

On a weekend excursion, horseback riding in the mountains Costa Rica, the conversation turned to yoga. A woman in the group began to describe an amazing place back in the US where one could go to study yoga, take programs, or even live there as a volunteer and soak up the yogic lifestyle. It was in the mountains, had a lake and hiking trails, a sauna and whirlpool, daily yoga classes and tasty homemade meals.

 

Just prior to leaving for my trip, I had taken my first few yoga classes and while I still felt very awkward about it, I was deeply intrigued.  When I finally learned where this incredible place was I had been hearing about, I nearly fell off my horse.

 

“Stockbridge, Massachusetts?” I said. “That’s less than an hour from my house.”

 

I have since come to find out that many people who visit Kripalu describe their experience as one of “coming home.”  I didn’t understand what that meant at first, but now I do.

 

Shortly after I returned to the US, I visited Kripalu. I spent my spring break volunteering in the kitchen and I returned, again and again and again. Over the past decade I have been to Kripalu as a volunteer, as a student in their teacher training program, and as a guest. And every time I land at Kripalu, regardless of the reason, the emphasis on relaxation, compassion, breath and presence does indeed give me the experience of coming home, to myself.

 

As Swami Kripalu, the man for whom Kripalu was named so sweetly reminds us:

 

My beloved child, break your heart no longer.  Every time you judge yourself you break your own heart.  You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality.  The time has come.  Your time.  To live, to celebrate, and to see the goodness that you are.  You, my child, are divine.  You are pure.  You are sublimely free.  You are God in disguise, and you are always perfectly safe.  Do not fight the dark, just turn on the light, and breathe into the goodness that you are.

-Swami Kripaluanandaji (Bapuji)

 

This past week I was a Kripalu in an entirely new role of faculty assistant. I helped and participated in a program created and led by Dr. Susan Lord called Transforming Stress: Mindful Living and the Art of Nourishment.

 

It was amazing.

 

Dr. Lord is a master at guiding both an inner and outer transformative journey, using stress as tool for transformation. For me the experience elicited a gamut of emotions including joy, grief, gratitude, fear, peace, jealousy, compassion, anger and elation, just to name a few.

 

Every day I stepped outside and took a single photo standing on the front terrace of Kripalu and looked out onto the lake. The weather, I noticed, seemed to be whimsical as my emotions. One day felt like fall, then winter, then spring then summer. It reminded me that if mother nature does not fret over such stark transitions, neither should I.

4 Days 4 Seasons at Kripalu

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer – 4 Day, 4 Seasons at Kripalu

One of the many things that Kripalu has taught me that when we cease judging ourself and our emotions and our experiences as good or bad, right or wrong, we create a space to simply be with what is. And that is a powerful place to be.

 

Would you like to visit Kripalu?

I am organizing a group trip to Kripalu on April 19-21st if you would like to visit (or re-visit) and see what it is like for yourself. Since I am a Kripalu teacher, everyone in my group will receive a 20% discount on their accommodations of choice. To read more about the group trip to Kripalu April 19-21, click here.

 

yoga warriorDining hall

                           Yoga Classes                                                      The Dining Hall

 To receive more information specifically on future trips to Kripalu, click here. (I have no idea when, but I plan to organize more trips in the future.)

To get a taste of Kripalu yoga from your home, check out these free free full-length yoga videos:

With love,

Pamela

PS If you receive my newsletters you already know about the trip. If you are reading this on the blog and would like to receive advance notice of events and offerings, just add your name to the sign-up box called ‘Fresh Thoughts in Your Inbox’ on the right hand column of this page.

 

Note: Indoor photos of Kripalu courtesy of Kripalu Center for  Yoga & Health

 

2 Comments

  1. I love Kripalu and hope to join you some day!!

    • I would love that Jo!

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