• Life off the Yoga Mat

yoga retreat diaries: kripalu

Have you ever said "Why don't I do this more often??" or "Why did it take me so long to go here??" That's how I felt when I arrived at Kripalu, a Yoga retreat center in The Berkshires.


Kripalu is located in Stockbridge, MA, in The Berkshires, about a mile away from Tanglewood, a couple of miles from the quaint town of Lenox. And, in case you were wondering, somewhere near Bluestone Manor, the home of a Real Housewife of NY, or so I've heard:)


Kripalu is in a beautiful, sprawling, lush green setting surrounded by hiking trails, fire pits, outdoor seating, and benches perched perfectly under trees. It overlooks Lake Mahkeenac, where you can kayak, paddleboard or take a dip in the clean, refreshing water.




In New Jersey it was a hot and humid mid-July weekend. At Kripalu, the outdoors were so inviting-cool in the morning, sunny and low 80s during the day and perfect in the evening.


Why I went

I was there for a yoga retreat (Restore, Reconnect & Reenergize) hosted by Jillian Pransky, a New Jersey based yoga teacher (and much more, please check her out!) who I took an online Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with in the winter. I was looking forward to meeting her and practicing with her in person. I met up with my friend, Casey, who is always up for anything- from a Broadway show, a night out in Tribeca, and apparently, even a yoga retreat. And a yoga weekend away is always a good idea, right?


The Vibe

Kripalu is welcoming, organized, and overall: austere. There is no alcohol, breakfast is eaten in silence and you may see people with a name tag explaining that they are "In Loving Silence". Accommodations are very crisp and white, unpretentious, offering you simply and exactly what you need. My room was small but very comfortable- I paid extra for a private bath, most rooms have a sink in the room and shared bathroom in the hallway. The beautiful view of the grounds out my window was priceless.






The Food

The food is worth more than just a mention. Everything, every day was delicious. All dietary preferences are honored-vegetarian/vegan to meat and dairy-eating alike, there is something for everyone. For each meal, there was a plentiful buffet with offerings such as Asparagus Frittata, Blueberry Muffins and Ginger Scones for breakfast and West African Curry Stew, Greek Chicken, Chilled Melon-Ginger Soup, Risotto with Peas and Curry and Fish with Pesto. And of course the oversized Salad Bar with their famous House Dressing (you can google "Kripalu House Dressing" for the recipe!) for lunches & dinners.


What do you do there?

There are several yoga classes per day to choose from along with guided paddle boarding, kayaking and hiking. Some people go for R&R, which includes all of that, and others, like me, are also part of a program. While I was there, there was simultaneously a Silent Retreat, a 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training and a Yoga Therapy Training. The catalog of options is vast.







How does it feel afterward?

One week ago, I left for Kripalu, and the messages have been lingering in my mind throughout the week. If you were in one of my classes, you may have noticed the "silent" theme, and we practiced without music, which is always refreshing from time to time.


The "after" can be the best part. How.....

the conversations we had

the silence we shared

the silent hikes we took

the music that floated through the classes

the calming teachers voices

the new friends we made

the stillness

the journaling

the contemplation

the nature surrounding you....


....all of it sinks in and filters out in different ways.


I hope this inspires you to maybe go on a yoga retreat, or maybe just to sit in silence. Not cleaning your house, not listening to a podcast. not organizing a drawer.


Or to go outside, take your shoes off and feel the earth beneath your feet.


The definitions of "Retreat" include....

"an act of moving back or withdrawing"

"a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax"

"a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation"


If you can't escape for a weekend, don't let that hold you back. Create your own retreat, in your home, or your yoga studio, or a place you call peaceful.


Lots of Love and Tons of Yoga This Summer and Way, Way Beyond,


Jill


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