Friday, our first day at Kripalu, we unpacked our things and organized them meeting a few of the women that were already unpacked and staying in the same room (there would be 8 of us total). After getting organized, Josie took me on a tour of the facility since she is very knowledgeable about Kripalu. This was her 7th stay at the center. Next it was time for dinner. The cafeteria at Kripalu is amply air-conditioned and large enough to accommodate a large number of people. You do not have to specifically eat there though. There are a few other rooms you may go to if you don’t like a crowded cafeteria or you may even choose to take your meal outside to the front terrace and enjoy the view. The cafeteria offers a buffet for vegetarians, non-vegetarians and also a Buddha bar.
After dinner, Josie and I went off to do our own thing. She went to her teacher training class and I went to Kripalu orientation which was very helpful for people who had never been to the facility and needed to know about proper Kripalu etiquette. Next I went on to enjoy the most divine yoga nidra class. The teacher, Jennifer Reis was very warm and calming and we even had some rain falling outside as a natural sound effect. Some people were so relaxed I heard some snoring and there were a few that were still lying on the floor when everyone else was getting up to leave class. After class, I took a quick shower (the showers are equipped with their own shampoo, conditioner and shower gel) and went off to the Sun Room Lounge to read my book before going to bed. (It is lights out at 10 pm and I am not ready to sleep at that time.) The top bunk I had to sleep in took me back to my childhood at the family camp. It had been years since I was in a bunk bed.
I was up bright and early for the 6:00 am Kripalu yoga class and chose the intermediate class. This class was just enough movement to be invigorating in the morning to catch some energy for the day. After class I had worked up an appetite. Breakfast is a real treat at Kripalu. Breakfast is always silent if you choose to eat in the cafeteria. They have a variety of hot cereal and good gluten free breads that you can put some yummy natural peanut butter and a variety of jellies on. After breakfast I went to explore the labyrinth. I did a nice walking meditation and then stopped at the Buddha and gave him an offering.
After the labyrinth, I took a short hike on the trail east of the Shadowbrook building (that’s the name of the main facility).
After my hike, I went off to spend quality time at beautiful Lake Mahkeenac. The lake is a 15 to 20 minute walk from the main facility down to the private beach area of Kripalu. It was quiet and peaceful. I put on some Krishna Das and meditated out in the sun.
After all of that work, my stomach started growling ferociously and I walked back for lunch and then took the outdoor meditation class taking place in the large tent to the east of the Shadowbrook building. The teacher was Ken Nelson. He talked a bit about meditation, did some breathing awareness exercises and then we did a 20 minute sit to this gorgeous view:
The weather was spectacular for most of the day and I really wasn’t keen on spending it inside so I walked around and explored the grounds some more. I found a few other interesting gems in the process.
As I was enjoying the grounds of Kripalu I noticed that dark clouds were beginning to collect in the sky. This was not a good sign because I had a 6:00 p.m. guided Kayaking activity that I had pre-registered for. Even though it wasn’t looking too promising I decided to get my things in order to kayak and take the walk down to the lake. The leaders for the activity were already beginning to put some of the kayaks away although they assured us that they didn’t cancel yet. It wasn’t too long after my arrival that we started to hear thunder and eventually the activity had to be cancelled. I hauled butt to make it back to Shadowbrook and I made it just in time because a strong storm passed through. When it was all over, it left us with a beautiful rainbow:
After dinner I enjoyed the Rest and Unwind Yoga class and was lucky enough to catch the tail end of the Maggie & Hannah concert which I enjoyed immensely. I then found some quiet space to read before going off to bed.
On Sunday, my final day of the retreat, I woke up at 6:00 am for the Gentle yoga class which was a really great class to wake up with after all of the activity I did the day before. The leader used sound healing and mantra in her practice. After silent breakfast I went off to do a bit more exploring of the grounds until the Qigong on the Lawn class. Qigong was lead once again by Ken Nelson. He seemed very knowledgeable and the practice was quite enjoyable. We got to watch the mist rise until the sun burned it off unveiling a beautiful view of the Stockbridge Bowl.
After Qigong on the Lawn, I met up w/ Josie again. We packed up our things ,put them in the luggage room, and went off to eat lunch and then sadly we left the facility. Although my time felt a bit rushed, that’s the nature of a weekend R&R Retreat at Kripalu. Any inconveniences I was worried about in the beginning were outweighed by all of the good things at Kripalu. I thought everything was spectacular and I really loved my time and hope to revisit again someday.