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Updated: May 9, 2023

"Yoga is seeing life the way it is." -Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Have you been to Kripalu? The physical space has such great energy and the grounds are beautiful. Notice their branding, "Kripalu exploring the yoga of life." That is powerful for me. While yoga is a relatively new practice for me, I have been able to see "life the way it is" for a long time. Yoga can sometimes be intimidating. It is hard not to compare yourself and your abilities to those around you when someone looks like a pretzel and you don't. However, Kripalu's branding and offerings help offer some insights on the true meaning of being a Yogi.

I started frequenting Kripalu because of Maya Breuer's Yoga Retreat for Women of Color about 10 years ago. I had not been in several years and am so glad I opted to reconnect with this particular retreat at Kripalu. I have attended a couple of other retreats but this is by far my favorite.

"Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself." -Bhagavad Gita

Whew. Deep exhale. This could be rough.

I talked a bit about the first part of my weekend in Eat, Pray... Eat Some More! All Under the Umbrella of LOVE. Now I will continue...

After the smooth bus ride to Kripalu, the nourishing meal, the scrumptious tea and Kripalu cookies and the soul-cleansing of the intimate opening sharing circle it seemed easier to "tolerate the consequences of being yourself." I even ran off to the whirlpool and sauna that first night before I slipped into a dreamless peaceful sleep. Saturday. 5:45 a.m. I was anxious to see what yoga at 6 a.m. would offer. It was great! We started with Maya for part 1 and then moved seamlessly into part 2 with Monique Schubert. At 7:30 a.m. we were all proud of ourselves and then went off to breakfast. I enjoyed the meal in silence so I could be with me and absorb all the love and light of the food. When 8:30 a.m. rolled around we came together for more of our program. We talked, we shared, we learned, we grew. Maya filled our tool kits with great new tools to deepen our practice of yoga in everyday life. And just before lunch we danced, played and allowed our inner child to shine with Abigail Ifatola Jefferson. We were the dancers, drummers, percussionists, photographers, singers and happy women in the circle. By lunch time we had worked up an appetite and felt lighter. Some went straight to the whirlpool, some had massage appointments, slept or took another class (yoga or meditation). I opted to buy a thank you card, write, make calls, and EAT in silence again. Lunch was superb, seriously. (One could go to Kripalu for the food alone! They do sell quite a lot of cookbooks.) The afternoon session, for me was an intense exploration of serenity and self through art. Monique was masterful in her sharing. She not only shared her talent, but helped us reconnect and reclaim our talent. We then had a long break intentionally. I opted for a brief respit in my dorm and them joined a couple of sisters to explore the Labyrinth. We walked the Labyrinth and absorbed the energy of nature and the sacred space. We meditated. We walked. We shared at the end and then went our separate ways. Wow! Dinner time already. I won't gush again over how great the food was. I think you get it by now. I dined with the other women this time, it was the halfway mark of the weekend and I was ready to talk and bond outside of the Sanctuary with some of the participants. After a delicious wholesome dinner we went back to the Sanctuary for the evening session. Darn, we were a little late! Yvonne Beazer, the music/audio guru, was leading the group in a line dance. I think it was called the "wobble." What fun! We danced. We laughed. We dancee and danced and danced. It was truly a hot sweaty Saturday night dance party. And then we sat, breathed, rested, shared, reviewed and grew some more. The expanse of our beings, collectively and indivitually was amazing. It was tangible in the room. Once we closed, I raced to the sauna again and then sank into another deep, peaceful sleep. Sunday. 5:45 a.m. It was our last yoga class of the weekend. I woke my roommates and we went to the celebratory yoga class. Maya continued to fill our tool kits. She made sure we would be armed with the makings of a daily yoga practice. She mindfully, lovingly taught us how to heal ourselves a little each day. She even slipped a few quizzes in to make sure the learning was solid. 7:30 a.m. silent breakfast for me. You already know how I felt about the food. After breakfast my body said I had to take a nap and I acquiesed. I arrived at our fina session a little late but "right on time." We deepened our learning by sharing with others and writing. Maya's work was done, our tool kits were full. We shared. We hugged. We took pictures. We packed up. We cleaned up and left the Sanctuary. We checked out of our respective rooms. I bought more thank you cards and then joined my sisters in a cafeteria for big chatterbox lunch. We had to connect in that space just enough to fill ourselves with memories of each other. One by one they left. The few of us left, packed lunch for the bus our journeys home. With all settled and a thank you letter mailed. I went to the whirlpool and sauna one last time. SWEET. I washed my hair and made sure I was upstairs with my luggage at 3 p.m. The journey home. 3:21 p.m. the bus pulls off. There are quite a few of us on the bus and we chatted quite a bit. I twisted and groomed my locks. It was at least a 3-hour ride, why not? Around 6 p.m. we noticed that the bus was heading to New Jersey. What? Why? What happened? We learned that he had gottan a bit turned around. So from New Jersey he took the George Washington Bridge back into New York. KEWL!!! Guess who lives walking distance from the George Washington Bridge? You guessed it. ME. I quickly ask him if he could pull over and I would jump out at a red light. I had learned that sometime I had to make it all about me. He agreed. YES! I rushed through my farewells and disembarked a mere four blocks from my home. I arrived in my home about 6:45 p.m. before my children returned home. SWEET.

"Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself." -Bhagavad Gita

This does not seem so difficult any longer.

Take time to reconnect with yourself and retreat from the world as you know it. Slowing down your norm and allowing a change of scenery will enhance your joy.

"Yoga is seeing life the way it is." -Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Let's talk. How do you see life? How would you like to see life? What is preventing you from living that experience?

I am living my life...



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Dionne C.


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