Yoga Retreat in Heaven
I recently returned from a fabulous five day Yoga retreat in the Berkshire Mountains, MA, in a place called Kripalu Yoga Center. I found this place through a google search and had no idea what to expect.
I was impressed that they had a very definite Yoga attitude at Kripalu and practised what they preach. The staff are warm, kind, 'glowing' and friendly. The center offers all kinds of scholarship support for those who can't afford various retreats, courses or trainiings. (I found this very impressive in this day and age ).
I flew from Florida to Albany, NY and got a shuttle bus from the airport; this is provided by Kripalu who have a reciprocal agreement with a local taxi company. There were several people also going on the retreat in the airport, and as often happens on these occasions, we developed immediate rapport.
The drive up to Kripalu was uneventful except for the lovely countryside and the many opportunities to spot deer in the woodland as you drive along. On arrival at the center, we went straight into the dining area as we were quite late.
I can't tell you how impressed I was with the organization and kindness of the staff. My room was a standard room, and I was booked to share with a stranger. To my relief, I had the room all to myself. The room was basic with two beds, sink, clothes hanging and cupboard area. However, there are upgraded rooms with ensuite in the newer building.
The food is fantastic and is highly regarded in the area; many non-residents come for meals. There are a wide variety of choices, all organic and mostly vegetarian, (although they do have chicken and fish on the menu ).
Many of the vegetables and fruits are grown at Kripalu or locally as well as eggs and herbs. It was good to have such wholesome food; really delicious vegetarian meals and salads - I don't remember ever having had so many vegetables deliciously cooked! There are teas and home-made apple cider and you can have coffee in the cafe area.
Kripalu is huge and I believe can board 700 when both buildings are full. The atmosphere is serene and peaceful and there are lots of areas to just hang out and 'be' with your new-found friends...or just be alone in perfect contentment.
The views are stunning. Shockingly lovely and ever-changing as the day progresses. In the early morning, the mist hung over the lake, with misty tentacles changing at each glance as the sun broke through.
We had fabulous weather and as the sun rose to greet the day, brilliant red colored leaves and every color of green and yellows clothed the trees, with distant rolling mountain peeks changing shades as the sun moved overhead. The lake below glistened invitingly and I don't believe I have ever seen such a compact and breath-taking view which has so many aspects and hues.
There are sitting areas outside the center where you can have lunch, dinner, just talk or journal and they have outside blankets so you can go lie down in the (surprisingly) warm Autumn sun. I believe I died for a while and visited heaven; senses reeling with the smells of woody Autumn air, breathed deeply , and of wild flower perfume (of which there are hundreds at Kripalu ).
I was no longer surprised when tame rabbits and Chimonks came hopping around and stayed, birds alighted close to me, and the grass was warm beneath me. Yes, it was Heaven.
There are stunning walks down to the Lake or Labyrinth, trails to the mountains or Monks pond. The Lake is lovely and has a small beach area. You can Kayak or swim (which one or two participants did), fish, or just enjoy the view.
I thoroughly enjoyed my retreat in every way. I had gone for the Yoga Nidra Divine Sleep with Jennifer Reis, and if you haven't heard of it before, then you need to. I was a novice to Yoga Nidra, but was seduced by the words... "Divine Sleep and Deep Relaxation" ...yeah!
It was a wonderful treat for my body, mind and senses. Best of all, after a few chants and basic poses (which are not difficult at all and suitable for beginners because you only do what you can ), then you are wrapped in blankets and made supremely comfortable for the Nidra divine sleep.
The music is hauntingly beautiful and Jennifer has the most sweet and soothing voice as she talks you through the multiple layers of guided imagery and relaxation, down into divine sleep. Wonderful!
I hope you enjoy the photos and brief description of this beautiful place. I shall definitely return!