You’ve probably wondered what’s inside that somewhat austere looking (it was a Jesuit seminary) brick building on the hill with a “Kripalu” sign at the road. Don’t be fooled by the façade, Kripalu is warm and inviting on the inside. And if you stay in “The Annex,” which is Kripalu’s eco-building complete with a wooden slat exterior and yoga studio that has fantastic mountain views, it feels more like a yoga retreat and less campus-like. Students of the School of Ayurveda or Yoga Teacher Training stay on-site and really live their studies. Alternatively, Kripalu offers off-site courses in NYC, D.C., Ontario and Esalen in Big Sur, CA.
For visitors, the day pass or a weekend stay is a good option. Everything is clearly marked and easy to understand regarding the programming. Your stay or pass includes admission to workshops (Self Hypnosis, Breathing, Transformation, etc.), meals and yoga classes; you can also hike the grounds, use the fitness room, whirlpool and sauna as well as the meditation room and other amenities. (There’s nothing like a good soak after some rigorous yoga; you’ll definitely feel wrung out!)
I took the moderate yoga class, and felt loose and limber following the sequences. I was also surprised to find that I wasn’t dripping with sweat by the end. Kripalu yoga seems less rigid and more experimental or individualistic. It also seemed a bit more playful. Perhaps that’s part of the Kripalu brand. At first, I thought Kripalu’s approach was to ‘work hard on the mat, not in life.’ But now, I see, as your practice evolves, everything becomes easier. The vinyasas become a sort of moving meditation; there is a sense of ease as your body tones and conditions. And life does become easier, simpler, too. Ironically, sometimes it happens when you’re not trying.
As I contemplated my visit, there were a few standouts. The food was just stupendous; and paper products were minimized to reduce waste. Healthy and delicious, but not only that, so colorful and vibrant. It really made me realize how washed out our supermarket food really is. Kripalu is top notch for offering a place to rejuvenate; there’s just no question of that. Between the high energy food, guided hikes, freeing yoga classes and philosophical underpinnings, it’s a combination that will motivate and fortify you for all that lay ahead.
Stay up-to-date by reading Kripalu’s blog: Thrive
Special thanks to Carol Bosco Baumann of Kripalu for providing information for this piece.