Kripalu Guest Stories: Yvonne B.
A Foundation for Transition
Through major changes, Kripalu remains a constant in one guest’s evolving life.
I first came to Kripalu in the late 1980s. A coworker who knew that I did yoga told me that his wife went to Kripalu, so he thought I might also like it. I booked an R&R retreat and had a life-changing experience from just one Kripalu Yoga class. The retreat part was just being at Kripalu, with its wonderful lake and walking trails. The renewal part was what I got from the yoga class, which left me thinking, “I have got to come back to this place.” I felt like this was where I could find my true self, and it was so peaceful. So I made coming to Kripalu a regular part of my life.
One summer, when I was 52, I came to a program for women in midlife. I met so many wonderful women who were going through the same issues as I was, such as menopause. It was encouraging to hear their stories, to which I could relate. One of the women lived in Florida and was the caregiver for her mother, and at the time, I was also the caregiver for my aging mother. When I went on vacation to Florida with my mother, we visited with my new friend and the two moms hit it off as well.
In 1993, at age 55, I married for the third time. For a divorcee, it’s not unusual to bring emotional baggage to a new relationship. While reading the Kripalu catalog, I saw a program about deepening your love. My husband is not a “yoga person” but agreed to attend with me. The program was powerful, and it helped each of us to recognize our needs and desires. My husband still talks about what he gained from it.
During my earlier visits to Kripalu, I had noticed that there were very few people of color among the guests there. So when, in the mid-1990s, I saw that Kripalu was offering a yoga retreat for women of color, I was thrilled and immediately signed up. Nearly 100 women of color came to this program and, while some of us were already doing yoga, many were not. Over that weekend, our teacher, Maya Breuer, taught us how to integrate yoga into our daily lives, how to eat more healthfully, and how to take care of ourselves so that we could take care of others. She also taught us how to manage stress in new ways, and how to relax and rejuvenate our bodies, minds, and spirits. We danced, and it was joyous to be together to tell our stories and bond with one another. I’m now 73 and I make the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color program a regular part of my life. As soon as I leave, I start making plans to attend the next one.
—Yvonne B., Stockbridge, Georgia