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Healing Arts Highlight: Life Coaching the Kripalu Way

an interview with Aruni Nan Futuronsky

A 500-hour Kripalu Yoga teacher, Aruni Nan Futuronsky has been on the Kripalu faculty at Kripalu for more than 20 years. In 2005, she became a certified life coach, and integrated the two disciplines to develop the Kripalu life-coaching methodology, based in presence and right action. She now offers life-coaching sessions for Kripalu Healthy Living programs and through Kripalu Healing Arts.

Q What makes life coaching at Kripalu unique?
A Our life-coaching model is based in the transformational self-discovery model that we’ve been teaching here for 35 years. We think sustainable change happens as a result of being mindfully present with what is, while taking action to change. Just like on the yoga mat, you need to soften around sensations in order for the sensations to change. It’s the power of presence linked with the right use of will that makes sustainable change-not just modifying behavior but changing at the core. It’s quite different from traditional life coaching—it really is yoga off the mat.

Q It’s also different because rather than working with people on an ongoing basis, you may see a guest just once during their stay at Kripalu, correct?
A We have the ability to do sessions over the phone, so we can follow up. But many people find that one session, during or after a Kripalu visit, is very helpful. Whatever has brought you here, Kripalu energetically opens you up. It’s a perfect time to reassess and imagine the possibility of change. People come for many reasons-nutritional, professional, relational, creative, any reason they feel they’re not supporting themselves fully. We look at where they feel most separated from how they want to live, and let a plan form from that. Yoga means unity in Sanskrit, and that’s what we want to bring that to people’s lives. We hold the space and ask the questions to allow their internal knowledge to emerge.

Q What brought you to life coaching?
A I’ve taught here for many years and have always loved teaching, but I recognized that there weren’t a lot of ways at Kripalu for people to check in and talk with a staff member, and to sit and rethink their lives. As life coaching got more and more popular in the past six or seven years, it seemed like a no-brainer. I’ve brought my understanding of Kripalu Yoga to it, my understanding that will alone is not enough. We can’t just force ourselves into change-we need to cooperate with the universal energy and our own sense of self.

Q What do you love about life coaching?
A It’s profoundly satisfying. People often come in concerned or agitated, and it doesn’t take long for them to say they feel better. Sometimes just speaking aloud, in the presence of a nonjudgmental witness, is a huge piece of this. Everybody wants to find a way to stop the busyness and intensity and find a way to reconnect to themselves. Everybody is longing for their own attention.