Kripalu Guest Stories: Lorraine C.
Finding Sanctuary in Ancient Wisdom
Ayurveda helps heal a mother’s trauma.
My decision to study Ayurveda evolved out of a family trauma. My son, Jacob, and his wife and daughter were visiting me and my husband in the summer of 2005 when Jacob became severely ill. He was hospitalized and put on life support. For several days, we were unsure whether he would speak again, or even awaken.
After 11 days in the critical-care unit, Jacob came home and began his recovery with us. Though we were never able to get definitive evidence, we believe that inhaling mold while renovating his home caused what is called a “whiteout” of the lungs—when the alveoli constrict so tightly there’s no space for air to pass.
When my son drove away with his family after three months, a deep emptiness and fatigue came over me. In the next weeks, I experienced extreme anxiety, frequent crying spells, and dark moments of depression. I couldn’t cook or clean my house, and my body hurt all over. I had no appetite, I couldn’t sleep. Every time I heard an ambulance, I froze. Finally. I sought help from a therapist and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
When the Kripalu catalog arrived in the mail, I remembered the solace I had found during my visits there. I read about the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and felt hope spring up.
In the first weekend of the Ayurvedic training, I felt as if I were being cradled within a sense of oneness. We journaled, chanted, learned how to establish a daily routine of self-care, and studied this 5,000-year-old science with brilliant contemporary teachers. I learned ways to balance my constitution, or dosha, using specific foods, asanas, and meditation practices—and I started to feel better. My focus cleared, I began to sleep soundly, and I found myself laughing again.
In 2009, I opened Five Elements Healing Center, where my Ayurvedic practice focuses on women challenged by postpartum, menstrual, and pre- and post-menopausal transitions, as well as clients recovering from the residual effects of addictions. As for my son, he was recently accepted by three different law schools and is about to take a giant step in his life, just as I did.
—Lorraine C., Colchester, Connecticut