Kripalu Guest Stories: Sultana C.
I was already living in the Berkshires when Kripalu came to Lenox in the eighties. I was doing yoga at the time but I wasn’t committed to it. Through my experience at Kripalu, I made that commitment. Then, organically, one thing led to another.
When I was growing up, I was called a klutz, so I never danced. I’d go to a wedding and everyone would be dancing, but I’d sit and watch. When Kripalu started, they offered DansKinetics classes, now called Kripalu YogaDance®. I’d peek into the room where everyone was dancing, and part of me wanted to go inside, but I was hesitant. The teachers would invite me in, and I would go to the corner and watch. Then they’d encourage me to join in. Slowly but surely, I began to dance. They really give you permission to come from where you are at that moment, and no one is judging you. There were a lot of teachers, but Megha is the one who really called me out of myself. I’m not a klutz anymore; now I’m a dancer. Every time I see Megha I thank her for giving me the gift of dance.
I’m part of the Berkshire Kripalu Community (BKC) and I volunteer at Kripalu. I’m also on the BKC board of directors and on the outreach committee. About seven years ago, we began a project to bring Kripalu Yoga to the local prison. I got Kripalu teachers to go in and teach. The guards tell us it’s made a difference in the behavior of the prisoners. Also, about seven years ago, I noticed that the Kripalu Kitchen had leftover food, so I arranged an outreach project to bring the food to the Guthrie Center, and BKC volunteers serve a community luncheon every week to those in need.
I go to India and other parts of Asia and buy beautiful things: silk scarves, esoteric jewelry, and embroidered bags for the Kripalu Shop. Friends from Kripalu and the BKC started asking if they could go with me, so I began taking women on spiritual pilgrimages to some of the holy sites.
It really is amazing; Kripalu came to town and brought me the gifts of dance, yoga, health—and the opportunity to do so much seva. Over the years I’ve taken many workshops at Kripalu. I treat myself about once a year. It’s an opportunity to go deeper. I’m 70 years old now and I’m healthy and full of energy. I really feel that’s a gift from my yoga. It’s a spiritual practice that connects me with a deep place inside myself.
—Sultana C., semiretired designer and buyer, Lenox, Massachusetts