Kripalu Guest Stories: Mario M.
Home Improvement: A Professional Handyman Finds Peace in a New Arena
I came across Kripalu in a sort of roundabout way. I’ve always been pretty in touch with how I’m feeling, but I’m constantly asking questions of myself and seeking ways to be a better person. I was introduced to Kripalu through my interest in drummer Ubaka Hill, who was teaching a program called the Art and Spirit of Drumming. As I began to page through the catalog, I came upon all these other programs that spoke to me. I signed up for five at once, all aimed at personal improvement. I figured: Anything that helps me gain a little clarity about myself, I’m down for.
As a 22-year-old football and soccer player, I might not seem like the average Kripalu enthusiast. I work for my father in Worcester doing building maintenance; I guess you’d say I’m a man of all trades. Some days I’ll be doing a little painting, gardening, or making small repairs. I got into yoga near the end of high school, when I was striving for a career in the pros and it became clear that stretching was essential to keeping my body in the best shape it could be.
But everyone wants better relationships, too, and what I’ve learned at Kripalu has already helped me be a better person to my friends and family. Kripalu gives me a safe place to explore my feelings. I always go without any expectations, just knowing that I’m going to have a mini-vacation that’s personally enriching. When I get out of the car, my whole mood changes. I know that I’m at a joyful, organic spot and about to get in some yoga, do some dancing around, and learn something new. I take care of myself, eat well, and put my e-mail and cell phone aside. It’s like a reset for me.
At home, I don’t always get to go to yoga classes, but I find myself incorporating aspects of yoga into my life, like alignment and awareness. Just the other afternoon, I had this realization that, although I’ve really only been attending yoga for two years, I’ve actually been practicing my whole life. There I was, standing at the top of this crab apple tree, pruning. I was balancing on two branches, sort of like in Warrior pose. It hit me: I’ve been in this posture my whole life, whether I was climbing trees as a kid or helping my dad landscape. Even when I’m not at Kripalu, I’ve learned I can always go back to that place in my head, that feeling I have when I’m there.
—Mario M., Shrewsbury, Massachusetts