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Kripalu Guest Stories: Darlene R.

Experiencing the Body as a Whole


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Although I had lived with lupus for 12 years, I was healthy and strong. I could run a half marathon, had earned a black belt in kickboxing, and was taking frequent yoga classes to complement my running. But then—out of the blue—I became very sick. My skin and eyes turned yellow and I could hardly get out of bed, let alone run. For some reason, I stopped being able to tolerate meat. My rheumatologist told me that my liver was suffering from the immunosuppressant drug I’d been taking for years.

A few months later, a friend asked me to join her at Kripalu for an R&R retreat. I had read about Ayurveda—an ancient practice designed to restore your body’s balance—and I was curious to learn more. So I booked a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner. Our session helped me see my body in a new light. Unlike my Western doctors who only focused on one part of my body—like my gastroenterologist and rheumatologist—she saw my body as a whole.

She taught me a few simple strategies to feel better that were easy and didn’t cost a fortune, like adding coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon to my diet. She assessed my dosha and determined that I needed more warm, moist food, such as cooked vegetables. She advised me to keep clear of raw foods, which came as a surprise.

Since I’ve come home, I’ve made small changes that have left me feeling physically and mentally better. The achy feeling in my joints has lessened, and my tummy is a little happier. I was motivated to set up a space at home to do yoga and I try to spend time on the mat every day. Mentally, I’m better equipped to deal with the stress of living with a chronic disease. For a long time, I was intensely frustrated by not being able to run. I’ve been practicing meditation and now, instead of fixating on the things my body cannot do, I focus on the beautiful abilities I do have.

My retreat didn’t just inspire me to live a healthful lifestyle; it also armed me with the tools I needed to attain it. I look forward to returning so I can learn more Ayurvedic techniques and open my eyes to more ways to live my life to the fullest.
—Darlene R., Ontario, Canada