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Kripalu Guest Stories: Elizabeth H.

Elizabeth H.

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I didn’t expect a transformational experience at Kripalu. I thought that it would be good food, good yoga, and good fun. But my week there wound up being a cumulative “wow.”

I came for a fitness program at a time when I was undergoing a number of personal and professional stresses. I felt unhealthy, wounded, and at odds with my body. I was barely taking care of myself. I wanted to remove myself from my normal routine and environment, and find health, ease, and inspiration.

The faculty were so inspiring—their enthusiasm, compassion, radiant life force, and energy. I wanted that kind of radiant health for myself.

The first day of the program, we went kayaking. On the lake, we stopped at a watery meadow of lily pads, where we all did a floating meditation and just listened to the sounds. It was lovely. We did a bike trip another day. Years before, I had broken my collarbone in a bike accident and was reluctant ever to ride again. It was incredibly liberating to be whooshing down the hills of Lenox on a bike, as my fear left me.

Kripalu has changed how I think about health. For most of my life, my view of “health” had revolved around what clothes I could fit into or how many miles I could run. My view is so much more expansive now—it includes how I nourish my body and mind with things like food, yoga, and meditation. I pay more attention to my state of mind now, and I’m more conscious of all that I’m grateful for.

I’ve also made a lot of changes in what and how our family eats, even though we ate pretty well before. I’ve come to see food in a different way: there’s nourishment to be had in choosing it, preparing it, eating it. Kripalu has helped me enter into what you might call a“slow living” approach to food and to life. It’s not about shoveling it in and getting on to the next thing; it’s about being mindful, appreciative. Sometimes we need reminding that anything is possible. I used to be a high-achieving, hard-charging person in my career. If my old colleagues were to read this, they would probably think I’ve gone off the deep end. Maybe I have, since now I do live more deeply. It’s so opposite from how I lived before. These days, when something stressful happens, I literally find myself reaching for my yoga mat!

—Elizabeth H., full-time parent, Cherry Valley, New York