Kripalu Guest Stories: John Vollmann
In 1994, I knew nothing about yoga or meditation. I was going through a divorce, and I felt lost. Soon after, I started taking yoga classes with a woman who also taught at Kripalu. When she and her husband were making a trip, they invited me to join them.
I fell in love with Kripalu. Since that first visit, I have taken many programs. Last year, I came for a cooking and nutrition course with Deb Morgan and John Bagnulo. As a result of what I learned, my blood pressure dropped to 127 over 70, and joint pain I’d had for several years has gone away! This inspired me to take the Integrative Weight Loss program to continue learning better ways to eat and take care of myself.
As a result, I’ve lost 35 pounds, and I had to take my pants in two inches. I’ve had a major skin problem since I was 13 and have had radiation and laser treatments, undergone dermabrasion, injections, and spent a fortune on vitamins, doctors, and dermatologists. Since I started to eat differently and take probiotics, my skin has cleared. You really are what you eat. I was able to see that the processed foods I ate were not healthy.
After the weight loss program, I understood myself as having value in a different way. I’ve made mistakes in my life, and now my goal is to bring a better me to others. The love inside me can make a difference to the people in my life. My grandsons have asked, “Pop, what’s organic?” They ask me because they trust me. I try to lead by example. I don’t force my changes on anybody. Now when I babysit for my grandkids, I bring organic fruits and vegetables for them to try. It’s nice to see the little changes in the lives of my kids, too. When I open their cupboards, I see more organic and healthy items.
Kripalu gives you time to catch up your body with your mind. People from all walks of life come together to share and learn better ways of living. And Kripalu is not just for women—men can learn how to take care of themselves, too. I used to feel gloomy. Now I’m upbeat. I walk outside and see the lake on a beautiful spring morning, and I think, “It’s nice to be alive.”
—John Vollmann, self-employed, Beachwood, New Jersey