Kripalu Guest Stories: David Southers
Before I came to Kripalu, I was stressed-out, eating poorly, and not exercising regularly. I was out of sync with life and not tapping my potential. I felt like I was going through the motions, but didn’t know what I needed or how to find it.
My wife suggested going to Kripalu as a vacation. She’d read about it online and liked the holistic approach—and the location. I liked the idea, so we came for the Health and Vitality in Midlife program (now Rejuvenate and Reclaim Life After 40).
At Kripalu, things fell into place more than I ever expected. We were a group of professional men and women mostly in the healing professions, but ironically, everyone was in need of some healing. Maria Sirois was the program leader and had a knack for saying the right thing at the right time. Whether she was offering an insight, or listening, or bringing someone back from the brink, she reassured us we were heading in this great direction toward possibility. Somehow, my certifiable midlife crisis was divinely transformed into a midlife adventure.
During the week, I learned I had to accept some things and change other things. I felt good, and it was nice to stand on the mountaintop for a little while and bask in the glow of a newly learned optimism. Evelyn Gonzalez was my first Kripalu Yoga instructor, and after class she told me that I was quite flexible and flowed like a yogi. I was finding that being open to anything was paying off more than I ever imagined. In sharing my parting thoughts with the group, I said, “I usually go on vacation to see something, but this time I went on vacation to be something; to be me, in the moment, one day at a time.”
During the program, we also experimented with healthier ways of eating. And when we got back home, we found that our children were very receptive to trying nuts and different fruits, eating more fish and much less processed food. No more tortilla chips and artificial cheese flavors! It’s amazing how resilient they are. As a family, we eat a lot healthier now. For a few months, there was also a significant upturn in our exercise regimen, which has had its fits and starts. While I’m not yet who I want to be, I’m better than I was before Kripalu.
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. What I discovered is that the hardest thing about Kripalu is leaving.
—David Southers, social worker, Long Valley, New Jersey, pictured with his wife, Virginia