Kripalu Guest Stories: Shari Botwin
I first heard about Kripalu around 10 years ago from a couple of colleagues who were also friends. While it didn’t interest me then, when one of the same friends mentioned it last year, I thought, “maybe.”
I looked through the catalog and Retreat and Renewal appealed to me. I felt like I needed to reflect and rejuvenate, and I was curious what Kripalu was all about. I had no goals—maybe just take a yoga class (I had only taken two or three of them in my life) and sit around on the grass and look at the lake. I also knew, deep down, that I was ready to open my heart for more personal growth. I’m a cancer and trauma survivor and had been doing deep work the couple of years prior to my visit.
I went by myself over Memorial Day weekend, and I did relax at the lake as I planned. I also unexpectedly found myself taking risks and stepping outside of the box with my food choices—I didn’t know the food would be that good! All week, I was able to be more mindful and take better care of my body.
The most important moment for me was when I went to a vinyasa yoga class. I used to dance a lot, and the movement and flow were perfect for me. My experience in that class helped me get to know myself in a different way, and I fell in love with my body. I kept going, and I found the teachers incredibly helpful and respectful as they offered adjustments in the poses. I moved into deep places of acceptance in those classes.
When I got back home, I was more relaxed than I’d ever been. Those three days at Kripalu were about feeling safe enough to feel vulnerable. It opened up my heart. It helped me to not focus on the past or future, to let go of worries and negative thoughts—to feel good in the present. Yoga is a big part of my life now. I go to vinyasa yoga classes four times a week. It’s made my perceptions much clearer and enriched my life.
I left Kripalu realizing that I can trust myself and my intuition. I decided it was time to overcome some fears and reclaim my right to having a full life. If I could, I’d pack my bags and bring all my clients to Kripalu. I want to share Kripalu with everyone, and just pay it forward.
—Shari Botwin, therapist and author, Cherry Hill, New Jersey