Kripalu Guest Stories: Laurel McCluskey
Kripalu came along at just the right time. After three years on disability for a long-term condition, I simply didn’t have the means to buy things or go away on retreat, and I was focused on rebuilding my physical strength. Because of the generosity of a Kripalu scholarship, I suddenly had the opportunity to participate in a program called In Solitude of Nothingness. I hadn’t had time for solitude in a while and welcomed the opportunity to be silent. I was also excited about the dance element of the program—I used to teach ballroom dance—and wanted to challenge myself.
Coming to Kripalu helped me feel a part of the world again. When I walked into the lobby with that incredible view of the lake and mountains, I was speechless. The Kripalu staff were peacefully attentive, and the program presenter was really supportive and open with her knowledge. And the YogaDance classes at noon were exceptional!
During the program, we heard a song with the words, “We need you now.” Hearing that reawakened me to my purpose. I’ve always felt I was here to help others find their peace and freedom, and I realized that there is a place for my vision. I’m now recommitted to my dream of opening a wellness center. I want to make a difference.
Before Kripalu, I had never tried yoga. Now, I practice beginner yoga three to four times a week, with programs I download and can take with me anywhere. My 3-year-old grandson practices Tree pose right along with me. Yoga has given me great flexibility, loosened muscle tension, and profoundly helped with my chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. The breathing exercises are healing in ways I had never dreamed. My breathing capacity is better now than ever before.
I feel different in the world. I used to be drained from taking care of myself. Now I go places I’ve never been, and I’m present to experience everything, even if it’s just a smile at the right time. I also still walk and practice dance.
I’d lost myself, and now I’m back. And it didn’t take months of workshops! I just listened with my heart, and it opened my eyes again to the importance of finding my place in the world.
—Laurel McCluskey, hospitality employee, Dudley, Massachusetts