Kripalu Guest Stories: John Lyons
In the spring of 2010, I needed a change. I had divorced three years prior and had since lost energy and gained weight. I didn’t feel good, and I wasn’t having any fun. I was accomplished business-wise but not happy with my personal life.
When I read about Kripalu’s Healthy Living program Rejuvenate and Reclaim Life After 40, I thought it was written just for me. It talked about making significant changes in your life and about moving on. My kids are in high school; when I thought about them going off to college, I got scared at the prospect of not having them to “hide behind,” scared about living more for myself.
The program was comprehensive, challenging, diverse, and interesting. Most of all, it was nurturing and safe, which helped me to take risks. I had never done yoga before Kripalu; I loved the Gentle Yoga, especially the last 20 minutes. It felt so good, being able to close my eyes, put the blanket over me, and simply appreciate the moment. I’m quite sure that I’ve never done anything so overtly self-nurturing in my life. And, even believing I couldn’t dance, I tried the noon YogaDance class. It was a blast! I went every day.
On the last day of our session, after learning so much, our leader, Maria Sirois, looked at us and said, “I want you to only do a couple of things after you leave. Don’t try and do it all.” Of course I already had a comprehensive to-do list, but I gave myself permission, maybe for the first time in my life, to do just a little; one step in a healthy-for-good direction was enough. For me, being very driven and competitive, it was incredibly liberating—and it worked!
One of the changes I made came as a result of nutritionist John Bagnulo’s talk on superfoods, which led me to come up with what I call the “Anti-Diet Diet.” Instead of denial and deprivation, I have begun introducing all these great, healthy foods into my diet and, by default, I’ve eliminated most of the less healthy choices. As a result, in addition to losing weight, I’ve been able to get off medication for both high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Kripalu has shown me how to relax and get back in touch with myself. The encouragement, support of staff, the tools (yoga, meditation, nutrition, etc.) and surroundings, the people—it’s a beautiful combination. When I talk about going back to Kripalu, my kids embrace it. They know it’s good for everybody when I’m taking care of myself.
—John Lyons, CEO of MetroPool, Pawling, New York