Kripalu Guest Stories: Ilene G.
I knew about Kripalu, and people had been telling me, “You should take yourself there for a weekend.” Finally, I came for a weekend of R&R Retreat. It was so great to walk around in yoga clothes and flip-flops, and everyone is there for the same reasons: to energize, to commune. I’d get up in the morning and walk to the 6:30 yoga class with my mat. I loved the yoga classes; I loved the healthy, egoless environment, the staff, the food, and the grounds. That weekend quelled my fears. It gave me optimism about my future.
As a children’s librarian, my main goal is to infuse children with the joy of reading and to inspire them to become lifelong readers. I see what yoga does for me and how it stills my mind, and I see the issues with literacy and learning disabilities that many children face. I thought, there has to be a way to bring children to yoga to cope with all the distractions in their lives, to help them to slow down and absorb. So, I recently mailed in my application to do the 200-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training!
If you had asked me a few years ago if I’d ever consider being a yoga teacher, I’d have said, “What?!” I was fast and driven and unforgiving of myself. My whole life, I’d been very athletic. If I was stressed, I’d pound it out: I’d go for a run or play tennis and exhaust myself. Now when I feel my mind spinning, I can slow it down. I can do it through meditation or yoga, or I can go on the jetty where I live and look at the majestic Hudson River and that calms and centers me.
I’ve gone to Kripalu three times now. As soon as I turn into the driveway I feel this relaxation; it’s an immediate emotional response. When I check in and they say, “Welcome back, Ilene,” I feel such relief. I feel like I’m doing something so wonderful for myself.
—Ilene G., head of children’s services, Irvington Public Library, Peekskill, New York