Kripalu Guest Stories: Cynthia Bottoms
My sister and I are closer than we could have imagined. She moved in with me five years ago for just a few months and, happily, she never left. We goof around together and share all of life’s ups and downs.
My sister had been to Kripalu several times. She’d always come home with pictures, shared her profound experiences, and encouraged me: “You should go, let’s go together.” Finally I said okay. We’re in our early fifties and wanted to change a few things: lose some weight, eat healthier, and use more positive practices and positive thinking.
Kripalu is the perfect setting to discover all these things. It’s like taking a cleansing yoga breath when you get there. When I first looked at the menu, though, I told my sister, “I’m going to starve.” But I found that the food was amazing: the spinach salad, the cheesecake, the broccoli salad with cashews and raisins. I went home and bought all the ingredients for the salads and now I make them all the time.
I walked the labyrinth and was deeply moved by the experience. The evening concert was uplifting. I also did positional therapy with Lee Albert. I’m a nurse and, with the work I do, there’s a lot of lifting and pulling. I was developing arthritis in my hands and pains in my neck. Lee was amazing. I have been doing the exercises he taught me and continue to feel relief.
I did a workshop about envisioning your life. My sister and I were looking for a new apartment at the time. We’d been searching for a year and it just wasn’t happening. The workshop leader had us discuss something we want in our life as if it exists now, and my sister and I talked about our perfect new apartment. And when we got back home, a place opened up with a small balcony from which we can see the sunset!
I’m nervous about moving out of a place I’ve lived in for 13 years, but Kripalu has encouraged me to open up to new experiences, to move into the unknown with more ease.
It was quite an experience, those three days. It was a blessing. My sister said it was her favorite time at Kripalu, too, because I was there to share it with her.
Once we get settled into the new apartment, we’ll be back.
—Cynthia Bottoms, critical-care registered nurse, Brooklyn, New York