2012
Posted on March 6th, 2012 by in Outside Our Walls, Yoga

Outside Our Walls – Kripalu Yoga in Japan

For practitioners in Japan, Kripalu Yoga offers a fresh viewpoint on both yoga and life.

“There’s an emphasis on individuality—what you think and feel are very important,” says Toshiro Miura, owner of the sole Kripalu Yoga studio in Japan. “The mind is not something to change or to deny, but to be aware of and be friends with. That’s a very different way of looking at yoga for Japanese people.”

While living in the United States for four years, Toshiro was introduced to Kripalu Yoga and met Swami Kripalu during Kripalu’s ashram period in Pennsylvania. He returned to Japan in 1981 with his ex-wife, an American Kripalu Yoga teacher, and settled in the small town of Odawara, where they were unable to find a single yoga class.

So they began conducting classes together—she taught, and he translated. “We didn’t call it Kripalu Yoga, but it was the first Kripalu Yoga in Japan,” Toshiro says. Soon he took over the teaching, and taught for 12 years while also practicing acupuncture. Encouraged by Amrit Desai’s visit to Japan in 1991, Toshiro completed Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training in 1994.

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Posted on March 5th, 2012 by in Eco-Yogi

Eco-Yogi: Choosing Green

Reflecting back on the last 10 years of my life, I smile in sweet remembrance on one particular incident that nudged me on a path I never imagined. In 2000, lost and confused, I went back to school to get my master’s degree. In one class, an off-the-wall yet brilliant professor pointed me in the direction of a mindfulness retreat, where I was introduced to seated-, walking-, eating-, and nature-based meditation techniques.

I wasn’t sure what awakened in me after the retreat, but I knew something had shifted. I was no longer satisfied by the surface-level elements that held value in my life. Worthiness from a car, self-love related to money, and constant thoughts of superiority were no longer feeding me in a sustainable way. I recognized what Rabbi Hillel encapsulates so beautifully in his quote, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? And if not now, when?”

It is the practice of meditation, hatha yoga, and other contemplative methods that empowers me to step back, observe, and make more conscious, empowered, and nourishing decisions around what I think, feel, say and do in my life. In this process of stepping back and seeing more, I awakened to my interconnected nature with others as well as the natural world. Today, I find myself infatuated with our blue planet as I recognize that its health is the prerequisite that allows me to live the life I love.

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Posted on March 4th, 2012 by in Moment of Quiet

Moment of Quiet

Every Sunday, you’ll find a space to enjoy guided meditation, a piece of music, an enticing image, or video that inspires calm. Since this is our first post in this category, we are sharing an image from our photo library of a snowy day at Kripalu.

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Posted on March 3rd, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Life Lessons

What should you be doing with your life?

In this excerpt from her book The Prosperity Plan: Ten Steps to Beating the Odds and Creating Extraordinary Wealth (and Happiness), life coach and sought-after speaker Laura Berman Fortgang offers her interpretation of right livelihood, along with suggestions for discovering what it is you’re meant to do.

I don’t believe there is only one form that your right livelihood, passion, or purpose must take. There are many ways that it can be expressed. What has become clear to me after years of working with people so that they may recognize their purpose and right work is that it is not a matter of one project, passion, or job; rather, it is a way of being, a talent, a unique attribute you have that cannot be repeated by anyone, because no one else can be you. And that quality or strength expressed through you can fit into a myriad of job descriptions.

Ultimately, it is not what you do that will make you happy but how you feel when you are doing it. Who it allows you to be is the secret to the joy.

Chances are, there is a theme that has followed you throughout your life and through different jobs. Until it is discovered, named, and brought into your awareness, it will never register with you as being important. When you identify it, name it, and see how it has always been a part of you, you will have confirmation that you are supposed to amplify that part of yourself and allow it to be the criterion for your choice of work.

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Posted on March 2nd, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen

Foodie Friday – From Italy with Love

From Italy with Love…

TGIFF! Thank God, it’s Foodie Friday! What better way to gear up for the weekend then to talk about food? OK, so I’ll admit it: As a chef and certified foodie, I consider any day a good day to talk food. That said, we decided to give it a special focus every Friday, so hopefully you’ll join me and my fellow Kripalu foodies as we share our love of all things edible.

For me, the wonder of food really blossoms through the individual people who enter into relationships with it, from farmers to cooks to the diners whose senses are filled with foods’ amazing smells, sights, and tastes. Through these relationships, we can reap the benefits of not only physical health, but also of deep joy and connectedness.

I was reminded of this last weekend during a visit with my oldest daughter, Rhea, who is a sophomore at Union College. Rhea is lucky to be living in a big house on campus with a wonderfully large kitchen. Since I only had a few hours to be with her, I wanted to make the most of it. What better way to connect and say I love you than by cooking together? We would be doing something we love to do, plus making enough for her boyfriend, Charlie, and her best friend, Ilyena, to enjoy. (I was also heading off to a potluck that evening so I decided to do a bit of double duty and prep for that as well.) Hmmm… what to make that was healthful, comfort food? My choice was obvious, one of Rhea’s favorites: Butternut Squash Lasagna!

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Posted on March 1st, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Meditation, Nutrition

How to Deal with Stress

Taking charge of your stress means taking a holistic view of your health.

Jane, a 45-year-old holistic health worker from Rhode Island, was having trouble dealing with stress—stress about deadlines, stress about her workload, stress about being newly single after the end of a long-term relationship. She also carried a weightier worry about the innumerable things she felt she couldn’t control. “My sense of not knowing—of not having answers to some of my questions about my future—was especially stressful, because I wasn’t sure how to address something that intangible,” Jane says.

She’s hardly alone. Susan B. Lord, MD, who teaches Kripalu’s popular Healthy Living immersion program called Transforming Stress, sees dozens of men and women who come to her program with concerns about their levels of stress. Some people, like Jane, are looking for ways to free themselves from anxieties, while others are seeking solutions to stress that causes emotional anguish as well as serious physical health concerns.

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Posted on February 29th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Medical Insights, Nutrition

The End of Illness?

Alyssa Giacobbe, Guest Blogger

In his new book, The End of Illness, California oncologist Dr. David Agus argues for an immediate shift in the way we view healthcare. Americans are losing the war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other major illnesses, he writes, and standard Western treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and pharmaceuticals are both misdirected and way too late. Instead, we should be aiming to prevent disease from occurring in the first place. “We have become a country that treats disease but does not prevent it,” he recently told The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. “Cancer is not from without. It’s from within… [Mine] is a whole different way of thinking about health.”

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Posted on February 28th, 2012 by in Ask the Expert, Meditation

Ask the Expert: Sitting in Stillness–Mantras, Metta, and Meditation

In this edition of Ask the Expert, meditation teacher and senior Kripalu faculty member Bhavani Lorraine Nelson answers questions from readers like you.

My mind races when I sit. Can mantras help?

The reason I cover five or six different techniques in my Introduction to Meditation program is because not every type of meditation is effective for everyone. Some people thrive on simply sitting with the breath; for others, the breath is very ephemeral, so the mind has free rein to wander. Some concentration practices can be more engaging for the mind and help it to quiet down. Mantra is one of those—it can be helpful for people who find it difficult to sit simply with the breath.

Recent scientific research on mantra practice shows that it is very soothing to the nervous system because of the repetition. Setting an intention when repeating a mantra adds to the power of the practice. There are different mantras for different goals; practitioners can create a “family” of mantras to use at specific times and for specific purposes. It’s important, though, to have a primary mantra, just as you have a primary yoga practice. To find one, you might start with Thomas Ashley-Farrand’s book Healing Mantras. Choose a mantra that you’re drawn to and can imagine wanting to repeat often.

Is it “cheating” to visualize pretty patterns and concentrate on those, to stop “thinking”?

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Posted on February 27th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Yoga

Welcome to the Kripalu Blog!

Welcome to Thrive, the Kripalu blog! We are thrilled to launch this blog to serve the Kripalu community with posts that are informational, educational, and, we hope, inspirational. We chose the name Thrive since it’s a cornerstone of the Kripalu mission: encouraging people to prosper and grow. We also like how the word evokes a sense of awakening, transformation, and renewal—concepts at the heart of the Kripalu approach.

In keeping with Kripalu’s goal to teach the art and science of yoga and healthful living, we’ve created Thrive as an extension of the Kripalu experience. We’ll be featuring some regular series, sharing stories with you—guests and readers—and keeping up with topics and trends in the worlds of yoga, health, conscious living, and wellness. But it’s really all about you. This blog is a platform for the Kripalu community to share ideas and experiences with our faculty, expert staff, and one another. Check back daily for stories, share your inspiration, and connect to new ways to thrive in your life.

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