Samantha Cullen Human beings have been telling stories since the dawn of civilization—sharing our own or listening to another’s. We love to get lost in stories: Through a film, a book, or a play, we’re drawn into the lives of characters whose heartbreaks and triumphs reflect our own. As a kid, I loved to watch […]
Kripalu contributors share a transformational experience in their lives that made them realize they needed to change.
A Kripalu volunteer practices being in the moment. I’ve never felt so serene and relaxed as I did the first time I came to Kripalu, for an R&R retreat. I felt at peace in a way I hadn’t for a very long time. While I was there, something pertaining to the Volunteer Program kept presenting […]
by Carly Sachs, guest blogger
I remember shyly asking my classmates to take off their shoes, the school linoleum cold on our feet as we teetered and crashed into our desks and each other. The assignment for Ms. Rotar’s seventh-grade English class was to give a how-to speech. I had decided I wanted to teach my class to do yoga, despite the fact that I had never actually done yoga. So armed with my books from the public library, I taught my fellow students how to do Tree pose, Vrksasana.
Why I was so determined to do yoga still confounds me. I’d heard about yoga for the first time in the course catalog of my local Jewish Community Center under the classes for seniors, and soon after my seventh-grade speech, I asked my mom to sign me up.
The other day at the end of a vinyasa yoga class I did my usual thing of plopping down and gearing up for Savasana with no blanket or sweater to get warm and cozy. Being in a large, chilly room, I sensed that I might need extra warmth but paid no mind. The teacher, Andrew, prompted us to “Take this time to allow the hard work to land, and nurture your self in resting pose.” Upon hitting the deck and doing my utmost to actually get comfortable—doing a brief body scan to relax myself—I lay there wondering why my need to be self-sufficient had, yet again, left me bare-skinned and frigid, trying to relax my shivering bones into Corpse pose.
Being somewhat small in stature, and a good-natured vata/pitta, my tendency is to be high energy and cold most of the time. Andrew started to walk around the room, his soothing voice gently guiding the group into a restful state, and asked anyone who might want a blanket to raise their hand. I pondered his offer and observed myself as I refused to raise my hand, even though I was chilly and unable to settle comfortably into Savasana.
I grew up with TV. I don’t know how old I was when I started watching, but I remember spending a lot of time with Kermit and Fonzie and Jack, Chrissy, and Janet. I remember being ushered to bed after Walter Cronkite shared his mantra, “That’s the way it is.” I didn’t know it as I was growing up, but this ubiquitous watching was embedding a sedentary pattern into my body, mind, and spirit. My parents would always encourage me to “get out” and get away from the screen, and I did this during the day, but I still probably ended up being exposed to two to three hours of TV daily from the ages of 1 to 12. I estimate that I ingested about 5,000 hours of television before hitting puberty.
When I was in high school, I was friends with people who were outdoorsy. Some talked about taking a bike trip in Maine, others of an adventure at sea, and others still of a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) trip to learn how to rock climb. As I saw photos of their epic adventures, which included cute boys; sun-kissed, wind-blown faces; and bright eyes on a monumental journey, my call to the wild began to take hold. At age 16, I applied to attend a mountaineering course in Montana with Outward Bound. I trained for a couple of months before the trip. I’d been smoking cigarettes so I figured swimming would be a good training sport (yeah, real smart). I swam like nobody’s business, but it in no way prepared me for 14 days of hiking that entailed traversing 110 miles of rocky, barren terrain. When I spent the first day trudging up a slope of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness with tears streaming down my face and a 60-pound pack on my back, huffing and puffing the whole way, I knew I was in for a rough ride.
Tresca Weinstein, Guest Blogger I stared into the eyes of the guru, set deep within his lean brown face. I saw no particular warmth there, nor any impatience—though I had been near the end of the long line of people he was scheduled to meet with that day. Did he never tire of hearing about […]
I’ve had wake-up moments in my life that would imply that I was in some manner asleep. Sharing these moments with those I love is helpful in conveying an existence beyond the small world of my teenagers, who delight in knowing the imperfections in their mother. As Wavy Gravy said, we are all bozos on the same bus together. Here goes, my top four wake-up calls:
1. Age eight: I was told by the nuns in catechism school that I, as a girl, could never be a priest. This broke my heart. I decided that church was not the place for me. Any place that does not honor you is not the place for you.
2. Age 20-something: the man I loved shoving me on New Year’s Eve after badgering me about the hundred ways in which I was wrong… in his mind. The next day, I woke up, packed my bags, and left that guy. Any partner who doesn’t see you as manna from heaven is wrong. (That’s a mashup of David Whyte. Here’s Whyte’s original: “…you must learn one thing: the world was made to be free in… anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”