A few weeks ago I made my second visit to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Mass. I slept in a spartan room, got up at the crack of dawn, ate organic whole foods and left feeling completely renewed.
I highly recommend it.
Kripalu is not a cult. There’s no pressure to join anything or believe anything. It’s a relaxing respite, from which you can take away what you want.
Me, I’m a journalist and a skeptic. I’m not really interested in chakras or the Brahma viharas, at least not yet. But I can’t deny the benefits I get from gentle yoga, meditation, a fabulously huge hot tub, healthful foods and a complete lack of stress. Throw in a top-notch deep massage, and I’ve found the antidote to what ails me.
The place is full of people of all ages and body shapes, but I found at both visits a predominance of middle-aged women. I fit right in. But I get the sense that everyone fits in.
The accommodations are not fancy. On the first visit I stayed in a 10-bed dormitory room. On the second, with the husband, we had a private room furnished with a bed, a dresser and a sink, without much room to spare. The (extremely clean) bathrooms were down the hall.
The meals are served cafeteria-style. They’re wholesome – mostly vegetables and whole grains – but not plain. There’s some creative use of spices in the kitchen. The husband was highly apprehensive about the food, but ended up enjoying it.
There are lots of programs on such topics as “Meditation and Everyday Life” and “OM Yoga and Meditation.” But so far I’ve just done the standard Retreat and Renewal package that allows access to all the facilities and many of the seminars and events at Kripalu.
So, if stress eating up your life, cut yourself a break and try it. (Arthur Frommer recommends it, too.)