First Time Visit To Kripalu-AMAZING!

At the start of the new year, I began to daydream about taking a wellness retreat. What better way to jump start my research into self-care than by exploring and reporting back on self-care myself? I also was inspired by the New Year's Resolution vibe of the times and felt like it was important to really capitalize on that idea. Now considering that it was mid-winter in New England, my first thought was to find something in a warmer climate. However, colleagues had told me about Kripalu and after doing some research, I was convinced I should take a visit.

First of all, Kripalu has a very thorough website. Check it out at It is located in Western Massachusetts, in the Berkshire mountains. I was able to search and study all their program offerings and become well acquainted with what to expect up on my arrival. I opted to call directly to book my stay because I had some questions, but there was a very easy to use online reservation system as well.

I packed up some comfortable clothes, some books, and a few journals. Also, some chocolate because I read online that sweets were few and far between. Like everyone else, I figured I could address some emotional-related things that I hadn't had the time to focus on and process during my busy life. Also, I really wanted to enhance my meditation and yoga practice. Many people struggle with quieting the mind and since I often suggest that clients add a few moments of meditation to their day, I figured I should model these practices as well.

On my drive to the Berkshires, I listened to some guided meditations to get myself in the mood. One of the people I found that I enjoyed is Michael J. Emery. He uses Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Ericksonian Hypnosis as the influence for his guided meditations. You can read more about his at or search for the meditations on Amazon Prime.

The ride was about 2 hours and I arrived at sunset. As I drove down the winding driveway, I was excited and thankful for what I already knew would be an amazing weekend of healing and growth.

The check-in process was smooth and I spent a few hours in my room settling in, listening to some relaxing music and writing a bit in my journal. This was the view from my room:

Over the new few days-I took several yoga classes of varying intensity, practiced meditation alone and in a group, learned about the yoga of yes, was introduced to Qi Gong, ate healthy foods, drank tea (AND NOT COFFEE!), found several great books for my professional library, wrote pages upon pages in my journal, made a bunch of practical lists (budgets, new years resolutions, schedules for my family, etc) read both fiction and nonfiction books, surprisingly loved silent breakfast, experienced Integrated Energy Therapy (IET), and lastly, fell in love with Yoga Dance.

Yoga Dance how I loved thee! What started off as a kind-of awkward, should I or shouldn't I group of people turned into a beautiful, rhythmic, primal group of dance machines! With the steady beat from the Kripalu drum circle and amazing guidance of the dance instructor, everyone was dancing up a storm for the whole hour. It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again. I've even been talking with a colleague about using her beautiful yoga space to bring Yoga Dance to Rhode Island. So keep posted, maybe it will happen!! I've got a good feeling about it.....

I left feeling refreshed, grounded, and inspired to maintain my yoga practice and other positive idea that I had gathered over the weekend. I even cried a bit on the way home! I felt like it was a breakup....but I will go back, oh yes, I will go back.

A few things that inspired me at Kripalu and directions I am interested in researching-Ayerveda, reiki and IET, meditation, consistent yoga practice, chakra healing, herbal medicine, trauma treatment, and Yoga Dance. Stay tuned as I gather more info on these and other methods of self-care!
Marisa Etting