A Pristine Start To Summer
Mid-June my family and I decided to visit Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. We went so my husband could learn more in depth study of yoga. I went to refresh my soul and bond with my daughter. My husband was tired of long days at work, I was happy to be ending my 2 year position in the school system, and my daughter was throughly ready to spend quality time with each of us. Once packed we hit the road already exhausted.
We took the trip slowly and stopped in Chautauqua, New York for a day to enjoy the lake front breeze, crisp air, and beautiful sunsets. We were honestly so out of tune with the natural beauty all around us we took 2 hours to transition from feelings of “grumpy” to a feeling of “calm”. However, once we were at ease it was smooth sailing. An ultimately non-glueten free meal (we are generally a gluten free family) of fresh baked pizza and ice cream, eaten while lakeside, made for the very best end to our first day of travel.
An early start the next day began with a quick trek to the Bemus Point playground. Our daughter was delighted and we were happy we could get her the chance to move a bit before the 6 hour drive to Kripalu. Little did we know the lake would turn quickly into a sea of fast food family-unfriendly food options as we crossed New York state via interstate 90. Several stops later and several more quick ice cream cones (milk is healthy right?) we entered Massachusetts ready to meet out accommodations.
We rented a cabin in Stockbridge, only seeing pictures from the internet before signing on as the renters for one week. Once we got close our eyes were filled with panoramas of green mountains and pristine yards of neighbors enjoying old time summer homes along the Stockbridge Bowl lake shores. Lucky for us, our cabin did us just right! Cute and cozy and filled with years of love from a history of summer family fun, the stage was set for a week of relaxing, bonding and rejuvinateing!
Gar had gotten an early start to his class the night we arrived and spent the next 4 days from 7 am to 9 pm at night going in and out of yoga nidra state. Although this state appears as deep sleep, he was tired by the end of each day and ready to cozy up in the cabin by 10 pm. My daughter and I had the days to spend exploring, something we both enjoy.
The first day we spent visiting the outdoor beauty of Kripalu. Huge willows provided a wonderful stage for hide and seek and huge trunks for tree hugs. The flower garden provided a path to meet and greet many wild flowers and interesting trees. New seedlings provided conversation as we walked back to Kripalu hall to enjoy our organic lunch! By the end of our first morning, I was refilled with inner warmth and my muscles began to relax and let me mind ease.
We took the afternoon to visit the quaint town of Lenox, just 1/2 mile down the street. We happened upon a bakery for a sweet treat enjoyed on the porch as French music played through the speakers above. G. played a game of “I’m going to eat it” as she ran back and forth between her pastry and the end of the deck. I took the time to enjoy my Birthday blueberry tart complete with pink box and white bow wrapping. We ended our walk with the purchase of warm and cozy sweatshirts.
The next day was just as dear to us as we found the Kripalu lake and met some of my husbands co-conferencers. Garriella and Kata from Hungary and Margot from Iceland. Wonderfully lovely souls open to share their insights on deepening their practice of yoga and glimpses of their lives in far off lands. Equally as amazing was the crystal clear lake water. I could walk out to my waist and still see my feet. It was the clearest that I have seen since visiting the Caribbean. It seemed to speak refreshment with each step I took. Pure bliss.
Getting into the rhythm of the week, it began a regular occurrence that we would eat with Gar in the cafe, so again we joined him for dinner on the second day of our stay. With the gluten free pancakes the best I have ever had, eating together as a family was an excellent choice to help keep us in touch as well as satisfy our taste buds. Rice milk, homemade teas, brown rice wraps, gluten free breaks and amazing culinary explorations are just a few of the menu items that helped my stomach smile from deep within. This was the experience of Yoga Eating for sure!
After dinner Grace and I would either read books and snuggle in the cabin or play in the Kripalu playroom. Both activities were greatly enjoyed by Grace and myself. The playroom itself was plain but in it’s simpleness quite exquisite. We played “mama” to little horses who needed mommies, we tickled the keys or a tiger shaped xliphone, and road in circle in the big read Radio Flyer wagon. As the night neared later evening we were sure to snuggle up with a book weather at the cabin or the playroom. Sometimes we read about baby whales, sometimes about wolves, and if we were really up to a fine time we read our book on manners, one of G’s favorites.
The following days drifted together in a relaxed haze with rain drops sprinkling our heads as we roamed between out wonderful cabin, the graces of Kripalu and the town of Lenox. We even happened upon the Berkshires Co-Op Market to get their very special offering of Vermont brewed Kambucha Tea. It was so potent I think I experienced a full detox from just one bottle, yet with comfort and ease. The market itself was oh so special with every organic item my mind could imagine!
As Gar’s conference wound down, I noted that he began to look a bit sad, and in asking him he reported that his bonding with so many wonderful people was indeed wonderful, it was in leaving them that was to be so hard. I encouraged him to get his good friends contacts and even proposed a trip to Iceland to catch up with friends in the year to come. Gar was thankful for the ideas and was glad to hear I understood his feelings. He offered that I take some time for myself in the bookstore and whirlpool room and to take advantage of the Yoga Dance classes at noon on our remaining days. I was quick to answer a spirited “yes” to his offerings!
Yoga Dance was the first luxuary I enjoyed. It was a heart centered class. We were encouraged to move our body and limbs as part of the outer world that radiated from pure expression at our heart center. Being moved by the rhythm and the spirit deep within I let loose and took up my space on the dance floor. It was as though I was a winged bird set free for the first time, that is outside of my own living room. Followed up by another amazing lunch, time at the bookstore and a trip to Lenox with Gar and G. I was in my element. The day ended with 30 minutes in the whirlpool and hot showers. My whole body had been restored.
We left the next day after another Yoga Dance and whirlpool adventure, as well as one last yummy Kripalu lunch. G. hugged each tree goodbye as we left and Gar made peace with his desire to stay in touch with his new made friends. We traveled back to Chitauqua for one more overnight before ending back in Pittsburgh late Sunday night. After unpacking only the essentials we all snuggled in for a long summer night sleep.