Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Day Off in the Life of a Kripalu Volunteer

So I've taken you through A Day in the Life of a Volunteer at work, but how about days off?

There are plenty of things to do in and out of the building at Kripalu, as well as of course many road trips to go on including Boston, NYC, Philly, Canada, and even little sojourns into the cute towns surrounding Kripalu like Lenox & Stockbridge.

Lets start in the building: On any given day, there are several different levels of yoga classes at 6:30am, 12noon, and 4:15pm, sometimes even 5:15pm too, sometimes as many as 12 classes in a day from gentle to vigorous. In addition to yoga, there's yogadance, a big free-flowing dance party that is varyingly structured depending on who is teaching.

The best day to go is Saturday because there is live drumming!

There are also workshops throughout the day on various topics like chakras, nutrition, ayurveda, breathwork, and journaling.

In the evening there is always an event, Monday: drum circle, Tuesday: cooking demo, Wednesday: Kirtan (devotional singing), Thursday: movie, Friday: varies - sometimes dancing or Nia, Saturday: concert, and Sunday: meditation. There are also "samplers" which are mini-programs given by outside presenters who are teaching at Kripalu and want to give people a taste of what their weekend or week-long program is like. These can be lectures, experiences or performances.

The above activities are part of R&R (rest & relaxation) and are open to all Kripalu guests, staff and volunteers. In addition to that (are you starting to see why I don't call/e-mail back when I say I will? There's so much to do!) there is "the Flow" which is a schedule of events just for the volunteers and includes volunteer-led yoga classes, meditations, lectures, sports games, study/discussion groups, craft nights and anything else we can come up with as well as the mandatory volunteer events Community Sangha and Off the Mat.

Sangha is a gathering the community (two meeting for half the group each time) for activites that usually inlclude meditation and group sharing. Personal sharing about how we feel and what we're working on is a big part of being a volunteer at Kripalu and community sangha included classes on conscious communication, one of the cornerstones of Kripalu's community philosophy. Off the Mat is a weekly class about different aspects of yoga such as philosophy, psychology, as well as different breathing practices or physical postures taught by Kripalu teachers.

Okay, so that's just inside, once you venture outside (because why would you be inside when you could be outside?) there is the lake to swim or paddle in and the beautiful grounds and hiking trails to wander or meditate in.

Take that one step further and there are plenty of places to go outside the grounds...restaurants or bars (yes we still go out sometimes), concerts and cultural events, and of course road trips - but I'll save more on that for the next post.

Really, the most important aspect of being a Kripalu volunteer is the relationships that you form, so my favorite activity (and where a good bit of my time goes) is just sitting with friends in silence, or discussing life and yoga at one of the many beautiful spots on the property. For example, "the spot":

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