Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Kripalu exists in a bit of a time warp.
If you've lived at Kripalu, you know what I mean, but for the rest of you, let me try to explain.
Being at Kripalu is a bit like being in a pressure cooker. The amount of things that happen, emotions you go through, experiences you engage in and things you learn in a 4-month volunteer stint could easily fill a year in "the real world".
It feels like so much gets packed into each day that it must have been more than a day. If someone goes away for the weekend, they're welcomed back as if they were gone for a week "Hey, good to see you! I feel like it's been forever! You missed so much!"
This is especially apparent in relationships; friendships formed feel like they've existed for years, and romantic relationships are thrust into deep realms on an accelerated timeline. When calculating how long a couple has been "together" it's not uncommon to say "well, it's been two months, so in Kripalu Time that's like half a year".
Part of it is living together, part of it is the intense focus on self-inquiry and awareness here and part of it is just the energy of the place.
It may seem like I'm saying time passes really slowly here, but paradoxically it feels like the opposite. I can hardly believe a year had passed since I first arrived. A few weeks ago, we had a lot of volunteers from the Jan-May term come back to visit. They came back and it felt like they had never left. In part I think that after sharing this intense experience, we have the kind of bond that can be picked up after any length of time without feeling like a moment has elapsed, but another part again is the subtle but pervasive energy of Kripalu... the time warp.
For me, even the time before Kripalu becomes less significant, so that differences in age don't separate members of the community as they might in other places. Not everyone would agree with me on this one, but it feels like Kripalutime levels the age gaps, as we're all just people working on our process and walking our paths. The lens of yoga allows us to see we're looking at the same things, perhaps from a different turn on the expanding spiral of life, but we're gazing in the same direction.
The Kripalu labyrinth is a wonderful place to lose track of time...
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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.
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.