R & R Retreat Kripalu Yoga & Health Center; my review

View from my room; 6th floor Annex building

Many experiences can be described as life changing, but this particular healing journey that I encountered transformed my whole self while also giving me the opportunity to prioritize my life intensions.  I am forever changed and grateful for the empowering guidance the dedicated staff at Kripalu Yoga and Health Center gave to me.

As I arrived from my fast-paced life in NYC for my R & R Retreat at Kripalu, on a gorgeous September day, and made my way down their long, breathtaking entranceway, I was a bit nervous. Would I fit in? I practice yoga and work hard at living a healthy lifestyle, but I had never visited a wellness center of this magnitude or with such a clear mission.

Kripalu’s Mission Statement  “To empower people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga.”

As soon as I entered the Kripalu, all of my nervousness disappeared. There was an immediate sense of calm, smiles from everyone that I passed and was greeted warmly at the reservation desk. I was lucky enough to be staying in the newer Annex Building; a carefully constructed environmentally thoughtful living space with gorgeous views and a private bath.

My room at Kripalu in their Annex building with private bath.

After getting unpacked, I took some time to become familiar with my surroundings and to review the daily schedule.  One of the many benefits of the R & R Retreat is that you can make it your own by deciding how you want to spend your time. Among other things, you can take a yoga class; which is offered for all ages and abilities, attend an introspective workshop, go for a guided hike or just take in the tranquil surroundings.

I attended a late afternoon intermediate yoga class that still makes me smile when I think of it. This practice was full of yoga poses that enabled me to release stress, relax and feel at home at Kripalu immediately.  The class included a stretch and meditation sequence that allowed me to let go, be present and embrace this tremendous experience.  And if you can’t make it to a yoga class in person, they offer Kripalu yoga videos online.

After my invigorating yoga practice, I was ready for dinner and excited to sample the all natural cuisine prepared by Kripalu’s Executive Chef Jeremy Rock Smith and I was not disappointed. Every meal is carefully and thoughtfully created with only the healthiest ingredients along with incredible flavor. Improving digestion is a priority at Kripalu and with just that one meal, my insides already felt better.

After allowing my dinner to digest, I attended a workshop called “Love is Our Soul Purpose”.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the interactive conversation opened my eyes to concepts and ideas I had never considered before.  It also enabled me to meet others as we discussed the subject at hand.  It was therapeutic in many ways for all of us.

Entranceway to Kripalu; absolutely gorgeous!

Day two started with a delicious healthful breakfast, also known as the “silent breakfast”; which occurs daily at Kripalu.  The silence enables you to commence the day with mindfulness so that you can focus on your food, chew one bite at a time, appreciate the taste and flavor while setting your intention for the day. There are numerous foods to choose from to fit everybody’s needs at every meal, but I especially enjoyed the incredible selection of seeded whole grain breads.

Next was a guided kayaking tour of the gorgeous pristine Lake Mahkeenac.  This was a memorable experience for sure as 12 of us were carefully instructed and guided through glass-like calm waters on a crispy Autumn morning.  With each row of my paddle and breath of fresh air, I felt completely relaxed and at peace.  We all made our way to the lily pads where we joined together for group meditation, it was magical.

After walking up the rolling steep hill fronting the main Kripalu building, I had worked up quite an appetite for lunch and couldn’t wait to see what was on the menu.  Not only did I have two helpings of their fabulous salad bar, I was able to sit and reconnect with a few of the ladies from the workshop the night before.  We opened up and shared so much with each other about our lives, like we’d been friends for years, it was simply amazing.

Whether just walking down the hallway smiling at those I passed, enjoying a special class or eating a thoughtfully created healthy meal, everything that I encounted at Kripalu made me feel better than before I had arrived, physically and mentally.  The R & R Retreat that I experienced at Kripalu Yoga and Health Center is one that I will never forget.


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