I'm so happy to be settling back in at home. Kripalu was perfect, life-changingly so, but home is where my people are and it's good to be together again.
Although I will tell you that the first thing one wants to do when they leave Kriaplu is put their next visit on the calendar... and that is just what I did! (November.)
As wonderful as it was to indulge in a private room with private bath, it really isn't the most common way to experience Kripalu and my purse strings could not accomodate that as a regular thing. With the aide of a wonderful discount offered on my next program, a $100 account credit due to a middle of the night false fire alarm (that I didn't even hear in my building, they kindly gave the credit to every single person staying there), and less indulgent, humble dormitory arrangements, I'm heading back in just a few months. So much living and learning and sharing to be done. In the coming weeks and months I'm sure this blog and my classes will be infused with all that I brought home with me.
In addition to twice daily yoga, hiking (Kripalu sits on over 300 acres), kirtan, labyrinth walking, vegetable gardening, wildflower meadow loving, meeting great people and enjoying amazing food (I photographed every single thing I ate), I participated in the Nutrition and Cooking Immersion. This was not a program for nutrition professionals, but the timing worked really well being summer and all so I went for it. Always a beginner.
On the first day I knew I had made the right decision. Aside from the expert (and holistic) teachings of Kathie Madonna Swift, one of the most accomplished integrative nutritionists in the country (oh, the notes I took!), and the hands on cooking skills shared by culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks, the class was also filled with students who reminded me of you, the students who take my classes. I hadn't anticipated this upon signing up, but what a happy surprise that it felt this way!
Those of you that I never get to meet in person, but travel alongside during Whole Food Kitchen or 30 Day Vegan, I thought of you as I got to know my fellow classmates at Kripalu. You ask the same brilliant questions, share similar concerns and healing changes, adopt likewise practical kitchen wisdom... it's like I was meeting you in person last week. Except it was different, we asked one another deeper questions, then follow-up questions, we had one on one conversations, shared meals, cooked together side by side, unrolled our yoga mats next to one another. (Oh, how I wish we could do that too!) It was an unexpected gift, to feel a connection to every person I've worked with from around the world, right there in my Kripalu classroom of 32 people. Perfect in every way, that dynamic may have been the most profound learning experience for me all week.
There was plenty of time and space to think, plan, dream and imagine. New ideas were born and others peacefully put to rest for the time being. One of the the imaginings that took place was the possibility of a biannual offering of Whole Food Kitchen. Originally, I didn't think it was possible given that it is a three month workshop and to run it twice would mean six months out of the year just on that one class. I have other offerings in the works and committing half the calendar to one class would not allow me to explore many of those. But I hear your requests for another workshop, one time slot just doesn't work for every person! After careful consideration, and without reducing a bit of content, I have consolidated Whole Food Kitchen into an eight week program and will open registration soon for an autumn 2012 class! Like winter, autumn is also a perfect time to connect more deeply with our kitchens and food lifestyle. Workshop participant binders are going to be huge - as even more topics will be covered this time. I love that I have the opportunity to enhance and expand material with each run of a workshop. Such a treat for me.
The opening of registration will also coincide with the release of my first ebook, Mealtime Salads, in mid-August. In addition to offering the ever so fun "Bring a Friend" (two for one) enrollment during the first week of registration, those who register for Whole Food Kitchen during that time will also receive a free copy of Mealtime Salads. Fun!
Bottom left, Dr. Mark Hyman stopped in for a chat one morning.
It was wonderful to get away, to immerse myself in work and play that I love. To be inspired and find clarity, to connect with beautiful people and deeply miss my own. To be reminded that the present moment holds all the truth I will ever know.
Throughout the hallways of Kripalu hang framed photographs with quotations and messages from students, donors, and employees. Words are shared, the kind that can only be expressed by those who intimately know this magical place. One in particular struck me last week. A man named Jack, well into his retirement years, fondly shared his love for working at Kripalu. Jack recalls leaving his professional life and heading south to retire and play golf, as many retirees do. After a short time doing so he realized how utterly boring that felt to him, he packed up and headed back north to at least be closer to family. To keep busy, he found a part-time job as "greeter" at the Kripalu cafeteria and his warm presence became a mainstay for visiting yogis and seekers. Jack fell in love with his job, and perhaps more importantly, he fell in love with the people he greeted each day. He said, "I have found the most fascinating people in the world, they are here at Kripalu...". Oh, I know this can be said about many beautiful gathering places on earth, but last week I too believed Jack's words to be true.
Yes, I'm happy to be home, I'm also grateful to be visiting Kripalu again soon.