Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Food, Foliage and Finding Balance at Kripalu Yoga Center

One of the most defining parts of my life as a single parent is that, realistically, I spend all my time taking care of others. There is no one else to do my dishes, to cook the food, to do the shopping or cleaning or decision making. To spend two days at the Kripalu Yoga Retreat Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, then, was a retreat in the best sense of the world. During those 48 hours I was completely and utterly transformed as I spent time in an incredibly beautiful place, eating delicious food without having to do a single dish. This was my second visit to Kripalu.  And so much of what I remembered was true. It is a peaceful and serene setting.  However, being there at the height of fall foliage was spectacular.  I was also lucky to be a part of a transformative Writing Workshop with one of my idols, Marge Piercy and her talented husband, Ira Wood.  The yoga classes were both energizing and healing.  Ironically, the food hadn’t been memorable on my past visit. Yet this time, I was struck by the utter deliciousness of all of it. I am not sure if the quality was better or if my tastes were changed, but I loved all of it. 
Each meal included warm breads and ample buffets filled with the most delicious vegetable preparations.  There were bowls of warming cauliflower soup, beautiful squash corn bread, huge platters of sautéed seasonal vegetables and a beautiful salad bar.  (There were meat choices as well, but I never made it beyond the veggies.)  I ate some meals in the “quiet room” and others perched outside, watching the clouds shift over the Berkshires.  I never felt overly full, but was completely satieted. Eating so little processed sugar, so little coffee and so many whole grains made my body shift.  There maple walnut scones were a perfect example of how healthier baked goods can still be delicious.
And, in fact, since my return, I have tried to continue to stick with tea, whole wheat pastry flour, whole grains and sugar substitutses, like agave nectar. 

I keep trying to figure out how to return to Kripalu. But, truth be told, the irony of Kripalu is that it isn’t cheap. I stayed in a dorm room with 5 other women. They were as quiet and respectful as one would want. Yet, for a bunk bed (along with 3 meals, access to the grounds and classes), for just one night is no less than $185.  So, Kripalu can not be a regular part of my routine.  But to know it is there is a blessing.

The Kripalu Yoga Retreat Center is in the Berkshires

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