At the beginning of each year, I skip setting resolutions and make a list of things I’d like to experience. One of the biggies for 2017 was to spend a relaxing weekend of yoga at the Kirpalu Center in Stockbirdge, Ma.
Kripalu is a center for yoga and health with healing arts, classes and outdoor activities. You can visit for a day and get a massage or body treatment, or you can stay overnight and do a personal retreat (called Kripalu R+R retreat) or take part in a program.
Programs include topics like “Introduction to Trauma-Sensitive Yoga,” “An Ayurvedic Approach to Healing the Gut,” and “Chakra Immersion”.
An R+R retreat means you show up, get a list of activities planned for the day and you pick and choose your own activities. Activities include yoga, paddle boarding, yoga by the lake, guided meditations and hikes, cooking classes, etc. When you’re not in an activity, you can be a slug and do your own thing. There’s a lake with hammocks to lounge next to, a whirpool and sauna, options for massages and other healing arts. There are also plenty of places to curl up with a book and a cup of tea.
I went because I’ve always wanted to spend a weekend in a place like Kripalu. It’s a no-judgement zone. You don’t have to rush to anything. You show up, put on your best slug clothes (yoga pants, tees, comfy sweatshirts) and you can hang out and do whatever you want to do. I chose to do a lot of hiking and reading. It was exactly what I needed.
Tips for Traveling to Kripalu
Here are my tips if you’re considering visiting Kripalu with for a program or for an R+R:
|| Bring all of your slug clothes. I brought jeans and only one pair of yoga pants. Big mistake. Jeans are comfy, but not like yoga pants. Bring at least one pair of yoga pants or leggings for each day you’ll be there and a few comfy tops as well.
|| All of your meals are included in your stay. The food is mostly vegetarian with lots of vegan options. Most of the items I tried were tasty and filling. They do not serve wine 😐
|| It’s hot. I’m always cold and I found the center to be quite warm. Which reminds me…
|| If you’re planning to go, go in the fall, winter or spring. There is no air conditioning.
|| You will walk into the dorm room on arrival and be like “ugh, I don’t want to sleep that closely to people I don’t know”. But after a little while you’ll get over it. It’s like summer camp with plumbing.
|| There are options to stay in a private room, but I found the dorm room to be just fine. Nothing fancy, but I barely spent any time in my room other than sleeping. Save your money and spend it on a massage instead.
|| Bring a lanyard, small purse, or messenger bag to keep your room key with you. I brought a backpack and was constantly having to scrounge through it to find my room key. I also saw a lot of people with fanny packs. I’m not ready to go there yet.
|| Go by yourself. Sometimes traveling with a group can be stressful. I went alone and felt super awkward the first night at dinner when I had no one to talk to. But I quickly met people who I would not have spoken to if my friends or family were there with me. And because I was alone with no connections to other people there, I was never worried about meeting someone at a certain time. I just did my own thing on my own time and that was awesome.
|| An R+R retreat that lasts from Friday late afternoon/early evening to Sunday afternoon will run you about $350 if you stay in a dorm. You get dinner Friday night, three meals on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday. Plus unlimited yoga classes and activities. I could easily rack that up if I ate out at every meal and took 2-3 yoga classes over the course of a weekend at home. The $350 may seem steep but it’s all-inclusive.