It’s funny how this whole triathlon lifestyle takes on a life of its own. While preparing for my pursuit of triathlon goals, I decided that improving my running technique was something I really needed to look into in order to be successful. Not only for improving my running performance, but also to be able to do it for extended amounts of time with incurring injury. This led me to Chirunning. I had read the book and watched the video, but when I heard about a workshop being held up at at Kripalu in Massachusetts I had to attend. Little did I know that Kripalu, was a place that my wife had dreamed of going to. She had never thought she would be going there with me. The Chirunning workshop was great, which you can read about in a previous post, but it also provided me an introduction into the heart of what Kripalu is about. I have always thought of yoga as something women do similar to an aerobics class, but what I learned is that is much more than that. Upon leaving Kripalu for the first time I found myself feeling a sense of being refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired. So now I decided I needed to go back again and experience Kripalu for Kripalu’s sake.
We typically take a vacation to the Adirondacks in the Fall every year so this year we decided to prelude it with a weekend at Kripalu taking their Retreat and Renewal program. The program allows you to do as much or as little as you want to do. Kind of design your own program. They offer different levels of yoga classes throughout the day and also other workshop classes for different ways of living a healthly life. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and after getting checked in we attended one of their Gentle Yoga Classes. These are fairly mellow and a good place to start if you are a beginner. I highly recommend these for the early morning class if you are one that likes to ease into your day. I did start to feel like I needed a little more of a challenge as the weekend went on and the Moderate class provided that. I found myself contorted in ways that my body was not accustomed to. My muscles were shaking and sweat drops were starting to litter my map. Hmmm…yoga is not quite the easy girly workout I had imagined. I left the moderate class feeling refreshed but also challenged to improve. I am never one to back down from a challenge.
In addition to the yoga classes, I had also attended some classes on Positional Therapy, a breathing class called Yoga and Vitality, Untangle Your Stress and an intro to Tai Chi. Positional Therapy is a method of self-healing that helps relieve aches and pains(even chronic) by releasing a muscle to allow it to “reset” itself. The instructor performed several techniques on people in the class as well as had each of us perform techniques on ourselves. It was rather opposite of where we typically would stretch a muscle that is causing us pain and put some slack back in it for a minute or so. The breathing class worked on taking and exhaling a full breath to totally stretch our internals to get the most oxygen possible. It was pretty invigorating and can definitely be used to energize yourself and relieve some stress.
The Untangle Your Stress class provided you with a list of different techniques to alleviate stress in your life. Some we actually demonstrated and others were just discussed. I felt like this class was typically a longer class because we rushed through much of it to get it all in in an hour. We were given a handout though to help review the things we talked about.
On Saturday afternoon, we decided to ditch the afternoon yoga and take a hike on one of the hiking trails on the campus. It was a nice hike and I was able to get a little photography in as well which is always a good thing. Towards the end of the hike, my wife started to fear that we were going to miss dinner so the pace started to quicken a bit. Fortunately dinner actually went a half hour longer than we thought so we were a little bummed when we realized we just rushed through the hike.
Prior to leaving we attended a Tai Chi class on the front lawn. I was always curious about this ancient Chinese martial art, mostly due to it being the foundation of the Chirunning techniques I had learned previously. The instructor was quite entertaining and she really made the class fun as well as easy to learn. The moves came very easy and I could definitely see the connection to Chirunning as well as how it could help you in many athletic pursuits.
One thing I forgot to mention was the food at Kripalu. How could I forget that??! Beside being extremely healthy it is amazingly good. It is served buffet style and you can eat until your stomach is ready to explode. I feel a little guilty doing that there since you are supposed to be a bit mindful there and not gorge your stomach as you usually do. It is hard not to.
Finally we packed up our stuff, enjoyed a final lunch and headed on our way to the Adirondacks for the remainder of our Fall vacation. And again we left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and inspired. We will be back again.