I’m in deep immersion here at Kripalu Center in Western Massachussets. Nine solid days. This is the “Teaching Pranayama and Meditation" module for yoga teachers working toward their 500-hour professional certification.
We start at 6:15 and go till 9:00PM most nights. The “Kripalu approach” is to teach from the inside so we do intensive practices, particularly for the first half of the retreat before we move into practice teach. Each day, we do hours of yoga practice, intense breathing practices (pranayama) as well as a variety of core meditation techniques.
Two things make this training extraordinary. One is the power of community - skilled and dedicated practitioners who are really on for transformation. Another is this amazing setting.
The Berkshires were the playground of the ultra wealthy. The Kripalu property, in fact, was the site of the largest private residence in North America. For about a year, that is, until a neighbor built their summer home the next year, just a wee bit bigger.
The aftermath of this wealth is an area dedicated to culture and a nature. Half the county is preserved land. This is the home of Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony. You’ll also find the Shakespeare and Company, Jacob’s Pillow and a host of alternative communities.
Of all this, though, I think I like the middle of the lake best.