By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids Correspondent
It seems like just yesterday my little girl’s travel fantasy revolved around a trip to Disney World. Now she’s a young adult and a certain black-eared mouse and assorted princesses have fallen out of favor. As a college graduation present, I offered her a weekend trip, just the two of us. Yes, I will admit that a gift of this sort was selfish, as spending time with my young adult daughter has become a rare commodity.
I was curious what destination Madeleine would choose. She has just turned 21, but she is not really an all-inclusive resort sort of girl. Big buffets and cocktails are not her thing. She is a health-conscious vegetarian who cares about living a sustainable lifestyle. She has been practicing yoga since childhood and recently became a certified yoga teacher, doing her training in Thailand.
Kripalu, a Wellness Retreat in The Berkshires
It didn’t come as shock when she asked to go to Kripalu, a wellness retreat in the beautiful Berkshires. I booked two days of their signature R&R Retreat. It offers guests a flexible program with the opportunity to practice as much or as little yoga as desired. The package included a simple room with two cozy beds and a private bath. There are no televisions at Kripalu, but there was Wi-Fi in our room. Multiple daily yoga classes, workshops and the use of their amenities such as the sauna, hiking trials, lakeside activities in season and three locally sourced meals daily are included in the modest rates.
Madeleine and I arrived in the early afternoon. It was a gorgeous fall day, so we hit the well-marked trails and explored the sparkling lake. Our first yoga class started at 4:15p.m. There were several levels offered. Madeleine headed for a more advanced class while I thought I’d start with a gentle mixed-level class. We met up after our respective classes and headed straight for the dining room for our evening meal.
After dinner, we chose a soothing rest and unwind yoga class that was just as the name promised.
A Typical Day At Kripalu
I woke up for the 6:30 a.m. sunrise yoga class, but Madeleine was still sound asleep.
After my class, we met for breakfast. Breakfast at Kripalu is a silent meal. Staying quiet is not exactly my specialty, but Maddie had eaten many silent meals during her yoga training in Thailand, so she was a pro. Our day included options such as a workshop on Muscle, Fascia and Yoga, a Vinyasa yoga class, a guided hike and my favorite, Kripalu YogaDance. About fifty of us danced with the abandonment of a class of kindergarten kids as our teacher/DJ played a variety of uplifting music. I think Madeline would have been embarrassed watching me shake it, but I felt full of joy, swaying to the beat with a group of strangers who quickly seemed like friends.
I stuck with the gentle yoga class during our stay, taking 2 classes each day, while Maddie hit the more challenging classes and went to most of the workshops. This provided us with just the right amount of togetherness and independence.
Couples, singles and groups of friends are all welcome. I noticed many individual vacationers and Kripalu struck me as very comfortable place to come to on your own. People are friendly, but there is no pressure to socialize.
Hiking and yoga had awakened our appetites. The daily dinner buffet was loaded with healthy meat and meatless options. Produce and milk are sourced from nearby farms. There were hot entrees, a bountiful salad bar, homemade bread and even a peanut butter brownie for dessert one night. Lunch also presented copious amounts of salubrious fare. I was thrilled that breakfast included coffee, essential to get this 50-year-old body started each day.
We enjoyed our time at Kripalu, but what really surprised me was the lasting effect of my 48-hour visit. I felt better than I had in years and the feeling wasn’t fleeting. Kripalu is a retreat that would serve the devoted yogi as well as the average, open-minded vacationer like myself. Madeleine and I can’t wait to return.