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Five years ago on this day, I am “trying hard to be yogic but failing.” Low energy. Feeling pathetic.

We started the morning with a round-robin sadhana, and I had no desire to be up there on that platform. I’m a teacher-in-training who’s afraid to teach. I try to be happy for my classmates but instead I envy their ambition and motivation. I am lowwwwww. I didn’t get to impress myself or others. I could have done it if I went up there, but I didn’t go up and I didn’t even try.

Yesterday, Atma talked to us about Swami Kripalu and the deep history of this place.

The session started off kind of weird, with Atma attempting to play the harmonium and chant, except she had trouble both playing and singing. The whole ordeal was very awkward. She then talked about being part of the initial Kripalu ashram, bowing to Swami Kripalu and Amrit Desai, choosing her guru over her mother, and not understanding one-on-one relationships and marriage. However, I did pick up two things: “Community is stronger than willpower” and the fact that we are part of the Kripalu lineage, a deep mystical past (Shiva > Swami Kripalu’s teacher, supposedly a reincarnate of Lord Shiva > Swami Kripalu himself > Amrit Desai > Megha/Rudy > us). Wow! What a cool thought.


Heard at Kripalu:

“She kept telling us to engage our perineum. I had no idea what it was or where to find it. Was it in me heart or somewhere else?!” ~Classmate Y (who’s Irish), on Angela Farmer’s class.

Roger: “Don’t worry, you’re all in the same boat.”

L: “In the same NAVASANA??”

LS (pretending to be impressed): “Oh wow, you speak Sanskrit?!”.


I felt so crappy this morning after that round robin. So full of doubt, so disappointed. I didn’t even rise to the challenge. I went into the morning session pretty bummed out, even when I walked into Shadowbrook and heard Sarah McLachlan’s beautiful rendition of “Rainbow Connection” playing. Dance music, lyrical dance music, graceful lyrical movement. It was so touching, but I wasn’t even there. I felt so low, like I’d been hit with a ton of bricks. I couldn’t even sing the student-teacher chant, and my Oms were pathetic.

But the mood lightened because we all got to put on theatrical skits about our experience here thus far, which were SO NEEDED and SO HILARIOUS. Skits about “roll up your mats, get cushions, put everything away, get everything out, relax, breathe, triangle, eat consciously for 5 minutes.” M and E did a fabulous Rudy and Megha impression, and others did a great job emphasizing the challenges here about relaxing, breathing, releasing, grounding, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bathroom breaks, etc. We all laughed hysterically, and for a Friday it was a very much-needed release. I laughed so hard my cheeks and chest hurt.


The day didn’t get much better, though. Posture clinic in downdog, and I was not there. I kept breaking out into mini tear sessions while learning about downdog. Practicing the dog tilt prep was really hard because my heart was so open and exposed. It actually hurt. It was maddening at what I had been reduced to.

We ended the posture clinic by an a cappella chanting of So Hum Shivo Hum, which was just so stirring, so soft, but so magnificent. It put me at ease for a few moments.


Cried to Bryan during lunch, then went for a walk outside as it began to snow. It snows all the time here–never enough to stick (not yet), but there’s usually light flakes falling around the clock. Maybe just for 10 minutes, maybe for an hour.


Our afternoon session was another anatomy and physiology class with Peggy, during which we stuck stickers all over our 22 major muscles. D and I were partners and were both ridiculously exhausted and unenthusiastic. Peggy wrapped cold spaghetti noodles in Saran wrap to demonstrate muscles and how they work. The skeleton fell off its stand and collapsed in her arms. We went into savasana as Peggy recited the names of our muscles.


Afternoon sadhana was with Roger, and we worked extensively with the bandhas, especially during kapalabhati and bhastrika pranayama. Wow–what a natural high! I could feel my chest light up with warmth and fire. Slowly, my foul mood began to lift. We did a lot of core work, intense stuff that actually raised my spirits. I did savasana in meditation-mode and felt pretty good afterward.


It’s Friday, so K, D, K, and I ate together, stuffing ourselves and discussing the Real World, wondering if we should extend our stays here to take some time to digest our 4 weeks of learning and have some time to ourselves. We lingered in the dining hall till almost 8, after which I called the Real World–[my yoga teacher from home]–for almost an hour. I did most of the talking, but it felt good to expel some of these Kripalu confusions. But after an hour of talking to the Real World, I emerged from the phonebooth feeling very out of place, like I had left Kripalu for an hour and just returned. It was strange; I felt like I had just returned to my childhood home, kind of awkward but so grateful to be back. I returned to the dorm, where a few of us chatted till 10, discussing Ayurveda, our Kripalu non-epiphanies, and the possibility of getting group yoga teacher tattoos. I went to bed late–11 p.m.!

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

Blog Mission:
SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

EXPAND my network of like-minded individuals,

FULFILL my desire to work with words in a more creative and community-building capacity;

FLOW and GROW with the world around me!



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