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Five years ago on this day, Roger leads his final class for our group. Even at 6:30 a.m., he is an adorable goofball, making jokes about teaching a class of gay men and telling them to find their dristi, or “gaze point” (gays point) during balancing poses. Fire hydrants, side leg lifts, and 5-minute long utkatasana followed, with much loving commotion, groaning, and screaming, “And now take the next 30 seconds to find and explore your own movement,” he tells us, adding, “There’s a little secret trick of the trade. It’s something you can say when you have no idea what to do next.” 🙂

***

It’s our first extraordinarily foggy morning. I can see nothing when I wake up, and even when I go outside at 8 a.m. after class, most of the mountains are hidden. I feel betrayed in a way, that nature is hiding my panorama, and how rude to do it so soon before we leave. The mountains are there, I know, they are real, they are living, they extend just beyond the soupy white cloud cover. For someone standing on the mountains, Kripalu is unseen, hidden. You can’t always see Kripalu, but you’ve seen it plenty of times, you know it’s there. Shielded, so seemingly distant, so out of hand’s reach…but there. Real. The clouds will be rolling over my eyes very soon now, but I know that when they clear, Kripalu and its people are always here.

***

We revisit our three atitham groups in the morning session, discussing our affirmation. Mine is “I am that I am,” So Hum Shivo Hum. We get crayons and large sheets of paper and sketch what our future look like.

***

Right before a walking meditation later in the morning, Megha presents us with two giant boxes of chocolates from Chocolate Springs, really beautiful, art-like creations. I take a dark chocolate square decorated with musical notes.

***

I go to DansKinetics during lunch because (a) I was tired of sitting all day and needed to move; and (b) I want to experience different DansKinetics teachers, see how they operate, in case I come back here for certification.

The teacher ended up being pretty lame and kind of boring–I think I had more energy than she did. But luckily the music was good, and that’s all I needed. I stayed until 12:40 and then ate lunch with a few of the girls from my class.

***

For the afternoon session, there is talk about advanced training and the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association. Lots of talk about sex and energy, with Rudy at the helm. Break for a dance party.

Rudy ends the session early by accident: “…and I just realized this class does not end at 3:45.” I check the notice boards and see that Megha is leading a Grace-in-Motion class this Saturday, 9:45 to 11:30. I see her in the hall and she says I’m welcome to join the session. I am overly grateful I extended my stay.

***

Afternoon sadhana with Micah, who greets us by saying, “It’s an honor to be in the presence of so many great teachers.” !!!

Micah!

And holy f***ing crap, his class blows my mind! I started the class feeling pretty exhausted, but now it’s quite different. His presence, his voice, his intensity…I got totally absorbed in the practice, especially in kapotasana, especially my left hip. I sunk into the pose, and then some, going into Stage 2-3, completely enraptured with the deep stretch, wanting to hold it forever. I got hot, deep, aaahhhh. And then we did Camel, yoga mudra. After that, the rest of the class was bliss. Micah’s voice, the mood lighting, the music. I melted into supta matsyendrasana, fluttered into savasana with hesitation. During closing meditation, I envisioned a Sharpie marker drawing an atomic bomb explosion, a mushroom cloud. Very disturbing! During our enchanting continuous Om, I saw a billion little whitish-gray stars fall against a black background. It lasted for a few seconds after everyone’s Jai Bhagwan, and then I left Shadowbrook completely on fire.

***

Rosemary biscuits for both lunch and dinner. Oh god, so heavenly.

***

The day ends with a DVD of Vidya talking about being a teacher, which keeps blipping and skipping. However, it was still inspiring, despite the part about not being “self-employed” but rather “God-employed.” Hmph. Despite that, I appreciated all the talk about how great teachers are, what the world would be like without them. What would your life be like without your yoga teacher?

***

M. and I stay in the room afterward to practice our celebration party dance, sans E., who dropped out due to illness. No more parading around in our bras, exposing our Buddha bellies. After nailing our routine, we stay longer just to dance…to trance music, to Simon and Garfunkel, Coldplay…how awesome. The two of us just going inside ourselves, music blaring, dancing our assess off in front of Shiva. We both talk about the pure ecstasy of having such a giant, empty, expansive space in which to dance.

Five years ago on this day, I woke up at 7 a.m. for my second free Saturday at Kripalu. There are so many R+R people here, so many workshop attendees. The place is supposedly booked this weekend. Dinner last night was maddening, so loud. But it’s good to have this outside energy here every now and then–a little taste of culture shock in bits and pieces.

Angela Farmer is here now. She is so regal, so graceful. She has perfect posture and perfect grace. I almost feel like bowing in her presence.

The beautiful Ms. Farmer

***

M. and I talked about how deep the conversations are here, that we’ll be in the cafe and overhear discussions about addictions, recovery, therapy issues, relationship crises, Kripalu breakdowns–intense, emotional stuff. There’s no talk here about Paris Hilton’s latest shenanigans, Britney’s babies, the weather, no talk about superficial junk. Everything happens on a different level here. It’s a different planet, this Planet K.

***

DansKinetics today with Toni Bergens is another round of Awesome. It’s the live drumming, man, KDZ. I could just dance and dance on my own, even without a teacher. At one point I whipped out my hair band and claw and just let my mane flow like a wild woman, whipping it around like I was on drugs. I’m surprised I didn’t hurt my neck. We gradually sunk into the floor, and I moved gracefully into the ground, lullabied by the musicians and their natural chiming, tinkling sounds. DansKinetics is the true cultivator of prana.

***

J. and I go into town in her Prius. We drive into a shopping center, find Chocolate Springs. I inhale a cappuccino (woah, caffeine!) and chocolate chip cookie. One of the first things I did upon walking into the place was look for people’s nametags where there were none. I feel slightly awkward being in the Real World and appreciate arriving home again. I felt very vulnerable and fragile “out there.” It’s a beautiful, full moon evening.

Me and Mama J., my Chocolate Springs companion

***

I call my mom. She tells me everyone is nice here because it’s not the real world and just wait till I get home. And that is why I waited 2 weeks to call home.

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

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SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

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