A retreat destination for your bucket list

If you are at all interested in yoga, health, personal growth and holistic living you should definitely add “a trip to Kripalu to your bucket list.

I came to this inspired place for the first time about five years ago. I was turing 40 and wanted to do something special. I was in seeking mode about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Miraculously the Kripalu catalogue appeared in my mailbox. I think this had more to do with my yoga journal subscription than divine intervention, but it felt pretty serendipitous at the time.

I scanned through the extensive catalogue with hundreds of program offerings. How could you choose? Every program spoke to me and the next intrigued me even more than the last. And then I found it. Unleash Your Calling: Create the Work & Life You Love. I couldn’t of dreamed of a more applicable workshop for me. It turns out I had the facilitator’s book on my book shelf but had never read it. I picked up This Time I Dance by Tama Kieves and devoured it that weekend.

With my flight and accommodations booked I was off. To a place I’d read about in books and dreamed of visiting but really didn’t think it would ever come true for me.

It was a transformational experience that changed the course of my life. The people I met, experiences I had, classes I took, all helped to open up my heart and tap into something deeper.

I’ve been back eight times now. It’s become my favourite retreat destination. I feel at home here. I’ve done trainings, workshops, retreats, dancing weekends. I’ve brought my mom, girlfriends and husband here. This summer I’m assisting my first program. We’re immersed in a week-long Nutrition Intensive for Health Professionals exploring the latest integrative whole-foods approaches to therapeutic nutrition.

I know I’ll be visiting Kriplau for many years to come. I hope you also get the chance to experience this calming, enlightening, inspiring retreat haven yourself. It really is worth it.

The highlights of a trip to Kripalu for me are:

The incredible whole foods – I always say I’m not going to over indulge when I come to Kripalu but it’s so hard. Dining is buffet style with many delicious healthy organic options to suit everyone’s needs. In addition to a buffet line, that offers all-natural poultry and fish products at some meals, there is an exclusively vegetarian line. Soups and extensive salad and sandwich bars are always available as is a smaller buffet called the Buddha Bar, which offers vegan, gluten-free, and very simply prepared dishes.

The programs – The Kriplau catalogue comes four times a year – winter, spring, summer and fall. Each time it’s packed with over 100 pages of programs, workshops. lectures, and trainings. Whether it’s a yoga workshop, healthy living program, or a keynote by a leading expert there is definitely something for everyone. Every day there are three levels of yoga classes in the morning, at lunch and late afternoon. Each noon hour offers some form of dance class. Evenings are filled with cooking demos, drum circles, kirtans, meditation sessions and other well-being programs all free for visitors.

The setting – Nestled among the Berkshire mountains in western Massachusetts, the Kripalu grounds and buildings are delightful and offer something different in every season. The campus is a former Jesuit seminary that sits on acres and acres of pristine grounds that overlook a beautiful lake and the peaks of the Berkshire mountains. Among the features are a mediation garden, labyrinth, hiking trails, panoramic front terrace, and a lake for swimming and boating in the summer. If being in nature is healing for you then the Kripalu grounds won’t disappoint.

Getting there from Halifax:

If there is anything unpleasant about the Kriplau experience it has to be getting there from Halifax. I’m not a great traveller to begin with. Love being at my destination, but its the getting to and from that drains me. And Kripalu is a hike.

Kripalu is about two hours northwest of Boston. I’ve tried just about every route possible to get there and the best for me is to fly into Logan Airport in Boston, rent a car and drive the two hours.

I’ve also flown into Boston and taken the Peter Pan bus, which is not as magical as it sounds and takes an additional five hours to the journey. I’ve flown to Toronto and then to Albany, New York then gotten a shuttle. I’m not one for teeny tiny planes, and this one almost didn’t make it. I’ve driven from Halifax a few times as well. The 13 hours car ride isn’t bad if you take a couple days each way and stop in Maine or New Hampshire for some shopping.

However you get there, whatever program you choose, the moment you land you know you are in for a transformational experience.


  1. Jane on December 1, 2016 at 12:54 am

    This was fun to read, Michelle. I went to Kripalu for my 70th birthday present to myself and couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve been back about 15 times since then. My favorite presenter is John Bagnulo. He inspires me to keep on my healthy eating journey, as do you! I’m looking forward to his next program on the first weekend in January. Won’t you come, too?

    • Michelle on December 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      That is awesome Jane. John is a good friend of ours. We just visited him in Vermont on our way home from Kripalu. Wish I could be there in January but have other travels plans at the end of the month. Enjoy. Say hi to John for me.

  2. Genevieve Kennedy on May 12, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Michelle, I JUST read that you have attended Kripalu, I went there many years ago with my Yoga coach and it was a journey in life I will never forget. It was awesome and I want to return again. Circumstances have happened but I still hope. The food, atmosphere and scenery are truly out of this World. Thanks for sharing !!

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