There are many ways to practice yoga. Seva, is one.
In 1997 I became a volunteer at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. I was offered room & board in return for my service. Mostly, I worked as a Faculty Assistant. Other times I was on the production team for the larger weekend conferences. Eventually, I became attached to the Inner Quest Intensive (IQI), Kripalu’s signature self-discovery program. For 10+ years I led the Kripalu hatha yoga practice and served as a Facilitator with this life-changing program.
Then in 2008 Kripalu’s governing body decided that faculty volunteers like myself were no longer needed and they began to remove us from the program rooms. It was a significant change for those who remember, and my time at Kripalu was greatly reduced. The few of us who were attached to specific master teachers/programs were allowed to continue and I was grateful. The IQI was offered three times a year and that would have to be enough seva at Kripalu.
In 2015, Kripalu cancelled the IQI and soon thereafter cancelled all other remaining volunteer opportunities. This decision signaled a significant course correction for Kripalu Center.
Aside from the yoga experience, knowledge, practice and karma points I gained over 15 years of service at Kripalu, what was so unexpectedly rewarding was the experience of living together with others on the same path, to be a part of a spiritual community where like-mind and like-spirit came together.
So, last December, when the days were short and the nights were long I responded to a call for volunteers at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Florida. In early March a call came and I have been invited to practice Seva there during the first weeks of May!
For those in the know, AYI was established by Amrit Desai, the guru who introduced Kripalu Yoga to the USA. This means that the practices, philosophy, and methodologies will be consistent with everything I have learned thus far and for that I am grateful, and so excited, and terrified too. And, he will be on the campus during my stay.
Florida is not as easy as driving to the Berkshires, and this pitta person hates hot weather, but I am honored and grateful to be invited to this campus to experience Gurudev’s wisdom for myself.
Jai Bhagwan. Namaste. Om shanti.
to be continued.