23 October 2010

Kripalu and Farm Sanctuary

rocky sticky sculptures

My mom took me on the best trip ever last week that involved a 4 day stay at kripalu yoga centre in the berkshire mountains AND a day trip over to Farm Sanctuary on the drive home from kripalu.

Kripalu Main Building:
back of the kripalu centre

Kripalu was A-MAZ-ING!   We signed up for the hike, bike and yoga program which involved a crapload of hiking up mountains and a day of 20 miles of bike riding along a rail trail amongst the mountains.   WOW.  Kripalu is just a stunningly peaceful and fulfilling place to be.   On top of the program you sign up for (and there is ALOT of programs to choose from), there are 3 yoga sessions a day (gentle, moderate and vigorous), and the most amazingly yummy buffet spreads for breakfast lunch AND dinner.   I absolutely loved the amount of steamed veggies i ate in the mornings, along with a miso broth w/ tofu and usually some kind of buckwheat, millet or hot oatmeal, toast, muffins and plenty of unsweetened interesting ice tea flavours to choose from.  My mom had alot of mixed granola for brekky, and of course there were TONNES of vegan selection.  One night they even had a great sesame tempeh entree that was so good.

The grounds of the building were amazing as well. There were little niches and trails all over the place. We found a quite sizable meditation garden nestled into a hill in the forest. There were other little niches devoted to buddha, krishna, etc, hidden away in the forest to find if you explored. The building itself was amazing as it was built as a monestary way back when. Yoga classes were held in what would've been the 3 story high ceiling church hall area.

Meditation Garden:
meditation garden

Swami Kripalu:
swami kripalu shrine

Kripalu Grounds:
kripalu grounds

Our leader greg, teaches tai chi and qigong, so during our hikes or bikes, we'd do a little of each throughout the day.   The first day we did a couple of hikes including a fairly big one up Mt Everett in the berkshire mountains, which is part of the Appalachian trail.  It's the 2nd highest peak in that mountain chain, and we at lunch at the very top with a 360 degree view of the most amazing landscape.   I ate lunch on the top of a mountain!  We then proceeded to a highland lake where we did some qigong and relaxed for a bit before hiking down.   This hike really inspired me to maybe one day hike the appalachian trail.   I've always wanted to do a really long hiking trip, and I think now I'd choose that area.   We also visited Bash Bish state park where there were some beautiful falls, and a wildlife sanctuary where we walked for an hour or so and did some more tai chi.   The bike trail the following day was pretty relaxing and nice.  It was a rail trail, so was fairly flat.  Every night when we got back we went to a nice yoga class, had dinner, attended an evening program and then collapsed into bed pretty tired from the day!

Bash Bish Falls:
waterfall

I was so excited to go to kripalu for many reasons, but one of them being that at some point, I'd like to sign up for the 1 month 200 hr teacher training course.  I wanted to see if I could spend a month there doing yoga basically all day everyday.  If i'd be happy isolated from my normal life at this place.   I'd say I'd be more that happy to spend the time involved in getting the course done.   I'm definitely going to take it next year after i sort out my destroyed lower back.  :)

Farm Sactuary:
farm sanctuary main buildings

On the way home, my Mom suggested we stop by farm sanctuary since i've just entered into a sponsorship with a goat and a sheep there which I will be carrying on every year.  They encourage sponsors to come and meet their sponsored companions and I was SO excited.  :)  Peanut the goat was so incredibly adorable, and although Dickse the sheep was a bit shy, the director of the sanctuary assured me that over the years they warm up to people.  They all come from such horrible, cruel situations in which humans were committing acts of terrible cruelty of the sole purpose to bring meat to the public, that of course they'd be scared of us.  Sheep are absolutely amazing creatures though.  They can remember around 40+ faces visually for their lifetime.   They can remember you by voice and smell as well.  They will remember their sheep friends even after being separated for years and years.  They have a personality like a human.   They have a sense of humor and they emote love and compassion if you pay attention.

Peanut:
Little Peanut

I just fell in love with Farm Sanctuary.  So many stories starting with such cruel beginnings, and ending the best possible way.  What makes me sad is that the cruelty they endured, that they luckily escaped from, happens all around us, ALL the time.. so much so that we pay no attention as a society.  It's sad that cruelty is so widespread, that someone speaking out against it is considered a radical, or crazy.  It's sad that no one cares that the eggs they are eating come from poor poor chickens that have had their beaks ground off.  Or that the milk they are drinking pretty much is a product that enables the veal industry.  Have you ever seen a baby cow chained by it's neck in a crate the size of a large dog?  It's heart wrenching.  I see them all the time on my drive through the country to work.  I can't stand seeing the head of the baby cow sticking only as far out as it's chain will let it.  Their moms only a field away, they cry for them.  Heart wrenching.
Farm sanctuary is amazing, and I love donating my money to them as I know they advocate such a soulful cause.  With such positivity, sometimes I can only think of the poor animals who never make it there.

cute giant piggles

5 October 2010

Norwegian Sockies half done

Norwegian fair isle sock

I'm done one of the Norwegian fair isle socks I started in the summer.  It's the knitting project that sort of takes a back seat most of the time as I have to read a pattern so I can't be knitting at lunch or during dinners or any other social event.  It's too complicated to talk and look at a pattern and keep your place.  I save the easy projects for those situations. 

This time I decided to try the magic loop sock technique and toe up as well.  Two things I've never tried before.  Magic loop is awesome, and I don't think i'll ever choose dpn's again if there is a way i can use the magic loop.   So much easier, and my work never falls off the needles either when I'm carting it around in my bag.  I also tried toe up socks.  I like this way...alot!  

Norwegian fair isle sock