The notion of adult summer camps full of fun and athletic activities seems to be trending this year, and in another recent piece here at Forbes I wrote about multi-sport summer camp weekends (or days) being held in New York and California with more than 250 classes and activities offered. If you want to try, learn or improve your skills with expert instruction in activities as diverse as hiking, kayaking, fly fishing, mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding, rock climbing, slacklining, trailing running and more, along with educational sessions like night photography, outdoor first aid, and basecamp cooking, read that piece (click here).
But if yoga is your thing you are in luck – one of the world’s best-known teaching and practice centers has its own take on the summer camp experience. The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health has been offering a vast variety of wellness classes and yoga instruction for more than 40 years and is located in the beautiful Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts, convenient to New York City and Boston. The non-profit center bills itself as the largest yoga retreat in North America, and Kripalu’s offerings are surprisingly wide-reaching, including not just yoga, but also health, fitness, wellness, creative expression, Ayurveda, self-discovery, spiritual practice, mediation, and more, with more than 700 programs annually. All of these take advantage of the Center’s bucolic 125-acre lakefront property with some classes held outdoors, extensive gardens to explore and hiking trails for your free time. So consider taking a few days of “me time” for yourself this summer to relax and invigorate with a yoga-centered summer camp experience.
Yoga is the focus, with two or three classes included in each day’s schedule, indoors and out, but no prior experience is necessary and the concept is that everyone, not just dedicated yoga practitioners, can benefit from a summer camp-like respite. There is also hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, arts and crafts, a nature class with instructors from the Massachusetts Audubon Berkshire Sanctuaries, and other indoor and outdoor opportunities for fun and wellness. One of the more unique offerings is an introduction to forest bathing, which is nothing like it sounds. It’s a Japanese practice that has recently been trending in this country and is getting a lot of media attention, and basically involves the act of taking in the forest atmosphere though your senses. A way to relax in nature, the name refers to bathing your senses, not your skin, so it’s different from hiking and definitely does not involve a washcloth or soap.
There are three Yoga Summer Camp sessions this summer, each of which begins with dinner on a Sunday and ends with lunch on the following Friday. The five-night camps for 2018 will be held on June 24-29, July 22-27 and August 19-24. The four other full days between arrival and departure include breakfast, lunch and dinner. The sessions cost $399 but do not include accommodations, which are extra. Kripalu’s lodging is purposefully simple and comfortable, and ranges from private to shared rooms (one roommate) to dormitory style, some with private baths and some with shared hall baths. Massages are available for an additional fee.