Kripalu Guest Stories: Vicki Richards
Kripalu was an important healing place for me during the years that I was in treatment for breast cancer and going through a painful divorce. I came to Kripalu for a variety of programs and to rejuvenate. Retreat and Renewal helped tremendously during stressful times. The yoga, the music, the food, the medical aspects, including healing arts, provided a respite for me. My body needed healing touches after so many surgeries, and the massage therapists and energy workers knew how to be gentle and effective. I also spent time outdoors and felt the sacredness of the land and the healing power of nature.
Comprehensive care was unavailable in Miami, where I was living at the time, and I had to pull my own team together and essentially create my own treatment plan. At Kripalu, I found the inspiration and information I needed to locate an MD in Miami to help me continue on my quest for great health in a more holistic way.
I’m a professional musician, and before I got sick, I had played at Kripalu and other Berkshire venues, with Layne Redmond, Steve Gorn, and KDZ—and of course I soaked up the classical music at Tanglewood! While I was in recovery, I wasn’t able to play a lot. On my most recent visit to Kripalu, I was so happy to play some kirtan evenings again. During that stay, I also thought about my dream to create a music recording for women going through chemotherapy, which I’ve since recorded.
The people at Kripalu have impacted me so positively and aided in my recovery. Every teacher gave me the opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive setting. There is an energy, intention, and welcoming spirit that emanates from everyone—the people at the Front Desk, program directors, teachers, volunteers, administrators, staff, and, of course, the other guests. Thanks to the advice of a nurse named Marge who I met at lunch, I limped into my first yoga class in a year.
I know I’m not the only person in the world who has gone through the challenges of disease, divorce, grief, and suffering. It’s important that there is this place where people can go to heal and grow during times of challenge.
For me, the focus is now on the return of health, music, happiness, and purpose. I’m fortunate to be healthy enough to travel and create again. I’m getting out and enjoying meeting new people.
—Vicki Richards, professional violinist, Great Barrington, Massachusetts