One definition of Retreat is to withdraw from unpleasantness. I prefer to think of Retreat as an opportunity to experience something completely different from your every day life; a chance to learn something new and return refreshed. Since 1996, at least once a year, I visit the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. I call it my home away from home because I am so familiar with the accommodations and routine. This is where I spent 30 days becoming a certified Yoga instructor over 17 years ago. They call themselves a Retreat Center; a place where one can go to relax and renew. Go to http://Kripalu.org to find out more about their programs.
Kripalu offers all levels of Yoga, one session in the early morning and another in late afternoon, 7 days per week. Take them both or none at all. Relax in the cafe, or walk the beautifully maintained grounds overlooking lakes and mountains. You can register for programs that concentrate on a variety of subjects such as Meditation, Yoga, Writing or Watercolor. This time I chose to have a cooking weekend. It was presented by David Hirsch, one of the original partners in the well known Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca New York.
David coauthored the many Moosewood Cookbooks that have been published since 1973. Here he is with his assistant Adrian at the Kripalu Demo Kitchen. We learned techniques for cooking several vegetarian dishes. Both he and Adrian shared stories about Moosewood and the world of restaurant cooking. Adrian is a Chef at the famous Canyon Ranch, another Retreat Center right up the street from Kripalu in Lenox Massachusettes.Visit them at http://canyonranch.com
The first dish we made was called Autumn Salad, taking advantage of Fall fruits and vegetables including winter squash, pumpkin seeds,pears and dried cranberries. Place a bed of lettuce on a platter and begin layering starting with roasted butternut squash. Gorgeous, Crunchy and Delicious topped with a Pear Thyme Dressing.
1 ripe pear
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs unsweetened apple juice
1 Tsp dijon mustard
1 Tsp fresh thyme
1/4 Tsp salt
a dash of ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
New England offers many places where you can escape your daily routine and reboot your spirit. Shake things up and start researching Retreat Centers in your area. Visit Find the Divine @ http://www.findthedivine.com for a list of Spiritual Centers in Rhode Island. Also, Retreat Finder @ http://www.retreatfinder.com/Directory/United_States/MA_Massachusetts.aspx is a website that can help you find the perfect get away in Massachusettes.
So go on an adventure and seek your own path to renewal. In short, Find Your Kripalu!