Letter: Kripalu abandoned mission and values

Kripalu abandoned mission and values

To the editor:

When I came to Lenox 31 years ago, Kripalu was an isolated place on a hill overlooking Stockbridge Bowl. Gradually, over the years, it began to open up, and the community was invited to be part of Kripalu's reformulated mission to bring yoga and Buddhist spiritual values beyond the hill over the bowl.

I joined the Berkshire Kripalu Community (BKC) four to five years ago and benefited greatly from yoga classes for BKC members, particularly those offered by Carole Weinstein, who combined yoga with spiritual practices. I received a grant from Kripalu to offer trauma-sensitive yoga classes to my psychotherapy clients who had suffered trauma. My clients tell me they continue to use what they learned in those classes about using mindfulness to achieve calm. Grateful for what Kripalu was offering the community, I volunteered to check guests in for two hours weekly.

After becoming aware of Kripalu's ongoing efforts to get rid of longtime, devoted employees and former members of the ashram, as well as its termination of the resident volunteer program, which changed the lives of hundreds of participants over the years, I resigned from the BKC six months ago. I felt that Kripalu no longer embodies the values of yoga and Buddhist practice, nor does it fulfill its mission of bringing yoga to the community. Another factor in my resignation from the Berkshire Kripalu community was the discourtesy and disdain administrators showed toward community volunteers like me.

Perhaps Kripalu sees itself now as merely another Berkshire resort. This is a great loss to the larger community, which had formed a strong, supportive bond with Kripalu through the BKC.

Roberta Russell, Lenox


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