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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Harmony Yoga at Kripalu

Apr 08, 2011 12:39PM

Carol Shwidock’s Harmony Yoga studio environment is filled with the subtle fragrance of lavender, soft music and sky blue walls. While all these things create a sense of tranquility and relaxation for her students, the Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher wanted more. She wanted to take them on a weekend field trip to the very center of the practice - to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, gateway to the Berkshires.

  The Stamford, Connecticut-based yoga instructor spent several weeks at the Kripalu Center in 2001 for her teacher training. ”I wanted my class to tap into the energy, mindfulness and relaxation which Kripalu so wonderfully provides.

“Some students are intimidated about going there and don’t want to go alone,” says Shwidock. “To go with others is a way to feel safe and that’s what I wanted to offer my students.’’

  On Shwidock’s first trip to Kripaul in 2005, she took seven students who returned so excited about their experience that they asked her to plan another one for the following year. The trip, now an annual event, grew to 17 students in May 2009.

  Kripalu offers a wide variety of options for students who enroll in its Rest and Relaxation program. Students can take advantage of several varieties of healing arts including touch therapies such as Thai massage and positional therapy, energy work like acupuncture or Reiki as well as a variety of Ayurvedic treatments. They can also try out different levels of yoga, from gentle to vigorous, during the weekend. Pilates and Tai Chi may also be offered, as are classes on such subjects as mindfulness and nutrition. On Saturday afternoons students can participate in Kripalu “Dancekinetics” with live drummers and on Saturday evenings, guests can attend concerts at Kripalu or other activities such as lectures.

  Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association (KYTA) members enjoy a free weekend when they take at least ten students, and a 20 percent discount if they take five students. Students in the group are also eligible for a discount.

"The trip allows my students to experience different yoga instructors and explore the philosophy and origins of the practice,” remarks Shwidock. “Students who didn’t initially know each other often develop lasting friendships.”

  Gail Goldberg, a student, found her group experience was transformative. “I was in awe at being at Kripalu with a group of like-minded women. It was like being at overnight camp, where everyone shared, laughed and felt their 5-year-old child come out to play,’’ said Goldberg.

  One challenge that Shwidock encounters with larger groups is the difficulty for everyone to eat together or to share the same bunkrooms. Still, she says, students have an amazing time and everyone is able to find time to be with themselves.

"Taking your students to Kripalu on a class trip is a wonderful way to build community within your studio,” enthuses Shwidock, “and I highly recommend it to all Kripalu yoga teachers and their students."


Harmony Yoga Studio is located at 48 Union St, in Stamford. Carol Shwidock has been an Occupational Therapist for over 25 years and as a Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor, she integrates therapeutic yoga into all of her classes. She is available for private therapeutic classes, corporate yoga, kids and teen yoga and family yoga. Visit for full class schedule and more information.