As a child I remember spending what seemed like endless summer days climbing trees and wading through streams. As I got older my love for the woods grew, and after three years of living in the mountains and working with at-risk teens, I settled in Western Massachusetts where I began studying yoga and meditation at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.
During one of my many wanderings in the woods here, I came to sit in meditation against the trunk of an oak tree. My mind became so quiet and my sense of gratitude and peace so deep that it took me a few moment to realize that a black bear had walked up and was standing no more than 2 feet behind me. During that moment I meditated with the bear, and although all the survival instincts rose up within me, I maintained my seat and waited until the bear walked off into the forest and slipped into the brush.
It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life and a memory I will always hold dear.
Now as the director of the Kripalu Schools, with a family and a hectic schedule, I spend a lot of time poring over spreadsheets, on email, and otherwise sitting in an office behind a desk, but every day I make sure to step outside and take a walk with the trees. It’s an incredibly simple practice that makes a huge difference in how I feel.