How to Bring the Yoga Retreat Experience Home with You

May 22, 2019
Spa experience at Kripalu

Picture this: You’re at the gorgeous, serene Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires. You’re doing yoga. You’re meditating. You’re getting Ayurvedic massages. And, of course, you’re eating amazing, nourishing spa food. You feel peaceful and powerful.

And then, you come home and thud. Life hits you in the face and you’re back to rushing around, stressing, eating… not spa food. That restful, lovely experience feels like another lifetime.

The Kripalu Kitchen

Not this time. We wanted to figure out a way to incorporate some of that restful feeling into our regular lives, so we’re sharing some recipes from The Kripalu Kitchen, the new cookbook by Kripalu executive chef Jeremy Rock Smith (below). And we asked Chef Jeremy to share some of his thoughts on how to recapture that feeling a few days of uninterrupted relaxation and rest in your day-to-day.

Step 1: Be quiet

Breakfast is silent at Kripalu, as a way to begin the day mindfully, and Smith recommends taking this ritual home with you. “The experience at Kripalu is that you’re not distracted by anything else,” Smith says. “You’re in the moment and in self care. Having a silent meal once a day is a big thing for a lot of people, you can be really in it, enjoying the food and being mindful and setting intentions for the day.” Another benefit of a silent meal? “People experience the taste of the food much more,” he says.

Step 2: Pay attention

Applying mindfulness to other parts of your day—especially things you have to do anyway—is another way to recapture that peaceful spa feeling, he says. “You get a benefit even if it’s just a few minutes” of mindfulness, Rock says. “If you’re cooking a meal, just be cooking that meal, or just be eating it, without screens or anything else in the background. When you’re washing the dishes, just wash the dishes. You get so much more out of the experience that way.”

Step 3: Think of cooking in a new way

It’s hard to think of cooking as a fun, positive thing when it’s a chore, so try to look at it in a different way, Rock says. “People view cooking as this arduous process. But really look at what cooking is to you—is it about nourishing yourself, or your family? Look at it as serving that higher need, not just a chore,” he suggests.

It’s also helpful to manage your expectations of yourself; starting small is a good way to find success with healthier cooking and mindfulness.

“Assess where you are and start from there comfortably, work from there,” Rock says. “Commit to one new recipe a week; don’t over commit. Think of cooking as a practice. A practice is something that’s attainable, you do it without judgment of yourself, you’re not attached to the outcome. When something goes wrong, that could be the moment where you learn the most. Think of it as an opportunity to observe yourself, and let go of the end result a bit.”

Get started with these simple, delicious recipes from the book.

Spiced Quinoa Cream Cereal with Dates

The Kripalu dining room buffet is an exercise in liberty, and this hot breakfast cereal illustrates that freedom. Here, we provide a basic cooked grain with dried fruit, nuts, and spices. But we encourage you to customize these elements to your heart’s content. Ayurvedic Insight: This is a tridoshic breakfast that anyone can enjoy. To…

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Mushroom Cheesesteaks

Be prepared for a big burst of juicy, satisfying, savory flavor in these sandwiches. Caramelized portobello mushrooms, dried mushroom powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and provolone cheese are all rich sources of umami, the Japanese word for “delicious.” Ayurvedic Insight: Enjoy these sandwiches in the fall and spring when the dry quality of mushrooms will…

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Spring Pea and Mint Soup

With fresh mint and spring peas, this vibrant green, silky-­smooth soup is an homage to the season of rebirth. There are no spices here, so caramelizing the vegetables is a key step in developing the flavor.

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Easy Ginger-Almond Broccoli Salad

I’m not a big fan of broccoli that’s nearly raw, but this salad works. Kripalu guests absolutely love it. The dressing is rich and creamy with almond butter and toasted sesame oil, sweet with golden honey, pungent with minced ginger, and aromatic with fresh cilantro and lime. You could also mix this dressing with noodles…

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Excerpted from The Kripalu Kitchen by Jeremy Rock Smith with David Joachim Copyright © 2019 by Jeremy Rock Smith. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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