On the bus ride north, I was really excited and also a little nervous. I’ve practiced yoga on a fairly casual basis for years, but the thought of 10 + hours a day (for 3 days straight) intimidated me. Fortunately, Hillary is a great instructor – understanding, dynamic and friendly. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to keep up with the rest of the class and even sneak in an extra dance class during our lunch break.
The retreat focused on the healing varieties of yoga – mostly Anusara and Restorative. Anusara yoga is a new(er) form of yoga, which pairs strict alignment principles and challenging poses with a focus on opening the heart and connecting with yourself and others. Restorative yoga is primarily used for muscle stretching and relaxation. I’ve mainly practiced Vinyasa yoga, so it was refreshing to try out different varieties.
Kripalu’s accommodations are what I expected for a retreat center. There are two buildings on campus – a main building and the newly completed annex – both with dormitory-style rooms and shared bathrooms (though private rooms are available for an extra fee). I stayed in the main building in a room with 3 other women. The main building has studio rooms (where classes are held), quiet rooms, a sauna and whirlpool, a fitness room and a dining hall. The buildings are basic, but clean, and well maintained.
What makes Kripalu truly beautiful is its grounds. Set overlooking the Berkshire mountains, Kripalu has hiking trails, gardens, a private lake, and a labyrinth! You could spend hours just exploring the property, swimming, hiking, and taking in the peaceful surroundings, which is exactly what I did my last day there.
The food at Kripalu was very healthy and nutritious, but not void of flavor. I liked the food so much in fact, I ended up picking up their summer 2010 cookbook. I’ve made several of the dishes throughout the year, but none of them turned out as good as my take on the coconut lime “cheesecake” recipe.
The best part of this recipe is that there is no cooking involved and it is served chilled, making it perfect for the hot summer nights ahead. The worst part is time – as it requires overnight refrigeration twice, but, the results are well worth the wait – creamy, tangy, sweet and delicious. Namaste!
Raw Coconut-Lime “Cheesecake”
- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup pitted, chopped dates
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 3/4 cups cashew pieces
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup lime juice
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
Put cashew pieces into bowl, cover with water and refrigerate overnight. Place crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until crushed enough to stay together when pinched.
Oil a 9-inch spring form or pie pan and press filling into the bottom.
Combine coconut milk, lime juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt and put into a bowl and set aside.
Drain and rinse soaked cashews and purée in a food processor or blender until smooth (this may take a while). Add the coconut milk mixture and blend to combine.
Pour filling mixture over crust and chill overnight. Optional: Add toasted coconut layer and serve chilled with a lime slice.