Our fourth year offering Mothers, Daughters and the Heroic Journey workshop at Kripalu

We return for our fourth year leading mother-daughter workshops at Kripalu!   Meg Agnew, Cindy Parrish and I are delighted to again be offering our fun, lively, and meaningful workshop for mothers and their 9 – 12 year-old daughters to take time together to bond and grow at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

In co-leading the program the last three summers, I was moved and inspired by the joy that mothers and daughters experienced together and the support and insight that mothers offered one another in our mothers-only discussion times.  You can see the joy in these photos from previous workshops, and it warms my heart to anticipate sharing this experience again this coming summer.  Kripalu is a beautiful setting, with delicious food, excellent yoga classes, a panoramic view of the valley, and a private beach.

Here’s the link to the Kripalu website Kripalu mothers daughters heroic journey 2016 for registration.

I hope to see you there!

Here are my reflections from last year’s workshop:

This holding space for connection and transformation is the work in the world I love best, helping mothers, daughters and mother-daughter relationships all thrive.  We three facilitators, Cindy Parrish, Meg Agnew, and me, met Friday afternoon on the Kripalu front terrace, overlooking the Stockbridge Bowl, to review our intentions for the workshop.Kripalu lake viewWe hoped that the mothers and daughters could take a journey over the weekend in a multi-sensory, embodied and playful way.  Our organizing theme was gathering resources for the heroic journey of being or parenting an adolescent: understanding ones strengths and values, mother-daughter connection, important relationships, inspiring ancestors, challenges already well-met, and vision of well-being.  We would use story-telling, movement, physical sculptures, writing, drawing, dance, and ritual to evoke and strengthen each girl’s and woman’s awareness of what made her heroism possible.   Each source of succor would be represented by a stone or bright folded piece of origami that would go into a small gold mesh bag, a medicine bag, that each girl or woman could take home with her.

Our program room had two walls of windows, with a view of the hills and lake on one side and of the green woods on the other.  Mothers and daughters began arriving in the golden light of 7:15, tentatively or eagerly stepping into the room, finding her gold mesh bag.

After our opening song, which ended in wolf howls, we invited each mother to introduce her daughter and each daughter to introduce her mother, saying her name and one thing she really appreciated or admired about her.  This is my mother Courtney and what I really appreciate about her is that she takes really good care of me.  I love that my my mom always listens to me.  That she always supports me.  That I know that I can count on her.  This is my daughter Samantha, and what I really admire about her is that she takes good care of her little brothers.  This is my daughter Sarah and I love that she knows her own mind.  That she speaks up.  That she is bold and fearless.  That she is caring to her friends.  All the way around the circle, with the evening sun slanting ever more gracefully, the pink and white peonies in the center of the circle glowing.

Next, talk with your mother, and find a time when you felt really connected with each other.  What quality did your connection have at that time?  Find a movement that exemplifies that quality.  Try it out all together.  Find a sound, not a word, just a sound that fits that quality and movement.  Play with it.  And around the circle, each mom-daughter pair or trio shared her movement and sound with the group.  Howls, yells, laughter, deep sighs, leaps, climbing, giant steps, lying in sun, each pair happy to share, then choose a flower for our vase, and a river stone for her bag to represent mother-daughter connection.


Saturday morning, sharing the stories of their inspirational heroic women in small groups of two moms and two or three girls, sprawled around the room,  talking, listening, a steady hum, on occasion one girl needing to leave the room, her mother following, we lightly present, helping out, supporting each mother-daughter pair in their connection.  Then each person saying the name of her heroic woman and  putting her picture on our altar, amid the flowers.

Saturday afternoon I gathered with just the mothers, leading them first in a simple sacred circle dance, the Elm dance, then on a writing exercise.  Part 1, what is your vision for your daughter and for your relationship with your daughter?  In what ways, however small, are you succeeding in manifesting that vision?  Part 2, What obstacles have you encountered or anticipate you might encounter on your journey?  What values, relationships and sources of support might you draw on?  What next steps do you wish to take?  Mothers shared in small groups of four, speaking clearly, listening intently, crying, laughing.  Then in the larger circle, each mother shared one thing about the afternoon.  The openness of the other moms.  The lack of judgment.  The understanding.  I never stop to think about these things, it is so helpful to do so.

We return to the girls for mother-daughter yoga, led by a seasoned Kripalu teacher, which ends in a shavasana in which each mother-daughter pair lies curled around one another, breathing, breathing.  Life just doesn’t get better than this.

We closed the workshop with a Sunday morning ritual, each mother-daughter pair walking between parallel lines of fifty mothers and daughters to claim her medicine bag of strengths, a small enactment of the heroic journey of adolescence in connection with ones mother, both held within a community of support.


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