Workshop addresses job-loss stress

STOCKBRIDGE — Losing a job is stressful, but so is looking for another one. The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health has a plan for that.

Two members of Kripalu’s teaching staff are offering a three-day workshop titled, “Transformation: Surviving Job Loss to Thriving,” that is geared toward people who have recently lost their jobs.

The workshop will take place June 7-9. Tuition is free; participants are required to pay only for room and board, which ranges from $160 to $610 depending on the accommodation. Commuters are required to pay a fee of $50 per day, although only a limited number of those spaces are available. Kripalu intends to offer the workshop again in the fall.

Maria Sirois, a licensed clinical psychologist who works as a lecturer and consultant at Kripalu, said she came up with the idea for the workshop when Kripalu was considering its own layoffs earlier this year. The other instructor is Coby Kozlowski, a workshop facilitator and professional life coach who specializes in leadership training.

Kripalu eventually laid off 15 percent of its workforce in January. Having been laid off while working in the software industry in Boston in the 1980s, Sirois said she knew what the former Kripalu employees were going through.

“I was painfully aware of how much suffering there was going to be,” she said. “It was heartbreaking. I had flashbacks.

“I know as a psychologist that there are things to help people move through things quickly,” she added.

Participants will receive training in personal leadership, stress reduction, resiliency and mindfulness, also known as personal awareness, with all the exercises designed to ignite joy, clarity and community. There will also be daily yoga and meditation exercises. The meditation is designed to help reduce stress, Sirois said.

Sirois said the workshop will help people cope with what’s at stake in their current lives, to help them envision what a dream job or career might be, and to help them “move to the next step.”

“When we’re under stress, our capacity to see things through really shrinks,” Sirois said. “We want our guests to feel rested, but we want to give them the skills and tools to say ‘this is what I need to get ahead, learn how to stay calm and focused and to function efficiently.’”

By addressing their inner feelings, Sirois said participants may find a new career that are suited for.

“There could be a moment where they say, ‘I hate that work and stress’” from a previous career, she said, “and it’s time for me to step into something else.”

The Kripalu workshop can serve as a complement to the seminars and workshops that the jobless attend at career centers.

“I think it’s beautifully complementary,” Sirois said. “Especially in mid-career. You have to go out and sell yourself, but the basic stuff has to be there. The Kripalu piece offers them not only stress reduction, but ways to implement their skills.”

For information or registration, contact Kripalu at www.kripalu.org , or call (800) 741-7353.

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