We have the ability to create choice by altering our interpretations of the world.
—Sheena Iyengar, The Art of Choosing1
I settled into my back jack, well into the post-lunch mental haze and downright sleepiness that often accompany weeklong training sessions. Why was I using a back jack as opposed to sitting like a civilized person in a conference room? Furthermore, what exactly is a back jack? Think of it like a meditation cushion, but with a modicum of back support. I was in the middle of what was called the “immersion” in the yearlong Certificate in Positive Psychology (CIPP) program at Kripalu. Kripalu is the largest yoga center in North America. If you go to a learning program in the main hall at Kripalu, you won't find a traditional setup. You won't see big round tables with chairs and table tents like in a big meeting room at a hotel. And it does not look like an MBA classroom, either. You are more likely to see people sitting on the floor and they may have blankets while listening to what looks like a traditional lecture, except the speaker is usually barefoot. The faculty of the CIPP had envisioned a program bringing together the scientific rigor of positive psychology and the disciplined inquiry into mind and body that comprises yoga.
On a more personal level, what had started out as a quest for continuing education credits was ...