Kripalu Yoga

Woman doing tree pose. Whether you want fitness, increased flexibility or relaxation, yoga is excellent for everyone. Kripalu Yoga is one of the many forms of yoga available to practice.

I started my yoga practice with Kripalu Yoga almost five years ago. Since then, I have tried various forms of yoga, but Kripalu Yoga has always been my favorite.

Kripalu Yoga is a conscious practice of physical yoga postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques for integrating body, mind, and spirit. More than just a form of exercise, this integrative approach enhances physical and mental health, supports people in feeling more fully alive and is often described as "meditation in motion." Kripalu Yoga encourages people to take the many lessons learned on the yoga mat and incorporate them into daily life off the mat. (Kripalu Pressk kit pdf 1.98 MB)

"Atha yoga nushasanam, and now the practice of yoga."
Anita Sanci

Kripalu yoga began in 1966 when Amrit Desai and nine others formed the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization designed to advance the science and philosophy of yoga.

In 1972 the first Kripalu Center, a yoga retreat, was created in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania.

In 1974 the organization's name was changed to Kripalu Yoga Fellowship to encorporate its increased use of the teachings of Swami Kripalu, Desau's teacher.

By the late 1980's the community was formalized as a religion and by 1990 it had expanded to include Kripalu Yoga teachers in North America and around the world.

During 1995 and 1996 the community began to fade and Kripalu made a difficult transition into a "secular, all-inclusive center for health, wellness and lifestyle change."

In 2004, the program was reinvented into a "a place where you can go to explore what it means to be fully alive and fulfilled." (Kripalu.org)

Women sitting in yoga class. Silent Centering. Kripalu yoga is divided into three stages.

Stage One is Willful Practice. In this stage, you practice alignment, breathing techniques and coordination of breath and movement. You are to practice without being influenced by fear, guilt or the need for approval.

Stage Two is Will and Surrender. This stage focuses on balancing the polarities of will and surrender. You slow down movements and increase concentration.

Stage Three is Surrender to the Wisdom of the Body. In this stage, you are able to embrace spontaneity, allowing your body to simply move into any posture it wants, traditional or simple movement. At the end of the practice you will join in final relaxation, which is where you are able to embrace all the stages of yoga ( Kripalu Yoga: Theory and Practice, Deva Parnell).