what is Kripalu Yoga?

Kripalu Yoga

Kripalu Yoga gets its name from two sources. It is named after a type of Hatha Yoga as well as a center for yoga in Massachusetts. Both the style and the center were started by Amrit Desai, a yoga guru from India who moved to the United States. It is named after his guru, Sri Kripalvananda, who was a Kundalini Yoga master.

What is Kripalu Yoga?

This style of Yoga is a very mild and humane form of practice that promotes inner and outer well-being. It emphasizes on physical, psychological and spiritual healing through bodily postures and breathing techniques.

How is it done?
In a typical Kripalu class, you start off with breathing exercises and light stretches. After that, each individual has the freedom to decide what kind of exercising he/she wants to do. The class ends with some more breathing exercises and relaxation.

Who can do it?
Kripalu Yoga is such that it can be done by all. It is suitable and beneficial for people of all ages, young and old. Children as young as 10 and senior citizens all can practice this form of yoga. It is also suitable for those with health problems including heart ailments, stress, depression, back problems and many other such small and big health issues.

Suitable for All
This suitability is also because of the fact that this is not a rigid form of exercise. There is no ideal you have to reach while performing asanas (Postures) but do them according to your own ability and flexibility. Even the breathing exercises (Pranayama) focus on improving breathing, health and well-being, not forcing anyone to reach a particular preset standard for the same. Each practice session necessarily ends with relaxation, because of which you feel revitalized rather than drained after the workout.

Kripalu seems to be the answer to the stressed lifestyle of today. If practiced with regularity and dedication, you can see a world of difference in your life with these techniques, and start feeling and living better.

Read on to learn about the stages of Kripalu yoga in the second part of our article.

Basis of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu Yoga is based on the Eight Limbs of Yoga and also on Patanjali’s sutras. This yoga technique uses some gentle and meditative yoga postures to integrate the mind, body and emotions.The meaning of Kripalu is compassionate or merciful. This yoga technique teaches us to be compassionate towards others and respect each and every person.

Philosophy of Kripalu Yoga
The goal of Yoga is self realization which is the highest spiritual state. The goal of Kripalu Yoga is:
1) To make our body strong and healthy.
2) To make the mind clear and peaceful.
3) To have a caring heart.

Practice of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu yoga is a tool for personal growth and self-empowerment. It uses various poses, pranayama techniques, relaxation practices and the development of a quiet mind.

Different Stages of Kripalu Yoga
There are three different stages of this yoga approach:

Body and Breath Awareness – During this stage, Hatha Yoga is practiced with proper alignment, deep breathing and relaxation. The mind is focused on the flow of breath.

Holding the Posture – During this stage, the attention is focused on inner emotions, thoughts and sensations. Hold the posture for a longer period of time. This prolonged holding strengthens the muscles and develops concentration.

Meditation-in-Motion – During this stage energy flows more freely, there is spontaneous movement inside the body and the mind witnesses more activities.

When you begin Kripalu Yoga classes, then the main focus is on the first stage and gradually all the three stages are included.

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