In the 1960s, seekers of enlightenment turned to Indian gurus as Eastern spirituality was spreading to the West. Kripalu yoga came out of that movement. Read on to learn more about what Kripalu yoga is, what to expect at a class, and the benefits you can expect from practicing Kripalu yoga.
What Is Kripalu Yoga?
Amrit Desai developed Kripalu yoga in America, naming it after his inspiration, Swami Kripalvanandaji. Kripalu yoga uses classic postures and breath work to quiet the mind and relax the body. Kripalu focuses on compassionate self-acceptance, following life force energy, and taking what you learn into your life outside of the yoga studio. Kripalu has been called the "yoga for everyone" as it is highly adaptable to all types of students.
What to Expect at a Kripalu Yoga Class
Kripalu yoga frames the practice around three stages. The first stage is a series of classic hatha yoga postures held briefly, which starts an energy flow and develops your mental concentration.
In the second stage, you will hold poses for longer; giving you increased muscle strength and concentration along with an opening of your heart to assist you in learning and growing. During this stage, you may also recognize and be able to release deep emotional issues and stress.
By stage three, you will have relaxed your mind and body deeply. Very in tune with your body by now, you will meditate as you move freely from posture to posture in response to your body's energy.
A beginning Kripalu class may not include all stages. Classes are usually defined by intensity level. Your instructor will encourage you to tune in to your body and practice at the intensity level that feels right for you at the time. Regardless of the level of class you attend, you can expect centering, breathing, postures, and meditation. Each session ends with a deep relaxation period.
Kripalu Yoga Benefits
Kripalu teaches self-empowerment, open-mindedness, and intimacy with your body. Kripalu uses your body to access the spirit, which can affect your mind, body, and emotions. You may experience reduced stress, increased flexibility, endurance, and more energy. You may become more in tune with your sense of intuition. Kripalu can revitalize the major systems of your body. As you learn to quiet your mind, you can relax and stay focused on your tasks out in the world.