Kripalu yoga was developed by Yogi Amrit Desai, and this form of yoga is known as the “yoga of consciousness”. The word “kripalu” means compassion. Strong emphasis is placed on using proper breath and alignment in the poses and also on the spiritual aspects of yoga. Students of this form of yoga learn to honour the wisdom of the body and work within the limits of their own flexibility and strength. A combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation is used to bring about the benefits of yoga such as strength, flexibility and a feeling of wellbeing.
Some benefits of Kripalu yoga include:
Classes include postures (asanas), breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation. Meditation and breathwork are particularly focused on as this encourages the student to look inwards and become more attuned to their spirit. Kripalu yoga has three stages. The first stage is about learning the different postures and finding out what the body’s abilities are. The second stage sees the student holding the posture for an extended amount of time, which helps them to develop concentration and inner awareness. The third stage is often referred to as “meditation in motion” and this is where the movement between different postures becomes spontaneous and happens almost unconsciously.
Kripalu classes have a balanced flow of postures and breathwork, and this is designed to stretch, strengthen, revitalise and restore. Particular emphasis is placed on core strength and stability, however, students are encouraged to explore their own limits with respect for their bodies.
Anybody is able to practise Kripalu yoga as it is about being fully aware of the feelings and experiences that occur during yoga rather than being technically perfect or attaining a specific goal. In this sense, Kripalu is a “journey” form of yoga.