Last Updated on February 16, 2022
Practicing yoga has been part of many people’s daily life all around the world. Where most yoga practices focus mainly on meditation and breathing techniques, Kripalu yoga stresses the equal importance of focusing on your body, mind, and spirit; especially learning to accept your own body and thoughts.
History of Kripalu Yoga
Founded by Amrit Desai in the 1980s, the name Kripalu is associated with both a branch of yoga called Hatha and a wellness center in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. Desai named the Kripalu Center and practice from his teacher, Sri Kripalvananda who is also known as Swami Kripalu.
Over the years, Kripalu Center continued to expand its class offerings which include different yoga styles and wide arrays of wellness topics. The center also offers a yoga retreat, workshops, and teacher training to continue the expansion of the Kripalu yoga fellowship.
Swami Kripalu: The Kripalu Center for Yoga Health
The Hindu word “Kripalu” means compassion which best describes the practice. Aside from the usual practice of saying “Namaste” at the end of the class, Kripalu practitioners opt to say “Jai Bhagwan” instead which has the same meaning as the former but only in Hindi as a sign of respect (greetings to you or thank you).
This yoga style does not involve any complicated postures or repetitions of words, instead, it provides a natural healing response. The goal of this type of yoga is to not only improve your physical healing but also your mental and emotional well-being by focusing on your breathing, stretching, and relaxation.
Basic Kripalu Yoga Practice
Yoga is a common activity for many, but it can be hard to know where to start. Kripalu yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on releasing tension from the body, mind, and spirit. It is a progression from traditional Hatha yoga, which concentrates on the physical body.
Beginners usually enjoy this gentle style of meditation since it begins with understanding one’s body. Learning and understanding how your body works with different poses are important to fully appreciate and engross in this practice.
You might want to try the Kripalu class, which is a type of yoga that mixes ideas from hatha yoga with the philosophy of Swami Kripalu if you are interested in the following:
- Breathing exercises
- Gentle stretches
- Meditation to improve mental health
- Spiritual transformation
- Different poses
This yoga style requires focusing on your press points that are attuned to your own style. This makes you gradually learn poses that best suit your body and not the traditional way.
Here are some postures you can do to tap into your inner being:
- Tadasana (Mountain)
- Uktasana (Standing Squat)
- Virabhadrasana (Warrior)
- Vrikhasana (Tree)
- Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon)
- Garudasana (Eagle)
- Trikonasana (Triangle)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge)
- Navasana (Boat)
- Yoga Mudra (Symbol of Yoga)
Difference of Kripalu to Other Yoga Styles
What sets apart Kripalu from other yoga styles is its adaptability and teachings that allow anyone to practice it. Aside from those, here are some of the unique characteristics of performing Kripalu:
You do you
Kripalu yoga allows you to perform each poses based on your body’s capacity. Since this yoga teaches that everyone has a different body, doing poses in a similar way is not possible. By understanding and listening to your own body, you can be more aware and more in sync with yourself.
Gentler than the others
Other styles are vigorous and exhausting whereas the Kripalu style is gentler and safer to practice. Given that you are in control of each pose, Kripalu allows you to move freely unlike other styles that strictly adhere to mastering the poses.
Can be practiced by anyone
Anyone can perform this style regardless of age or physical limitations since the exercises involved in this yoga are freer and gentler than the others. Students who can benefit from this practice include those with arthritis, seniors, or anyone who may be overweight.
Kripalu Yoga Health Benefits
Performing gentle yoga will not only change your lifestyle but can also give you some health benefits.
Kripalu yoga can be relaxing resulting in a more positive mood. Since the movements in this practice are slow, it allows your body to relax as you move through each pose.
Supports digestion and sleep
This gentle yoga supports good digestion because of its rhythmic and slow movements which calm the nervous system. When done regularly, this could also improve your sleep and reduce insomnia.
Reduces mental health problems
By increasing the awareness of your thoughts and being more mindful of them, Kripalu yoga can help reduce anxiety and depression. Meditation aids in better focus, concentration, and self-awareness therefore benefiting those who have trouble controlling their thoughts.
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