Let’s dive deep into the world of Kripalu yoga, exploring its long history and the many benefits that it brings. The name Kripalu comes from the Hindu word for compassion, which is the central concept of the practice. The original idea was to bring the aspects of Kripalu yoga practice into every aspect of life. Imagine taking that same peace, focus, and energy out into the world to be shared with others! Meditation and breathwork are encouraged during the practice, as well as outside of it. This way, the practitioner uses breathing and meditation as tools to gain a better understanding of the body and its reactions. Another strong theme is the acceptance of the self and the physical body. Kripalu yoga calls on those who continually practice to listen to their body and the thoughts that enter their mind as a result of poses and movement.
History of Kripalu Yoga
Sri Kripalvananda was a renowned yoga teacher who lived and worked in India in the 20th century. He passed on the knowledge he acquired after years of studies to several of his followers. In turn, they vowed to spread that knowledge around the world in an attempt to bring the practice to others. One of his students, Amrit Desai, created a new branch of Hatha yoga in the 1980s. And thus, Kripalu yoga was born. This version of the ancient practice has since evolved. Not all classes include more spiritual teachings. However, there still exists the same emphasis on peace and compassion. Because of the Hindu influences, the practice traditionally does not use Namaste. Instead, Kripalu practitioners use Jai Bhagwan, a Hindi phrase that means “thank you”.
Benefits of Kripalu Yoga
Thanks to the challenging nature of movement sequences and static poses, Kripalu practice leaves you feeling a sense of self-empowerment. Knowing what you’re capable of gives you enough confidence to push through anything. The Kripalu practice also strengthens the mind, using it as the main source of energy to link breath and movement. For this reason, when students begin to understand the language of their body, they adopt a more mindful approach. Another side effect of Kripalu yoga is a more harmonic way of living, a direct result of the connection the mind has with everything within and surrounding the individual. In addition to these more mental benefits, the physical benefits include improved flexibility and an overall tension release. As the chest and ribcage open up, breathing becomes easier and more effective. If you are a sensitive and compassionate person, Kripalu yoga is perfect for you!