Kripalu means compassion in Sanskrit. Kripalu Yoga is about teaching self-acceptance by being present in the moment. This Yoga is another approach to Hatha Yoga and finds its basis on Patanjali’s Sutras and the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The philosophy of Kripalu Yoga is:
“The goal of traditional Yoga is to bring a practitioner to the highest spiritual state called self-realization. The goal of Kripalu Yoga is to develop a healthy and strong body, an open and caring heart, and a peaceful and clear mind. Kripalu Yoga recognizes that we are born pine and are inherently capable of accessing our spiritual nature.” (From the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training Manual).
Kripalu Yoga was founded by Yogi Amrit Desai, born in the small village of Halol in India. He is commonly popular as ‘Gurudev’ among his followers. Yogi Amrit Desai was inspired a lot by the teachings of his guru Swami Kripalvananda. The Kripalu Center is known to have been named after him, and the teachings and philosophies of Swami Kripalvananda are the foundations of the Kripalu Yoga, the new approach to a pure and spiritual life.
As explained before, Kripalu Yoga is an approach of the Hatha Yoga but it has a more compassionate approach, emphasizing on spiritual meditation and inner transformation more than anything else. Besides presenting a new philosophy about Yoga, it is also a holistic lifestyle, where the main principles of Yoga are applied in the day to day life. The practice of Kripalu Yoga awakens the ‘prana’ from within and assesses its connection with the body, mind, and spirit. This in turn reveals the deeper aspects of Yoga and meditation to the one who practices Kripalu Yoga.
The best thing about Kripalu Yoga is the student is allowed to move at his own pace and according to his own physical needs in accordance with the spirit of Kripalu Yoga, which views Yoga in a sympathetic and accommodating manner. The classes commence with breathing exercises and gentle stretches. The inpidual poses are practiced then. It all ends with a final relaxation.
Kripalu Yoga practice emphasizes on the proper discipline of breath, which is the basis of Yoga and the spiritual dimensions of the Yoga practice. Students are advised to go according to the wisdom of the body and keep in mind their flexibilities and strengths.