Kripalu is a style of yoga founded in the 1960s. It was inspired by the teachings of Swami Kripalvananda, a well-known Kundalini master. Today, Kripalu yoga has spread around the globe. The information taught in the three stages of Kripalu yoga includes: asanas, breathing techniques, meditation and spiritual attunement.
First Stage of Kripalu Yoga
The first stage of Kripalu yoga focuses on postural alignment through asanas, or yoga postures. The yoga postures help strengthen the body and support relaxation. Pranayma, or breathing techniques, is also learned at this stage. Asanas are held for a short time while coordinating the breath with the movements. Focusing on the breath with each movement encourages mental concentration, or mediation.
Second Stage of Kripalu Yoga
Postures are held for longer periods of time in the second stage of Kripalu yoga. While strengthened muscles are a benefit, more emphasis is put on spiritual attunement and deepened meditation. Emotional and mental challenges, rooted deep in the subconscious, come to the surface during prolonged asanas. When these issues become part of your conscious awareness, you can let them go to facilitate balanced emotions and a clear mind.
Third Stage of Kripalu Yoga
The third stage of Kripalu yoga is known as “meditation in motion.” It builds on what was learned in the first two stages. When in a deeply relaxed state, Kripalu yogis perform asanas based on an inner encouragement from prana, which is universal energy. Self-acceptance and consciousness are also practiced in more depth. Yogis are encouraged to practice the principles learned in day-to-day activities.
Students in beginner Kripalu yoga classes will focus on the teachings in stage one. Stage two and three and taught in more advanced classes. Students will learn a variety of yoga postures, although there is not a set sequence. The classes can be moderate or vigorous, depending on the student’s needs that day. In Kripalu yoga, students are taught to focus inward and practice at a level that fits their needs at that point in time. In beginner and advanced classes, students learn asanas, pranayama and meditation. Each class ends with some time for deep relaxation.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images