There are many different forms of yoga. While we tend to just think about the lotus position and saying ‘om’, paired with some calming meditation music and a candle, this is little more than a stereotype.
Some will consider yoga as pure exercise, cat pose, cow pose, tree pose, and others that help to stretch out your muscles.
But, yoga is mindfulness, it is exercise, breathing practices, and opening up your chakras and being in tune with yourself and the world.
Yoga has actually got many different varieties, and one of these is Kripalu yoga. Let us delve more into Kripalu yoga today.
Traditional yoga, the yoga you are thinking of right now, is not for everyone, but maybe Kripalu yoga is actually for you.
What Does Kripalu Yoga Actually Mean?
Kripalu yoga is a new, more modern form of yoga which has been adapted from the more ancient Hatha practices.
It is made up of a series of physical poses that do not need to be completed in any particular order.
These poses are then joined by relaxation and breathing exercises.
The goal of this type of yoga is to take your awareness inwards, to a focus on the flowing of their prana, otherwise known as their life force energy.
Kripalu yoga is able to be practiced by people of all fitness levels and any age. It is totally non restrictive.
A Basic Understanding Of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu yoga has its beginning teachings in some of the most ancient yoga literature. It is known to have mainly been made from the many teachings of Swami Kripalvananda.
A disciple of Swami, known as Amit Desai brought the teachings to the United States of America back in the 60’s, thus establishing the first known Kripalu ashram in Pennsylvania.
Swami ended up spending a total of 4 years in the Pennsylvanian ashram, delivering lectures to the teachers of this type of yoga.
Kripalu yoga is basically just a more gentle type of Hatha yoga, hence making it more adaptable to age groups and fitness levels.
It uses the Asana, as well as mudras, breathing techniques, and meditation.
These practices take in the awareness of the sensations of breath, body, and mind.
The overall practice of Kripalu yoga is made up of 3 total stages. These are as follows:
- The focus of properly aligning the body in which each position is held for only a short amount of time.
- The deepening and increase of depth of awareness in the bodily sensations as each pose is held for a lengthened period of time.
- Finally, a meditative state in which the performer will be guided by their instinctual knowledge, moving as dictated to the flow of their prana.
You do not necessarily do all three, as advanced Kripalu Asanas will be made up of all three stages, but you will start off slowly as you begin your Kripalu yoga journey.
Practicing Kripalu Yoga
In a Kripalu class, every student will have to learn to find their own individual level of practice on a day as they look inward to themselves.
Classes in Kripalu will typically start off with pranayama exercise, as well as light stretches, followed closely by Asana practicing and then relaxation afterwards.
As a beginner, you will only have to hold each pose for a short period of time as you slowly start to feel and experience the effects of your prana in your body.
As you advance you will hold each pose for a longer period of time.
By the end of your class, your teacher will say ‘Jai Bhagwan’ instead of the traditional ‘namaste’.
These technically have an identical meaning, but namaste is Sanskrit, and Jai Bhagwan is Hindi.
It is best to experience Kripalu yoga through a class or online program. This is because if you want to do this properly guidance as you start your journey is imperative.
Classes are typically tailored to all levels, and you can get gentle movement classes as well as meditation classes and pranayama classes too.
While you could simply read up on it, if you did not feel like attending a class, online courses are the next best thing.
Benefits Of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu yoga tends to appeal to those who wish to work on themselves spiritually and physically to improve their well-being and overall health.
This type of yoga has an individualized and gentle approach, making it an ideal choice of yoga for students who benefit most from adaptable practices.
This means that it is also ideal for older individuals, those who have arthritis, and those who are overweight as well.
It can be a fantastic way to get yourself introduced to yoga, as the practice of yoga is totally new to you.
There have also been some clinical studies done on the benefits of yoga and practices that are associated and provided with Kripalu yoga specifically.
Can Help With PTSD
There was a study done on Kripalu yoga and helping military veterans who suffer from PTSD.
51 people signed up, but only some finished it, so it was said that while yoga can help with PTSD, it did have a high rate of dropouts.
So more needs to be researched into this application.
May Help With General Anxiety
Another report was done on yoga and general anxiety disorder.
A common condition that comes with anxiety, worry, and avoidance. This report showed 3 participants who got 8 2-weekly sessions of Kripalu yoga.
Each of the participants noted improvement in their symptoms. Which would state that Kripalu yoga does have application here.
Kripalu yoga is a simpler/ gentler form of Hatha yoga, which was brought to the United States some 60 years ago.
It focuses on the physical, and mental aspects of self and may even have application in reducing symptoms of some mental health conditions.
Try it for yourself, and tell us what you think!