The Origins of Kripalu Yoga

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Kripalu Yoga is inspired by the life and teachings of the Indian spiritual master Swami Kripalu (1913-1981). Revered in India for his love of God, service to humanity, and mastery of yoga, Swami Kripalu was an accomplished scholar and musician who maintained a rigorous schedule of 10 hours of intensive spiritual practice per day. Through the disciplines of yoga, he awakened the latent life force energy of prana and kundalini within his body. His teachings flowed from a rich reservoir of personal spiritual experience.

Yogi Amrit Desai, a close disciple of Swami Kripalu, came to America in 1960 to study art and teach yoga. In 1970, Yogi Desai had a profound yoga experience that led him to adapt Swami Kripalu's traditional teachings into a format suited to the needs of active Westerners. He called this approach Kripalu Yoga. Kripalu Yoga is unique in that it teaches a practitioner how to activate prana and harness this life force energy for healing and spiritual growth.

Yogi Desai founded the original Kripalu Center in 1974 in Pennsylvania. In 1977, Swami Kripalu traveled to America to reside at the Kripalu Center, where he stayed for four years. Swami Kripalu was directly involved in the development of Kripalu Yoga. In 1981, Swami Kripalu returned to India, where he died shortly after his return. In 1984, the Kripalu Center was relocated to its current location in the Berkshires.

For more than 20 years, Yogi Desai worked with many gifted Kripalu residents to integrate Western principles of holistic health and psychology with the traditional Eastern approach to yoga. Since Yogi Desai's departure from the Kripalu Center in 1994, Kripalu's unique approach to living continues to evolve as The Kripalu Approach to Health, Growth, and Transformation.

Kripalu Yoga continues to be taught at the Kripalu Center and by certified teachers throughout the world. In addition to a dizzying array of yoga classes and workshop programs, the Center offers frequent teacher training programs in its approach to yoga, certifying thousands of teachers in various levels of practice of Kripalu Yoga.

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