Kripalu yoga is a style of yoga that makes use of the asanas, or yoga postures, as well as breath work, meditation, and spiritual and self-acceptance practices. This type of yoga was developed in 1965 by Amrit Desai, who also opened the Kripalu Center. Kripalu yoga is now practiced in many yoga studios in various locations, and is an excellent type of yoga for beginners or the elderly.
There are many different Kripalu yoga classes available for people of different fitness and ability levels. In general, however, this is a very gentle type of yoga, and encourages the practitioner to listen to the needs of his or her body. Each practice is open for the participants to look inward, and consider how they wish to practice yoga on that particular day; if they want a challenging, intense class, they may practice that, but if they would rather a gentler class, that is encouraged as well.
Each Kripalu yoga class typically begins in the same way, with a focus on pranayama, which is a series of breathing exercises and some gentle stretching. This is the time when students may look inward and assess their needs for the day. The class may then progress into a series of individual asanas, which may be modified by the students as needed. The asanas practiced in Kripalu yoga classes are generally focused on increasing flexibility, focus, and strength; more challenging asanas, such as inversions, are not as common in this type of yoga class.
The class will generally end with a relaxation and meditation period, where the students will practice self-acceptance and compassion, observe the thoughts in the mind without judgment, and consider how to take what they have learned in class, and apply it to their daily lives off the mat. Kripalu yoga, as with all forms of yoga, encourages self awareness along with an awareness of the outside world. It is considered to be a particularly good choice for those who want to work on their physical bodies as well as their minds.
Because Kripalu yoga is excellent for beginners and the elderly, it is also a good choice for those who may be overweight or not particularly physically fit. There are many classes in this style of yoga offered at gyms and yoga studios around the world. To find one, it may be helpful to search online, or ask the guidance of friends who also enjoy yoga.