Kripalu yoga, the yoga of consciousness, was inspired by Swami Kripalvananda (Babuji).
Each class begins with a centering. Seated in a comfortable position with their eyes closed, participants practice breathing techniques (pranayamas), which is a vehicle used to focus inward, slow the breath and ease restless thoughts. Pranayamas allow participants to become more sensitive to how they feel, which in turn enables them to practice with greater awareness and respect for their bodies.
Centering is followed by a series of yoga postures (asanas) designed to stretch and strengthen the entire body.
The last 20 minutes of each class is devoted to guided relaxation and meditation, which helps participants develop a sense of inner peace that can be carried throughout the day.
Three stages of Kripalu yoga
There are three stages that a person progresses through with their Kripalu yoga practice:
Stage 1 – body and breath awareness – is a gentle form of yoga for beginners. At this level, participants learn how to properly align the body in yoga postures (asanas) and coordinate these with conscious and deliberate breathing techniques (pranayama).
Stage 2 – inner focus and concentration – more experienced participants learn to hold yoga postures (asanas) for longer periods of time and cultivate the art of mindfulness. It is at this level that awareness and compassion is developed as participants learn to pay attention to the subtleties of their bodily sensations, breath, thoughts and emotions.
Stage 3 – absorption – advanced participants are encouraged to use their intuition and inner wisdom to enter a spontaneous flow of postures known as “meditation in motion”.