In this monthly series running through 2012, community members recall milestone moments to commemorate and reflect on Kripalu Yoga.
In 1972, a small residential yoga retreat called Kripalu Center was founded in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania, by Amrit Desai and several of his students from the Philadelphia area. Desai had emigrated to the United States from India, where he was a close disciple of the yoga master Swami Kripalu. Over the next 40 years, Desai’s students integrated Swami Kripalu’s core teachings with psychology, science, and Western approaches to healing and self-development, creating groundbreaking programs and approaches to well-being. Today, Kripalu’s curriculum, professional training, and yoga research continue to be informed by the lineage of Kripalu Yoga. To commemorate the 40-year milestone, we asked several teachers and community members to reflect on what Kripalu Yoga means to them.
The first time I came to Kripalu was for a monthlong yoga teacher training. Everywhere I went, I had such a familiar feeling, deep down. Even the smell of the place reminded me of something, something I had longed for without even knowing it. Now I know it was the yoga bringing me home. The simple focus of breath, the permission to be as I was, the idea of practice as inquiry rather than self-improvement opened doors that I hadn’t even known existed. Kripalu Yoga invited me to align with my true nature and continues to do so 11 years later. —Cristie Newhart, Kripalu Yoga teacher for R&R retreats and guest yoga