40 Years of Kripalu in the West: Coming Home

Posted on December 5th, 2012 by in Yoga

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


About Cristie Newhart

Cristie is a senior Kripalu Yoga teacher and a senior faculty member at Kripalu. She is the former Volunteer Program Manager and former Production Manager, and has taught at Kripalu for more than 10 years. Cristie is currently the Yoga Advisor for the Kripalu Healthy Living Programs and leads Kripalu Guest Yoga and R&R retreat workshops.

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