Kripalu School of Yoga
Kripalu offers one of the most comprehensive, inspired, and transformational yoga teacher trainings in the country. Throughout our trainings, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to become an exceptional—and successful—yoga teacher, able to work in any environment you choose.
The integrated curriculum we offer is taught by expert teachers with decades of experience. Students report that the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training faculty deeply impact their development as yoga teachers because the faculty embody what they teach.
Come live, learn, and transform here, while immersing yourself in a residential, yogic lifestyle that encourages inquiry and knowledge. We construct the Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training in ways that cultivate your ability to thrive in your personal and professional life and graduate as a unique yoga teacher, with a well-developed connection to a deep source of knowledge and inspiration—and the ability to guide others into theirs.
What is Kripalu Yoga?
Kripalu Yoga is a comprehensive, disciplined approach to self-study that cultivates health, facilitates psychological growth, and transforms one’s sense of self. Kripalu Yoga arises from thousands of years of study and practice in fostering a spiritual connection to all life and an awakening to the authentic self. It focuses on getting in touch with one’s own innate wisdom and happiness through cultivating nonjudgmental awareness. The primary tools of this nondogmatic, nonsectarian practice are asana (postures), pranayama (breath-awareness exercises), and meditation. Kripalu means “being compassionate” in Sanskrit, and compassion for oneself and others lies at the heart of Kripalu Yoga.
Roots of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu Yoga evolved from a yoga tradition that had its beginnings in the Vedic culture, circa 1700-1100 BCE, when the oldest scriptures of Hinduism were composed. Its current form was developed from the teachings of the Indian kundalini yoga master Swami Kripalvananda (often shortened to Swami Kripalu) by his close disciple, Amrit Desai. Desai brought what he called Kripalu Yoga to the United States in the 1960s, and Swami Kripalu spent four years with Desai’s American students at Kripalu’s ashram in Pennsylvania prior to his death in 1981. Over the years, American teachers have continued to integrate the fundamentals of the tradition with understanding gained from contemporary culture. Kripalu Yoga is a living tradition, a continually evolving practice.
In Kripalu Yoga, neither posture sequences nor instructions are standardized, so no two classes look the same. Because of the creative nature of Kripalu Yoga, it is easily adaptable to all ages and to practitioners at all levels, and may be skillfully fine-tuned for teenagers, the elderly, and people with physical limitations, as well as those with a vigorous practice. Teachers guide students through a practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation, using language and sequences that may vary greatly. As in all yoga traditions, proper alignment and safety are essential, but what distinguishes a Kripalu Yoga class is an emphasis on bringing awareness to the physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts that arise throughout the practice. Kripalu Yoga teachers describe this continual close attention to what is happening in the body and mind as “inquiry-based” learning.
The Three Stages of Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu Yoga encompasses three stages of practice, but these stages are not achieved in a linear fashion, like climbing the rungs of a ladder. Rather than a series of steps, the stages represent a cyclical, never-ending process of evolution and learning. An advanced practitioner, having built the capacity to access each of the stages through regular practice, might experience all three within a single class.
Stage one emphasizes the building of a healthy and safe physical asana practice that strengthens and grounds the body. Stage two moves deeper into feelings and sensations as the practitioner balances disciplined asana practice with an intuitive sense of what the body is calling for. In stage three, often called “meditation in motion,” the practitioner is guided primarily by intuitive knowledge and prana (energy, or life force), attuning to the subtle wisdom of the body and spirit. Kripalu Yoga teaches that when we allow ourselves to be guided by this wisdom in every facet of life, our connection with self and with others becomes stronger and deeper, and we experience physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Kripalu Yoga Off the Mat
While taking yoga “off the mat” into daily life is an aspect of many yoga traditions, in Kripalu Yoga, it is a primary focus: Postures are not an end in and of themselves, but rather tools for learning to be present in each moment, and thus to experience life to its fullest. Instead of working toward picture-perfect physical alignment, Kripalu Yoga practitioners seek the alignment of thoughts, feelings, and actions, so that our self-expression in the world reflects our growing knowledge of our true nature. The way we act and react on the mat becomes a microcosm for the way we act and react in all other situations. When we practice being present in the moment with what’s actually happening rather than our idea of what’s happening, it becomes easier to release habitual patterns and self-judgments. When we are able to compassionately observe what’s happening in the body and mind, we are able to respond with more authenticity and equanimity to life’s challenges, both mundane and profound.
Why Study Yoga at Kripalu?
The Kripalu School of Yoga offers many benefits for those interested in teaching and/or learning more about Kripalu Yoga:
- Leading Reputation Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is the home of the Kripalu School of Yoga. It is the largest, most established center for yoga and holistic health in the United States. Nearly 30,000 people a year attend programs at Kripalu, and more than 300 students annually graduate from our yoga teacher trainings.
- Expert Faculty Study with leading teachers, skilled educators who have been practicing and teaching Kripalu Yoga for more than 20 years.
- Inspiring Curriculum Take part in an integrated curriculum designed to make yoga an exciting exploration that results in you feeling more connected to your inner wisdom while gaining the confidence to bring this ancient technology to your clients, friends, and/or family members.
- Experiential Learning Participate in our teaching methodology that provides a unique mix of didactic education and experiential sessions. Continue the learning off the mat as you apply the teachings to all areas of your life.
- Immersion into a Yogic Lifestyle Stay at Kripalu Center during your training sessions and immerse yourself in Kripalu’s lifestyle curriculum, including daily yoga classes, deliciously nourishing all-natural meals, the company of people with similar interests, the beauty of the Berkshires, and much more.
- Professional Certification Graduate as a certified 200-hour or 500-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher. A well-trained Kripalu teacher may choose to enter into private practice, open a studio, work at health clubs and wellness centers, teach public education classes on yogic principles, or conduct yoga classes, workshops, seminars, and retreats to a variety of populations.