What Is the Kripalu Approach to Leadership?

By Edi Pasalis and Allie Middleton

Leadership can be a loaded word often associated with strong-willed bosses or a sense of grasping for material prosperity. Yet, through the yogic lens, leadership is the simple acknowledgment that we are profoundly interconnected and that what we do, and more importantly, how we are as we do it, really matters.  

On and off the mat, Kripalu Yoga offers an embodied approach to lead from our interconnection, right here, right now. The Kripalu approach enables us to meet the essential leadership question "what’s needed here now?" with all of our wisdom. This approach allows us to move toward the future with a curiosity of the mind, compassion of our hearts, and the courage of our wills, all while keeping a sense of groundedness. In essence, we discover how we might thrive together. 

Those inclined to do good in the world are important fixers of wrongs and helpers of people in need. But if we only bring a fixing or helping mentality to the complex challenges we live through, we miss a portion of our leadership and risk harming others or ourselves. Kripalu leadership programming integrates these fixing and helping impulses and offers a further level: service or love in action. 

Through embodied resilience practices, we create a foundation for safety that more than our personality or character, creates the inner ground where we can fruitfully co-evolve the path forward.  

Through shared presence practices, we become aware of the biases, habits, and shadow parts that hijack our best intentions. We learn to meet the world through the choices of love or judgment, cynicism or compassion, fear or courage. 

Through creative embodied practices, we begin to redirect our attention from our judgment—what we wish or think should be happening—to what is naturally arising. We begin to sense when stillness or action might better express our intention to serve.   

Together, we grow our capacity for love in action through these integrative practices. Reimagining leadership together in this way, we can more easily share this present moment and more powerfully shape a collective future for ourselves, each other, and the planet.