Portsmouth Center for Yoga and the Arts
Portsmouth NH
Introduction to Kripalu Yoga

Focusing on the chakras while practicing yoga creates a powerful experience that will enhance your practice and your approach to life.

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The Kripalu Methodology

Kripalu Yoga is an approach to "Hatha" Yoga designed to bring you, the practitioner, to an integrated experience of body, mind and spirit.

     "On the mat", Kripalu Yoga is a reliable way to strengthen, tone, shape, realign, relax and energize your body. The Kripalu approach combines traditional Hatha Yoga postures with proper breathing, meditation techniques and an ongoing focus on body awareness. (See pranayama.)  In addition, through calming your mind and emotions, it enables you to listen to and respect the signals of your body so as to reduce illness, shorten recovery time from injuries, and reclaim your inherent health and well being. This interrelated approach can extend "off the mat" as well. In addition to the physical benefits, these combined practices bring a sense of emotional calmness, peace and clarity to help manage the stress of daily life. It can provide you with a holistic perspective on life. A more "integrated you" can create a more empowered relationship with circumstances, people and the unfolding direction of your life. Throughout Kripalu's three-stage approach, you will be guided to move at your own pace, honoring your body's needs in each moment. You will leave the class feeling calm, uplifted and centered as a result of honoring your body's needs in each moment.


The word "Kripalu" means "being compassionate" in Sanskrit, the sacred language of the yogic tradition. Kripalu Center was named in honor of Swami Kripalu, a highly respected yoga master who lived from 1913 to 1981. In l977, Swami Kripalu came to the U.S. and spent the last four years of his life in residence at the original Kripalu Center in Pennsylvania. His teachings on healthy lifestyle, the art of devotion and the science of yoga still form the basis of Kripalu Center's curriculum.

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The Kripalu Stages of Yoga

Stage 1 - WILLFUL PRACTICE: Body and Breath Awareness

This stage begins with a detailed experiential understanding of muscular-skeletal alignment and posture, which are essential for both safety and attaining optimum benefits. Coordination of various positions, with specific breathing techniques (see pranayama), are applied to bring a heightened awareness of your body and it's specific conditions and needs. You learn and respond to your body's needs; thereby opening and releasing accumulated tensions, aches and pains. An innate well-being is stimulated; the energy work in the guided postures, countered with deep relaxation and greatly reduces stress and strain.

Stage 2 - HOLDING THE POSTURE: Inner Focus and Concentration

In this stage you learn to turn your attention from the outward details of alignment, form and technique of the structural body, to an interior experience of sensations and feelings occurring on the inside of your body. This subtle stage is quiet and satisfying in an emotional and energetically sensitive way. Here you also develop neurological balance, mental strength and endurance as you learn to hold more difficult positions for longer periods of time.

Stage 3 - MEDITATION IN MOTION: Absorption

This stage is the hallmark of Kripalu Yoga. It is the most subtle and unique aspect of the three stages. Here you awaken and sustain a tangible relationship with the flow of energy--a union of body, mind and spirit. Intuitive movements occur in response to the inner wisdom of the body.

Benefits of a Yoga Practice

  • Stretches and tones muscles
  • Releases chronic tension
  • Improves circulation
  • Tones internal organs and glands
  • Energizes and refreshes
  • Calms restless thoughts
  • Cultivates concentration
  • Supports mental clarity and confidence
  • Promotes self-awareness
  • Connects you to your Self
  • Encourages self-acceptance
  • Honors inner wisdom
  • Invites deep stillness