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Kripalu yoga

Kripalu Yoga is often considered more of a mental workout than a physical one.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Kripalu Yoga acknowledges that not all students can bench press their own body weight or twist into a pretzel. Central to the practice is discovering the body's many limitations.

Kripalu students work towards longer held postures and graduate into a fluid sequence of movements - what Kripalu yogis call "meditation in motion." The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health was established in 1966, offering yoga classes, guided meditation, nature hikes and health-conscious meals.

Benefits of Kripalu yoga: Kripalu yoga is meant to have positive effects on a practitioner's mental state. The spiritual style is said to improve flexibility, boost energy levels and build strength.

Who Kripalu yoga is best for: Kripalu Yoga is more about self-discovery than attaining a six-pack. Called "the yoga of consciousness" in some circles, Kripalu practitioners are more in tune with the meditative elements of yoga.

Kripalu yoga may be particularly beneficial for pregnant women as an alternative to prenatal yoga, though working with a well-trained yogi is recommended.

Getting ready: The first poses are meant to work with each student's strengths and flexibilities (or lack thereof) to figure out what positions work and don't work.

Calories burned: Calorie-burning is not the primary intent of the spiritual practice known as Kripalu yoga.

Celebrity Devotees

The only celebrities known to practice Kripalu are those in the yoga world. Famed instructors like Rodney Yee (the DVD legend) and Beryl Bender Birch (the found of Power yoga) offer teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga.


Kripalu is a gentle and, when performed correctly, a safe yoga practice. Improper positioning of the body or overexertion can result in a strained muscle.

Who shouldn't do it: Women who are pregnant may be urged to wait until after their first trimester to practice Kripalu yoga. Lying-down poses are especially contraindicated during the first trimester, whereas positions performed on your back may be dangerous in the second trimester.

When pregnant, practice with a chair or near a wall for balance.

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