Wilmington Yoga
(910) 350-0234

5329 Oleander Drive
Suite 200
Wilmington, NC 28403

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What is Kripalu?

Kripalu is more than a style of yoga or a state of mind – it’s an entire mental, physical and spiritual experience along with an actual physical location. Kripalu is considered North America’s largest and most established retreat center for yoga and holistic health. The location in western Massachusetts attracts more than 25,000 students annually, has trained more than 5,000 teachers and has 40 affiliated students worldwide.

The program teaches yoga, plus other aspects of better living, including spirituality, lifestyle, nutrition, healing arts and new methods of looking at the world. Students can learn ways to calm and enhance their minds, bodies and hearts, reduce stress, detoxify their systems, lose weight, and if they’re willing, return home to teach the methods to their own communities.

The center also offers free hour-long online yoga videos for those unable to visit the center. Each is divided into three styles: gentle, which is slow and peaceful with basic breathing exercises, plus a variety of sitting, standing and on-the-back positions; moderate, which includes foundational poses and deeper breathing exercises and a low-key deep restoration workout; and vigorous, which are designed to develop strength and endurance while attempting more advanced postures.

Credit for the actual Kripalu style of yoga is given to two individuals, Amrit Desai, who started an ashram in Pennsylvania and his instructor Swami Kripalvanandji, a yoga master from India’s Gujarat province.

During meditation, Kripalvanandji, also known as Kripalu, experienced a variety of motions and as he explored them, he realized they were hatha yoga postures. His lessons blended certain movements, breathing exercises and hand gestures. The original ashram and guru have evolved into the current non-profit educational center.

Today, Kripalu still offers a blend of classic asanas, but not specific sets or routines, plus breath work/pranayama, and various techniques of relaxation and calm. Organizers developed an approach that emphasizes following a flow of energy, observing the mind without judgment, practicing compassion and other positive introspection. If the goal is awakening one’s energy, any style of yoga can be used.

Kripalu has three main areas:

· Posture alignment and coordination of movement and breath. Postures are not held long, but still help the body’s endurance and release tension.

· Inner experience, which includes mental focus and the ability to hold postures longer.

· Relaxation of body and mind, which allows the body to move itself without prompting to various postures, based on what it needs.

At the center and affiliated studios, students practice in sessions of varying intensities, but then are encouraged to listen inwardly to other areas of their lives, such as what foods the body wants.

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