Swami Kripalu

Last Updated: September 1, 2018

Definition - What does Swami Kripalu mean?

Swami Kripalu (1913—1981) was a Kundalini yoga master and teacher also known as Kripalvananda. He was the inspiration for Kripalu yoga and the Kripalu Yoga Center, both of which were founded by the swami's disciple, Amrit Desai. Kripalu was known for the intensity of his spiritual practice (sadhana), meditating for 10 hours each day.

Although from India, Swami Kripalu spent the last four years of his life in residence at the Kripalu Center in Pennsylvania before returning to India shortly before his death. The center has since moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Yogapedia explains Swami Kripalu

The depth of his sadhana did not limit Swami Kripalu, who was also a musician and prolific writer with a sense of humor who made the ancient teachings relevant to contemporary life. His teachings were based on the eight-limbed path as described by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras.

He emphasized the importance of a daily yoga practice, but believed that the approach to that practice must be unique to the individual. A path of love and loving relationships, a healthy lifestyle, compassion, “self-observation without judgment” and service were key components of his teachings.

A type of Hatha yoga, Kripalu yoga focuses on meditation, basic asanas, pranayama, relaxation, self-acceptance, and activating prana (life force energy).

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