The Power and Depth of Kripalu Yoga was an unpublished article by Yoganand Michael Carroll. This article was written in 2004 to address differences Yoganand saw between Kripalu Yoga and the teachings of Swami Kripalu. The ideas expressed in this article led Yoganand to leave Kripalu Yoga and develop Pranakriya Yoga.
As a senior teacher at Kripalu Center and head of our Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program, I have spent the last three years developing programs to educate our Yoga teachers about the history and philosophy of your tradition.
My research into the teachings of the masters of our path, the texts they wrote or endorsed, the historical facts associated with their lives and activities, as well as my own practice of their techniques and rituals, have given me a new perspective on the path that has changed my understanding of Kripalu Yoga. I am sharing my insights to spread my enthusiasm and insights to other travelers of the Kripalu path, and to practitioners of other traditions, because I believe many older traditions were similar in structure and philosophy.
As I look at the rich history and depth that Kripalu Yoga has evolved from, I see that much has been lost or diminished through time and the many transitions through eras, languages, cultures and personalities. In looking deeply at where we have come from I find much that can enrich our modern practice of Kripalu Yoga. I find a rich heritage, a profound philosophy, and very powerful transformational techniques.
My hope in writing is to integrate three parts of our tradition that I have never seen satisfactorily merged. In their coming together these parts reveal, not only the depth and power of our tradition, but possibly the depth and power of a universal Yoga path. I will present evidence that all or most established Yoga traditions may have evolved from one ancient Yoga school, and that each currently holds a piece of it’s original philosophy and practice.
To see where we have come from, three pieces need to be understood and integrated.
They are: the ancient Yoga tradition called Pashupata Marga, Swami Kripalu’s teachings and writings, and Kripalu Yoga, as it was developed by Amrit Desai, and as it is currently being taught by Kripalu teachers. My resources and perspective on each are as follows: