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Class Act: Kripalu Yoga

Looking to try Yoga? Not sure what kind of yoga is best for beginners? I recommend you try Kripalu Yoga; it is a great place to start because these classes tend to involve slow and gentle movements. This approach makes Kripalu suitable for people working with injuries. In this style of yoga, poses are sometimes held longer than in other yoga classes, which is helpful if you are trying to learn the basics.

Kripalu Yoga combines postures, breathwork, meditation, inner focus and personal awareness. Classes explore the release of blocked energy and the integration of emotion and spirituality, so it's much more than just a workout for your muscles. The Kripalu experience is centered upon knowing the body while achieving balance in your mind.

This 90 minute class will help you understand the proper alignment of your body (where your bones go), and how to connect your breath to your movements. Props are often used such as blocks and bolsters, to help you get even deeper into poses. You'll get a complete body and mind workout, and feel extremely relaxed by the end.

Just because a Kripalu class moves slower than say Ashtanga, doesn't mean it's any easier. From my personal experience, if you are used to pushing yourself physically when you exercise, or if your mind is constantly moving, this class will be extremely challenging for you (it's tough to slow down when you're used to "go, go, go" all the time). Kripalu will help you learn how to still your body and calm your thoughts, which is an excellent skill to have when faced with a stressful situation.

Fit's Tips: I definitely recommend trying out a Kripalu class. Check out your local yoga studio and see if they offer this style. If you can't find a class near you, take a long weekend for yourself and check out the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts. They offer weekend retreats focused on Kripalu, and other types of yoga and movement as well.


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