SELF-OBSERVATION WITHOUT JUDGMENT
Arguably, the most important tenet of the Kripalu yogic philosophy to embrace on the path to a profound practice and to silence the inner critic is self-observation without judgement. Many people attempt and then abandon the practice of yoga because of a misperception that one is "bad" at yoga if he or she is unable to assume the asanas just like the teacher, or even other classmates. Accepting limitations without self-judgment and modifying your practice to make it your own unique experience is a philosophy that can be applied to all of life's experiences and challenges.
A BALANCE OF MIND AND BODY
The practice of Kripalu Yoga centers around the integration of the asanas (postures), pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and meditation. Breathing and meditation in conjunction with the postures, not only increases focus on and heightens awareness of the engagement and release of muscles and the movement of joints, but allows one to access emotions, thoughts and ideas that lead to clarity and self-discovery. The most inflexible who balance the mind and body can have a more profound practice that fosters personal growth than the most flexible who only strive for perfection in the physical expression of the asanas.
RIDING THE WAVE
Many react to stressors and pressures with reflexive judgments and automatic negative thoughts and behaviors. The practice of Kripalu Yoga can be transformative as one learns both on and off the mat to ride the wave of a personal challenge. Through our practice we develop a new strategy for introspection. Rather than succumbing to habitual avoidance defense mechanisms, remaining on the wave of tension and anxiety as it intensifies and crests allows for productive analysis and exploration. Through yoga, we learn to first breathe and relax, and then access our feelings, watch, and finally allow ourselves to react in a way that best serves us. Negative judgments soon give way to positive affirmations. This path towards self-love leads to gratitude. Once one is grateful for life's blessings, love and compassion follow. Soon, yoga becomes a way of life.