The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health had its beginnings in 1966 when Yogi Amrit Desai founded the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization providing yoga classes and training for yoga teachers. The name of the Society was later changed to Kripalu Yoga Fellowship ("Kripalu"), the nonprofit and charitable organization that still operates Kripalu Center.
Kripalu is the first traditional yoga ashram founded on the guru-disciple model to transition to a new paradigm of spiritual education. This paradigm is designed to provide tools that help individuals access their inner wisdom and find support for their ongoing process of growth and spiritual development. Kripalu honors all traditional and contemporary spiritual teachings that support the individual's direct experience of Spirit.
Yogi Desai came from the small village of Halol in India. There, from the age of 15, he enjoyed a close personal relationship with his guru Swami Kripalvananda, for whom Kripalu Center is named. Swami Kripalu is more commonly referred to as Bapuji, or beloved grandfather. He was a highly renowned master of kundalini yoga as well as a moving speaker, prolific writer, and talented musician. Bapuji spent four years in America (1977-1981) where he taught and practiced intense yoga and meditation. His teachings still serve as the foundation of Kripalu's approach to yoga and spiritual life.