World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kripalu Center

Kripalu Center
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
Former names Yoga Society of Pennsylvania
Location Stockbridge, Massachusetts[1]
Type Retreat
Opened 1983[2]

The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is a yoga retreat in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.[3] Its 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) facility is a former Jesuit novitiate and juniorate seminary built in 1957.[4] The center has described itself as North America's largest residential facility for holistic health and education.[5] It employed about 626 people as of 2008 and can accommodate more than 650 overnight guests.


  • Kripalu Yoga 1
  • History 2
  • Facility 3
  • Programs 4
  • Administration and finances 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
  • Further reading 8

Kripalu Yoga

Kripalu Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga using inner focus, meditation, standard yoga poses, breathwork, "development of a quiet mind", and relaxation. Kripalu emphasizes "following the flow" of prana, or "life-force energy, compassionate self-acceptance, observing the activity of the mind without judgment, and taking what is learned into daily life."[6]


In 1965, Amrit Desai founded the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania, later called Kripalu, to provide yoga classes as well as training for yoga teachers.[7] Desai is a native of Halol, India, where he met guru Swami Kripalvananda, for whom Kripalu is named.[8] During the 1970s, Desai established yoga retreats (ashrams) in Sumneytown and Summit Station, Pennsylvania.[9]

Amrit Desai at the World Conference on Scientific Yoga, 1970

Kripalu acquired its Stockbridge property in 1983. Soon thereafter, Kripalu legally became a religious order. Residents took vows of celibacy and obedience to Desai.[9] However, Desai's estimated annual compensation was $350,000 to $450,000, including housing and other benefits.[10]

In 1994, Desai resigned after admitting to sexual intercourse with followers.[5][9][11][12] Kripalu paid $2.5 million to settle a purported class action lawsuit brought by more than 100 former residents who had served as unpaid staff. Kripalu financed the payment partly by selling its adjacent Foxhollow property, which it had acquired to provide housing for its most senior members.[9][13]

In 1999, Kripalu changed its legal status from religious organization to secular nonprofit, with a stated mission to teach the art and science of yoga.[14]

In 2004, Kripalu added birds, fish, and caffeinated drinks to its hitherto vegetarian menu. Today it also serves mammals, including locally-raised pigs,[15] and posts meat-based recipes on its website.[16] Lacto-vegetarianism, seen as a practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence toward others, oneself, and the earth, had been one of the founding principles of Kripalu.[17] According to Cathy Husid-Shamir, Kripalu's former director of media relations, the change in the Kripalu's dietary policy was made in response to guests' demands.[14] However Kripalu president Richard Faulds writes that the move from a vegetarian-only diet was made in response to the belief by a significant number of Kripalu long-term residents that the Center's vegetarian diet was not meeting their needs.[18] Former executive vice president Ila Sarley claimed that the policy change was made to "reinvigorate Kripalu's culture."[19]


Kripalu's 350 acres (140 ha), include forests, lawns, gardens, and access to Lake Mahkeenac.[20][21] Conservation easements on 225 of the acres were granted in 1997 using funds from the U.S. Forest Legacy Program.[22][23]

Kripalu's principal 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) building was constructed by the Jesuits in 1957 to replace the Gilded Age mansion "Shadowbrook Cottage," destroyed by fire in 1956. Jesuits acquired the former estate in 1922 as a novitiate, but moved away in 1970.[24]

A $15 million, six-story housing annex with 80 guest rooms, was completed in 2010. Designed by architect Peter Rose, the annex incorporates sustainable design elements[25] and won a 2010 award for specialized housing from the American Institute of Architects. The institute commented on the building's interior natural lighting, and noted that the architectural design and climate control systems are integrated and consume 40 percent less energy than a conventional building.[26] Rose also developed a master plan for increasing the center's capacity and developing it into "a model of environmental responsibility" through improvements to existing buildings, landscaping, and new construction.[27]

The Kripalu Center formerly operated its own water supply. Groundwater from onsite wells was used for its water supply source, supplemented by water purchased from the Lenox water department.[28] There were regulatory agency "concerns" resulting in at least two enforcement actions about the water supply's potential vulnerability to contamination,[28][29][30] and as of 2009 the center's water supply had been converted to rely solely on purchased water obtained from surface water sources.[31]


As of 2008, Kripalu Center in Stockbridge said it offered more than 750 programs and spiritual retreats attended by about 25,000 people annually.[32] Total annual visitation is reported to be about 30,000 people. Many workshops are conducted by outside presenters.[33] Kripalu Center also offers a semester-long program for young adults; projects in music, weight loss and post-traumatic stress disorder.

About 2,200 independent instructors using the trademarked[34] term "Kripalu" pay training and certification fees. These affiliates obtain access to liability insurance and other business and marketing support.[35][36]

Administration and finances

In 1999 Kripalu changed its legal status from a religious order to a tax-exempt

  • Richard Faulds (2005), Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat, Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-38097-2
  • James Abro (2011), An American Yoga: The Kripalu Story,Aerodale Press. ISBN 978-1-4507-8624-9

Further reading

  • Official website
  • Swami Kripalvananda

External links

  1. ^ "Stockbridge, MA: Kripalu Wellness Retreat". 
  2. ^ "Up the Asana". 
  3. ^ Although the Kripalu Center is in the town of Stockbridge and uses a Stockbridge address, it is sometimes described as being in the nearby town of Lenox; for example, by the Boston Globe (Bess Hochstein, If you go: Kripalu Center, Lenox, Mass., July 18, 2004) and in Arthur Frommer's 2009 book Ask Arthur Frommer: And Travel Better, Cheaper, Smarter (page 137).
  4. ^ "Kripalu: Physical and spiritual wellness". 
  5. ^ a b "FAMOUS YOGI RESIGNS, ADMITS HE HAD SEX WITH 3 FEMALE FOLLOWERS". 1994-11-03. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  6. ^ "The Kripalu Approach: Yoga for Everybody" (27). Yoga Therapy Ireland magazine. Autumn 2006. 
  7. ^ "Kripalu Yoga - Yogi Seeker". 
  8. ^ "Stripping the Gurus -CHAPTER XXIII - UP THE ASANA". 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "History of Kripalu Center". Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  10. ^ Tesher, Ellie (1995-08-11). "How a spiritual centre heals itself". Toronto Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  11. ^ " Local Search - Boston Globe Archives". 1994-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  12. ^ Keegan, Paul. "Yogis Behaving Badly". Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  13. ^ Edwards, Johnny (2008-07-14). "Yogi brings life lessons back home - The Augusta Chronicle". Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  14. ^ a b Black, Jane (3 Sep 2010). "Kripalu updates its look but not its values". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Wellness Weekend: Kripalu". Well+Good LLC. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Kripalu Recipes". Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Seif, Amy. "Body & Soul: Kripalu Yoga in the Berkshires". Mother Earth Living, Ogden Publications, Inc. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Richard, Faulds (2010). Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat. Random House LLC.  
  19. ^ Todé, Chantal. "Kripalu Strikes a Pose for Growth". Direct Marketing News. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Jay Paris and Carmi Zona-Paris (2006), 100 Best All-inclusive Resorts Of The World. Globe Pequot, ISBN 0-7627-3860-X, ISBN 978-0-7627-3860-1. Pages 4-5.
  21. ^ [2], Stockbridge Bowl Association website, accessed July 15, 2010
  22. ^ "Forest Legacy Needs Assessment for Massachusetts" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  23. ^ "Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Report" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management Land Acquisition and Protection Program. 
  24. ^ "Earthsong Yoga". 2015. 
  25. ^ Robert Campbell (2010-05-09). "New dorm at Kripalu center radiates sustainability and simplicity". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  26. ^ 2010 AIA Housing Award Recipient, Category 4: Specialized Housing: The Housing Tower, AIA website, accessed August 1, 2010
  27. ^ 2010 National Award for Specialized Housing, DesignSpotter, accessed August 1, 2010
  28. ^ a b "Report For Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health" (PDF). Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP). 
  29. ^ "MassDEP: 2007 Enforcement Actions". Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  30. ^ "MassDEP: 2006 Enforcement Actions". Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  31. ^ "Public Water System (PWS) Name, Public Water System Number, Principal City Served System, Population Served, % of city/town served by PWS, Primary Water Source" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 2010. 
  32. ^ "About Kripalu". Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  33. ^ Andy Newman, It’s Not Easy Picking a Path to Enlightenment, New York Times, July 3, 2008
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b c "2008 Form 990" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 2010. 
  36. ^ "KAS Information Packet" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  37. ^ "Sanskrit - English Word Glossary". Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  38. ^ Hochstein, Bess (2004-07-18). "Cafeteria-style yoga". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  39. ^ a b c d e Jones, Trevor. "Kripalu latest to trim work force". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  40. ^ "2007 Form 990 Statement 14 Explanation of Relationship" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 2010. 
  41. ^ a b 2009 Form 990
  42. ^ "Kripalu's New Pose". Berkshire Eagle. Feb 27, 2011. 
  43. ^ "Kripalu’s Leadership". Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  44. ^
  45. ^


In October 2010, the Sarley executive team was replaced by CEO David Surrenda, who was previously (since 1987) director of an Oakland, California, consulting firm called Leadership Edge, and Chairman of the Board Lisette Cooper, founder of investment management firm Athena Capital Advisors.[42] In August 2012, Surrenda was replaced as CEO by Richard "Shobhan" Faulds, who had served as the chairman of Kripalu's board of trustees from 2001 to 2010 and had been president from 1998 to 2001. Faulds has also been Kripalu’s legal counsel since 1989.[43] David Lipsius was named chief executive of Kripalu in September 2012, after joining Kripalu in January "to pursue his personal dharma." Faulds became Vice President of Yoga Development. During 2012, Surrenda's salary and benefits were $260,097, and Faulds' were $200,762. [44][45]

In 2009 the organization reported revenue of $25.51 million and expenses of $24.35 million.[41] Revenue in 2012 grew six percent to $32.5 million.

Kripalu's leadership responded to the expected drop in business in several ways: in January 2009, they eliminated 35 full-time and 26 part-time positions (roughly 15 percent of Kripalu's staff); they canceled bonuses, and they reduced senior and executive pay by 5 to 15 percent.[39] According to Dinabandhu Sarley, a steep drop in business and high expenses necessitated the cuts. "All told, we went through and we had to cut," Sarley said. "We have very high overhead and very high fixed costs. There is no wiggle room on some of these things."[39] After the cuts, the Sarleys received a total 2009 executive compensation of $538,000.[39][41]

The steady increase in business came to an abrupt halt towards the start of 2009. Caught in the wake of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, Kripalu saw bookings for 2009 plunging as much as 25 percent from previous levels.[39]

Over the next five years Kripalu saw its bookings increase steadily and its total revenue double.[39] By 2008 revenue have grown to $27.4 million, a seven percent increase from the previous year.[35][40] Expenses in 2008 rose nine percent, to $26.23 million, with payroll and employee benefit expenses rising 4.4 percent from 2007. The Sarleys were given a 35 percent increase in their combined pay and benefits, raising their total executive compensation from $422,000 in 2007 to $584,000 in 2008.[35]

From 2004 until 2010, Patton Garrett Sarley Jr., served as Kripalu's president and chief executive. Sarley, who goes by the name Dinabandhu, a Sanskrit name meaning "friend of the poor and the helpless",[37] had been Kripalu's chief operating officer under Desai, but left at the time of Desai's resignation. During his absence from Kripalu, Sarley headed the Omega Institute, an educational center. In 2004, a struggling Kripalu rehired Sarley to be its president and chief executive officer, and gave him a seat on the board. His wife, Mary "Ila" Sarley was also brought on, as executive vice president.[38]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.