History of Equity Work at Kripalu


  • The first Yoga Retreat for Women of Color is held at Kripalu in 1999. Led by Maya Breuer, Kripalu Board Emeritus, this transformational community-building program continues annually today, and has inspired countless people to deepen their personal practice or go on to become a yoga teacher.
  • Kripalu welcomes people from all over the world to work with us, including those new to the United States. We seek to give all employees the opportunity to realize their own dreams and ambitions during their employment at Kripalu and beyond. For more than 10 years we have offered a customized English as a Second Language (ESOL) training to our staff and have partnered local organizations including Literacy Network and Berkshire Immigration Center to provide resources and tools for our staff to develop and grow both personally and professionally and recently we were recognized by the English Works Campaign as a good place to work for non-English speakers.
  • The Schwartz Teaching for Diversity Grant Program launches in 2001 to provide seed funding to support partnerships between Kripalu trained yoga teachers and community organizations to bring the wisdom and practice of yoga to new communities. Hundreds of yoga programs have been launched over the program's 20-year history.
  • The Black Yoga Teachers Alliance began hosting its bi-annual conference at Kripalu in 2011; a spirit-filled, intergenerational, life-affirming educational experience, open to all, that brings together expert teachers and healers from across the country and around the world.
  • Kripalu hosted its first Queer Empowerment Retreat in 2019, a space for LGBTQIA+ to fully embody their true selves, reclaim the power of gender and sexuality, and receive the support of a loving community.
  • An organizational Diversity Equity and Inclusion Assessment is conducted in 2014 by Bhasin Consulting Inc and Verna Myers, founder and principal of The Verna Myers Consulting Group and author of Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing and What If I Say the Wrong Thing? 25 Habits for Culturally Effective People
  • Kripalu’s Board of Trustees formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to steward Equity work at the leadership level. 
  • Kripalu partners with local and organic farmers to purchase produce and other locally produced foods to nourish guests and students.
  • Kripalu partners with Berkshire South Community Center to bring Kripalu Kitchen meals to families in need, and donates regularly to Berkshire food security agencies.
  • For 20 years Kripalu has partnered with Riverbrook, a 501c3 in Stockbridge, MA that empowers women with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead enviable adult lives. Their residents have volunteered with different departments and have produced some handmade goods for sale in the Kripalu Shop.


  • Through partnership with BRIDGE (Berkshire Resources for Integration of Diverse Groups through Education), Kripalu’s entire staff received cultural literacy and cultural competence training.
  • Kripalu’s Board of Trustees received Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training from Ruth King, Founder of Mindful of Race Institute, LLC, and a celebrated author, educator, and meditation teacher.
  • Kripalu’s RISE™ Resiliency Training served hundreds of public school leaders, administrators, educators, and other public servants in multiple inner-city areas throughout New York and New England.
  • Kripalu developed and offered a Spanish language introduction to RISE™ for Spanish-speaking members of its housekeeping and kitchen staff.


  • Kripalu partners with Michelle Cassandra Johnson and Kerri Kelly of Race & Resilience to deepen our equity centered work through organization-wide consciousness raising, coaching, and support.
  • Kripalu sets intentional goals around greater representation in program delivery and teaching staff. Members of the Global Majority comprise 50% of Kripalu’s lead faulty team and have led 36% of all online programs.
  • The Kripalu Environmental Stewardship Committee is formed to catalyze an overall approach, mission, and long-term implementation of environmental stewardships policies, principles, and practices so that environmental stewardship becomes integrated into the organization’s cultural core.
  • In the heart of the pandemic Kripalu brought our full suite of programs online to support individuals and communities through this period of immense stress and uncertainty. To date our online programs have reached thousands of students in all 50 states and more than 50 countries.
  • Kripalu Schools have trained hundreds of yoga, yoga therapy, Ayurveda, and meditation teachers as well as mindful outdoor guides. These teachers go on to reach countless students, bringing health and wellness support all over the country.


  • Kripalu’s Board of Trustees expands to intentionally center greater diversity and diversity of lived experience at the leadership level.
  • Kripalu launches an Equity Team made up of nine staff members from across the organization to build and steward culture within the organization by inspiring colleagues to bring an equity lens to all areas of their work.
  • Kripalu begins internal cocreation of the Organizational Equity Statement and accompanying educational resources to support the Kripalu community in exploring the interplay of personal and societal well-being and the connection between yoga and equity work. 
  • To support differently abled audiences, Kripalu has updated multiple guest rooms to make them more accessible: 25 guest rooms are wheelchair accessible and five more are equipped with supports for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Expanded the number of gender-neutral bathrooms.
  • Closed captioning has been incorporated into many of our online programs.


  • Kripalu's convenes its first-ever Amplify Series—seven free programs focused on indigenous wisdom, community care, and collective liberation which center voices of the Global Majority––Black, Indigenous, people of color. These fiercely authentic, live online conversations uplift varied perspectives, life experiences, and identities within the wellness community.
  • In 2022 Kripalu will launch a revolutionary new scholarship model which will hold space in Kripalu’s full breadth of programming for those with financial need, or who identify as members of certain affinity groups such as the Global Majority.
  • To decrease the carbon emissions, Kripalu has upgraded appliances and systems to save water, decreased reliance on individual use paper and plastic products, and reduced the area of lawn mowed and landscape managed.
  • Kripalu’s Shop features local artisans and small manufacturers that adhere to Fair Trade policies, support a humane, safe workplace, and focus on environmentally sustainable practices.

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