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History of the Lakulish and Kripalu Lineage

I AM Yoga is the natural evolution of ancient yogic practices passed down from master to disciple, refined to be relevant and effective for Western culture today. The practices of Amrit Yoga have been developed by Gurudev Yogi Amrit Desai based on the ancient secrets of yoga which he received directly from his guru, Swami Shri Kripalvanandji (Kripalu).

Swami Kripalu, lovingly known as Bapuji, received his initiation into the mysteries of yoga from Lord Lakulish (Dadaji), considered an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Bapuji is recognized as one of the greatest yoga masters of the 20th century. His life is an amazing story of unswerving devotion marked by 30 years of sadhana, silence and meditation.

Gurudev was just 16 years old when he first met Bapuji and he has followed his teachings ever since. The initiation Gurudev received from Bapuji transformed his life and teachings by making him the carrier for the mystical lineage of Lord Lakulish and Swami Kripalu in the West. The Kripalu Yoga approach of Meditation in Motion shattered the notion of yoga as purely a physical discipline, integrating the notion of yoga as a process of consciousness liberation.

Today, Kripalu Yoga and I AM Yoga  practices are taught by more than 5,000 certified teachers in 40 countries.  

 Lineage Timeline

A Brief History

Sage Vishvamitra spreads Sanatan Dharma; builds the city of Kayavarohan and establishes the Brahmanic Priesthood in India.



Lord Lakulish appears; restores Kayavarohan and spreads Sanatan Dharma. 


2nd Millenia A.D.


The Mongols invade India and destroy Kayavarohan. Prior to the invasion, the temple’s sacred statue is buried in a field to protect it from the invaders. It lies there forgotten for almost a millenia.


A farmer in Kayavarohan finds the Lord Lakulish Shivalingam buried in his field. It was temporarily placed in a small local temple.

Amrit arrives in the U.S. to study at the Philadelphia College of Art; finds first job at the American Bag and Paper.



Swami Kripalu begins preliminary work of restoring Kayavarohan.


Amrit founds the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; returns for a visit to India; travels through Europe with family in a Volkswagen van.

Swami Kripalu publishes Asana and Mudra, Guruprasad and Guruvachanamrit.



Lord Lakulish commands Swami Kripalu to restore Kayavarohan.


Amrit receives title of Yogi by his holiness Swami Kripalu on a return trip to Malav for intensive study with Swami Kripalu.


2nd Millenia B.C.
Early 1900s

Mid 1900s


Swami Kripalu moves back to Bombay; he stays at the Anankutir Ashram where he meets Swami Shantanandaji. 


Swami Kripalu receives sannyas diksha from Swami Shantanandaji as predicted by Lord Lakulish.


Amrit meets Swami Kripalu, for the first time when he teaches in Halol.


Swami Shantanandaji dies. Swami Kripalu leaves for Rishikesh where Dadaji appears to him in the form of his divine body. Swami Kripalu begins his sadhana in Rajpipla and his kundalini is awakened.


Swami Kripalu visits Kayavarohan and recognizes the form on the Kayavarohan statue as the divine form of his guru, Lord Lakulish, who orders him to restore the Mahatirtha Kayavarohan. Vishvamitra appears to Swami Kripalu in meditation and relays the history of the Brahmeshavar Jyotirlinga and Kayavarohan.


Swami Kripalu establishes Malav Ashram.


Swami Kripalu begins 12 years of silence. 

Mid 1900s

Early 1900s

Saraswatichandra Majmundar (Swami Kripalu) is born January 13.  Lord Lakulish initiates Swami Pranavananda into Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga. 


Swami Kripalu goes to Devi Mandir and contemplates ending his life. Dadaji intervenes, knowing him as his true disciple. Bapuji studies with Dadaji for 15 months.  




Statue of Lord Lakulish



Swami Kripalu initiates Amrit into Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga. Shortly after, Amrit experiences a spontaneous prana awakening.


Gurudev returns to India and is present with his disciples for the first speech given by Swami Kripalu after 12 years of silence. He receives blessings to give Shaktipat Diksha from Swami Kripalu.


Gurudev founds the Kripalu Yoga Ashram in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania.


Gurudev is awarded Doctor of Yoga Science from His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya Maharaj for his contributions in spiritual and humanitarian work in the service of yoga in India and America.


The new Shiva temple in Kayavarohan is completed and Lord Lakulish appears to Swami Kripalu and infuses his energy into the statue (Prana Pratishta ceremony). Amrit attends the dedication ceremony with a group of his disciples, Ma Om Shanti and Yogeshwar Muni. 


Swami Kripalu visits the U.S. and remains for 4¼ years; maintaining his sadhana at Muktidam, in Sumneytown, Pennsylvania.


Title of Yogacharya given to Shri Amritji by Swami Kripalu.



Gurudev takes Swami Kripalu home to India due to declining health. Swami Kripalu leaves his body on December 29.


Gurudev founds the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts and assumes the role of Spiritual Leader.





Gurudev resigns from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health; goes into a period of solitude and sadhana.


Gurudev returns and resides at Kripalu Center Sumneytown PA.

21st Century

Shri Amritji founds the Amrit Yoga Institute in Salt Springs, Florida, where he continues to live and teach.

21st Century


Shri Amritji celebrates 50 years of teaching in the West. Receives the Natural Awakenings Holistic Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award in Yoga and Amrit Yoga Institute is voted by the readers as one of the top 5 Organizations representing Natural Living.


Gurudev Shri Amriji continues to evolve and spread the teachings of the Lineage. The Amrit Yoga Institute is host to a broad curriculum of programs and trainings based on these teachings. See the events page for information on upcoming Darshans with Gurudev.


Yogacharya Award

Yogacharya Award

In July of 1980, Yogi Amrit Desai is bestowed the title 'Yogacharya' by His Holiness Swami Shri Kripalvanandji

Amrit Yoga Institute

Amrit Yoga Institute

Salt Springs, FL

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