About Smiling Spirit Yoga

Jim Percival has had a varied professional background ranging from Bartender to Electronics Technician, from a small business owner to V.P. of a large retail corporation. He was also a Sergeant in the Marine Corps.

Always fitness conscious, over the last 21 years Jim had been exercising through Aerobics and Martial Arts disciplines. When a close friend (now a Kripalu Yoga Teacher herself) introduced him to Kripalu Yoga he knew immediately that he had found a lifelong practice.

Building upon his personal practice with teacher training from world renown Iyengar yogi Rodney Yee and then becoming a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher, Jim brings forth his love of Yoga to each student from the beginner on up. “I’ve never experienced a physical workout that was so impacted by the breath,” says Jim, “nor one that could show such a gain in mental serenity. Really, if you simply did the breathing exercises alone you could reduce stress and blood pressure levels.”

For years, Jim has been a student of Paul Spector in New Haven and Dorothy Cochran in Branford. "Jim has a natural ability to connect with his students at their level and open an awareness to their own bodies," Paul explains.

Jim’s teachings focus on the beginner — that person who has never before come to a Yoga class. The reasons for this may range from perception (“Only women do Yoga”) to practical concerns (“I’m out of shape and haven’t tried any kind of exercise – ever”) and this is where Kripalu Yoga shines! No standard routine of postures, no competition with time or the person next to you, no focus other than yourself.

A composite of several yogic forms (Hatha, Karma, Bhakti, Kundalini, Ashtanga), Kripalu means “compassion” and Kripalu Yoga focuses on what your body can do at this time. Bring yourself to your own edge, wherever that may be for you on this particular day, and let that be your teaching. Come safely to this edge, without forcing past it, in each of your practices and you will find that your body progresses, your “edge” advances – as do you. At the same time there is a calming effect, a mental tranquility produced by the practice itself.

Imagine that — a physical exercise program that you feel relaxed going to and coming from!

"A few months ago my friend Phyllis invited me to join her yoga class. I was very apprehensive because of a knee problem which prevented me from getting up from the floor without help. Thankfully Jim & Phyllis convinced me to give it a try.  I'm glad they did.  Jim's Yoga class has been a great experience for me and  had a very positive effect on my quality of life.  I now try to attend Jim's class twice a week and as a result I no longer need help to get up from the floor.  I encourage everyone to give Jim's class a try since its helped me so much.  It's also wonderful for stress, mind and body."

-Bev Weinberg