A Woman to Know: Indra Devi

We women must listen to our inner voice. It is easier for women to do this as we are not afraid to say what we feel. — Indra

(Photo via Women in the World)


They called her "The First Lady of Yoga" or "The Ambassador of Yoga." She was born in Russia and trained as a ballet dancer, but after traveling throughout Asia in the 1920s, she began studying under legendary yogi Sri Krishnamacharya. She was the first female student admitted to his yoga studio.

After rising to the highest levels of yoga in India, Indra moved to the U.S., and then to Hollywood. She taught starlets like Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson and (allegedly) even Marilyn Monroe warrior poses, swan dive stances, headstands, the whole thing. By the 1970s, she had created a national fitness sensation. Her books — "Yoga for Americans," "Yoga For You," "Renew Through Yoga" — flew off the shelves, and up to her death at age 102, American yogis turned to her as the leader of Western vinyasa.

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