Ripley's Believe It Or Not: The First Lady of Yoga wasn't Indian

Rumour has it the asanas we do today are not just modern but sun salutations or the warrior poses are not less than 150 years old.

FP Staff June 11, 2015 16:14:05 IST
Ripley's Believe It Or Not: The First Lady of Yoga wasn't Indian

Many believe yoga was popularised by the Indian yogis of old and spread to the west through the likes of the Beatles go-to-guru Maharishi Yogi and this generation's Baba Ramdev. Some even believe it's hot yoga creator Bikram Choudhury. But it seems everyone has it wrong.

Ripleys Believe It Or Not The First Lady of Yoga wasnt Indian

Russian-born Indra Devi, known to followers as the "First Lady of Yoga". Reuters

Rumour has it the asanas we do today are not just modern but sun salutations or the warrior poses are not less than 150 years old.

According to Michelle Goldberg, it was Russian woman Indra Devi who took yoga from India to Shanghai to Hollywood, where she opens up one of the first yoga studios.

Goldberg, the author of The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West, believes Indra Devi had famous actors and actresses as clients who did headstands on the sets or sitting in lotus pose.

"[Devi] was the one who took yoga from being what people in the West tended to imagine as sword-swallowing and circus tricks and domesticated it," Goldberg says. "The idea of yoga as a system of wellness for modern women that helps you [to] better equip yourselves for the many challenges of the modern world, that all comes back to her."

Indra Devi was taught by the legendary guru Krishnamacharya.

Read more about Indra Devi and the path from Russia to India, Shanghai and Hollywood here.

Updated Date:

also read

India is new hope to the world, says PM Modi in his address to youth in Vadodara
India

India is new hope to the world, says PM Modi in his address to youth in Vadodara

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called upon the youth to take a collective resolve and make efforts to build a new India whose identity is new, forward-looking and traditions are ancient

What a wonderful world: A prehistoric forest found of a massive sinkhole in China
World

What a wonderful world: A prehistoric forest found of a massive sinkhole in China

In China’s Guangxi region, scientists discovered a secret forest inside a sinkhole with trees that grow 130 feet tall. It could contain plants and animal species that have never been found

Rakhigarhi reveals India was never just a ‘refugee colony’, but govt won’t let the nation write its own history
India

Rakhigarhi reveals India was never just a ‘refugee colony’, but govt won’t let the nation write its own history

Last week, archaeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old jewellery factory in Haryana’s Rakhigarhi village and ruled out external attacks as the reason for abandonment of this largest Harappan settlement excavated so far