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Girls in Yoga: A Quick Historical past

This entry was posted on Jul 26, 2022 by Charlotte Bell.

Stroll into virtually any yoga asana class and you might discover is that the overwhelming majority of scholars are ladies. For at the very least a few of yoga’s historical past, apply was the purview of males, and ladies had been anticipated to concentrate on house life. However opposite to a longstanding delusion, historic proof exhibits that in some circles, ladies have been yoginis all alongside.

Widespread yoga lore claims that yoga’s male leaders didn’t permit ladies to apply till about 50 years in the past. There may be, actually, historic proof that the Vedic custom discouraged ladies from apply and didn’t permit them to grow to be monks. However relying on the way you outline yoga, it’s not correct to say that girls couldn’t apply.

Girls in Yoga: The Tantric Custom

In keeping with an article by Ramesh Bjonnes, titled “Girls and Yoga: Dispelling a Fable,” ladies have practiced yoga for hundreds of years, at the very least within the areas of India the place Tantric Yoga was prevalent. If you happen to contemplate yoga to be greater than merely postures, and as an alternative embrace chanting, ecstatic dance and meditation—all a part of the yoga custom—ladies have been training for a really very long time.

Think about this, from Bjonnes’s article:

“The Bauls of Bengal are ecstatic singers, dancers and meditators who’ve wandered throughout India for the reason that Center Ages. Lots of the Baul ecstatics are ladies, and a few of them grew to become well-known yoginis and gurus, together with the effectively known-teachers Ananda Mai Ma, Arcanapuri Ma, and Laksmi Ma.

“The variety of feminine yoga adepts might have been significantly greater in India’s previous, nevertheless, when Tantra was extra commonplace. Yoga scholar Georg Feuerstein writes in his guide The Yoga Custom:

“‘Allama Praphudeva [a tantric yogi from the Natha tradition] was a recent of Basava (1120-1168 CE) and the pinnacle of an order that included 300 realized practitioners, sixty of whom are stated to have been ladies.‘”

Pioneering Girls in Yoga

Right here’s a really brief, and under no circumstances exhaustive, tribute to a few pioneering ladies whose love of yoga led them to share the apply within the early days:

  1. Blanche Devries opened the very first female-owned yoga studio within the nation. A pupil of her husband, famed (and controversial) yoga trainer Pierre Bernard, Devries started instructing yoga someday after 1913. She opened her studio in New York Metropolis In 1938. She taught till 1982 and influenced film star purchasers and plenty of lecturers who would affect the apply in later years.
  2. Indra Devi might be probably the most well-known of the progenitors of recent yoga within the West. Born Eugenie Peterson in Latvia in 1899, Indra Devi grew to become entranced with India after studying a number of books on Jap philosophy. She ultimately moved to India and, after creating a coronary heart situation, requested T. Krishnamacharya to show her. At first he refused on grounds that she was a Westerner and a lady. Ultimately he agreed to show her, and later supported her in her aspiration to show. In 1946 she opened a yoga faculty in Hollywood, CA, that attracted most of the film trade’s luminaries. Indra Devi handed away in 2002. On a private notice, my very first yoga trainer, June Bains, was a direct pupil of Indra Devi.
  3. Lilias Folan might not have been the primary yogini within the U.S., but it surely’s debatable that she was the primary to share the advantages to the huge mainstream. Typically known as “The First Woman of Yoga,” Lilias taught yoga to PBS followers throughout the nation for nearly 30 years. Lilias’s present, “Lilias, Yoga and You,” started in Cincinnati in 1970. Three years later, it was picked up by PBS and broadcast nationally till 1999. Since then Lilias has written three books, together with the favored Lilias! Yoga Will get Higher with Age.

The place Do We Go Now?

Since these pioneering ladies introduced consciousness of yoga to the West, many, many extra clever, inventive feminine lecturers have introduced yoga to the greater than 36.7 million practitioners on this nation. Seventy-two % of U.S. yoga practitioners are ladies.

A few years in the past, a senior Iyengar trainer/colleague of mine remembered B.Ok.S. Iyengar expressing the opinion that girls are smarter than males. When requested about his causes for saying this, he replied. “As a result of so many extra ladies apply yoga!” Regardless of the motive for the prevalence of yoginis nowadays, it’s inspiring to consider the place at this time’s pioneering ladies in yoga, and people to return, will take the apply we love.

If you happen to’re within the subject of girls in yoga, listed here are some articles to take a look at:

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Apply and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third guide is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and folks sextet Crimson Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.



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