Whether you are a man or a woman, yoga is an extremely beneficial way to get yourself healthier. The best part is that there are a number of different styles that you can practice. Some of the most popular types of yoga include tai chi, hatha, and qigong. These styles are very easy to master, and are a great way to stay fit.
Women in India
Historically, women in India have been allowed to practice yoga, but they have not been extensively studied. Although the literature on the subject rarely mentions the contributions of women, there are many examples of women who have taught and influenced the practice.
Yoga has been a staple in the Tantric regions of India for thousands of years. It has been a powerful tool in the enlightenment of India’s people. It has been especially influential in Kashmir, where it has been practiced since the shamanic era. The Tantric culture has not been dominated by sexism as the Vedic culture.
In the past, women in India were regarded as second-class citizens. Their role was to support the physical strength of the youth. Their spiritual life was closely tied to chastity. They participated in fasts and devotions. During the Classical Period, women did not actively lead spiritual efforts. The caste system dictated specific roles for men and women.
In the 1960s and 1970s, women began to travel to India. They came to practice yoga. The practice was a response to the changing social and political landscape. In the 1980s, large numbers of women began to settle in Mysore.
One of the first Westerners to practice yoga with an Indian yoga master was Indra Devi. In 1899, she was born in Latvia. After a lifetime of study in Europe, she moved to India. Initially, Indra Devi studied under the eminent Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. Later, she taught yoga to Indians. In 2002, Indra Devi passed away.
Women in yoga in the West
Despite yoga’s ubiquity, women in yoga in the West are largely underappreciated. This may be due to women’s natural adaptability. Or it might be that women in yoga in the West aren’t as prominent as they should be in history. Regardless, there are several women to note that have made a mark on the art of yoga.
Among the best known female yoga teachers in the West was Indra Devi. She influenced a number of yoga teachers. She also played a role in changing the perceptions of yoga in the Soviet Union. In 1960, she convinced the government that yoga was not a religion. She eventually moved to the US. In the US, she opened the first female-owned yoga studio.
Her first book, Yoga Simplified for Women, was published in 1934. Indra Devi later wrote more books and began speaking on television. She was never stern, but she welcomed students of all motivations.
She was a sophisticated Westerner who was comfortable with high society. She married a distinguished physician named Sigfrid Knauer. The couple owned a yoga estate in Mexico. In 1947, Indra Devi moved to the US.
During her years in the US, Indra Devi popularized modern yoga to American women. She taught at a number of conferences and on television. In 1960, she became a prominent speaker on the radio. She also travelled to the Soviet Union, and convinced the government that yoga was not a religious practice.
Women in yoga today
Despite the ubiquity of women practicing yoga today, the contributions of women are often under-recognized and under-studied. This may be due to women’s adaptability, which makes it difficult to identify a single defining moment.
In fact, women have been involved in yoga for thousands of years in Tantric Yoga regions of India. They practiced meditation, chanting and ecstatic dance. They also sought balance through attuning to nature and their own bodies.
The ancient Indian texts point to the agency of women, particularly during the Classical Period. Some of these women were prominent land owners, as well as upadhyayis, or religious teachers. They may not have been actively leading in spiritual matters, but they were able to influence the course of history.
Women have also been credited with the most important yogic feat, the “miracle of the millimetres” (the time it takes to clear the sacred central passage to light). Although the ritual of this may not be particularly useful, it is still a significant contribution.
One of the earliest known female practitioners of Yoga was Indra Devi. She studied under Krishnamacharya. She moved to India in the late 1940s to pursue her passion for yoga. She later taught yoga at the Shivashya Yoga Center in Los Angeles, CA. Her name is credited with bringing yoga to America.