Herstory Recommendations Yoga Books

The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West by Michelle Goldberg

This is a fun biography of an enterprising woman who bought into the yoga life.

I love yoga and had to read this the second I saw the title. Of course, like every other book that I read, it stayed in some list or other before finally being the one that I was ready for today. After starting work on the yoga portion of this blog, it was definitely time to read about one of the people who brought yoga to the West and therefore all the balance and peace that I get from it.

I spent most of the book in awe of Devi, her ability to reinvent herself, and the way she managed to get into the circles she did. I am eternally grateful for her existence and everything she did. I find it funny that this historically male practice was brought to us by a woman in a time when that clearly made it a woman thing and yet she made so many male converts over to it. I especially loved the stories of the people who would bring her ailments and she would show them how to ease them through yoga.

I’ve been a long time believer in yoga’s healing properties and it makes sense that this was one of it’s advantages that made it catch on so well in the West. It’s also comforting to hear that the practice of yoga and it’s purposes have always been fluid and we aren’t “ruining” it or anything as I’ve heard the West accused of. Of course, the opinion of this one book doesn’t make up all opinions, but still. If the practice was ever changing in it’s own history, than it would have continued to do so with or without American women.

I can only hope to be as healthy and resilient as Devi for as long as she was on account of my own practice. As mentioned before, I have had the kind of experience with yoga that makes me want to shout it from the rooftops and get everyone doing in and so I completely understand Devi’s crusade to get more people practicing.

Devi’s life makes for an interesting read whatever your opinion of yoga or Eastern religions. She traveled, met famous people, brought this practice to much of the rest of the world, and saw it boom and grow into what it is today. She was a fascinating woman and I’m grateful for her work. I hope everyone benefits from yoga and checks out her story.

Save it here to Goodreads for later or buy it now on Amazon here.

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3 comments

  1. Didn’t everyone help bring yoga to the west. I read so much about this. It’s like Buddhism. There are 1001 people who claim to have brought Buddhism to the west.
    I study the yoga promulgated by the Mohan family. Kind of yogic mindfulness.

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    1. She came into play in popularizing it among rich people, therefore making yoga fashionable and aspirational even while its spiritual nature was considered questionable by the Christian masses. So even though there were plenty of teachers to bring it over, she made it famous enough for them to find a good footing in the US.

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