Books: Yoga for Americans, ©1959 by Indra Devi

Also known as Mataji, which means mother. Happy Mataji’s day!

Indra Devi lived one hell of a life. Read her New York Times obit so I don’t have to repeat it. Trained by T. Krishnamacharya himself, she seems to have lived everywhere, done everything, and taught everyone, from nobility to celebrities to orphans, before finally dying at age 102 in Buenos Aires. From Mark Singleton’s Yoga Body, “During the 1950s, a proliferation of practice manuals, such as those of Krishnamacharya disciple Indra Devi, promised unassailable health and youthfulness through a radically secularized and medicalized version of yoga.” I’ve got here in my hot little hands one such manual, Yoga for Americans, published in 1959. I’m going to transcribe the jacket text here, for your edification and enjoyment. Links inserted by me.

YOGA FOR AMERICANS
A Complete 6 Weeks’ Course For Home Practice
by INDRA DEVI

Ever wish you could trade yourself in for a new model?

You can—and yoga shows you how.

Ancient India’s science of Hatha Yoga gives you a vital, confident approach to the converging pressures and tensions of modern living. Practicing Yoga daily will relax and rejuvenate you in mind and body. You’ll face every day with a fresh, buoyant energy that will make you feel years younger.

Author Indra Devi concentrates not only on the physical-culture aspects of Yoga—but also on on the more spiritual forms as practiced in India. She gives you 6 practical lessons you can easily follow in your own home—the very same lessons for which you might pay $25 or more in salon classes or a correspondent course.

Indra Devi’s 1-2-3 instructions are as specific and complete as as if she were personally directing you in her own Hollywood studio. She takes you step by step from the first through the final stages of all the important Yoga postures, exercises and deep breathing.

You learn how to do the 10 basic Yoga postures including the Headstand, the Lotus Pose, the Cobra Pose, the Twist, and others. As you combine these postures with the proper deep breathing, you will start to enjoy sounder sleep, a keener mind, and a happier disposition. Mental and muscular tensions will diminish- and you will discover new protections against colds, fevers, sore throats, constipation, headaches, fatigue, and other ailments.

Hatha Yoga—a practical method for attaining physical perfection, has been practiced by many successful personalities in America. The famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin considers Yoga to be as important to his art as his violin practice. Gloria Swanson has stated that her health and beauty secret is Yoga. Greta Garbo, Jennifer Jones, Linda Christian, Robert Ryan, and Mrs. Serge Koussevitzky are among other famous Yoga followers.

Yoga can work for you, too. Turn now to Lesson One of YOGA FOR AMERICANS—and begin to revitalize your health for a fresh, new adventure in living that makes you feel on top of the world all day every day.

There was apparently a time when violinists were counted as celebrities in America.

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  1. Respect Your Elders: The Words of Indra Devi « Beerasana - June 28, 2012

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