Monday, November 9, 2015

The Goddess of Yoga!

How did a young Russian woman named Eugenie V Peterson, who fled Moscow during the Bolshevik Revolution become one of the world's greatest yoga practitioners? The Goddess and First Lady of Yoga with a new, adopted name of Indra Devi?  Well, in the world Eugenie was born into, little was known about yoga. Her passion was ignited when she read a book by the great poet-philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. At about the same time, she stumbled upon a yoga instruction book by Yogi Ramacharaka. So strong was her fascination, that in 1927 she travelled to India. Her beauty gave her easy entry as an actress in the burgeoning Indian film industry. She met and fell in love with a handsome attache to the Czechoslovakl consultate in Bombay by the name of Jan Strakaty. Through him she met the Maharaja and Maharini of Mysore. At their palace, she met the famous yogi, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. 

The desire to study yoga continued to blossom in her heart and mind, but remained only a dream. In those years, only men could study yoga. Meanwhile, Indra and her husband immersed themselves in India's social life. It was a whirlwind of dances and balls, races and festivities and she came into contact with India's elite - even Mahatma Gandi. Their hectic lives took its toll on her. She began suffering from unexplained chest plains which no amount of treatment or cures helped resolve. Then someone suggested she practice yoga. So of course she approached Krishnamacharya, and of course he refused, for she was not only a westerner, but even worse, a woman! So great was her desire to practice yoga, that the Maharaja himself finally intervened and urged Krishnamacharya to aceept her into his school. Krishnamacharya was very hard on her. He set her up for long hours of practice in cold rooms, severe diet restrictions, and the same grueling regime he demanded of his male students. Not only did she meet every one of his demands, but she did so with eagerness. Krishnamacharya became so impressed with his zealous student that he began giving her private lessons. Soon, her health issues disappeared. She had never been happier. This great yogi had ignited her dedication, which would ultimately lead her to gain notariety in every corner of the world. 

So avid a learner was she, that she exceeded all Krishnamacharya's expectations, achieving all the goals set for her. He was so impressed, that when he learned her husband had been transferred to work in China, he encouraged her to work as a yoga teacher there. Thus, by 1938, she became the first foreign woman to be a yogi.  In China, she opened her own yoga school, giving lectures, and teaching it in orphanages. Her popularity grew and soon she became known as "Mataji" or "Mother". When her husband died in the mid 1940's she set off for Hollywood and opened a studio there. Greta Garbo, Eva Gabor, and Gloria Swason were a few of her students. Her fame and reputation grew! 


Indra with Gloria Swanson

After several more years passed, Indra met and married a renowned German physician named Dr. Sigfrid Knauer. She became an American citizen in the mid-1950s. Indra continued to expand her business and opened a school in Mexico. Sadly, in 1960, her husband died in a car accident in California and she found herself widowed once more.



With marriage well behind her, she turned her focus more and more on yoga. She travelled often, finally settling in Argentina in 1972 where she earned further acclaim when elected president of the International Yoga Federation and the Latin American Union of Yoga. 3000 guests came to her 100th birthday party. With her great age came failing health. She died in Argentina in 2002 where her body was cremated and her ashes scattered over the Rio de la Plata.


So with all the health benefits of yoga, it's something every woman should consider as part of an exercise routine. I began with Namaste Yoga for quality, expertise, and ultimate instrudtion.  

Namaste Yoga - Season 1 Part 1
Product Description:  

Namaste Yoga is designed for people who want to become fitter, live healthier, and be happier. With these six, 22-minute episodes, you can experience what yoga at home should feel like: stunning visuals, soothing music, and entirely original movement sequences that will calm the mind, strengthen the body, and inspire the soul. We know that when it comes to choosing a yoga DVD, there are a lot of options for you. Here are a few qualities that we feel make us unique. 

Universal. Namaste was designed for you. Whether you are brand new to yoga or have been practicing for years, our sequences can always be used to enhance your wellbeing - no matter what stage of life or level of fitness.

Original. Kate Potter's style is unique to Namaste Yoga. Our sequences combine postures in ways not found in any other style of yoga. The sequences emphasize flowing, graceful movements and gentle learning through repetition.

Complete. Not everyone has 90 minutes every day to devote to a yoga practice. At only 22 minutes per episode, Namaste is a complete yoga practice for tight schedules. And for those days when you just can't get off the mat, there are hundreds of ways to combine the sequences for a customized practice that is your ideal length.

Inspiring. With stunning visuals, soothing music, and gentle instruction, Namaste Yoga strives to go beyond ordinary workout DVDs to inspire you to reach all of your health and wellness goals - both on and off the mat. 

Proven. Thousands of people have lost weight and gained flexibility, strength, and confidence by practicing Namaste Yoga.


Review:

There are countless benefits to yoga, and researchers hail its numerous, powerful benefits. I am a 56 year old novelist, so I spend long hours each day at my desk. I embarked on a yoga program to stretch and keep my muscles limber. Namaste Yoga is a world leader and innovator in yoga with a strong reputation in the field, so I felt that their videos were the best way to begin. And I am pleased to say that I was right!  Visually stunning, the Namaste Yoga DVD narrated by Kate Potter is wonderful for beginners like me. The video has 6 segments/poses: exalted warrior, sun moon, firebird, gate opening, dancing sun, and half moon. Each segment is 22 minutes long. The beauty of this yoga instructional dvd is that my body was challenged, and the more I practice, the better I get. There are no poses that caused me to lose my balance or over-worked my muscles. There is both a warm up and cool down phase. Along with my time in the gym on the treadmill and some weight training, this yoga dvd has been a wonderful addition to my work-outs. Kate Potter's soothing voice, gentle style, set against beautiful backgrounds and relaxing music, makes practicing yoga a wonderful gift to myself. I look forward to the end of the day, as I do the program right before bedtime. Not only am I relaxed, but I feel calmed. 


Namaste Yoga - Season 3 Part 1
Product Description:

Immerse yourself in the world of Namaste Yoga!

Namaste Yoga is the world's premier instructional yoga series. Experience what yoga at home should feel like: stunning visuals, soothing music and authentic yoga sequences that will calm your mind, strengthen your body and inspire your soul. This DVD contains the first six episodes of Season 3, designed and narrated by master yoga teacher Erica Blitz. 

Review: 

This Namaste Yoga DVD continues witht the same levels of excellence as the earlier version. In Season 3, Erica Blitz leads us through 13 episodes/sessions, all filmed amid the beauty of British Columbia's coast. The sessions are:

Soften the Edges
Align your Axis
Warrior Wisdom
Release and Restore
Create your Calm
Reflect and Connect

These sessions are each 22 minutes in length, providing enough workouts for the week to do something a little different each day. I do one session before bed each night. Like all Namaste DVDs, this particular one has stunning visuals, lush music that relaxes as well as entertains, awesome production quality, and is led by a leading yoga practioner. The movements flowed nicely from one pose to another, and each session was easily adapted to my own strength and level leaving me plenty of room to grow and become more adept at each pose. Namaste Yoga is perfect for all skill levels and well worth the time. Everything about these DVDs is classy, beautifully rendered, and expertly taught. These are the DVDs to get if you are interested in embarking on a yoga regine! My only reget is that I did not aquire the entire first, second, and third seasons! But that will soon be remedied!  Highly recommended. 

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