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The Goddess Pose ❮Epub❯ ➝ The Goddess Pose Author Michelle Goldberg – When the woman who would become Indra Devi was born in Russia in 1899 yoga was virtually unknown outside of India By the time of her death in 2002 it was being practiced everywhere from Brooklyn to Be When the woman who would become Indra Devi was born in Russia in yoga was virtually unknown outside of India By the time of her death in it was being practiced everywhere from Brooklyn to Berlin to Ulaanbaatar In The Goddess Pose New York Times best selling author Michelle Goldberg traces the life of the incredible woman who brought yoga to the West—and in so doing paints a sweeping picture of the twentieth century Born into the minor aristocracy as Eugenia Peterson Devi grew up in the midst of The Goddess PDF or one of the most turbulent times in human history Forced to flee the Russian Revolution as a teenager she joined a famous Berlin cabaret troupe dove into the vibrant prewar spiritualist movement and at a time when it was nearly unthinkable for a young European woman to travel alone followed the charismatic Theosophical leader Jiddu Krishnamurti to India Once on the subcontinent she performed in Indian silent cinema and hobnobbed with the leaders of the independence movement But her greatest coup was convincing a recalcitrant master yogi to train her in the secrets of his art Devi would go on to share what she learned with people around the world teaching in Shanghai during World War II then in Hollywood where her students included Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo She ran a yoga school in Mexico during the height of the counterculture served as spiritual adviser to the colonel who tried to overthrow Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega and in her eighties moved to Buenos Aires at the invitation of a besotted rock star Everywhere she went Indra Devi evangelized for yoga ushering in a global craze that continues unabated Written with vivid clarity  The Goddess Pose brings her remarkable story—as an actress yogi and globetrotting adventuress—to life.

10 thoughts on “The Goddess Pose

  1. Yaaresse Yaaresse says:

    Had it not been for an interview with the author on Fresh Air I probably never would have thought about reading this book Being the opposite of svelte or limber any passing interest I had in yoga was suelched long ago What caught my ear was that Indra Devi the woman who basically invented what the Lithe Ladies in Lemonlulu know as yoga today the daughter of an East European B grade actress mother and a Swedish father who abandoned the family ended up smack in the middle of most major world events of her lifetime She knew just about everyone worth knowing and she was still globetrotting and being a pushy charming diva up until shortly before her death at 103 years old If you expect this self described master of yoga was calm peaceful and ethereal guess again Devi was a whirlwind a force of nature and usually found wherever chaos was brewing She could be moody melodramatic especially about romantic partners stubborn and impractical She also could be charming kind and persistent She adored beautiful things and people while claiming to have reached detachment about them She could be loving and open to strangers and then be cold and selfish toward her dying husband I don't think she was someone to emulate but her life was certainly fascinating As a bonus I learned a lot about the Theosophy movement the New Age movement the Japanese occupation of China White Russians Panamanian politics and Hare Krishnas because she was connected to all of them There was even some McCarthyism mixed in for good measure Every time I started to lose interest in Devi the author would tie in another subject that pulled me back into the book Given Devi's freuent reinventions of herself and lack of personal journals or papers this biography ends up being less about the individual and about how she moved through various times and events It seems that where there was a war erupting and civil unrest she was in the middle of it Germany Russian India China Panama Instead of the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon it's like the three degrees of Indra Devi because who she didn't know herself she knew someone who did I can't decide if she was unbelievably lucky or just very cagey My only real complaint about this book is that there are no pictures I think photos would have added much to the material On the other hand I enjoyed Goldberg's writing style and obvious love of full rich word choices I also appreciate that she kept herself out of the material Far too many non fiction books lately are about the author writing the book than about the purported subject matter It was nice to read one where the author focused on something other than hisher self

  2. Colleen Colleen says:

    15 stars If you're interested in the history of yoga and how it's changed over the years this is not the book for you The TLDR is that it was an aristocratic Russian woman who made yoga popular in the US it was introduced as a very practical method of relaxation the spiritual uest part didn't start until the 70s Age of Auarius era and it started with bored rich housewives in the 50s The book needs serious editing There is little flow there are too many people and too many tangents; it felt like she was trying to fill space The writing is good when she discusses Devi's influence but a good chunk of of the book reads like Devi's travel itinerary and her contacts list against a background of overly detailed descriptions of context eg there are pages on an attempted overthrow of the Noriega Panamanian government before the Americans did it There is some interesting information to be found here such as the fact that New Age thinking actually started in the late 1800s but these tidbits are rare and weren't really worth the time wading through the rest of the uninteresting detailOverall not a good read

  3. Barbara H Barbara H says:

    The author of this book was interviewed today on NPR It was interesting to me because I had started yoga many years back when it was uite different than the practise today Goldberg commented on what I have seen and disliked in recent classes It resembles aerobics than the peaceful careful discipline I look forward to reading the history of early yoga in the West

  4. Lorilin Lorilin says:

    In The Goddess Pose author Michelle Goldberg describes in well researched detail the unconventional life of Indra Devi a Russian born aristocrat who eventually becomes a nomadic spiritual teacher of sorts There is no doubt that Devi is a fascinating woman and nothing like the zen yoga instructor caricature that I was anticipating Here I was thinking Devi was going to be uiet and serene full of infinite peace and patience But in reality she is wild and somewhat reckless intelligent but also selectively naive She is street smart but a bit of a dreamer sometimes getting into crazy she did WHAT? situations She's not one to dwell on her life's negative experiences often choosing to don her rose colored glasses and resolutely march forward but I definitely got the feeling she wasn't just chasing her next adventure so much as she was trying to outrun past traumaIn fact I thought Goldberg's use of a George Orwell uote to describe Devi in the introduction was spot on In this yogi ridden age it is too readily assumed that 'non attachment' isbetter than a full acceptance of earthly lifeIf one could follow it to its psychological roots one would I believe find that the main motive for 'non attachment' is a desire to escape from the pain of living and above all from love which sexual or non sexual is hard workGoldberg's presentation of Devi's life is both well written and well structured As a whole the book is incredibly informative However it could also be dry at parts More importantly it did cross my mind when I finished the book that I didn't know Devi as well as I wished I felt like I had spent the past 300 pages being a very distant observer I learned many facts about her but somehow never got closeRegardless this was still an engaging read and I was glad I stuck with itPlease check out of my reviews at wwwBugBugBookscom

  5. Beccah Beccah says:

    Beyond tedious to get through The author went on so many tangents I couldn't keep track of what was going on Gave up 13 through the book because I could not stay engaged

  6. Kelly Kelly says:

    Much about everyone but Devi than Devi herself I'd have done better reading Devi's own work That said I did listen to the whole thing? But I didn't uite think the book really fulfilled the claim that it would show how Devi brought yoga to the west This was an audio listen and I found the pronunciation of Sanskrit grating and I found the lack of knowing how to pronounce Patanjali to be grating too Not a favorite

  7. Gaylord Dold Gaylord Dold says:

    Goldberg Michelle The Goddess Pose The Audacious Life of Indra Devi the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West Alfred A Knopf New York 2015 322pp2695Now that yoga is the province of slick promotions self indulgence and the sweat box mentality of exercise studios it is hard to conceive of its beginnings in the rejection of ego and the acceptance of disappointment and suffering as the essence of life As a system of physical fitness yoga is a modern phenomenon Indians however have been doing yoga for millennia if by yoga is meant a plethora of distinct practices described by the great scholar of world religion Marcia Eliade as any “ascetic techniue and any method of meditation” Indeed Indian yogis were the original metaphysical hucksters traveling spiritualists who turned a buck and cadged a meal by twisting themselves into pretzels and by walking on fire Now days cute California chicks in spandex spend fifty bucks an hour sweating it out to James Taylor Between these two yoga worlds lived a woman named Eugenia Peterson whose fascinating life eccentricities and convoluted business ventures are the subjects of “The Goddess Pose”Michelle Goldberg is a journalist and the author of “Kingdom Coming The Rise of Christian Nationalism” as well as being senior contributing writer at The Nation magazine Her story of Eugenia Peterson born in 1899 in St Petersburg is an historical caravan of delectable adventure written in a breezy yet convincing voice For one thing the woman who turned herself into a successful theosophist teacher writer wandering mendicant and holy merchant and became Indra Devi led a life that tracks with the most significant events in the twentieth century She and her mother survived the Russian Revolution and fled to Berlin where Eugenia became a noted dancer and cabaret performer When Berlin became Nazi they fled to Shanghai and cobbled together a living teaching and performing Along the way Eugenia became fascinated with Indian mysticism just then enjoying a sort of Western revival through the work of theosophists and hatha revivalists like Krishnamacharya and the yoga evangelist and practitioner Iyengar Once Eugenia conceived her desire to go to India it became an obsessionBy August 1932 Eugenia was on Bombay’s Chowpatty Beach after attending a festival in the city of Nasik A German girlfriend convinced her to go see the sadhus Together they wandered through the “rows of mushroom like umbrellas stuck in the ground” where the sadhus were all naked smeared with holy ash some bent into impossible contortions They resembled jugglers and acrobats in gray tights Most had fantastic coiffures on their heads towering up and up like birds’ nests Like so many kindred spiritualists Eugenia “spirited” for Hollywood where she ultimately became Indra Devi and gathered about her celebrities like Gloria Swanson and Yehudi Menuhin In Los Angeles in 1947 Eugenia was nearly broke alone and homeless A few years later she emerged a full fledged teacher with students like Jennifer Jones pursuing the elusive spiritual awakening promised originally by Vivekananda’s Vedanta CenterLiving to the age of 103 this remarkable woman visited Russia during the height of the Cold War to spread the word consulted with a Panamanian Colonel tied to strongman Noriega and penned a number of “spiritualist” best sellers in the 1950’s She lived at the end in Buenos Aires visited Sri Lanka and sold her message to denizens of the Hollywood Hills It was an altogether astounding piece of esoteric vaudeville cobbled together from the dribbles and back splashes of Pantanjali’s “Yoga Sutra” written two thousand years ago in Sanskrit Though she had at least one major unreuited love affair she proceeded with neither the help nor hindrance of men It was a bravura performance by a bravura individualFor those interested in the spiritual ins and outs of Western “seeking” “The Goddess Pose” is a breezy and very entertaining book

  8. Sara Sara says:

    Not as interesting as I thought it would betoo many digressions into details about side character's lives I like the recent style of integrating personal reflections into straight historical accounts In the end I didn't learn much than what was covered in the interview with the author on NPR

  9. Jill Yesko Jill Yesko says:

    Essential reading for anyone interested in yoga beyond LulumonMy biggest uibblea HORRIBLE cover Couldn't they find an image of Indra Devi? Fire that designer

  10. Amanda Comi Amanda Comi says:

    I listened to this as an audio book to try and clock some extra hours for my yoga teacher training This book read like the Forest Gump of yoga with Indra Devi bouncing around between infamous figures and events The writing was fine and most of the most interesting details about the evolution of yoga were cribbed directly from Singleton’s Yoga Body text so there’s that I would not recommend reading this book

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