We’ve previously posted and duly admired photos of Marilyn Monroe demonstrating her glamorous yoga asana skills. But at the time there wasn’t much of a back story. Thanks to yogi Eric Shaw who did a bit of Marilyn-asana research and posted it on his blog, we can put some context to the Hollywood beauty’s yoga close-ups.
What makes celebriyogis so interesting? “I am interested in the yoga practices of famous people generally because they give authority to the practice and humanize it for all of us,” Shaw told Yoga Journal’s Buzz Blog. “Marilyn began doing yoga when it was still a very novel thing to do.”
He points out that at least several of the photos (the ones with the black backdrop) appeared in 1948, right around when Indra Devi, a student of Krishnamacharya, came to Hollywood and opened a yoga studio. Devi is largely credited for bringing yoga to celebrities and adapting the practice for Westerners, most notably, the legendary likes of Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Arden and, indeed, rumor has it, Marilyn Monroe.
The famous quote from extremely popular gossip commentator Walter Winchell gave us a hint she was at least interested. “Marilyn Monroe’s latest kick is yoga,” Winchell wrote in 1956. “To improve her legs, she says.”
Sure some of the photos could simply be coincidentally yoga-like poses (also, she’s wearing pretty ballet slippers in a few), but Eric Shaw likes to think her yoga practice influenced the icon’s swagger, style and sexiness. “…nonetheless, because she studied yoga (by some accounts, very intensely) she showed the awareness and poise it creates even when she did not expressly display yoga asana,” he wrote on his blog.
Because yoga. is. fabulous.
Photos below. More can be found along with some further commentary at Eric Shaw’s blog.
Also, we rather enjoyed this photo montage put to music.