The First Lady of Yoga Indra Devi: an amazing life path and nutritional rules

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The First Lady of Yoga Indra Devi: an amazing life path and nutritional rules
The First Lady of Yoga Indra Devi: an amazing life path and nutritional rules

At the beginning of the 20th century, a book on the philosophy of yoga fell into the hands of Evgenia Peterson-Labunskaya, since then her life has turned upside down, and she dreamed of visiting India by all means.

10 rules of Indra Devi: the first female yogi who lived to be 103 years old
10 rules of Indra Devi: the first female yogi who lived to be 103 years old

The woman known to the world as Indra Devi was born on May 12, 1899 in Riga. Her father was the director of a Riga bank, and her mother was a theater actress. The girl was baptized in the Orthodox Church, she graduated with honors from a gymnasium in St. Petersburg, became a student at a theater school in Moscow, but the Civil War began in Russia, and Evgenia and her mother fled to Latvia, then to Poland, and from there to Berlin.

For the first time she came to the congress of the Theosophical Society by accident, having arrived in the town of Oman rather for the sake of curiosity. First, Zhenya twisted her finger at her temple, dreaming of eating a piece of fried meat when she returned home, and then she heard the ancient sacred hymns in Sanskrit, and something turned upside down in her, she realized that her life would never be the same again.

Evgenia was waiting for a career as an actress, she was going to get married, but before the wedding she asked the groom to let her go to India, where she had long dreamed of visiting, the groom did not object. She returned three months later, but after the trip, she gave him the engagement ring, sold her jewelry, and went to where she thought her “real home” was. The money should have been enough for several months, but what would happen next, she did not know.

In India, the girl met a famous director, and he offered her a role in the film "Arab Knight". Zhenya agreed, and after the premiere she became a star of Indian cinema. At the same time, a new name appeared, the young actress was offered to take a pseudonym, and Zhenya simply pointed her finger at the first one that came across: Indra Devi, in Sanskrit it means “heavenly goddess”. And then she became the wife of an enviable groom, an employee of the Czechoslovak consulate, Jan Strakati, and a secular lady leading a luxurious life. She attended balls and receptions and received influential guests, but several years passed, and Davy realized that this did not bring her any satisfaction, because she wanted to study and help people.

After a few years, she decided to start over and turned to the famous guru Sri Krishnamacharya. She dreamed of taking a yoga course, but a country-famous guru said that yoga was only for men and only for Hindus, in 1937 only representatives of the military elite studied it, there was no question of any women, and, moreover, foreigners. But Indra Devi did not want to give up, she was persistent, and some of the mutual acquaintances put in a word for her. Indra was taken on training: no indulgences or a special "program for women", no "dead" food, including rice and flour, go to bed at nine and get up before sunrise.

At first she was afraid that she would not stand it, but gradually it began to work out, and seeing how she was trying, the teacher personally took up her training. Behind closed doors, he began to teach her the secret art of yoga, he made her write down everything he said, and in 1938 Indra became the first foreign woman among the initiates. When Indra's husband was transferred to serve in Shanghai, the teacher told her that she could and should teach. So Indra changed her luxurious dresses to a white sari and has since become a yoga teacher.

In 1939, she opened the first yoga school in Shanghai, and in 8 years she became a well-known and respected yogini. In 1947, her husband suddenly died, and Indra decided to change her life again. She went to the port and bought a ticket for the first ship. It turned out that the ship was sailing to California. A year later, Indra opened a yoga studio in Hollywood. Her classes were included in the program of fashionable spas at that time, and celebrities became students: Greta Garbo, Jennifer Jones, Robert Ryan, Gloria Swenson and Marilyn Monroe. Indra developed a new methodology by adapting the exercises for the Westerner, and also developed a diet that included the basic principles of nutrition, but without the strict restrictions that she was taught in India.

In 1953, Indra married again, this time to the famous doctor Siegfried Knauer, who became her faithful assistant. She continued to travel the world until her old age, and 40 years later she saw Russia again. At the reception, Indra was introduced to the Soviet party leaders - Alexei Kosygin, Andrei Gromyko and Anastas Mikoyan. Indra spent a long time explaining to them the essence of the ancient Indian teachings, and at the end of the meeting Gromyko raised a toast: “To Indra Devi, who opened our eyes to yoga.” The next day, she was waiting for calls from journalists, but no one called her, but Western journalists began to call Devi “the woman who introduced the Kremlin to yoga.”

In 1985, she again decided to start from scratch and moved to Argentina. There she traveled around the country, giving master classes, speaking at seminars and lectures and trying to give people knowledge about classical yoga. Indra met her 91st birthday in Moscow, where by that time many people already knew about yoga. Indra celebrated her 100th birthday in Buenos Aires, but in 2002 her he alth deteriorated and she died at the age of 103.

10 dietary rules of Indra Devi


Don't eat anything canned, refined or otherwise processed. Avoid sugar and use lemon instead of vinegar.


Don't drink ice water, especially with meals, as it disrupts the natural circulation of gastric juices and interferes with digestion.


Drink 5-8 glasses of clean water every day. Drink a glass of water at room temperature in the morning and evening.


Drink water in small sips, not in gulps. Do not drink with meals, it is better to do it 30 minutes before meals or 2-3 hours after.


Chew foods thoroughly, especially those rich in starch.


Do not reheat food several times, it becomes more inedible each time.


Eat toasted or stale bread. It's he althier than fresh.


Don't eat more than one serving of carbs at a time. For example, if you ate a serving of rice, skip bread, potatoes, pasta, or pudding.


To "revive" boiled water, pour it several times from one container to another. So the liquid will be filled with energy and will give an invigorating effect.


Don't eat when stressed and don't share bad news while eating, try to avoid unpleasant conversations. Food should bring only joy.

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