Yoga scholar Eric Shaw has compiled a collection of photos which reveal Marilyn Monroe practised yoga (see attachments below). Although it could be argued that some of the poses are just her messing about, or simply stretching, she is clearly doing both headstand and shoulderstand in quite a few of the shots. This is surprising as some of them date back to the late 1940s, before yoga had really become known in the USA. She was clearly ahead of her time in many ways.
Yoga provides so many benefits for women; from increased flexibility to greater strength, it also helps women to prepare for, and better cope with, childbirth. Surya Namaskhar, or Salute to the Sun, with its’ repetitive use of plank and downward dog (both weight bearing postures) is an ideal way to increase bone density for women in the wrists and arms, areas which often cause problems as we age. Yet it’s not just the body which can benefit from a regular yoga practice. When the pressures of work and home get too much, yoga provides a retreat from being the perfect mum, partner and colleague. In class and on the mat at home, women can take a moment for themselves to come back to who they are within the maze of roles they perform every day.
Yoga can also counteract the media’s obsession with image and encourage women and girls to develop a healthy relationship with their body. It reminds us that we come in all shapes and sizes and as the one of the most beautiful women in the world illustrated, with plenty of curves!