Originally published by Well + Good
Meet Well+Good’s fitness historian, Natalia Petrzela, PhD, a history professor at The New School in New York City and a premier IntenSati instructor, who shares the sweaty past with us in this column.
You and your boss end up eye-to-eye in Warrior Three so often during your office’s free lunchtime yoga class, it’s not even awkward anymore. Your six-year-old niece drops into a perfect down-dog when you ask what she’s learning in school. Your mom is as likely to rave about a new hatha class at the Y as she is about her dreamy Zumba instructor. When a recent bill passed allowing yoga studios to escape a tax, a state senator jumped into a celebratory crow pose for a photo opp.
Yoga is all over American life, and for the most part, it’s G-rated. But this is new. For much of the 100-plus years yoga’s been present in the US, it’s hovered on the cultural fringe, raising suspicion due to its exoticism in general and to its challenges to deeply held sexual norms in particular.
Yoga was sexualized way before the internet was a thing
On the one hand, in the late 19th century (when ideas about how a “lady” should express herself sexually translated to not much at all), Ida Craddock, the “self-appointed Priestess and Pastor of the Church of Yoga” who promoted “spiritual eroticism” and equal rights among married couples (including that to mutual orgasm), was fiercely prosecuted by anti-porn regulators as “obscene.” (She also claimed she was married to an angel and that their sex was so loud the neighbors complained. So there’s that.)
Continue reading this story on Well+Good
More reading from Well+Good:
The incredibly (and suprising) healthy benefits of yoga
Tantric yoga is not a kinky, four-hour sex marathon
PSA: CrossFit and yoga can improve your sex life
(Photo: Michael Sofronski)
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