Muse, movie star, model ... yogi?
Indeed, Marilyn Monroe wasn't just an international sex symbol with perfect comedic timing, she was also an O.G. exercise fanatic at a time when women were discouraged from lifting a finger, let alone a kettlebell. She was an earlier adopter of strength training (smart lady) and made 10 minutes of weight lifting part of her morning routine.
And apparently Monroe was also fond of yoga. She first mentioned yoga publicly in 1956, according to The Subtle Body, a history of yoga culture in America, and she was pictured doing moves like boat pose and shoulder stand in a photo shoot as early as 1948.
The art of yoga is thousands of years old. But although it came to America in the late 1800s, it wasn't truly embedded in U.S. counter-culture until the 1960s, according to the American Yoga Association. One of the first studios was opened in Los Angeles (where else?) at the end of the 1940s, and the practice grew to become popular among those with a growing interest in alternative and Eastern practices in the '60s. Clearly Monroe was an early adopter.
In a 1952 interview, she told Time Life she "couldn't stand exercise if I had to feel regimented about it." We're taking the liberty of interpreting this as an acknowledgement that it's important for everyone to mix things up and find a combination that's right for them. Exercise is not a one-activity-fits-all prescription: If you don't like going to spin class, try pilates.
Or let Monroe be your guide through a series of poses, thanks to these studio portraits from Columbia and Fox. They were taken to build her star profile at the time, but still serve as yoga inspiration today.
Boat Pose (Navasana)John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Modified Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Knees Bent Boat Pose (Navasana)John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)Dave Cicero/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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