Women's History Month 2024

Pierre Bernard and his wife, Blanche DeVries, were among the earliest proponents of postural yoga in America. In 1924, they created the Clarkstown Country Club, where yoga was taught to affluent and influential clientele. The network created through this endeavor not only popularized yoga in the West but also advanced the reinvention of yoga as a science of health and well-being rather than as a religious practice.

DeVries taught a combination of yoga and sensual Orientalist dances that offered women a form of sexual autonomy and embodied empowerment. By utilizing these strategies, Bernard and DeVries helped lay important foundations for modern postural yoga and its associations with athleticism, physical beauty, and sexuality.

Joseph Laycock, Texas State University
Blanch DeVries - pictures center

Blanche DeVries – pictured center. Photo billbatsonarts.com

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