Roma Blair: The Mother of Yoga
Kicking off with none other than Roma Blair, otherwise known as The Mother of Yoga.
Roma’s story is one of love, suffering and spirituality. She was married three times and had one child, Arnold. Her first love (age 19) was Leo Ossendryver. A business man, boxer and ballroom dancer. Relocating to Java, they were taken as Prisoners of War and spent a terrifying three years separated in captivity. It was during this time that Roma had her son. Left to give birth without doctors then forced to raise a child on scraps whilst working long hours in the paddy fields, this was a dark and tormenting time in Roma’s life.
After the war ended in 1945, Roma and her son were released back to her family in Australia. Years of malnourishment and abuse left Roma weak with excruciating stomach pains, with doctors unable to cure her Roma turned to yoga. She had seen the Japanese practise similar movements and began to take lessons frequently.
This was the beginning of her road to recovery, the practice that would save her life and change the lives of millions all over Australia!
Roma Blair Known as ‘The Mother of Yoga’ for her remarkable contribution to the spread of, what is today a widely practiced discipline but was then, quite unheard of in Australia. Roma Blair was not only the first woman to have an exercise show on Australian television but was also bestowed the name Swami Nirmalananda meaning ‘pure’ and ‘bliss’. At age 43, this made Roma the first Australian female Swami.
From setting up The Roma Blair School of Yoga, establishing a standardisation for yoga teachers (the International Yoga Teachers Association) and organising world yoga conventions, Roma will always be an integral piece in the yoga history puzzle.
A mother, model, journalist, Swami, yoga teacher and founder; Roma Blair was an all round super-yogi and sadly passed away in 2013, although she is gone, her yoga legacy will remain forever inspiriting generations of young yogis to come.
Roma Blair, yoga teacher.
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