Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lilias Yoga and You

Lilias Folan is a little old lady now, but she was a yoga maverick back in the 1970s, and my first introduction to yoga was through her public television show Lilias, Yoga and You.

You can watch an entire episode from the 70s here. I find Lilias charming in her earnestness and her suburban housewife-hippie chick vibe.

People Magazine did a profile of Folan in 1980.
Originally from Pound Ridge, N.Y., Folan was born Lilias Antoinette Moon and known thereafter as "Muffin" ("Can you see Muffin, Yoga and You?" she asks with a giggle). Her parents divorced when Lilias was 2, and her mother remarried several times, sending her daughter off to boarding school at the age of 9. Lilias later spent two years at Bennington, continued her art studies in Italy and returned home to an early marriage and postpartum depression.  
"I had everything," she says. "A successful husband, two children, a lovely home and a boat in Long Island Sound. But there was a longing in me that just wasn't filled up. I had the blahs." A doctor prescribed exercise, and Lilias spent three years in psychotherapy. Then she discovered yoga. "From the beginning I felt better as a person and a woman," she says. "Also, no one was into yoga then, and part of me liked being a little weird. If anyone asked me at parties, I'd get my leotard and do a headstand. It wasn't until I crashed into a coffee table that I saw how ridiculous it was."  
When her husband, Bob Folan, now president of his own transport company, was transferred to Cincinnati in 1967, Lilias went along and taught yoga. "The anxiety and depression had begun to lift," she recalls, "and I needed a broader, deeper vision. Slowly I began to feel a call." In 1970 she began a series of instructional shows for the local PBS affiliate. By last fall she was carried in 193 cities, pulled in 150 letters a week and boasted converts to yoga like Alan Arkin and Carol Burnett. 

Folan has her own Youtube page.