Published in Sweat Equity Magazine June/July 2017 Issue
Madonna Louise Ciccone was born on August 16, 1958, christened with the birth name of her late mother. Donning the various titles of Queen of Pop, Queen of Re-Invention, Queen of Fashion, and more, she is the epitome of ‘cutting edge’ and ‘controversial.’ And although fishnet tights, super-sized crucifixes, and pointed cone bras made a darn loud fashion statement, her views on women, sexuality, and female power spoke even louder.
From her first foray onto the world stage, Madonna became famous for her superhuman stamina and athleticism. Few women in the industry compared, charismatically speaking, to this cultural icon and female heroine who rattled the cages of gender stereotypes and double standards. As an artist, her title of “most influential and iconic female recording artist of all time” holds serious clout.
Madonna stood in start contrast to the emaciated models who walked runways and filled the cover pages of magazines, celebrating women’s strength as the ultimate antidote. At a time when women avoided weight-lifting for fear of bulking up, Madonna chiseled out a new concept of femininity that was rock-solid, both in demeanor and physical exterior.
The pop queen started yoga in 1996, a time when Dog Pose was something discussed only in the bedroom.
The Paparazzi rarely caught a glimpse of Madonna rolling out her yoga mat six days a week for her committed Ashtanga practice, but it’s the yoga that gave her the sculpted physique she would use to define a new standard of beauty. In her 1998 interview with Oprah, Madonna confessed that she’d renounced the gym for an alternative and more holistic form of physical fitness: Yoga. “No more pumping iron. No more treadmill. No more Stairmaster. I’m gym-free!” And just like that, this ‘alternative form’ of training and spiritual discipline enjoyed its first taste of the Western mainstream. The revolutionary concept of sexy being strong was born.
“Yoga is a metaphor for life. You have to take it slowly. You can’t rush. You can’t skip to the next position. You find yourself in very humiliating situations, but you can’t judge yourself. You just have to breathe; you have to let go. And it’s a very slow process. It is a workout for your mind, your body, and your soul.” Madonna