This morning I came across the most in depth article called Indra Devi, Mother of Western Yoga. 

Indra Devi, originally named Eugenie Peterson is the lady to thank for making yoga accessible for women. Born today May 12, 1899 in Latvia, we celebrate her life. She was a trained acrtress who traveled while there was civil war at home. At the young age of fifteen she read her first yoga book Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism and became intrigued. Later on she would travel to India, marry and live there. She began practicing yoga with Krishnamacharya much to his dislike at first in order to heal herself from chest pains.

“She approached Krishnamacharya. He refused on the grounds she was a Westerner and a woman. The Maharaja finally intervened and Krishnamacharya agreed to take her on as a student. She met every challenge: strict discipline, long hours of practice, diet restrictions, no use of a stove to keep warm. She had to keep up with all the requirements of the male students. The master admired her zeal so much he took her on as a private student. Some of her fellow students were to become the great masters: K. Pattabi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar. She experienced a complete recovery from her heart ailment” 

~ Susan Anernethy