I've always been fairly skeptical about yoga, primarily because of my inherent aversion to sweating but also because the trendy new age vibe kind of creeped me out– there is something decidedly un-punk rock about carrying a mat into a room full of lycra-clad meditating folks. Well, my pal Hannah (who happens to be the mom of three girls under 4 and a hot-to-trot personal trainer) finally coerced me into taking some yoga classes a couple of months ago and I was surprised at how much I loved it, both from a physical and mental perspective.
Enlighten Up! is a film showing another skeptic's serious immersion into the world of yoga. Journalist Nick Rosen was chosen to be documentary filmmaker Kate Churchill's "guinea pig"- a novice yogi who could partake in various practices around the globe while trying to define the elusive "it" that yoga provides to its proponents: spiritual enlightenment, physical fitness or something else entirely. Kate wants to see Nick transformed by yoga the way she has been and the pair visit celebrity yogis and exalted gurus, busy urban practices and laid back devotees.
I won't tell you what Nick and Kate conclude in Enlighten Up! but suffice it to say that yoga is different for everyone who practices it. This is certainly the case among the very different teachers they visit, each of whom has a very different outlook on yoga and what to expect from the practice. Interviewees include B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Norman Allen, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Gurmukh, Dharma Mitra, Cyndi Lee, Alan Finger, Rodney Yee, Beryl Bender Birch, Shyamdas, and many more! One of the more light-hearted yogis profiled is Diamond Dallas Page, an ex-pro wrestler who discovered yoga after suffering multiple injuries in the ring and created his own method: Yoga for Regular Guys. Hilarious, if not entirely politically correct…
Enlighten Up! is available everywhere on DVD starting November 10, 2009.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Enlighten Up! on DVD so I could let you know what I think about it. Go take a yoga class and let me know what you think. If you're near Wichita, these yoga classes are only $5 with no contract to sign. Heated floors, dude. Nice.