As yoga popularity increases, many films have been archived or created to tell the story of yoga. Although models, teachers, and actors have produced an abundance of DVDs to instruct in the basics of yoga along with online yoga classes and videos, this is a different film genre. These are films produced to display, explain, or discuss the many variances that compose yoga as opposed to how to videos. Some are beautiful and inspirational; others can put the viewer into a (un)welcome trance. All are informative on some level.
Some of these films are must see for yoga aficionados. This is a composite of some of the popular or interesting.
Yoga Inc. (2006) discusses the dilemma of the affluence of yoga in the West and the tradition in the east, of the billion dollar business it has become. It does not reach the expose limits of other inc. genre films such as Food, Inc. or Medicine, Inc., but does touch on the economics of Western yoga and the early signs of competitive yoga, a contradiction in terms.
Thread of Yoga, directed by Eric Wils, is filmed in India as it practiced when Westerners aren't participating. The scenes and people are real allowing entry into a yogi practicing meditation on a deeper level than experienced by the average participant in Western yoga. .
Naked Yoga (1974) has been repeatedly shown over the years. It is not instructional but a fusion of naturism and yoga. The four practitioners are attractive young women, which imparts a voyeuristic quality . It has since inspired naked yoga classes for those who want to deepen their practice in that direction.
Yoga Unveiled, by Gita Desai, accompanied by musical selections and mantras is a testimony of and to the many teachers of yoga in the west and India through photographic footage and archive films and interviews. It is considered a moving image encyclopedia of yoga.
Yoga Gives Back isn't the same as the previous films but consists of shorter film interviews with women in India who benefit from a micro-loan program of gifts or loans from the western practitioners to India, the home of yoga. It is a non-profit organization focused on the yoga community.
Living Yoga, the Life and Teachings of Swami Satchidananda, directed by Shiva Kumar is an hour long documentary of how the teachings of yoga were brought to the west by the swami who became known as the Woodstock Guru in the 1960s. The film includes footage of many notables including Oprah, Peter Max, and Larry King.
Documentaries about Yoga Events and Personal Yoga JourneysBoth the famous and the unknown tell how they discovered yoga and what yoga means to them. The films are available although some of the less commercial ones may take some searching. Undoubtedly some have been missed and new ones are added frequently.
Ashtanga NY (2003), directed by Caroline Laskow and M.Wigmore, is unique not only because it is Patabi Joiis teaching in lower Manhattan, not only because it shows various excellent ashtanga practices, not simply because students are interviewed and able to express themselves verbally about yoga, but because his visit coincided with 9/11 in New York City.
Enlighten Up (200 cool is a documentary about a somewhat reluctant young journalist thrust into the various yoga practices to see if yoga "takes." He travels the US and the world to become enlightened spiritually and physically, or does he?
Yoga Movie: an American Yogic Journey is a documentary made right after 9/11 where participants describe the whole world coming together. Comments like "money doesn't make you happy" and how someone's experience in India changed him forever are sprinkled with the belief that yoga will change the world, stop war, and bring peace.
The Fire of Yoga, Sumadra Pictures, is narrated by Ali McGraw and describes three very different people's ventures into yoga. Each comes from a different social stratosphere and the "fire" of yoga helps them transcend their everyday selves.
Yoga and Me, by Robbie Baldwin, is a feel good documentary on people who obviously love yoga and are very good at it. It is described as heartwarming but may appeal more to those who already practice than to the novice who is not yet a believer.
The Heart of Transformation (2010), narrated by Minnie Driver, is another composite of teachers and students explaining their love of yoga. The photography is lovely and travels to many actors of the places where the practitioners live or practice. John Friend is featured along with other yoga notables.
See the article: Yoga Themed Films:Yoga Movies of Comedy Drama and Horror , Drama, and Horror for more yoga films in this genre adding to the fascination with this form of mind body fitness.