Okay, there’s this yoga movie that has recently been released, Enlighten Up!, and it’s really quite good. Definitely recommended viewing for anyone interested in the bigger picture of what yoga is, and why we do it.

So the “star” of the film, Nick Rosen, just wrote an interesting piece for the Huffington Post, in which he discusses the yoga we practice in North America as a purely Western invention emphasizing physical prowess, rather than an ancient set of spiritual teachings. His conclusion:

The yoga we practice these days, although dressed in the trappings of ancient Hindu authenticity, was born about one hundred years ago, largely under the influence of western culture. While the yoga world routinely refers to yoga as a five thousand year old tradition, it is only a little older than Bollywood.

Perhaps this may be the case, but I don’t think this should justify North American yogis being ignorant of yoga philosophy and scripture. The meat of yoga, the depth and wisdom, is in these ancient teachings, and a lot of texts are available. They will continue to become more accessible as texts are unearthed and translated.

As Nick points out, the real yoga “was more like black magic: transforming one’s semen into magical nectar, flying around and taking over other peoples bodies, and the like. Yogis were like boogeymen and dark sorcerers.” Awesome.

Enlighten Up! is opening in theatres across America this month. Apparently, it’s not playing anywhere in Canada, which is too bad.