Poster for The Yoganator, one of the offending "yoga centered" short films.

Somehow I’ve ended up on Rajan Zed‘s mailing list (the Hindu statesman is infamous for criticizing American cultural representations of Eastern spirituality, including The Love Guru and Ogden: the Inappropriate Yoga Guy). Most of his press releases are benign attacks on Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter, and are fairly entertaining. However, the most recent one, dated Feb 21, is inconclusive and getting syndicated all over the Internet.

Titled “Yoga centered films made in USA & Canada,” the release targets two not-so-recently released short films about yoga. The first, Homeless Yoga, is a Canadian-produced response to the economic downturn with the tagline, “What do you do when you lose everything? YOGA!” The other film, The Yoganator, features a martial arts-ish/self help monologue by an intense yoga teacher, illustrated through dramatic flashbacks.

Something about the two films prompted Zed to release the following statement:

Seeing the increasing popularity in the West, India should launch extensive research into yoga and help promote its authentic version worldwide. According to Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, who codified yoga after being founded by Yajanavalkya, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, added.

Whoa, run-sentence ~ another hallmark of Zed’s press releases!

Watch the trailer and short below, and judge for yourself. Inauthentic representations of yoga? And is it India’s responsibility to research yoga and promote an authentic version to the world?

Homeless Yoga, trailer (note: graphic language)

The Yoganator, short film (note: gratuitous violence)